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Planning your Safari to Southern Africa

The Seasons

When you start thinking about and planning your Safari to Southern Africa there is much to consider. What is the best season and time of the year to be planning your Safari to Southern Africa? What is your key motivation? Do you want to concentrate primarily on animals and wildlife? Do you want a balanced itinerary with Wildlife, Scenic beauty, Culture and some of the very popular destinations like Cape Town and the Cape Wine Region? If Cape Town is on your Bucket List, you need to plan carefully. Cape Town and environs have a winter rainfall with some pretty blustery conditions. This clashes with the more ideal climatic conditions in the Safari Areas during the African winter months. Are you a hard-core traveler that takes some discomfort in your stride without much complaint? There are so many questions to consider. Let’s unpack the pertinent information.

Planning your Safari and see the Chacma Baboon sitting under the trees Contemplating the Winter Landscape
A Chacma Baboon sitting in the African winter landscape.

Planning your Safari for the DRY season.

The African winter is the Peak Season and the best time to experience the African Wildlife. The Peak Season typically, are the months from June to August with the High Season the two months on either side. There are several reasons that make this the ideal time for your Safari;

  • It is the dry season which means that there is less food and water available for all the herbivores. This means that they will be congregated close to water sources making your viewing that much more rewarding.
  • There is less foliage on the trees and shrubs during the dry season so your visibility is greatly improved.
  • The congregation of the herbivores closer to the water sources means that the carnivores will also be in close proximity where you may be able to view them.
  • During any extended dry period, many of the herbivores may become weakened making them easier prey for the carnivores. If witnessing a Lion kill is on your bucket list then you will definitely take the last rainfall into consideration for the area of your choice.
  • Of great importance for the comfort of visitors from the cooler climates of the world. The daytime temperatures during this period are mild with colder nights. An average temperature range of 10 – 25 Deg Celsius (50 – 77 Fahrenheit).
  • There are far fewer mosquitos and other irritating bugs around making it safer and more pleasant to travel at this time.

There are many advantages to traveling in the dry winter season. The downside is that this is the popular time to travel and with more people around it makes it more difficult to get the bookings you desire. The cost is considerably higher for all services hence a larger budget is required.

Viewing the Elephant from a Mokoro Canoe in the Okavango Delta
Viewing the Elephants from the Mokoro Canoe

Planning your Safari for the WET season

The annual rains across the Safari Areas of Southern Africa are typically during the months of November to April. The arrival of the annual rains brings new life to the environment with some distinct advantages.

  • A lot of young animals are being born which will delight even the battle-hardened veterans.
  • If you are a keen Birder, this period is ideal with many species of birds displaying their most colorful breeding plumage.
  • The rains often arrive as intense thunderstorms that deposit a deluge of water in a short time. The skies then clear up quickly so you can get out to enjoy nature. Certain areas are more disposed to a day-long steady drizzle so the local conditions should be researched.
  • Southern Africa does not experience monsoon-like rains.
  • The rains and muddy conditions will inconvenience you in the wet season if you prefer traveling on a tight budget that involves camping.
  • The cost of travel is cheaper across the board and you could reach savings of 30% and more due to the lower demand.

The downside of traveling in the wet season are the bugs, insects, and especially the mosquitos! Malaria is a major factor in most of the Safari areas so plan carefully. There are several very good Safari Areas that are located outside of the Malaria area so you can safeguard yourself. Unfortunately, all the other bugs will be around to irritate you.

Flooding in the Dry Winter Months

There are two major attractions and exciting annual events that take place during the Dry Season in Southern Africa. The mighty Zambezi River comes down in flood with the peak being reached late in May as we go into the very dry winter months. The Zambezi River cascades over the spectacular World Heritage Site, Victoria Falls. The flood level of the Zambezi River this year in 2020, is the highest it has been in the last decade. Currently, the water flow is in excess of 4560 Cubic Meters per Second (measured 3 May 2020).

The spectacular Victoria Falls is a sight to behold: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pm9xILrvE4

The second major event is the flooding of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. This year in 2020, we are again witnessing a flood of grand proportions. One of the biggest floods seen in the last decade and this happens in the dry winter season. It is one of the great spectacles of nature that should be on every traveler’s bucket list. To witness an inland delta covering around 10,000 hectares of waterways is truly amazing! A delta with the huge number of bird species and wild animals flourishing on the rich vegetation located on islands that are fed by this floodwater. The floodwater commences its journey in the Eastern Highlands of Angola more than 1200 kilometers from Botswana. This video captures this amazing event. Enjoy – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETwLXB8AlBw

We look forward to welcoming you to Southern Africa – We will assist you in the planning of your safari to Southern Africa to experience the unspoiled magic of Africa once it is safe to travel post-Covid-19 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RD1cN_b9s8&t=27s

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