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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

Botswana Photographic Scheduled Safari - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Botswana Photographic Scheduled Safari

Let us take you one the adventure of a lifetime through the Chobe National Park, Khwai Community Area and Moremi Game Reserve.

$ 2,880

£ 2,056

R 34,858

2,339

per person

10 days

Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari

Spot the Big Five in Thornybush Private Game Reserve and enjoy the majesty of Zimbabwe's roaring Victoria Falls

$ 4,254

£ 3,037

R 51,485

3,455

per person

8 days

Affordable Victoria Falls, Hwange & Mana Pools - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Affordable Vic Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools 

$ 6,725

£ 4,802

R 81,396

5,462

per person

9 days

10-day HerdTracker July great migration safari - Africa Wildlife Safaris

10-day HerdTracker July great migration safari

Experience the drama of the nature's greatest spectacle in the Serengeti National Park

$ 7,165

£ 5,116

R 86,721

5,819

per person

10 days

Two weeks in South Africa - a luxury rail safari itinerary - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Two weeks in South Africa - a luxury rail safari itinerary

Experience the best that South Africa has to offer: it's white-sand beaches, lush green wine-lands and find the Big Five wildlife in the Kruger National Park.

$ 6,892

£ 4,921

R 83,420

5,598

per person

14 days

Namibia safari adventure - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Namibia safari adventure

Namibia is an ideal destination for travellers seeking an unforgettable African experience in a uniquely beautiful untamed wilderness

$ 1,290

£ 921

R 15,610

1,047

per person

11 days

Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta safari - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Makgadikgadi Pans and Okavango Delta safari

Encounter the best Makgadikgadi Pan National Park and Okavango safari has to offer

$ 3,780

£ 2,699

R 45,751

3,070

per person

7 days

February Calving Season Safari in Tanzania - Africa Wildlife Safaris

February Calving Season Safari in Tanzania

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

$ 7,595

£ 5,423

R 91,926

6,169

per person

9 days

Gorillas

Rwanda gorillas and the migration, both sides of the Mara River

Enjoy two of Africa's most magnificent wildlife experiences – mountain gorillas and the Great Migration – on one unforgettable safari

Price on Request

per person

11 days

South African bush and beach safari - Africa Wildlife Safaris

South African bush and beach safari

Explore the magic of Cape Town followed by the Scenic Garden Route and finally the Big Five members at the Kruger National Park

$ 3,503

£ 2,501

R 42,400

2,845

per person

10 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

Woodlands Camp, Serengeti, Tanzania - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Woodlands Camp, Serengeti, Tanzania

Tucked within a grassy corridor that links the Lake Ndutu area with the Moru Kopjes and Hidden Valley is the seasonal Woodlands Camp. During…


Ndutu Wilderness Camp - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Ndutu Wilderness Camp, Ndutu, Serengeti

December to March typically coincides with ‘calving season’ in the Serengeti and Ndutu Wilderness Camp is ideally located so visitors can…


Nasikia Mobile Camp - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Nasikia Mobile Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Nasikia North Mobile Camp is set up each year during the migration to maximise the experience of staying in the heart of wildlife action. The…


Roving Bushtops - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Roving Bushtops, Central Serengeti, Tanzania

Roving Bushtops is based in the central Serengeti which is known for its abundant wildlife and fabulous viewing throughout the year. Guests…


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.

Can I bring my children along on a safari?

Family safaris in Africa are a worthwhile and meaningful experience. Aside from spending quality time with your nearest and dearest under a wide blue African sky, a safari in Africa offers invaluable experiences including unique cultural… 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.

When is the best time to visit Camdeboo National Park?

Although wildlife viewing is good throughout the year. The warmer months from October to March are more pleasant - the scenery is greener and this is also the time most of the animals are born. However, the park is mostly about its scenery… go there.

When is the best time to visit Ithala Game Reserve?

The best time to visit Ithala Game Reserve is during the dry winter months, from May to September. During this season it is easier to spot the wildlife since the grass is eaten by herbivores. Expect to encounter and sight birds - such as… go there.

When is the best time to visit Tankwa Karoo National Park ?

The best time to visit Tankwa Karoo National Park is from autumn through winter to early summer of April to September. However, this is a perfect place to indulge in blessed idleness. If you want to see the landscape and animals, you'll… go there.

When is the best time to visit Marakele National Park?

The best time to visit Marakele National Park is during May to September. Since animals tend to seek for reliable waterholes and stay close by during the dry winter months. However, this is the best time for wildlife viewing. Marakele is a… go there.

When is the best time to visit Augrabies Falls National Park?

Augrabies Falls National Park is open throughout the year, but the best time to visit is between April and September. When the popular three-day Klipspringer Trail is open. However, the waterfall is particularly impressive when in flood -… go there.

When is the best time to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park?

The best time to visit Nyungwe Forest National Park in the southern Rwanda is during the drier months of June to August or December to January. Even though June to August or December to January are categorically referred to as drier months… go there.

Big cat safaris in Africa - Africa Wildlife Safaris

Reviews on our Big cat safaris in Africa

Perfectly tailormade tour taking all lour wishes and requests into consideration. Best presentation seen and all expectations fulfilled or beyond.

Henrik Wetterstrand

from Sweden

Discover Africa was the only tour operator I reached out to who wanted to have a Skype conversation to get to know more and my husband & my tastes and preferences. Megan Warrington was wonderful to work with - she crafted our activities and…

Stephanie

from United States of America

All details were covered, all staff and food excellent, service was perfect - would highly recommend for sure.

Ron

from United States of America

After shopping around for a couple of months, Discover Africa was the one who had the most diverse options for the price. Megan Warrington always responded quickly and was professional and patient with my endless questions. Discover Africa…

Kelly

from United States of America

They organized everything for our first visit to Africa, from the airport meet & greet through to the tours, great hotels and locations.

Michael

from United States of America

From the first approach to the end, Discover Africa, has been excellent . The hotels, the service and every think has been well above our expectation. The perfect choice ! Thanks to all and specially to Megan.

Enrico Liberati

from Italy

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