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Tour Details

Dates:23rd of Sep - 28th of Sep 2024
Availability:SOLD OUTGuaranteed departure
Group Size:Minimum 4, maximum 10
Grading:Easy to moderate
PricesFull price: £1,195.00 / person Single room supplement: £100.00 / person Deposit: £150.00 / person
Price includes: Accommodation, all meals, ground transportation, services of your guides, and a holiday report
Not included: International travel, drinks and other personal items, holiday insurance

Tour Highlights

  • A range of African butterfly species on the limit of their range in southern Europe
  • A selection of late-flying Spanish butterfly species
  • A fine, relaxing end to the European butterfly season within sight of Africa
  • A donation will be made to the European Butterflies Group, supporting proactive research and conservation.

Tour Description

Whilst autumn is a time of cooling temperatures and sometimes cloudy, wet weather in the UK, the same cannot be said about the southern Spanish coast, where pleasant warmth persists into November and the sun shines almost every day.

In the far south west of the region, there is a range of exotic butterfly species for whom this time of year is the optimum period, and this tour will set about finding those, as well as the more regular species that are still on the wing.

Close to the southern tip of Spain, a mere 9 miles from the Moroccan coast, there are established colonies of Monarch Danaus plexippus, and flying alongside (as well as in many other locations) will be Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus, making for a unique visual spectacle in a European country.

Rather less showy but still exotic in its own way is the feisty Zeller’s Skipper Borbo borbonica. This enigmatic butterfly has successfully (re)colonised this southernmost part of Spain over the last decade or so, and can be seen in good numbers along many of the watercourses to the west of Gibraltar.

Further to the east, the striking Desert Orange Tip Colotis evagore, is present along the rocky coastline where its larval host plant, caperberry, can be found.

Another resident species that has seemingly conquered this part of Spain is the tiny African Grass Blue Zizeeria knysna. This is another butterfly that can be found near to watercourses, and is therefore often found near agricultural land.

Alongside these ‘exotics’ will be a selection of late flying, more regular Spanish species, such as Mediterranean Skipper Gegenes nostradamus, Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus, Lang’s Short-tailed Blue Leptotes pirithous, Tree Grayling Hipparchia statilinus, Cardinal Argynnis pandora, Swallowtail Papilio machaon, False Mallow Skipper Carcharodus tripolinus, Southern Blue Polyommatus celina, Bath White Pontia daplidice, Sage Skipper Muschampia proto, and possibly Two-tailed Pasha Charaxes jasius.

With the weather being reliable, and the target species all within a relatively narrow area, this tour can be successfully undertaken in a shorter window than most others, meaning that it is perfect for anyone who wants five nights away within sight of Africa, and who wishes to see some remarkable butterflies not found elsewhere in Europe.

Tour Leaders

In the past decade David has devoted his life to butterflies - sharing them with guests, but also working proactively on the committee of the European Butterfly Group, and (until recently) as an identification consultant on the UK Butterflies website.

ButterflyFind Out More

Jon is a natural history writer, photographer and experienced wildlife tour leader based in the Shetland Isles, but with strong links in Europe and the Americas that see him travelling widely in search of memorable wildlife encounters.

ButterflyFind Out More

Tour Location


Tour Itinerary

  • DAY 1

Arrival at Malaga airport*.

Castell de Ferro for Desert Orange Tip

  • DAY 2

Tarifa for Monarch, Plain Tiger & Mediterranean Skipper. El Bujeo for Two-tailed Pasha

  • DAY 3

Benalup for Zeller’s Skipper. Montera for Tree Grayling & Cardinal

  • DAY 4

Manilva for Two-tailed Pasha & Sage Skipper. Casares for general species.

  • DAY 5

Zahara de los Atunes for Zeller’s Skipper. Tarifa for Monarch, Plain Tiger & African Grass Blue

  • DAY 6

Return to Malaga airport

As with all of our tours, we want our guests to enjoy the very best views of the very best wildlife and, as such, we think it’s important to retain a little flexibility in the holiday itinerary. This means that we may choose to swap days around to take into account local weather conditions, or the timing of the flight or flowering season we find upon arrival at our holiday destination. Rest assured, we will ensure you visit all the best sites, and we have your best interests and comfort at heart!

*We’ll meet at the airport as this is a convenient travel hub for many. However, we appreciate that some guests may have chosen to come overland via rail to Malaga. The main railway station in Malaga is Maria Zambrano, and there is a frequent aerobus service linking the city centre with the airport.

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