Visiting, exploring and adventuring in Africa, is or should be one of the top bucket list experiences. Africa is a beautiful continent and has so much to offer, with its fauna and flora, wildlife, majestic mountains, open plains, rivers, beautiful coastal and inland destinations and fantastic weather. What more could one wish for? Africa boasts 54 countries, each just as exciting as the next, but all with their own incredible attractions and reasons to visit. It is not easy making a decision on which to visit first and it can be rather overwhelming. We’d recommend you plan your African holiday itinerary around the countries that you’d most like to visit – and which are fairly close to each other. Once you have been captivated by the African soil – of which you certainly will be, it’s likely you’ll return at a later stage to tick off the remaining countries. Luckily, Africa is a continent that you can visit any time during the year, no matter the reason or the season, as each season brings with it it’s own uniqueness, beauty and welcoming nature. Here are reasons why it is a benefit to experience a safari in winter, besides the fact that there are a lot less mosquitos!
Avoid the crowds
The winter months in Africa are the most affordable but the slowest season for tourism. During the winter months it is a benefit to any tourist as often you will find many destinations will have special/cheaper rates. While safari camps, lodges and camping sites in Africa are never ‘crowded’ – even during peak season; winter/low season will be sure to offer you an even more ‘exclusive’ experience.
If you are one who enjoys personal adventures; one where you can find your roots, connect with nature, the surrounding beauty and just be one in your thoughts and really connect to your surroundings on a safari, then a winter safari will be just the thing for you!
Plan an early start at the beginning of winter as the mammal migration in the Masai Mara Kenya or the Serengeti in Tanzania is a show not to be missed – and a front row seat is a must as it leaves nothing to the imagination! Winter is the best time to visit the Masai Mara especially, as the herds of mammal masses, who are in search of fresh new grass, start their journey across the plains as well as the Mara river. A sight unlike any other in Africa! It is known as “the greatest wildlife show on earth” and the largest mass movement of any land mammals in the world which is also listed as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world.
Here are also three exciting winter water experiences you will never forget on your African adventure:
Canoeing is not for everyone, you have to be a little more adventurous and, of course, not be too afraid. Botswana in particular is one of the few places in Africa that tourists have the opportunity to canoe on their own along certain areas of the Okavango Delta. This is offered on certain tours such as the famous ‘canoe trail’. This is, however, not for the faint of heart as the Okavango Delta is known to be infested with vicious and incredibly territorial hippos – although we should mention that travellers are always accompanied by well trained guides, and the likelihood of anything going wrong is near impossible. While travellers are accompanied by a guide, they’re also likely to be accompanied by elephants, giraffes, buffalo and perhaps even lions and leopards meandering on the banks.
A Mokoro is similar to a canoe but it is operated by guides who are known as “Polers,” he stands at the back with a pole called a “ngashi,” and does all the paddling for you. Mokora canoeing is rather popular in the Okavango Delta. The canoe can take one or two passengers. This type of canoeing will be safer as they are very skilled, allowing you an enjoyable safe “ride,” whilst you sit back and let them to do all the work, looking out for the hippopotamus and any other wildlife around instead of the possibility of you going straight for them. They will also be a lot more experienced to the temperament of the animals around although one never knows the mood they could be in. We are afterall in their domain.
Land safaris and boating safaris are another great reason to visit Africa during the winter. Nothing really can prepare you for the excitement of a boating safari. Wherever there is water you are bound to see much more wildlife; making boating safaris exceptional as you’re able to get a completely different perspective than you would from a land safari – especially if the wildlife are bathing or drinking. The animals will come down to the water to either drink after a long walk or to frolic in the afternoon, an opportunity that you would not want to miss – take photographs of and just see wildlife in a totally different kind of way. During their late afternoon frolics you are bound to get more than one breathtaking photo as the African sunset makes for the ideal backdrop to such a sighting.