Experience

Big cat safaris, tours & holidays

Seek out these incredible predators in their natural environment

Big cat safaris, tours & holidays available in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Seek out these incredible predators in their natural environment

People come from all over the world to see lion, leopard and cheetah - the biggest felines on the African continent. A safari is hardly complete without seeing at least one of these amazing predators in the wilderness. When searching out the big cats, it's also important to look out for the smaller yet equally fascinating serval and caracal.

Popular Big cat safaris in Africa

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Magical Mauritius and South Africa Honeymoon Safari (11 days) - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Magical Mauritius and South Africa Honeymoon Safari

Start your trip in South Africa and finish in Mauritius. Experience the stunning beaches and the Big Five in the Phinda Private Game Reserve.

per person

11 days

World Cup of Wildlife Migration Safari with HerdTracker (9 days) - Africa Wildlife Safaris

World Cup of Wildlife Migration Safari with HerdTracker (9 days)

This is the stage on which the greatest wildlife show on earth and plays out, as it is by far the greatest mass movement of land mammals on the entire globe.

per person

9 days

Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days) - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Affordable Okavango Delta, Chobe and Victoria Falls Journey (8 days)

Spent three nights at Chobe safari Lodge, two nights at Rra Dinare, two nights Moremi Crossing, as well as a full day visit to Victoria Falls

per person

8 days

Honeymoon Safari in the Serengeti National Park (6 days) - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Honeymoon Safari in the Serengeti National Park (6 days)

Enjoy a romantic honeymoon at the Ngorongoro Crater where you can spot the Big Five and experience the wildlife-rich Serengeti National Park

per person

6 days

Boating on the Chobe River

Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park

per person

5 days

Big Five Safari in the Kruger National Park (3 days) - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Big Five Safari in the Kruger National Park (3 days)

Encounter the Big Five safari and discover the elusive leopard

per person

3 days

HerdTracker’s February Wildebeest Calving Season Safari in Tanzania (9 days) - Africa Wildlife Safaris

HerdTracker's February Wildebeest Calving Season Safari in Tanzania (9 days)

Travelling to Tanzania during the calving season is a sight to behold and something unique to the region

per person

9 days

February Calving Season Safari in Tanzania (9 days) - Africa Wildlife Safaris

February Calving Season Safari in Tanzania (9 days)

Visit Tanzania during the calving season to see wildebeest calves join the massive herds making their way through the Serengeti for the great migration.

per person

9 days

Campfire

Popular Botswana Safari Through the Delta (5 days)

Experience the remote wilderness of Botswana on a safari that offers you luxurious game viewing like no other.

per person

5 days

Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days) - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Africa safari adventure will take you to the tip of the African continent

per person

19 days

More on Big cat safaris in Africa

Introduction

East Africa is by far the best destination to view big cats. It hosts more than half of Africa’s lion population and it's not uncommon to see more than 100 individual lions in the central Serengeti in one day. There are also fantastic leopard areas, the Serengeti’s plains for cheetah and frequent serval and caracal sightings. The open plains and short grass make it far easier to find the big cats, compared to the dense bushveld vegetation of southern Africa

In the Kruger National Park, the Satara area is the best place to see lion and the Sabie river for leopard. Beyond the park, the private reserves of Sabi Sands and Mala Mala are incredible big cat areas. Because of the presence of lion and leopard in these regions, cheetah are less common, but the greater Kruger ecosystem remains phenomenal big cat country.

The Okavango Delta in Botswana has excellent leopard and lion numbers and they are accentuated during the times when the Delta is flooded, as the floods isolate prides on islands. Incredible interaction between buffalo and lion makes the Duba Plains, also in Botswana, one of the most sought after big cat safari experiences in Africa.

Zambia’s South Luangwa sees good lion and leopard numbers during the dry season, when the vegetation is more open on the river. The predator behaviour is fairly predictable, making lions and leopards easy to track down.

Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools is an incredible lion area, and on top of this, you have the opportunity to see them on foot. Mana is not for the faint-hearted and it remains one of the wildest areas in Africa. The stretch between the Zambezi River and Vundu Camp has prolific lion and leopard numbers with lots of wild dog too.

Know before you go

East Africa is considered the best region in Africa if one wishes to see big cats; half of Africa’s lion population can be found in East Africa.

The term big cats is a loose definition based on classifying a selection of larger animals in the cat kingdom, including tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards and snow leopards.

All of the big cats are deemed to be either vulnerable or endangered.

In the lion kingdom the lionesses are the main hunters.

It’s believed that lions are the least productive of the big cats and can spend up to 20 hours a day asleep.

When to go

Dryer conditions enable various wildlife to congregate at waterholes making game viewing a little more easy.

If you plan on visiting the Serengeti for the wildebeest migration, you are bound to see predators descending on a horde of fleeing animals. This is a site to behold and a must for wildlife enthusiasts.

The best time to view big cats in most of the national parks in South Africa is from May until September. It’s advised to avoid the school holidays around December and January.
September is a great time as it starts to warm up from the winter chill but is still cool and dry and great for big cat spotting.

