Big Cat Safari
Everyone wants to see the big cats on an African safari. You stand a chance of seeing them from almost any safari lodge – but some places are better for cats than others. Here are some of our all time favorite big cat safari spots.
A Botswana safari is perfect for seeing big cats in privacy. Mombo Camp in the Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s best camps for lion, leopard and cheetah at any time of year. Less expensive yet almost as good is Chitabe Camp which is nearby. These places have a near perfect balance of habitats and species which the cats can hunt. No particular cat species dominates. If you are looking for large prides of lion, you’ll love Duba Plains, another Okavango Camp where you can watch them tracking huge buffalo herds.
Further north the Linyanti and Chobe savannah areas are also excellent for finding those elusive cats. Lebala Camp has good numbers of cheetah and leopard as well as packs of wild dog. From upscale Chobe Chilwero you have access to the Chobe river where you can sometimes see lions coming to drink at the water’s edge on an afternoon boat cruise. During the later part of the dry season (August to October) several of these camps offer walking safaris giving you the excitement of tracking cats on foot – from a safe distance!
The easiest place to see the great cats of Africa is the Masai Mara, on a Kenya safari. The passage of the wildebeest migration from July to October is an awesome sight as lion prides encircle huge migrating herds of wildebeest and zebra. Leopard are solitary cats so are more vulnerable. They have to be more cautious and inventive and sometimes they drag their antelope carcass up a tree to protect it from scavenging hyenas. Ol Seki and Mara Plains are two superb camps on large private reserves where big cat viewing is high on the agenda.
If you seek a high luxury safari choose a six star lodge like Singita Boulders in the Kruger. The Singita lodges have a spa, private pool decks, gourmet dining and many of the comforts of a world class hotel – but right out in the bush. The Sabi Sands area of the Kruger has concentrated populations of cheetah, leopard and lion. Like the Okavango, the balance of habitats and prey is perfect to sustain healthy cat populations. Londolozi, owned by conservationist Dave Varty is another outstanding Kruger lodge where you are guaranteed a feast of game viewing combined with the finest comfort.
If seeing the big cats is a high priority for your African safari, call us to discuss your ideal itinerary.
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