Lion

Possibly the most distinctive of the wildcats, the lion (Panthera leo) used to be found across Africa, Asia and Southern Europe but today occurs only in fragmented populations in sub-Saharan Africa which are classed as vulnerable by the IUCN, and a single location in western India (Sasan Gir) which is critically endangered.  Lions favour plains, grasslands and dry savannah scrub-forests and will rarely enter denser tree cover.

Lions are large and muscular with round ears, a short and broad skull and tufted end to their tail, their fur varies between light-buff, golden-yellow to darker brown.  Males are markedly larger than females and grow a prominent mane at around one year old which darkens with age.  On average lions and tigers are a similar height at their shoulder, but even the largest lions that are found in Southern Africa have a shorter head and body length (185-210cm) and lighter weight (185-225kg) than the Bengal or Siberian tiger.

The Asiatic lion is no longer classed as a separate sub-species and is genetically closer to the extinct Barbary lion and the lions Central African, than the larger lions of Eastern and Southern Africa.  The mane of the Asiatic lion is sparser with the ears always visible, they have a larger tail -tuft and a prominent skin-fold along the abdomen.

Cubs can be born at any time of the year, blind in litters in up to four, they have dark spots at birth which gradually fade, the tail-tuft doesn’t appear till nearer 5 months of age.  Although the most social of wild cats, the lioness will normally maintain distance from the pride until the cubs are more mobile after 6-8 weeks.  It is not uncommon for pride lionesses to synchronise their reproductive cycle and enable communal rearing of the young. In Africa a pride may comprise 15-25 individuals, with several adult females and their cubs, and up to 4 or 5 males.  In India, females and males tend to only associate when mating in the winter months, but females form loose prides with other females and their cubs, and males are either solitary or in coalitions with 3 or 4 other adult males.

Lions are diurnal hunters, beginning after dawn to stalk and attack larger ungulates such as zebra, and wildebeest in Africa and chital or sambar deer in India.  With little stamina, they run in very short bursts at up to 50mph and are active only 2-4 hours of the day, sleeping at the base of tree for shade or, in Uganda in particular, climbing up in to the branches to sleep for the rest of their day.  They are at their most active around dusk, with grooming and socialising, and sometimes an added opportunity to launch a surprise attack as the light fades.

Although lions have no natural predators, their main threats are attacks by humans or other lions, and injuries inflicted by defensive hyenas and leopard, or trampling by their prey.  Other threats are infections transmitted by ticks and parasites, and the canine distemper virus spread by domestic dogs and other carnivores.

Culturally lions have been depicted as the ‘king of beasts’ for many thousands of years across Europe, Asia and Africa, with cave paintings and sculptures dating back over 15,000 to 32,000 years.  Lions continue to appear as a symbol for nobility, power, strength, protection and sporting prowess, but some East African traditions have labelled lions lazy and gullible, so take your pick between Aslan, Simba, Narasimha, the lions of Babylon or the bible and even the Cowardly Lion from Oz and you may find some truth.

Zimanga: The Ultimate South African Photography Safari

On this unique South African safari experience we are as near to guaranteed as possible to encounter all of Africa’s Big Five, plus an abundance of prey species and a dazzling array of birds. Using classic safari game vehicles, and making full creative use of a network of hides, we will create shots that simply aren’t possible anywhere else.

And what’s more, on this bespoke photography safari we have no crowds to contend with, as we have secured exclusive use of the reserve throughout our stay.  That means there are no constraints on our time with each species, allowing us to observe their way of life, explore appropriate photographic techniques and craft unique images which capture the essence of each animal, their behavior and interactions.

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 9
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3695
Wild Dog Magic in Botswana and South Africa

The chance to see African wild dogs, or African painted dogs as they are sometimes referred to, is high on many wildlife lovers wish list. It is important to remember that this is one of the rarest canids in the world and sadly is on the endangered ‘Red List’ of IUCN. Loss of habitat and human conflict are the main reasons for their decline; so it is more important than ever to conserve and protect the few remaining strong holds of this charismatic species. Over the years, Wildlife Trails have enjoyed considerable success in photographing this species and with this knowledge we have created safari holidays which visit the best places to see wild dogs at the right time of year.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 10
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£6000
Wild Camping Safari with Robin Pope

A walking safari in Zambia, particuarly in the South Luangwa valley, is one of the most exhilarating and immersive safari experiences in Africa. Walking with guides who have intimate knowledge of the land and its animals, dipping deeper into the bush from the fixed camps by camping out for a couple of nights, dinner and stories around the fire, simple but delicious food… When staying at Tena Tena and Nsefu you can walk between the two for two or three days, camping on the way. This is simple camping but with that extra touch of comfort. There are stand up tents, mattresses on the ground, sheets and blankets, wash basins, shared 60L bucket shower, bush loo, full bar and food service, fully serviced camp.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 8
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£5500
Visiting Ruaha, Mikumi & Selous

After a nice nights sleep in a quality hotel in Dar, it’s time to start the adventure with your private naturalist with a visit to the world-famous Selous game reserve – famous for big cats and the chance to see African wild dogs. From Selous, we visit Mikumi and it’s large lion prides, before ending up in a beautiful camp on the Great Ruaha River, where big game regularly walks through the camp to the excitement of all visitors.

