Interview: Highland Safaris

This month the team at Highland Safaris shared their tips for visiting the area, and talked to us about their different tours, wildlife, gold panning and the magical Perthshire landscape.

What is special about the landscape you experience during a Land Rover Safari? 

While out on Safari you will find land sculptured by the elements and steeped in history, culture, nature, and breath-taking views with no shortage of photo opportunities!  Even if you know the area well, you will be amazed to see it from a completely different perspective.

Photo credit Highland Safaris

Photo credit Highland Safaris

Which is your most popular safari?

The Mountain Safari is probably the most popular.  It is a 2 and a half hour trip that gets right up to the high tops (close to 3,000 feet).  The views are really outstanding and with a Safari Ranger to share points of interest whether it be history, geology, folklore or wildlife, you will discover things that you would have otherwise missed.

The Forest Safari is a big hit with young families and is a wonderful way to introduce children to the wonders of nature through exploring the magic of ancient Caledonian Pine Forests and their contents.

We also offer special interest Safaris for people interested in fishing, photography, cycling and walking, or a ‘Private Charter’ for special celebrations.  (We now have a glass-roofed vehicle that can seat up to 11 people – ideal for a party on the hill!)

What wildlife can visitors hope to see during a safari tour at this time of year?

At the time of writing, it is the Red Deer rutting season where the stag’s roar can be heard resonating around the hillside – it really is the iconic sound of Autumn.  Also at this time visitors might be lucky enough to see Grouse, Mountain Hare and Golden Eagle.  Every time of year has something very unique – we are looking forward to seeing the Mountain Hare and Ptarmigan turning white on the hill in the very near future.

Other than safaris, mountain biking and walking trails, what else can visitors see and do at Highland Safaris?

Our latest development, The Red Deer Centre (Scotland’s newest wildlife experience!) has attracted lots of old and new visitors to Highland Safaris.  People of all ages enjoy the Red Deer & Barn Owl Encounter which involves being able to touch, photograph and even feed our own Red Deer Herd in the company of a  Safari Ranger.  Ossian the Barn Owl has captured the imagination (and hearts!) of visitors who have loved getting up close to and learning all about this incredible creature.

Photo credit Highland Safaris

Photo credit Highland Safaris

Our Gold and Gem Panning Centre is a favourite with families – many retuning several times during their stay!  (This operates from April until the end of October.)

Many people come to Highland Safaris just for the award winning café with beautiful views across the Appin Valley.  We have a focus on local food, simply prepared and served by friendly staff who love what they do.  The home baking, Glen Lyon Coffee, and cosy peat burning stove also guarantee plenty of repeat visits!

Visitors also enjoy browsing the Gift Shop which is packed full of outdoor gear, rugs, jewellery, books, cards and pocket money toys.  Lots of really great gift ideas and some real one-offs!

Photo credit Highland Safaris

Photo credit Highland Safaris

We like to share hidden gem tips with our readers – can you suggest some lesser-known attractions in Perthshire?

We are absolutely spoilt with very high quality attractions in this area so it’s very difficult to single any one out, however, one of our favourites is Cluny House Gardens which is a really beautiful woodland garden with spectacular views across the Strathtay valley.  It is also one of the best places to spot Red Squirrel.  Another place well worth a visit is the Falls of Acharn, a circular walk around what is often a very lively waterfall (just a couple of miles from Kenmore).  Half way up the hill is a ‘Hermit’s Cave’.  Those brave enough to step into the darkness will be rewarded with a super view of the falls.

What tips do you have for visitors to Aberfeldy?

Take a little time to research the area – there is an abundance of quality accommodation to suit every taste and lots of things to see and do without having to travel far.  The chances are you won’t be able to pack it all into one visit which is why so many people come back to Perthshire over and over again.  In any event, make a visit to Highland Safaris one of the first things you do as all visitors receive a ‘Safari Pass’ with over £50 worth of local offers!

What are your highlights of Perthshire in autumn?

There are so many highlights!  The roar of the Red Deer stags, having the peat fire burning again at Highland Safaris, the brilliant colours and constantly changing landscape.  It is truly a world-beating destination.

We ran a photography competition this year with the theme of ‘the real Scotland’.  What does ‘the real Scotland’ mean to you?

‘The real Scotland’ to us is the wonderful natural environment that surrounds us.  It is an absolute privilege to run a business using what is already there!  As Gold award winners of the Green Tourism Business Scheme, we are acutely aware that this amazing landscape needs to be preserved for many generations to come and it is our responsibility to look after it.

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