Visiting and adventuring in the majestic African continent should be one of the top bucket list experiences for people across the globe. With an extensive range of unique flora and fauna that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, you won’t need to look hard for a reason to visit.
When packing for your winter safari, it is essential to ensure you have the correct clothing to keep you warm during the early mornings and cold evenings and cool during the midday sunshine. Additionally, having a pair of comfortable and sturdy women’s boots will keep you going for long days of wildlife-watching and exploring the incredible landscapes of southern and eastern Africa.
Increased Animal Sightings
Despite the cooler temperatures, animal sightings increase in winter compared to hot summer days. This is mainly because animals tend to stay active longer during the day, as they do not seek refuge from the blistering sun once the afternoon hits.
If you are someone who is not an early riser or would prefer to avoid heading out into the bush once the sun has set, you will appreciate the added opportunity to see these majestic animals. The lack of rain also forces more animals to seek out watering holes, creating the ideal environment for interesting and exciting wildlife encounters.
Furthermore, many varieties of wildlife tend to be more active and less territorial during winter, as it is not breeding season. Additionally, animals that prefer to live more elusively appear more out in the open in cooler temperatures.
The colder months instantly guarantee fewer crowds compared to the busy summer months. With fewer people to compete with, you will be able to fully enjoy the safari experience without spending the majority of your time competing with others and standing in queues.
Furthermore, with less people staying at game lodges, your chance of having your own private vehicle and expert guide greatly increases, making your entire trip feel more personable and exclusive. You will also be able to enjoy the various facilities and added extras of your accommodation, with more options and flexibility for coordinating and booking special activities or events.
For travelers visiting Masai Mara Kenya, or the Serengeti in Tanzania, the beginning of winter signifies the annual mammal migration, where large groups of animals search for fresh new grass and water for the winter months.
For many, this unique and majestic sight needs to be seen to be believed, and is considered to be the greatest wildlife show on planet Earth. Additionally, it is the largest migration of any land mammal in the world. If you ever need a reason to wait for winter before booking your vacation, this is it.
Escape the African Heat
While everyone may enjoy hot days, summer in South Africa and neighboring countries can be intense. This heat can become particularly bothersome for those who want to explore their natural surroundings on foot.
Winter across the majority of the country tends to be calm and dry, with mornings and afternoons being cool and comfortable. Day temperatures typically reach a mild high, creating a warm and pleasant environment to get out into nature. However, as the sun begins to set, you will have a noticeable chill in the air that will require warm clothing and the occasional cozy blanket.
While southern Africa largely experiences a dry winter season, east Africa receives its main annual rainfall during April, May, and June, commonly referred to as the ‘long rains’. As a result of the abundant water, the natural landscape is transformed into a lush and green sight, attracting a multitude of different herbivores and, in turn, their predators.
The increase in rain and cooler day temperatures guarantee a plethora of opportunities to see different species of wildlife cohabiting in the great African bush.
Additional Winter Festivals
Depending on how far you are willing to travel, visitors to South Africa have the opportunity to attend many fantastic winter festivals across the country, offering you a fun and exciting break from your wildlife adventures.
The Knysna Oyster Festival has it all: sports, oysters, and plenty of delicious wine. The event runs for a week during July in the beautiful and charming seaside town of Knysna, often referred to as the Jewel of the Garden Route, along the southern coast. If you have been searching for the perfect excuse to head for the ocean, this is it.
Alternatively, you can head to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in the quaint town of Grahamstown, located in the Eastern Cape. The festival draws in a broad community of creative and artistic individuals from around the country who share a love and passion for art, music, entertainment, and artistic performances.
Winter Vacation Packages
Since winter in southern Africa is considered to be the ‘low’ tourism season, you are more likely to find affordable rates to enjoy your ideal safari holiday. Typically, many game lodges will offer discounted packages and lower room rates that coincide with the winter months, allowing you to get the whole experience without breaking the bank.
Conduct proper research and make your bookings in advance to take further advantage of any offers available to you. For many, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so booking the holiday of your dreams is essential.