In Southern Africa, which includes Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, game viewing is usually best in the dry-winter months between May and October, when egetation start withering and easily visible wildlife clusters around permanent water sources in large numbers. On the sub-tropical Indian Ocean coast, north of Durban to Pemba, the sea is warm and the sun shines, even during the rainy season and winter too. The earlier winter months are also the most bearable time to go trekking in the Kalahari Desert with the Bushmen. It needs to be borne in mind that although there are fewer tourists in winter and prices may be lower, some attractions may be closed or limited due to adverse weather conditions. September to April is the best time for a gourmet dining and wine-tasting tour of the Cape Winelands while May through July welcomes a marine feeding frenzy as millions of sardine’s spill along the East Coast, attracting thousands of dolphins, sharks and seabirds. In South Africa, the Namaqualand veldt explodes into a flaming landscape of daisies from August to September, and the Garden Route enjoys year-round showers accounting for its beauty and popularity with seaside and floral aficionados on tour. September to November is also the time to see mating Southern Right Whales just offshore along the Whale Coast, especially at Hermanus. Humid rainy-summer months from November reward intrepid adventurers on a wildlife holiday who brave high temperatures and sudden afternoon cloudbursts with plenty of new-born zebra foals, antelopes and wildebeest calves. This is also the best time for birdwatching, when migrant flocks arrive and the males don their colourful breeding plumage. Park roads are usually well-maintained for most of the year but not so in the wet especially in isolated wildernesses of Zambia and Botswana. The full volume of Victoria Falls is advertised for visitors to Zimbabwe and Zambia’s Livingstone at peak times from March to May. But the actual falls grounds are more easily accessible at Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool and less drenching as the flow lessens in the dry season of August to November, when there are increased visitors and prices are higher too. Huge herds of elephant are an incredible but frequent extra, since the northern borders of Chobe’s Botswana and Zimbabwe are home to over 200,000 of the stately pachyderms. After the rains of November to March, the Okavango Delta in Botswana enjoys its highest aters from April to June with increasing game concentrations from July to October when guests enjoying a trip to the Delta and Linyanti will usually find access roads are dry and passable. Red lechwe are frequently seen bounding through the shallow waters pursued by adapted lions who have learned to swim. The driest country below the Sahara, with summer temperatures over 40C, offers distinct game viewing opportunities to adventurous travellers on tour in Namibia from May to October. The Sossusvlei sand dunes are spectacular at any time of year, but night-time temperatures fall below freezing in June and July. The Caprivi Strip, a very rewarding area for twitchers, is best visited during the rains, from December to March; though, the risk of malaria increases as more water is present on the grounds. Most safari lodges in Zambia are only open between April and November due to flooding and poor roads, but birdwatchers and botanists will enjoy South Luangwa during the “Emerald” green season, when distinct wildlife, wildflowers and blossoming trees take a picture of paradise. Visitors who travel to Malawi are advised to avoid the humidly hot and wet summer months of December to March when roads are skid pans of liquid red laterite clay and mosquitoes are a malaria hazard. But from May to October, the shore of Lake Malawi is a beach bum´s delight and the savannah of Liwonde is home to elephant and prides of lions. However, on the higher plateau of Zomba and Nyika, nights can be cold enough for log fires and warm sweaters. Watch out at night for the elusive leopard and lurking hyena! Much of Southern Africa consists of great swathes of totally pristine wilderness in private concessions where visitors can enjoy privacy and seclusion at various levels of luxury, at a price. The top premium tented camps are often fully booked a year in advance, especially for popular holiday times, like Christmas. With such variety and complexity of considerations to weigh as you plan your ideal African dream vacation, you would be well advised to engage a native-run safari tour team who are intimately acquainted with all the diversities and difficulties you may encounter and can craft a seamless personal itinerary to suit your every desire and bespoke preference. African Mecca Safaris’ exceptional teams take great pride designing custom itineraries to take the uncertainty out of distance booking and giving you the best possible options for your dream trip to Southern Africa
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