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 12
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3750
Safari on the Edge of the Kalahari Desert

If you enjoy the path less travelled and seeing a greater diversity of wildlife, then a camping safari to the edge of the Kalahari in Botswana could be for you. This 7 day bespoke Botswana wildlife holiday spends 3 nights each in Nxai and Madadakagdi Pans. There is plentiful resident wildlife in the Nxai Pan National Park which is mainly desert adapted species such as springbok, gemsbok, ostrich and brown hyena. During the summer months this population is swelled by elephant, zebra, eland, giraffe and wildebeest. The pans are one of the best places to see wild cheetahs in Botswana and prides of lions also follow the seasonal migrations.

Style - Wildlife Adventurer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 7
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3500
Safari in South Luangwa, Zambia

Zambia safaris nearly always deliver a spectacular wildlife experience and it is particularly famous for its night time safaris and the incredibly high number of leopard encounters. Many of these safaris take place in the famous Luangwa valley and we feel the perfect budget Zambia safari combines an extended stay in comfortable chalet accommodation close to the beautiful Luangwa river, with a couple of exhilarating nights at a nearby bush camp. Listen to the roar of Lions and other nocutrnal wildlife as you experience an African safari in the truest sense.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 11
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3500
Rhinos and Big Cats

June in Kenya is the last month of the shoulder season and a stunning time to visit on your Kenya wildlife holidays before the crowds of the high season arrive. By booking all accommodation through the famous Serena lodges we obtain an additional discount on your behalf, but we also retain our independance and privacy by booking an expert naturalist/driver, who will be your friendly, personal guide from the moment you touch down in Nairobi.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 10
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£2500
Mara Predator Big Cat Conservation Safari

‘In 20 years if nothing is done, there will be no Lions left in Kenya’ Neils Morgensen, Mara Predator Conservation Program.

Niels Mogensen, Senior Programme Scientist at the Mara Predator Conservation Programme, and award-winning natural history photographer and film maker Trai Anfield invite you to join them on a truly unique wildlife photography safari and survey experience, focussing on the two most iconic predators of Kenya’s Maasai Mara: lion and cheetah. Leopard will also be likely, alongside the prey species that make up this complex ecosystem. Should African wild dog be in the vicinity during our stay, then of course we will prioritise this species too.

Style - Small Group Photographer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 9
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4790
Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa Zambia Safari

This bespoke Zambia wildlife holiday focuses on quality long stays at two fabulous safari lodges in two very different and diverse parks. First you will fly from Lusaka to Livingstone and transfer to the Lower Zambezi . There is a lot of wildlife in this park, although the variety isn’t as diverse as in Kafue or South Luangwa. The lower Zambezi is know for its large elephant and buffalo herds and the birding is spectacular. The main apex predators seen here are leopard, spotted hyena and large prides of lion. From here you will fly to Mfuwe, which is the gateway to South Luangwa national park, rightly known as one of the best national parks to see big cats in the whole of Africa. You will be staying at Flatdogs Camp, whose naturalists have won international awards for their quality of guiding. Expect full on action during both the game drives and the night time safaris, as you are allowed to stay inside the park until 20:00.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 8
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£5000
Lions, Wolves & Asiatic Wild Ass

India is famous in wildlife circles as the place to see wild tigers, but is also home to some lesser known but even rarer and more endangered species like the Asiatic Lion, Asiatic Wild Ass, and Great Indian Bustard. India also boasts an impressive array of canids including the Striped Hyena, Indian Wolf, Jackal, Indian Fox, and Desert Fox. This bespoke Gujarat wildlife holiday will take you to an India which few explore and will reward you with rare wildlife, stunning landscapes and a tribal culture that shines brightly in the desert.

Style - Small Group
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 16
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3350
Gorilla Trek and Volcano Climb for Adventure Seekers

For our return to Uganda and Rwanda to celebrate my 40th birthday I was keen to bring an adventerous element to the trip and as well as camping in many of the beautiful national parks, we also included a few more strenous activities on top of the Gorilla Trekking we did in Nkuringo. These included paddling across Lake Mutanda, walking with the Batwa tribals at Magahinga and the absolute highlight of a full day trek up the beautiful Mount Sabinyo, which stands at an impressive 3600M. Not only did this provide us with the elation of achieving our goals, but it also took us away from some of the more mainstream locations on the Uganda wildlife circuit and provided more village life and colour into our Uganda wildlife holiday.

Style - Wildlife Adventurer
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 11
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3850
Exploring the Botswana Wilderness

Safari through the wilderness of Botswana. Experience the Okavango Delta by traditional dug-outs and the abundant wildlife of Moremi game reserve and Savuti. Explore Chobe NP by boat and enjoy wonderful views of Victoria Falls!

