Africa is a truly vast continent teeming with life. What better way to take in such incredible beauty than by taking yourself off on a Safari holiday? Private and specialist guiding, group tours, and welcoming facilities for individuals, honeymooners or families, mean absolutely anyone can enjoy Safari activities with special-interest locations and fine accommodation in Africa’s vast and awesome lands.
Prime safari spots in Africa straddle the equator: Equatorial East Africa, taking in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, has its main dry season each year from June to October, when wildlife are generally most visible in less dense foliage, and an even-more arid season between mid-December and mid-March.’Short rains’ in November, and the ‘main rains’ in April and May provide much needed moisture, even though Mother Nature can provide enough rain at any time of year in Eastern Africa, allowing the seasons to overlap. Looking across the region to Southern Tanzania, an extended ‘wet season’, from November to May, and high mountain regions and coastal areas containing their own micro-climates are signs that the latitudes are merging with the sub-tropics.
Sub-tropical Southern Africa includes Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, northern South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. This region has one dry season between April and October, and a rainy season from November to March. Although the climate here is relatively more stable and predictable than in East Africa, it’s still important to be aware of cyclone season in the Southern Indian Ocean between January and March. Not all wildlife viewing depends upon the weather though. Some regions around Africa cannot support game in the dry season, and are best visited when they are more lush and green. Birds especially love the wetter months for breeding and nesting as part of their ritual migration. Altitude has more of an impact on temperature extremes in East Africa, whereas the sub-tropical South, particularly the Cape region of South Africa, has a rather more temperate climate, with more even summer and winter cycles. All this helps holidaymakers decide their own particular travel ‘bag’ – whether that’s working around the weather, planning visits to specialist sites, or opting for the comparative peace and quiet of the ‘low’ season.
Africa’s rich and varied wildlife provide a spectacle unmatched anywhere else on earth. So just imagine witnessing the wildebeest beginning their epic migration across the plains in Tanzania’s Serengeti at Christmas, or spotting the amazing zebra and flamingo in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans or the Central Kalahari. All around the shoreline of the Indian Ocean, tiny turtles are hatching too.
By April, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is beginning its annual flood, with the mighty Victoria Falls also in full flow. That’s when South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe provide the ideal Spring-safari environment. It’s the time too when young green bamboo shoots are in abundance, attracting gorillas down to lower altitudes to feed on this rare treat.
As June comes around, the Delta’s spectacular flooding is at its height. Now the hardy wildebeest head off in the direction of Kenya’s Masai Mara, crossing rivers totally at the mercy of hungry crocodiles and thus often engaging in raw, primal struggles. This is also the moment that whales begin to set up home off Africa’s southern coast.
Tanzania and Kenya offer the best safari option as the summer starts to set in, and August is definitely prime game-viewing time in Africa, bringing colourful wild-flower displays and exotic bee-eaters to South Africa, and schools of whale species to every coast.
September and October is prime turtle-nesting and egg-laying time, as European and Asian birds fly south in vast flocks, moving across East Africa down towards the Cape. In the Okavango Delta, the action in Botswana’s largest and noisiest heronries start to increase in intensity. Orchids burst through the soil in Malawi’s Nyika Plateau when the rain begins in November, just as straw-coloured bats migrate to Zambia’s Kasanka National Park. For many of the region’s mammals, the moment now arrives to give birth. Meanwhile, wildebeest herds are now moving southward on their long journey through the Serengeti. This is also a great time to plan a visit to Mozambique or island destinations such as the Mauritius or the Seychelles.
The Safari experience is all about personal choice, and planning the best ‘once in a lifetime experiences’, so taking a look at a great Wildlife Calendar is a great way to fire your imagination and kickstart your travel project. After all, the chance to dip into the vast treasures of Africa will benefit immeasurably from good quality information and advice. Leaving you with an unforgettable experience and a host of treasured memories.