A big cat adventure like no other

Our incredible Ultimate Big Cat Safari takes you to 10 different locations in search of the magnificent big cats, starting in Latina America, track pumas and jaguars before heading off to Africa for cheetahs, lions and leopards. You then head to Asia for Asian leopards, Asiatic lions, snow leopards and tigers, before finishing in Russia looking for the biggest big cat of them all, the Siberian tiger.

Destinations visited
: Brazil, Chile, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Sri Lanka, India
Duration: 62 days
Cost: from £45,000 including all international and internal flights, transfers and all meals.

Big cat focus: jaguars, pumas, leopards, cheetahs, snow leopards, tigers, Asiatic leopards, Asiatic lions, Bengal tigers and Siberian tigers.

8 destinations, 62 days, 10 big cat species; this is the ultimate big cat safari

Leg 1: Jaguars in Brazil

For the first leg of your ultimate big cat safari, you fly down to Brazil to spend 10 days on the ultimate jaguar safari in the steamy and wild Pantanal.

 Delve deep into the wetlands and explore via drives, night drives, jungle treks, horse-back riding and river boat safaris.

Your main objective will be spotting the magnificent jaguars in their natural environment, and we will ensure you have the best chances possible, staying away from any crowds. Aside from the jaguars, there is so much to see and do here, there are colourful birds at every turn, capybaras roam the ground and caiman snap on the coasts. You can even try your hand at a spot of piranha fishing on your journey!

Araras Eco Lodge is in the northern Pantanal, completely immersed in the tropical wetlands, and built to fit in with the surrounding environment. Rooms are rustic and in a regional style, and there is a pool to cool off in at the end of a hot day. Jaguar House Boat provides intimate accommodation moored on the north side of Taima Island, one of the best places in the world to see jaguars in the wild. During your time here you will explore via river safaris in search of these big cats, as well as other wildlife such as the jabiru stork.

Leg 2: Pumas in Chile

Your first stop is Chile, and you fly into Punta Arenas before being transferred to the wonderful Patagonia Eco Camp within Torres del Paine National Park. 

Here you have four days for photographing the incredible wildlife and natural beauty of the park.

Most days you will have about 6 hours in the wild, starting in the east and sometimes heading to the west in the afternoon. As well as searching for the elusive Andean pumas, you will also hopefully see culpeo foxes, Andean condor and endangered huemul (Andean deer). You will also have the opportunity to see some of the parks most iconic sights, including Grey's Glacier and The Horns.

The wonderful Patagonia Eco Camp has unique dome-shaped accommodation and is the first fully sustainable place to stay in Chile. There are 25 domes in total, right in the heart of the incredible Torres del Paine National Park.

Leg 3: Leopards in South Africa

It’s time to switch continents, and a couple of transfers, as well as an international flight, land you in stunning South Africa. Arriving into Johannesburg, you board your private, charter flight to the Lion Sands Reserve, and your home for the next three nights.

Lion Sands is one of the best places to see African leopards in the wild.

Whilst at Lion Sands, you head out twice daily on game drives at the times best for spotting leopards, dawn and dusk. Then in the evenings, dine overlooking a water hole, popular with the resident wildlife.

Lions Sands Ivory Lodge is just 5 hours from Johannesburg and is home to just 6 luxury suites, each with their own plunge pool and stunning views. This is a spectacular way of exploring South Africa’s bush and enjoying some incredible leopard encounters.

Leg 4: Cheetahs in Tanzania

From South Africa, you fly up to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and into a secluded area that has previously been inaccessible to the public for 20 years. Once a cheetah sanctuary, Namiri Plains claims to have the highest cheetah density in the whole of Africa, in fact the word ‘namiri’ itself translates to ‘big cat’ – highly appropriate.

Namiri Plains claims to have the highest density of cheetahs in the whole of Africa.

From your camp, you have three wonderful days to explore the area and search for cheetah with game drives using your camps very own vehicles. Here you can even embark on big cat walking safaris for a thrilling chance to walk among Africa’s big cats. Enjoy dinner under the stars each night, listening to the sounds of the resident wildlife.

A luxurious camp in the best place to see cheetah, there are just 6 tents for guests, keeping the experience intimate. The wildlife here is incredible, and the guides compliment it well, with exciting stories about growing up here, and excellent tracking skills.

Leg 5: African Lions in Kenya

From Tanzania, it’s a short flight over the border to Kenya, and you transfer to the world renowned, Rekero Camp within the Masai Mara. This camp is famously incredible for all game as well as excellent guiding. 

This is where the BBC recorded the series 'Big Cat Diaries', a focus of which was the Marsh Lion Pride.

The Marsh pride was one of the most successful groups filmed for the series and the group dynamics are fascinating to watch to this day. Discover their incredible stories as you traverse the area with your expert guide to find them. They really are like watching a nature documentary and before you know it, you are caught up in the dramas of their everyday life, watching them unfold before you in real time on the plains of Africa. You have three days here to capture the lives of this magnificent pride, before the next leg of your trip, and you’re off to Asia.

