Although one may think the Winter season is the worst possible time to be out and about, exploring the bush in open air vehicles, we have some good news for you! Africa’s climate is a little different to your typical destination. If you were travelling to Europe, we would tell you to reconsider and change your winter vacation, to a summer one, right away -just to save you from turning into an ice block. But, surprisingly enough, most of Africa experiences warm weather all year round. So much so, you may not even realise that it’s in fact, Winter! This doesn’t mean scorching temperatures throughout the day-it sure does get chilly in the evenings, but we can guarantee your winter safari adventure is just as awesome as visiting in the summer- and perhaps even better!
Better for so many reasons, and it mainly has to do with the extra activities that one can do as well as the fact that there are fewer people and more wildlife! I think we can all agree that spotting the animals in action and experiencing the bush in more ways than one, is the aim of the game! So, while you can experience the bush from a safari van, there are indeed many other ways of experiencing it – which mostly depends on the weather and the water levels at the time. For instance, water safari’s at certain times of the year, are almost impossible-and believe me, you don’t want to miss it!
You see, Summer is, in fact, the rainy season in most parts of Africa. For Botswana and Kenya, for example; rains begin to fall from November to March. Winter, is the dry season and typically lasts from April to October. You may also want to note that Winter is the favoured time to see the great mammal migration in the Masai Mara, as they stream through, around July.
Depending on where you are, water based activities are never guaranteed during Summer even though this is the ‘rainy’, wet season, and we’ll tell you why. Rain water from the summer months only reach some parts of Africa much later on- when it’s Winter. So for example, the channels of the Okavango delta only fill up during April to October. While there is more water during the winter, it’s not falling-thank goodness!
Now, I bet you’re wondering what water-based activities I’m talking about. Don’t worry; it doesn’t involve swimming with deadly crocs and territorial hippos! It’s a lot safer and more exciting than that!
Not much compares to the thrill of a boating safari. The wildlife flocks in their numbers, to wherever there is water, making these safari’s extraordinary. You’ll most likely see animals coming to bathe, drink or just have an afternoon swim-it’s a sight you shouldn’t miss for the world- and let’s not get started on the spectacular photo’s you’ll get out of it!
There are a few places in Africa, such as Botswana, where visitors can canoe on their own steam, along certain strips of the Okavango Delta. While this sort of activity is not for the faint hearted, as there is no guide in the canoe with you, it’s an experience that allows you to get extra up-close and personal with the game that calls it home. This means coming into close contact with the likes of crocs, hippos, elephants and more!
Source: Wildland Safaris
3. Mokoro Adventures
If you’re wondering what on earth a Mokoro is, it’s a canoe, powered by a guide standing at the back, doing all the paddling for you. Much less strenuous and possibly a little safer than taking it into your own hands, because, well they’ll actually avoid the hippos and not steer directly towards them!
Now, while those are the added extra’s when visiting Africa during the winter, there are a few additional secrets that we feel we should share with you- just to add the cherry on top!
During the dry season, the water is designated to certain areas, making it easier to follow and track the wildlife, as they tend to group in these designated, water-filled spots. Unlike the Summer season when water is in abundance, the animals tend to spread, making it a little more difficult to find them. Also, the grasslands and vegetation thin out dramatically, making it all the easier to spot the game!
You can thank us later, for all the insider tips we have shared with you, but for now, consider that winter Safari- you’ll be delighted that you did!