It’s not too late to plan an African safari for 2014, or early 2015. End of year travel coincides with Africa’s Green Season, or summer. It’s a dream season when Africa comes alive with young of all species, and dry landscapes like the Kahalari Desert in Botswana are transformed into verdant seas. And it’s a time you will find better rates at many camps and lodges.
The Green Season perfectly describes Africa’s summer: from December to March. Conveniently timed when the northern hemisphere’s weather is at its most dreary and cold, Africa’s Green Season offers a warm welcome to travelers, and often at a considerable savings.
Beyond offering great value, the Green Season safaris in Botswana for example offer excellent game viewing, and a productive paradise of vibrant floral displays and a kaleidoscope of colors, drawing hobbyist and professional photographers alike. Summer mornings are exceptional. The temperature is perfect for warm pre-dawn starts to the day; like the animals, you can use the hotter midday for a siesta. Light for photography is at its best, while afternoon cloud formations often add further mood.
Elephant mother and baby at Abu Camp, Okavango Delta Botswana. Photo by Brennan Rimer
There’s an explosion of new life: many species give birth to their young and areas like the Central Kalahari in Botswana are at their wildlife viewing peak. Predator sightings are frequent as they take full advantage of the abundance of inexperienced younger prey. It’s also the best season for birding: several species display splendid breeding plumage and many intra-African and Palearctic migratory species are present.
Leopard at Vumbura, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Zebra in Zambia. Photo by Robin Pope
The young of species from zebra to mongoose and warthog make for a wondrous time to observe and photograph their comical and endearing antics. The Kalahari Desert is also host to its own migration. The brief spring rains create the miracle of endless seas of nutritious grasses that attract large concentrations of gemsbok, springbok and red hartebeest, their newborn calves and lambs, followed inevitably by predators such as lion, cheetah – often seen at this time with cubs – and black-backed jackal. Brief afternoon thunderstorms create a dramatic backdrop as the landscape is almost instantly altered into several hues of green; fields of wild flowers burst out of the ground taking advantage of the limited moisture on offer.