A famous camp in the Masai Mara, Rekero has just 8 tents, each with wonderful views of the Talek River, for an intimate African experience. Tents are en-suite, but the rooms are quite rustic, with a traditional African safari feel and service that is second to none. The focus here is on the wildlife, and there is a lot to see.

Leg 6: Asiatic leopard in Sri Lanka

Leaving the Masai Mara early, you transfer to Nairobi for your international flight to Sri Lanka where you will head to Yala National Park. Yala has the highest concentration of leopards in the world and during your time here it will be your mission to find them. 

Staying in the buffer zone of the national park, at an exclusive and mobile Leopard Safaris Camp, you are fully immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the jungle for five days.

Your expert guide will get you to the right place at the right time to see these amazing big cats in the natural environment, and you can enjoy two game drives per day. In the evenings, enjoy barbecues by the river and camp fires, and share your stories of the day.

A boutique tented camp with no permanent structures, Leopard Safaris Camp is the vision of Noel Rodrigo, a wildlife specialist with unbeatable knowledge on leopards. It has its own vehicles that can handle any terrain, getting you as close as possible to the kotiya (leopard) hot spots.

Leg 7: Asiatic Lions in India

Saying goodbye to Sri Lanka, you fly to India for your four day Asiatic lion adventure. Sasan Gir National Park is the only place outside of Africa where you can see lions in the wild, and the only place in the world where you can see wild Asiatic lions.

This is the only place in the world where you can see wild Asiatic lions.

These big cats are slightly scruffier and shaggier versions of their African cousins and you have excellent chances of spotting them during your four days here. There are also hyenas, sambar and much more within the national park. Enjoy game drives, walking safaris and birding, as well as hot springs, and even temples.

Set in a mango orchard, Lion Safari Camp provides African style luxury camping. Each of the 21 deluxe tents have their own extended deck and great access to the national park.

Leg 8: Tigers in India

From Sasan Gir you head to the tiger parks of central India, Kanha and Bandhavgarh. Bandhavgarh is one of the smaller tiger parks, and due to accessibility, you are highly likely to spot these majestic animals. 

Staying here for three days you have time to track tigers and see them with your expert guides, and enjoy morning and afternoon game drives.

You then move on to Kanha National Park which is about a 6 hour drive away. Contrasting Bandhavgarh, Kanha is one of India’s larger parks. The wildlife here is phenomenal with langur, jackal, spotted deer and more, all willing to call out into the jungle as soon as there’s news of a tiger. These parks have great odds of spotting tigers, and there is a lot more on offer too, with loads of mammals, hundreds of bird species and even a fort to explore.

Samode Safari Lodge sits among the untamed natural beauty surrounding Bandhavgarh National Park. Luxurious, sophisticated and authentic, the lodge has just 12 elegant suites, each air-conditioned and with stunning vistas, as well as covered and uncovered bathrooms.

Banjaar Tola, A Taj Safari sits on the banks of the Banjaar River, with views over Kanha National Park. The 18 luxurious tented suites are split between two camps to keep it intimate as possible, each with its own sitting area.

Both lodges have a pool, excellent for cooling off after a day out tracking tigers!

Leg 9: Snow leopards in India

From the hot tiger parks, we travel north into the snow-capped mountains of Ladakh. Your flight from Delhi lands in Leh in the early hours of the morning, and you will have time to acclimatise at your hotel and explore the local monasteries and palace, before heading into the mountains. 

Exploring Husing, Rumbak and Ladakh for 10 days with expert guidance you track the elusive snow leopards.

Identify hot spots and vantage points, and work with the locals to track them down in their natural environment. Each night you will either camp or stay with local people, this is an intrepid part of your journey, but worth it to glimpse the stunning grey fur of the snow leopard.

You will camp in basic tents and stay in homestays. Don’t expect luxury from this part of your safari, it is intrepid, thrilling and very immersive.

Leg 10: Siberian tigers in Russia

From one cool climate to another, you fly to Russia for the last leg of this ultimate big cat safari, Siberian tigers. An international flight to Moscow, an internal flight to Khabarovsk then a transfer to Durminskoye Forest Reserve, and you find yourself at your rustic cabin. 

It will be cold, there will be snow, but your wood-burning stove is sure to keep you toasty in the evenings.

Siberian tigers are the biggest cats in the world, and you are now in their territory. You won’t actively track the tigers here, but you will trace their steps, assist with camera traps and even set up your own. Being in the same territory as these massive cats is unexplainable, and their presence is clear as you see marked trees and footprints, as well as camera footage. Traverse snowy terrain via snow mobile and deer skin skies, this really is remote and intrepid, and the ultimate climax to your big cat journey!

Where you'll stay

You will be staying in cabins deep within the Durminskoye Reserve. Don’t expect luxury from your accommodation. Cabins are basic, but the beds are comfortable and warm and you have a lot of space to yourself.

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