What to pack

Packing will largely depend on what type of safari you wish to take and on a big cat safari it’s advised to pack neutral coloured clothing as not to attract any unwanted attention from any of the wildlife mostly the big cats.

It’s also recommended that you read this article on what to pack on a luxury safari. Or consult a Discover Africa sales consultant for any questions or queries.

Weather and Climate

The climate of Africa is generally dry and hot; however certain areas during certain times of year can become bitterly cold during the night time and early mornings.

These are also the times of year where viewing big cats will become a reality, so bare this in mind; however wear layers which can be removed easily.One might go out on a game drive early in the morning and be very cold, however there is a great possibilty that by midday the temperature will rise drastically. Prepare yourself for varying climates and weather conditions.

Safari / Holiday Styles

The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti

Big cat sighting in the Kruger National Park

Lion watching in Zambia and Uganda

Leopard watching in Zambia, (highest concentration of leopards in Africa) and other regions of South Africa.

Masai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania for high cheetah populations.

Volunteer to help big cats in countries such as Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Where to stay

There really is no shortage of world class accommodation facilities to stay at on a big cat safari, contact a Discover Africa consultant today to find out what your options are.

Our Recommended Accommodation

RockFig Safari Lodge, Timbavati Game Reserve - Africa Wildlife Safaris

RockFig Safari Lodge, Timbavati Game Reserve

Located in the Timbavati Game Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park, this cool, contemporary lodge creates a contrast between the 30…


Riverdene Family Lodge, Shamwari, South Africa - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Riverdene Family Lodge, Shamwari, South Africa

Shamwari Game Reserve, believes in providing guests with the full African experience. In addition to being malaria-free and under the…


Savanna Private Game Reserve - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Savanna Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Game Reserve

Situated in the internationally famous Sabi Sand Game Reserve, this exclusive five-star lodge boasts nine beautifully appointed, thatched…


nThambo Tree Camp - Africa Wildlife Safaris

nThambo Tree Camp, Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, South Africa

nThambo Tree Camp is located in the Klaserie Private Game Reserve which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park. The reserve shares…


Frequently Asked Questions about Big cat safaris in Africa

How does the weather influence a safari?

While a safari holiday can be at any time of year, it is worth noting that seasonality will impact the type of experience you’re likely to have as well as the cost of your safari. During the dry season, the wildlife tends to congregate… go there.

What is a typical day on safari like?

Life on safari has a rhythm of its own, largely dictated by the animal's movements. Generally, the most rewarding times for game viewing is in the cooler early mornings and also late in the afternoons when the animals are most active. A… go there.

Will I be able to use my smartphone during my safari?

Wi-Fi is the best option when planning on using your smartphone during your African safari. Using apps such as Skype for Android and iOS, Viber for Android and iOS as well as Google Hangouts for Android is the best way to stay in touch with… go there.

What happens if the weather affects my hot air balloon safari?

If the weather causes unforeseen problems on the day of your hot air balloon safari, we will try to move it to another day or you will be refunded. go there.

Is going on a safari dangerous?

You are putting yourself in a position where you are exposed to wild animals for which many of them are dangerous. However on a safari every precaution is made to ensure your safety when going on a game drives or walks. This is why it is of… go there.

What research should one do when thinking of travelling through Africa?

Africa for centuries has captured the imagination of explorers hence there really is a lot of information out there available on the continent from guide books to novels. go there.

Where is the best place to go for wildlife viewing in Tanzania?

Northern Tanzania! Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage Site, has some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife in the world as well as the Serengeti, but don't forget about the southern circuit. go there.

What kinds of animals will I see on safari?

Whether you are in the Southern or East Africa you will generally be able to see the big five. The difference really comes in when considering antelope as they are based on your chosen location. go there.

What vaccinations should I get?

This is all dependant on the countries that you will be visitng and due to the status of certain vaccinations changing at times, please consult our experts before getting vaccines. go there.

Big cat safaris in Africa - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Reviews on our Big cat safaris in Africa

This was my first safari. I didn’t expect to be so pampered. Everything was first class. We had everything provided for us before even asking. We had a dedicated team at our service. Megan was on call whenever we needed something and she…

Saada

from Nigeria

Tanya was an absolute delight to deal with. From the first phone call she was extremely polite, professional and very eager to facilitate my requests regarding our safari. Our 3 nights at the V & A Hotel were fabulous and Motswari Game…

Debbie

from Australia

Perfectly tailor-made tours that take all your wishes and requests into consideration. All my expectations were beyond fulfilled.

Henrik Wetterstrand

from Sweden

Living afar and trusting in an organisation with whom you have no previous knowledge can lead to feeling of mistrust and wondering whether what we have paid for actually exists. A little more proactive communication would have eased those…

Tony Russell

I just wanted to thank Discover Africa and Karl Svendsen - the safari was great - we saw many more animals than expected including cheetah, leopard, many lions and even a three-day old elephant calf. Additionally, we had our own hippo…

Margaret Dean

Planning the trip was managed extremely well especially since travel was at a busy time of year and not much notice was given. All communication was by email, and was responded to promptly and efficiently. Different options were provided…

Suzanne McKeen

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