Our People
  • Amy snow biking Our Team

    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

  • Chris Packham Our Tour Experts

    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

Tiger walking along road, Dudhwa National Park, India

Big Cats

Big cats can be seen throughout the world from Asia, to Africa and South America. At Steppes Travel, we both tailor-make itineraries and run various group tours which allow you to see many of these species in their natural habitat. Steppes also works alongside many charitable organisations and can provide a hands-on experience in supporting the conservation of endangered big cats.

For centuries, big cats have been a source of fear and fascination. The Egyptian culture was famous for its devotion to the cat, whilst jaguars were represented in the belief systems of several indigenous societies throughout Latin America. And, as we all know, to their cost, tiger and tiger parts have been mythologized in Chinese culture for centuries.

Nothing raises the pulse quite like the sight of a lioness stalking her prey across the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, the elusive snow leopard patrolling snow-capped mountains or the sight of a tiger sauntering through the forests of Central India. Since our inception in 1989, Steppes Travel has been running insightful and groundbreaking itineraries to give our clients unparalleled big cat sightings.

Male Lion and Cub, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Supporting conservation through tourism

We promise to give you exceptional big cat viewing opportunities carried out in a manner that does not compromise the animals you have come to see. We believe that by adopting a responsible code of practice the experience of encountering big cats in the wild is enhanced. At its best, responsible wildlife tourism can be used as an effective tool towards conservation, giving local communities a mechanism by which they can benefit economically by living side by side with deadly predators.

Our clients have encountered big cats under the auspices of AfriCat in Namibia where we helped fund AfriCat’s annual big cat health check-up. We have supported projects such as the Hwange Lion Project in Zimbabwe, Living with Lions in Kenya and the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust in Ladakh. Our support of the work these charities undertake has given our clients privileged access to big cat territory and the people at the forefront of conservation.

A jaguar, walking in the grass in the Pantanal region of Brazil
Pantanal, Brazil

A good guide is invaluable

Exceptional guides are an essential component of a successful wildlife holiday. You can have the best big cat sighting in the world but without an expert narrative, explaining the behaviour to which you are a witness, the experience is lacking. A good guide knows exactly when to talk and exactly when to let the wildlife do the talking.

We have long-established relationships with some of the world’s leading authorities on big cats. People like Kartikeya Singh, Raghu Chundawat and Julian Matthews in India have been working alongside tigers all their lives and can give a fascinating insight into the life of the world’s most iconic big cat. We also work with Lilian Rampin who has extensive experience of the reintroduction process of captive felines back to nature and now heads up the Onçafari Jaguar Project in the Pantanal. Our contacts in Africa are equally as illustrious, ranging from Amy Dickman of the Ruaha Carnivore Project to the big cat journalist, Brian Jackman.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Kate Hitchen

My travels were first inspired by my love of the UK, which I take as much pleasure in exploring as countries far and wide. For me, travel is all about the adventure, the people I meet and the food I sample along the way. In fact, I am never happier than when I’m cycling, trekking or simply eating my way through a country! My heart and head regularly pull me east, notably to India but I may also be found wandering through the galleries and piazzas of Italy or daydreaming about fresh ceviche in the far west.
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James Armitage

Rewind to 1981 (yes a long time ago) where, as a young and naive gringo ready to explore the world, I boarded a plane to Santiago, Chile. My Spanish was limited to “dos cerveza por favour”, but I was eager to discover a new continent and meet new friends – an adventure that has since become a nearly 40-year love affair.
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Chris Johnston

25 years ago, my first trip to Africa took on a life of its own. I planned for three months, I stayed for two years. Whilst there, I was mistaken for a priest, attacked by sharks and arrested. Yet the countless, clattering journeys opened my eyes to the beauty of the landscapes and the grace of the people. My recent trips are undoubtedly more comfortable, but the welcome is as warm as ever and the best experiences are still those I never see coming.
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Tadoba is a very friendly and family orientated park. It was the best for tigers, with nine different tiger spottings during our stay. Birds and other wildlife was also great. Our drive, Richin, was very knowledgeable, both in India history and world politics as well as being a great naturalist and spotter.

Tadoba National Park

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?


Why Steppes