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Green Season (Mid November through March)

Lion Cubs Explore in Kafue Park - Green Season (Mid November through March) | Luxury African Safari Vacations | Classic Africa

Southern Africa's safari areas typically experience their first significant thunder showers sometime around mid-November. With the coming of the first rains, the African bush comes alive with the calling of newborn babies. It is a time of plenty, with bountiful grazing and browsing, and lots of drinking water. It is also a time of feast for the predators, who gorge themselves on the abundance of helpless infants. Certain herbivore species, such as Impala and Wildebeest, synchronize their gestation periods such that they all give birth within hours of each other, immediately following the first spring rains. In this way they "swamp" their predators, with supply exceeding demand to such an extent that a high proportion of lambs/calves survive this initial vulnerable phase of their lives. 

The landscape starts developing a flush of green as grass and leaves emerge. Rain typically does not affect your safari activity schedule as the vehicles have canvas canopies and guests are provided with waterproof ponchos. But there is an indirect effect on game-viewing: with puddles of water throughout the bush, the wildlife is no longer dependent on the permanent drinking holes, and disperses; with the regrowth of foliage, visibility is more limited than during the stark dry season. The game is still there, one just has to work harder to find it.

The two best big game safari destinations at this time of the year are South Africa and Botswana. One major ecosystem that actually is at its peak during the green season is the Deception Valley region in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

There are certain advantages to travel at this time of the year:

  • As a "time of plenty", the landscape is at its most beautiful, the animals at their healthiest, and the scenery at its most majestic
  • Some camps in the luxury tented safari destinations (especially Botswana) offer discounted rates of around 30% less than the peak season, representing excellent value for money
  • Migrant birds return, making for some of the best birding in the world
  • Beautiful colors and gentle light make for great photographic opportunities
  • Availability at the top camps is better
  • Lower occupancy levels mean that staff and guides are less stressed, and are even more enthusiastic and eager to please

This is also the perfect time of the year to visit the non-safari areas of South Africa, including Cape Town. Victoria Falls is tame but still impressive. The Okavango Delta is low, but several camps feature year round water.

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