Site logo

Why winter is the best time to go on Safari

By Mishka Ramdas, Digital Copywriter

Deciding when to travel can be a daunting task. Should you choose warmer months? Should you go for a week or just a few days? The questions you would ask yourself are endless. However, in Africa, we have just the right answer for you. Here, winter falls between June to August and it is a wonderful time to explore this great continent. Each element comes together to provide an unforgettable experience and the ecosystem showcases just how adaptable wildlife are.

During the chillier months, travellers can enjoy excellent game viewing. From the Kruger National Park to the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, winter is a superb time for game viewing on safari. This is mainly due to the fact that most of Africa is dry during this time and water becomes scarce. The wildlife tends to congregate around the limited water sources, lets call it ‘happy hour’ in the bush! As you would imagine, for every antelope or impala that makes its way down to a waterhole, a hungry predator is just around the corner keeping a watchful eye, waiting to attack. This makes waterhole activity particularly exciting, and many lodges offer game viewing hides from where you can watch the action unfold.

Another reason why winter safaris are the best for game viewing is that the vegetation is sparser and duller allowing wildlife enthusiasts greater opportunities for excellent sightings. The bush tends to turn yellow or brown, allowing the animals to stand out more as they can no longer hide behind the dense foliage.

South African summers are known for their ferocity, sometimes the African heat can be almost unbearable. On safari, during the summer you would be sweating like a snowman in the Sahara but, in the land of the wild during winter, the temperature is just right. Cool mornings and pleasant afternoons are common during this time allowing you to comfortably enjoy extended game drives without melting or freezing. Some lodges have even taken it a step further, such as Savanna, whose game drive vehicles have heated seats perfect for getting you toasty during game drives.

Winter perfectly lines up with public and private school holidays and therefore family safaris are a must. This means they can have the time of their lives and on an African adventure without having to rush and fit everything in just a few days. Another aspect making it safer for kiddies to travel is malaria areas are not as high risk as it is during the summer months. It is still good to take every precaution against malaria during this time but, the chances of being infected are reduced.

Safaris are action-packed and therefore can be quite tiring. With early morning game drives, activities throughout the day and exciting afternoon/night drives, it is easy to become exhausted. But winter safaris allow you just a few hours of extra sleep. The wakeup call at lodges during summer are much earlier as opposed to winter.

Enjoy a leisurely morning and wake up refreshed, ready for the day’s adventure. Even the king of the jungle knows the importance of beauty sleep, so why should you be any different?

Winter in Africa is where real magic takes place. As the sun rises along the savanna and rolling plains of vegetation, reflecting the perfect shade of gold, the animals come alive and so will you. From happy hours at waterholes and animals strutting the stuff against the most perfect backdrop, Africa offers a fantastic safari experience, even in the colder months of June, July and August.