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During February yellow billed storks nest in the Luangwa Valley

Travel ideas and specials December to April

It’s not a traditional time to be on safari, but there is no bad time to be safari and you want to travel in the next few months there are some great options and some deals too.

Zambia

While most camps in Zambia closed for the rains in November, a few permanent camps in South Luangwa stay open. The impala have dropped their young and the bush is usually still not too thick. Game viewing on the all weather roads is excellent. By February the river will be running swiftly inviting you to explore by boat. My choice trip for this time is also to take advantage of the specials offered by Robin Pope Safaris. They are offering a 10-day safari for 10 nights including Livingstone, South Luangwa and Lake Malawi for $3610 per person. This is based on a family of 4. Other specials also on offer including a 7 night combination of South Luangwa and Malawi from $4215 per person sharing.

South Luangwa will be at its best from June onwards when it begins to dry up and the bush camps for which it is famous start to open. We think that late October and into November is an excellent time.

Zimbabwe

The camps in Mana Pools National Park have now closed for the rains and the game will have dispersed into the highlands and up the escarpment. The waterholes in Hwange will also be far less active, but its still a very good time to visit and the birding is outstanding. I highly recommend the camps run by African Bush Camps in Hwange especially Somalisa.

If you are planning to visit Mana Pools then suggest wait until September or October when the winter thorns are in fruit and elephants converge on the river.  We can help you get it right.

Botswana and the Kalahari

The Kalahari is now getting rain.  There are moody skies and excellent opportunities to see big herds of zebra, as well as meerkats and other game.  Rates are in the region of $450 a person a night at Meno Kwena. Or you can splurge at Jack’s Camp which is more than twice as much but extremely sophisticated.

The rain brings great birding to the Okavango.  Khwai area has plenty of camps these days and rates at some of them such as African Bush Camps are starting at $230 per person per night.  For absolute privacy and best geography Great Plains and Wilderness Safaris and And Beyond are hard to beat. We also recommend Kwando Camps which has great value from $444 per person per night until end of April and offers consistently good game viewing.

If you travel in March you can see the migration of zebra in the Kalahari and get some great game viewing in the Okavango too.

Tanzania and Kenya

While its wet in the southern part of Africa, its getting dry in East Africa. The short rains are coming to an end in Tanzania and it should stay dry until April. It’s the very best time to catch up with the migration in southern Serengeti and  Ndutu as the wildebeest converge on the short grass plains to drop their young. If you want to see cheetah its a great place to visit. We highly recommend the Asilia and And Beyond properties with rates of around $600 per person per night and high levels of sophistication. You can pay less but privacy is also likely to suffer.

In the Mara, the migration may have gone south — but so have the human visitors. It’s a truly great time to be in the Mara now. The rolling green hills are as spectacular as ever and the lions, cheetah and other great game that are resident are found along with smaller herds of wildebeest, topi, zebra and gazelles. Chat to us for deals from camps such as Porini and Governors Camp which are both wonderfully situated for game viewing and are offering rates in the region of $400 per person per night sharing. 

Consider visiting the Serengeti in November. Its a great time for game viewing and the cloud formations are fantastic.

South Africa and Kruger

The game viewing is always reliable in the Kruger area and especially for rhino and other big game. The rate of exchange has made the cost of living in South Africa relatively affordable but the price of safari camps is much the same as the rest of Africa with rates starting at about $500 a person a night. But there are exceptions such as  Notten’s which are very good value. You can also go it alone in the Kruger Park and we have some great ideas of how to make this happen in open vehicles so you have the best experience. As with East Africa its now the dry season in the Cape. This is our home and have availability in March if you would like a guided photographic service for as little as $300 a day.

If you want to see the Cape at its best consider the months of August during the flowering season. its also a great time for game viewing.

Namibia

It’s always spectacular in Namibia — but the temperatures are now getting steamy and the rains have begun particularly in the northern parts of the country. Its still great for landscapes but waterholes of Etosha National Park will be less productive and so will the dry river systems of Damaraland.  At that time the landscape will be looking great too. We are excited by the Hoanib Valley Camp run by Natural Selections. Its a fantastic area for desert elephants and should offer great value when it opens next year.

If you want the best of Etosha  visit from June onwards. Spend  at least two nights inside the national park at Okaukuejo. Although the service is two-star, the waterhole gives you a five star  wildlife experience.

Last updated 4 December 2017

This page will be updated from time to time to give ideas for travel seasons in the coming months and also up to date details about safaris. Southern African and Kenya residents may be eligible for great SADC specials too. 

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