Southern Africa’s ‘Green’ Season

If you’ve set out on safari before, you’ll know that Africa’s traditional safari season begins in the southern hemisphere’s winter months, – just when European and North American holiday-makers are on their summer breaks.

This means that Africa’s peak season runs from July to September, which is ideal for most travellers. But this also means that Africa’s ‘green’ season is often overlooked. Between November and April, traditional ‘safari hotspots’ experience a rainy summer. With luscious landscapes and quiet accommodations, this could actually be the perfect time for that luxury trip to the bush. During this ‘green’ season, the chances of having uninterrupted views and endless sightings of wildlife all to yourself are good. By March most of the summer ‘safari hotspots’ move towards the end of the heavy rain period making it a pleasant time for travel.

Summer rain also brings about an abundance of migratory birds visiting from the North and resident birds preparing to breed making it perfect for avid bird-watchers; there’s copious flora; thriving bugs and the short rainstorms make way for clear skies and cloud formations that present beautiful sunsets. Summer brings about new life from impala to elephants which also mean the bush is filled with predatory activity.

Some of our top southern safari hotspots that experience refreshing summer rains are Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania.  Here is our list of seven summer safari destinations that will definitely add significant value to your experience:

Victoria Falls remains a top bucket-list destination perfect for year-round travel with heaps of local activities.

Chobe is an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls and offers spectacular elephant sightings.

The Central Kalahari is at its finest from December to April.

The Okavango Delta is excellent year-round.

Cape Town’s peak season is during the warm and clear summer months and is easily combined with other safari hotspots.

Tanzania’s Serengeti is at its peak once the rains have fallen. The new-born wildlife is thriving and the area is carpeted in luscious grass.

From October to April, Uganda is set apart from any other African safari destination with its diverse bird habitats.

Book your next safari trip in March when there is little rain and there is an increase in game sightings. It’s a quiet time of the year in the bush and you will hopefully miss the crowds. For more on the exquisite destinations we recommend in the above destinations contact us here. 

The Great African Migration

The great wildebeest migration is Africa’s largest annual single movement of wildlife, where over two million wildebeests – accompanied by a large number of zebras, gazelles, eland and impala – pour across the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya driven by instinct to find fresh grazing and better quality water. The wildebeest act as one entity out of necessity – to mate, survive or die on this journey of endurance.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara 2

For a quick video of the migration click here:

The short rains begin in early November, signifying the arrival of the herds of wildebeest on the short-grass plains of the Serengeti. Reaching as far as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, these plains are home to adult wildebeest and calves until April, when their travels North begin.

Here are some interesting facts and statistics about Africa’s wildebeest and the Great Migration:

All wildebeest are native to Africa and the species that partakes in the Great Migration is the Western-bearded wildebeests. The Eastern white-bearded wildebeests can also be found in Tanzania and Kenya.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris 2

The Great Migration is the largest overland migration in the world.

The wildlife move in a clockwise direction over 2900 kilometres annually. Their pattern of movement is usually easy to predict – allowing travellers to plan ahead on where to go and when to witness the Great Migration.

Wildebeest have ‘swarm intelligence’ – the ability to systematically explore and overcome an obstacle as one unit.

While occupying the short-grass areas of the Southern plains of the Serengeti, pregnant wildebeest stay here until late-January, early-February when the calving season starts. Over 600 000 calves are born here. Born in such large numbers, it is easier for the calves to survive predators.

The Serengeti National Park is home to the oldest eco-system on the planet. It claims a diversity of indigenous plants and animals only to this area.

The end of March brings heavy rainfall in Tanzania, making this period an off-season for observing wildebeest.

Great Migration Tanzania Masaai Mara East Africa Safaris Angama Mara

At the beginning of May, the grass is reduced and the wildebeest begin migrating in search of more grass. They move North to areas that have enough water and where the grass is already much longer.

By early June, the wild animals start moving West in search of more food. Their travel pattern puts them at the River Grumeti populated by hippos and starving crocodiles that are ready to eat the wildebeests that come to drink from the River.

Crocodile Attack Great Migration Angama Mara Tanzanaia Masaai Mara

Between July and October, the wildebeest divide themselves into smaller herds in the North of Serengeti and the Masai Mara. During this time, the herds gather around bodies of water, particularly the Masai River – also home to hungry crocodiles.

By this time, the best place to view the Great Migration is Kenya (link to Serengeti/Masai accomodation) as the short October rains drive the wildebeest south of the Masai Mara.

The rains continue and motivates the wild animals to continue moving south and east. By December, the herds begin their return back to southern Serengeti which marks the end of that migration cycle.

Tanzania Great Migration Experience East Africa Masaai Mara

Sadly, over 250 000 wildebeest die during the migration from Serengeti. The distance covered on this journey is so enormous that many lose their lives due to exhaustion, hunger, thirst and others are eaten by predators.

The crocodiles awaiting the wildebeest in the Mara River can lunge more than half of its body length out of the water to grab and drown their prey. They also use their tail as a secondary weapon. Adding to their threat list – more than 3000 lions living in the Serengeti follow the wildebeest across the reserve.

Witnessing the Great Migration is among the most iconic experiences you will encounter. Watch immeasurable amount of wildebeest and other wildlife travel up and down the African plains, crossing perilous rivers and returning via death-defying paths coursed with predators lying in ambush. Book with us now and see Africa’s most spectacular wildlife event.

Property of the Month – Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Three hours from Arusha lies one of the iconic natural wonders of the world that leaves travellers speechless!

“It is impossible to give a fair description of the size and beauty of the Crater for there is nothing with which one can compare with it. It is one of the wonders of the world.” Bernhard and Michael Grzimek.

This month’s property of the month is perched on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater – once an enormous volcano which has become an ecosystem in itself and home to an unbelievable collection of game. The exquisite salt lake, fever tree forests, leafy woodlands, lush swamps and golden savannahs within the crater combine to make it feel like a more modern, African version of the Garden of Eden.

The lodge boasts some of the best 360-degree views of the wildlife haven; offers a magical, romantic setting along with an abundance of enchanting delights and delicacies. Fit for royalty, the ornate architecture, dramatic interiors and the most opulent finishes, transport you into a world like none you’ve ever been to or even dreamt of before.

Separated into three camps, North, South and Tree Camp each one has its own secluded wonderland and character. Colonial, meets European, meets Maasai, meets Baroque, there is not one distinct influence at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge but a little bit of everything. This is what makes it so foreign, romantic and magical, the perfect escape from everyday life.

After a lovely game drive down in the crater, some beading with the Maasai ladies or some archery for the kids, a decadent evening drink awaits you on the deck or in the cosy sitting room. The food is very definitely fit for kings, the plates gold, the service silver and the flavours vibrant and colourful. Whether you choose the brandied chicken liver parfait, the grilled beef fillet with potato rosti, the homemade panna cotta, or all three and more you will no doubt be wholeheartedly thrilled.

As one of andbeyond’s flagship properties the team at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge have heaps of experience and certainly know how to you win you over. For more on this magical destination click here.