Style - Wild Camping
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 12
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£2500
An Epic Botswana Safari

This exciting 12-day adventure takes in some of Northern Botswana’s most prolific parks, including Moremi, the private Khwai concession and Botswana’s jewel in the crown; Savute. Before finishing on the Chobe Riverfront in Chobe National Park.

All locations offer excellent photographic and wildlife viewing opportunities. Where the predators, including lion, leopard and wild dog are regularly seen. The areas are also a haven for other wildlife, such as elephant, hippo, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, lechwe, kudu and many other iconic African mammals and of course a vast array of bird species.

With a large well-equipped game vehicles for a maximum group size of 6 people there is plenty of room assured for each guest. This tour will be characterized by maximising time in the field to take advantage of all available wildlife viewing opportunities. Fully supported camping ensures long days in the parks enjoying wildlife and a warm and friendly welcome back at camp in the evening.

Best time to visit Botswana on safari?

One of the best times to visit Botswana for wildlife is the dry season which runs approximately from June to October. This is the best time to see the predators in Botswana; as they share the same depleting water resources as their prey and it is at the lagoons and still flowing rivers where the majority of the hunting action takes place. We can also witness large bull elephants in Chobe national park and take a peaceful Mokoro safari looking for Hippo’s, giant crocs and a wonderful diversity of birdlife in the Okavango Delta. Temperatures will climb steadily throughout this period and reach their peak in October, but the game viewing in Botswana will remain vibrant throughout. We will have the chance to see African Wild Dogs in Moremi or Khwai and some large prides of lions in Savuti.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 12
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3500
Big Cats Galore on this Bespoke Zambia Safari

Zikomo Lodge is a real gem and is attracting a lot of interest from film companies like the BBC and Smithsonian channel; due to regular sightings of Wild Dogs, Lion and Leopard. From here we continue our journey through the most famous game reserve in Zambia, staying 4 nights at Flatdogs Camp where we can continue to observe game by both vehicle and high adrenaline walking safaris. The South Luangwa is one of the few parks in Africa to allow night drives, and the Flatdogs guides’ knowledge of animal behaviour really pays off after dark – get ready for action. After our stay at South Luangwa, we fly back to Lusaka and then drive south to Mukambi Lodge; gateway to the beautiful and less visitied Kafue national park. After a night in Mukambi, we can enjoy a morning game drive as we head towards the superbly located Busanga Plains Camp. Busanga Plains Camp is strategically located between the teeming floodplains frequented by several lion prides and the papyrus-edged Busanga Swamps, abundant with birdlife and home of the shy sitatunga. Famed for its tree-climbing lions, Busanga Plains is also known for its endless parade of wildlife and birds – huge herds of lechwe, puku and buffalo, which in turn sustain the top predators, including cheetah and wild dog.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 15
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£6500
Big Cat Magic in the Serengeti and Mara

Can you really wish for more than three dream wildlife destinations in the same safari? This amazing private big cat safari in Tanzania and Kenya, combines a 3 night stay in the northern Serengeti to coincide with the great wildebeest migration, with a full day drive into the world famous Ngorongoro crater, before heading back to Arusha via a quick visit to Tarangire national park. You then fly to Nairobim where you have a night to catch your breath, before driving to the Masai Mara for a 4 night stay at the dearly loved Mara Bush Camp – where you will stay in the private wing. All your safaris will be in a Covid-19 secure vehicle, with just yourself and the driver/naturalist heading out on the game drives.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 13
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£4490
Big Cat Magic in the Masai Mara

The Masai Mara is one of those most special of wildlife places in the world which just keeps you wanting to come back for more and more. We know that from many regular clients who visit multiple times a year and it is one of those safari destinations which can deliver great wildlife encounters outside of the main high season, which runs from July to October. It is without doubt one of the best places in the world to see big cats and it is not unsual in the Mara to have regular sightings of the Big 3; Lion, Leopard and Cheetah. This June departure will see cheaper options available on international flights and less crowds in the park, so why not join us on this Big Cat safari at Mara Intrepids in June 2021.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 10
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£2590
Bespoke Gorilla & Chimp Trek in Uganda

Wildlife Trails have pioneered a certain bespoke design of gorilla and chimp safari, that brings together the best mid-range wildlife lodges – all of which we have personally visited – with our hand picked dirver/naturalists and their photographer friendly landcruisers with roof openings. Our tailored gorilla trekking holidays allow you to get under the skin of this wildlife rich and vibrant country, as your driver will not only be your expert naturalist; but also your friend and guide to all things Ugandan. This 10 day Gorilla and Chimp safari takes you from the shores of Lake Victoria in Entebbe to Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Bwindi and Lake Mburo (see detailed map info); as you enjoy both chimp and gorilla treks in this primate focused Uganda wildlife holiday.

Style - Bespoke Wildlife
Duration (Excl. Flights) - 10
Activity Level
When to Go
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
Price (Excl. flights)
£3500