The purple emperor has enchanted butterfly lovers for centuries. Knepp’s emerging sallow scrub has provided these stunning butterflies with an important new habitat and we now have the largest colony in the UK.
The emperors roost in the canopy of oaks where the males perform elegant displays for the females and show surprising aggression, chasing away anything else that flies – including birds. Learn about discoveries – new to science – made by ecologists observing these butterflies at Knepp. This walking safari will take you to sites off the public footpaths. Our tree platforms provide a butterfly-eye view of the oak canopies and we’ll teach you a few tricks of the lepidopterist’s trade – like the attraction of Vietnamese fish paste!
A full day gives you plenty of time to observe the butterflies at different sites and the best chance of conducive weather conditions. As always, our fortunes are in the lap of the gods but with luck you’ll see good numbers of these ephemeral creatures.
Half-way through our safari we’ll stop for a picnic lunch of delicious organic and locally-sourced produce, in a beautiful spot in the heart of the Wildland.
Walking will be at a gentle pace for about 2 hours in the morning and about 1 ½ hours after lunch, with frequent stops for Emperor spotting. You’ll need a moderate level of fitness and be able to cope with walking on uneven ground.
Matthew Oates works for the National Trust and is the UK's leading expert in purple emperors. Neil Hulme is a passionate butterfly enthusiast, best known for his conservation work on the endangered Duke of Burgundy.
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Unfortunately we cannot offer a refund or alternative date for your safari booking. We also cannot guarantee the great British weather, or that you will see your target species. Nature is unpredictable! However we’re confident you’ll enjoy your experience with us, come rain or shine, and there’s always plenty of wildlife to see. Our safaris are suitable only for children of 12 and over