When the season goes GREEN

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The Green Season (November to April) is the rainy season in most of Southern Africa. It is historically a less popular time for safari as the wildlife can be harder to see due to thick vegetation and long grasses. Also many animals will scatter over a wider area as food and water is plentiful and they don’t need to congregate around dwindling waterholes and rivers. Game drives may be affected during heavy rain storms, although the storms normally pass quickly and it is generally the case that an activity may be delayed or cut short rather than cancelled altogether. Many tourists – particularly first time visitors to Africa – will consciously avoid this time of year and instead focus on the dry winter months.

We would argue that the benefits of a Green Season safari outweigh any negatives. For a start prices are considerably cheaper during the rainy months and guests can travel on a much lower budget or can afford to stay for longer or book much nicer accommodation. The impressive thunderstorms can be a highlight of any safari and result in wonderful photographic opportunities. Vegetation is green and lush, forming a great backdrop for photos. Atmospheric conditions mean that the air is exceptionally clear and the light is soft and beautiful. This is also a time to see lots of young animals and predator activity. Birding is excellent with many migrants over the summer months.

Guides and guests do need to work a little harder at this time of year and perhaps stay out longer on game drives but the sightings can be just as rewarding. Personally the rainy season is my favourite time to go on safari and I have had some of my best wildlife sightings during these months. It is interesting when trawling through Benson’s many images to find one to use for marketing, I always start by checking the photos taken during the Green Season as this is where the best images are normally hiding.

In late March this year I was in Botswana for a 10-night safari. The game viewing was exceptional and I thought it would be useful to share some of the images, to encourage others to travel at this time of year. It is worth noting that some areas are more productive than others during the Green Season, so our recommendations for an itinerary will often vary according to the time of year.

Our 1o-night itinerary included Selinda, DumaTau, Chitabe, Tubu Tree and Kwara. In total we had great sightings of 8 cheetah, 7 leopard and 6 male lion (no lionesses). Also some excellent wild dog sightings and wonderful encounters with herds of elephant. Plus of course all the general game. Welcome to the secret delights of a Green Season safari.

Click on the first image then scroll through to see as a slideshow.