April is coming rapidly to an end, signally the transition from autumn to winter in the Southern Hemisphere. Days get a bit shorter, temperatures get a bit cooler and in most safari regions the summer rains give way to the dry winter, making the bush sparse and animals gather at whatever water is available.
While in the Game Of Thrones clip above the phrase ‘Winter is Coming’ is edged with foreboding and anxiety, in the safari regions of southern Africa, it signals prime game watching time. The reasons for this are multiple and we’ll discuss them here.
Summer temperatures in southern Africa easily reach into the high 30°Cs and into the 40°Cs (90 to 100°F). This can make game drives – other than those in the early mornings and evenings – extremely uncomfortable for anybody who is not used to high temperatures.
While the more southern regions, and the desert regions, may be very cold at night in winter – dropping into the single digits – the closer to the equator, the balmier it is mid-winter. Daytime temperatures average in the mid-20°Cs which is the perfect temperature for warm, comfortable game drives and walks.
Average winter temperatures for some of the more popular safari destinations are:
- Kruger: 24°C/10°C
- Sossuvlei: 27°C/6°C
- Etosha: 27°C/6°C
- Okavango: 26°C/8°C
- Chobe: 26°C/8°C
- Vic Falls: 24°C/10°C
- Mozambique: 25°C/14°C
- Uganda: 20°C/11°C
- Ngorongoro: 17°C/6°C
- Serengeti: 27°C/14°C
- Masai Mara: 24°C/14°C
- Zanzibar: 29°C/19°C
Most safari destinations are summer rainfall regions – especially Kruger – meaning that, during the dry winter, the bush thins out and grass dies down. This allows for much easier, and more plentiful, game spotting as the animals have less to hide behind.
Many water sources dry up significantly during the winter months which makes the game gather around available sources. Again, this allows for fantastic game viewing.
Lower Malaria Risk
Along with the dryness and cooler temperatures, the malaria risk is lower in some regions (like Kruger). Mosquitoes (who carry malaria) thrive in warm climates and need water to breed in, so in areas that are dry and cold in winter, the risk is lower.
See our full blog on Malaria to check which areas are risk areas and for all things malaria.
'So while we may dread the approach of the chilly temperatures and short days, in the African bush peak safari season has begun. Speak to one of our ABS consultants and book an experience of a lifetime: an African safari. Now is the perfect time!