Big cat safaris, tours & holidays
Seek out these incredible predators in their natural environmentBig cat safaris, tours & holidays available in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Custom designed Big cat safaris in Africa
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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
Experience Cape Town, the lush Cape Winelands and a safari in the Kruger National Park and you'll fall under South Africa's spell
This safari to the Serengeti and Masai Mara in East Africa is all about big cats – lots of them and up close for outstanding photographs
Unforgettable experience in the jungles of Rwanda to track the last Mountain gorillas on earth and view the awesome Great Migration river crossings
One week safari to three Zambian national parks, including the flagship South Luangwa, and end in style with a visit to the remarkable Victoria Falls
Get the best possible chance to see the Big Five wildlife in the iconic Kruger National Park and Manyeleti Game Reserve
Start your trip in South Africa and finish in Mauritius. Experience the stunning beaches and the Big Five in the Phinda Private Game Reserve.
Our selection of South Africa's top safari lodges and game reserves are guaranteed to suit every taste and budget
Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools
Explore the Selous Game Reserve and Stiegler's Gorge by 4x4, boat or walking safari, looking for Pel's fishing owl, wild dog, rhino and elephant
Enjoy both Botswana's Okavango Delta and Namibia's Caprivi Strip on a safari holiday filled with fun
More on Big cat safaris in Africa
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
Owned and run by the Maasai community, Il Ngwesi offers something truly special. Visitors to the lodge have a full wildlife and cultural…
Serian was the first of Alex’s camps, and it perfectly captures the essence of its name: meaning ‘peaceful, calm, serene’ in the Masai…
Nestled in the middle of a quiet cove, sits our camp. After a short drive from the airstrip, guests are led to a small patch of forest, where…
Ashnil Mara Camp, with 50 luxury tents, is located in the Masai Mara National Reserve and close to the Mara River, famous for the wildebeest…
Frequently Asked Questions about Big cat safaris in Africa
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reviews on our Big cat safaris in Africa
Perfectly tailor-made tours that take all your wishes and requests into consideration. All my expectations were beyond fulfilled.
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…
from United States of America
All details were covered, all staff and food excellent, service was perfect - would highly recommend for sure.
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…
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.
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.