GO ON SAFARI FOR LESS!
8 Must-Visit “Green Season” Gems
Going on safari doesn’t have to break the bank. “Peak season” across many safari destinations in Southern and East Africa is during our winter (May – September). Wildlife sightings are incredible, but prices are also at a premium.
Enter, the “Green Season”. This is the Southern African summer, from November – February, and it’s your answer to an affordable safari experience in the same incredible wildlife destinations!
Now, going on safari during the “Green Season” does have its cons. Africa can get uncomfortably hot in summer, and there is the threat of malaria in certain areas. The animals are still there, they’re just a little harder to see through the tall grass and thick bushes…
BUT… this period is also the most beautiful time to be in the African bush. Landscapes become vibrant with new growth and wild flowers, bird life is exceptional and new life explodes out of every corner as many animals give birth during this season of plenty. Bush camps and lodges are also well equipped with swimming pools, fans and exceptional staff to answer to your every whim…. And there’s a little something called malaria pills too!
So, pack your sun screen, hat and binoculars and start planning your epic (and affordable) summer safari to one of these incredible destinations! You have 5 months to go…
This vast wilderness is the largest conservation area in Botswana, and one of the largest in the world! It becomes a kaleidoscope of life and color after the first rains fall in November – spectacular wild flowers pop up everywhere, gemsbok (oryx) and springbok young litter the landscape, and the area’s famous cheetah population has a field day with the many vulnerable antelope in their midst!
These vast plains are also home to unusual Kalahari creatures you won’t see anywhere else in the country – bat-eared foxes, ground squirrels, brown hyenas and the stunningly beautiful Kalahari black-maned lions! This area is also the last stronghold for the indigenous San people. The San are hunter-gatherers that live off the Kalahari and you too can experience their culture and learn about the environment through their eyes during your stay. An incredibly grounding and spiritual experience.
Stay at an authentic, affordable tented safari camp like Haina Kalahari Lodge for a lot less during the vibrant “Green Season”!
Despite this being Namibia’s rainy season, this time of year can offer some of the best wildlife viewing in Etosha! Our clients have reported seeing herds of over one hundred elephants, rhinos drinking in broad daylight, prides of lions loafing by waterholes and countless cheetah on the hunt, all in the space of just a few days during December!
The summer’s afternoon thunderstorms can be dramatic, but are normally localized and are over in an hour or two, leaving the atmosphere clean and fresh, meaning you have endless, bright starry skies to look forward to in the evenings!
Prices can surge over the Christmas and New Year periods (this is also local school holidays, so booking in advance is essential), but trips in November and early December can mean fantastic discounts!
This exceptional and unique wilderness (arguably the most sought-after safari destination in Africa) becomes a lush and green during the “Green Season”, and if you go to the right places, animals can still easily be seen!
A famously costly and “exclusive” destination, the Okavango Delta can be prohibitively expensive for ordinary travelers during the peak winter safari season, but come summer, most lodges offer vastly reduced rates!
Bird life is abundant at this time of year – all the summer migrants arrive, and elephants and hippos are all over. Lechwe antelope also breed in the vast floodplains, making for an exquisite spectacle of new life! Enjoy boat trips or mekoro (traditional dug-out canoe) rides in the permanent river areas and it’s a good opportunity to embark on walking safaris to learn more about the smaller inhabitants of the bush.
A premier luxury lodge like Duba Plains drops its rates by around $1,500 per person per night between January – March!
SABI SANDS RESERVE
This popular private game reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park conservation area is a hot-spot for big cats like leopards and lions all year round! South Africa has a less distinct difference between summer and winter compared to countries further north, so its safari destinations are generally busy year-round. Summer is definitely a lot greener and the bush is thicker, but animal sightings are still excellent during the “Green Season”!
Avoid a peak in pricing over the Christmas and New Year’s period and rather visit in early December or from January – March. The Greater Kruger area is also close to incredible beach and island destinations in nearby Mozambique, so this is the perfect opportunity to plan a “Bush & Beach” safari during Africa’s peak summer months!
Hwange (the largest National Park in Zimbabwe) is a diverse wilderness with vast grassy plains, towering Zambian teak forests, muddy waterholes and plenty of wildlife!
The “Green Season” means animals are more spread out and less concentrated around waterholes, but there’s still a great chance of seeing huge herds of elephants, wild dogs and the park’s famous predators – lions and leopards! This is also an exceptional time of year for bird watching.
At Somalisa Expedition Camp you can enjoy an authentic tented safari camp experience (it’s stunning!) at a discounted rate. Prices fall by $300 per person per night between December – March, and they have a very tempting long-stay deal where rates are further reduced if you stay 6 nights (you can divide these 6 nights between any of their camps in the region)!
To outsiders, Kenya is probably Africa’s most well-known safari destination thanks to a long history of hunting safaris followed by tourism, as well as romantic novels and films being set here (think Out of Africa). As a result, this beautiful region is on most nature-lovers’ bucket lists! From December to March, you can enjoy superb wildlife viewing in classic “African” landscapes, for a lower price, AND without the crowds!
The Mara’s endless plains and lush riverine forests turn a vibrant green in summer, and young wildebeest and zebra dot the landscape – with no shortage of cheetah and lion eyes watching them, ready to take advantage of this season of plenty! You can expect light rains during the day, but they are short and will not affect your ability to go on game drives or find animals.
Kichwa Tembo Camp offers beautiful views, luxury accommodation and a family friendly atmosphere, welcoming kids of all ages; not to mention fantastic “low season” discounts!
Savuti could also be called “Botswana’s predator playground” for its excellent sightings of big cats and spotted hyenas! The good news, is that during the “Green Season” months these predator sightings are almost as good! Savuti is a protected area within the Chobe National Park, and over the summer months lush grazing erupts, luring herds of countless zebra and antelope from the Chobe riverfront to feast.
Elephant and buffalo sightings are also great, but beware, it can get very hot in Savuti between December and February! Go prepared with your swimming costume and plenty of sun screen. Most lodges in Savuti have swimming pools, and tented rooms are airy and cool with fans to keep you more comfortable. Very few lodges in the Okavango have air conditioners!
Rates at some lodges are $500 cheaper per person per night in summer! From Savuti; the Okavango Delta, Kalahari, or Hwange National Park are also all a quick flight away, enabling you to create a fantastic combo safari during the affordable “Green Season”.
ZIMBABWE / ZAMBIA
Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls and it’s at its most impressive in February, just after the summer rains have filled the Angolan highlands, and the water has had time to reach the Falls! This is one of Earth’s natural spectacles that you do not want to miss. Victoria Falls town is also a hive of activity and adventure sports, with bungee jumping, canoe trails, evening “booze” cruises on the Zambezi Rover, zip-lining and much more.
Light rains start from November, and like every other bush destination in summer, it can get very hot and humid – if you come prepared though, then you will not be disappointed! Avoid peak-season pricing over Christmas and New Year and visit in early December or from mid-January onward. You can stay on the Zimbabwe or the Zambia side of the Falls, and easily tag a traditional safari in Hwange National Park or The Okavango Delta onto your visit.
Special deals can be found at remote lodges like Chundu Island Lodge (up-river from Vic Falls town), or Thorntree River Lodge (on the Zambia side), or if you’d prefer to be in the town, then “low season” rates apply at most guest houses and often long-stay deals make it very worth while for the whole family to visit!
Sign up to our newsletter & keep updated on all our latest news & adventures!