January 23rd, 2020

Why you should consider a 'Green Season' Safari

Written by:

James Handley

Category:

Safari 101

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In November or December each year, after months of dry and dusty conditions, the ominous ever-building rain clouds finally break with a crack of thunder and quench the baked soil, carpeting the African bush in new life. 

The transformation is almost instant - fresh pasture erupts from the earth, migrating birds arrive from afar, and new-borns drop. This renewal of life heralds the start of 'Green Season', and it's a truly magical time of year.

You might hear safari connoisseurs downplaying 'Green Season', muttering that it's a bad time to be in the bush. While the bush can be thicker and the wildlife slightly more spread out, there are still so many fantastic reasons to go on safari during this season.

Read on to find out why!

Waterbucks - Lower Zambezi, Zambia © Toby Pheasant

Wildlife

With so much fresh pasture around, this is understandably a fantastic time for mothers to give birth. The week-old calves, foals, piglets and the rest are a delight to see, tripping over themselves as they get steady on their feet. Additionally, with so much inexperience in the bush, this time of year can also be fantastic for predator action too.

It's not just the larger animals however - the diversity of wildlife that comes with the explosion of foliage is remarkable. Look closer and you'll notice an abundance of insects, birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Water monitors, zebras, wildebeest and warthogs. © Toby Pheasant

Cost

As most safari-goers prefer to see the bush during the dry season (when wildlife gathers around the remaining water sources), green season is 'low season' at most lodges. This means that the lodges and camps are much cheaper - you can save up to 50% at some places (we've made a handy list if you want to know which ones!).

Of course, the lodges and camps all still offer the same fantastic service, great guides and are all just as comfortable, so the lower costs just mean that you can travel to places that may have previously been out-of-budget. It also means that more exclusive private concessions and areas may become affordable too!

Vumbura Plains - Okavango Delta, Botswana

It's much quieter

Somewhat counter-intuitively, despite lodges and camps being cheaper, there are actually far fewer visitors during this period. It's also outside of traditional school holidays, so you can be sure of a quiet camp.

From a safari point of view, fewer guests means that you may not see another vehicle all day, and you may be on a vehicle with fewer people. You'll also have a better chance of enjoying a private sighting, and maybe even a better chance of being upgraded!

Lower Zambezi, Zambia. © Toby Pheasant

Photography

Vibrant green grasses, flowering plants in full bloom, deep blues in the sky and rich earthy browns all make for spectacular photographic opportunities. Green season is our favourite time to be in the bush with a camera. 

Landscape shots are rich with colour, photos of big cats are much more striking, plus you get the added bonus of the plethora of smaller animals to photograph too.

Oh, and the sunsets... did we mention the sunsets?

Sunset over South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. © Toby Pheasant

Birds

You don't have to be a 'birder' to appreciate the cacophony of song that descends on the bush during green season. Migratory birds make their way down Africa to make the most of the glut of life in sub-Saharan Africa and build nests to raise their young.

From bee-eaters to kites, kingfishers to rollers, many of which are wearing their colourful mating plumage, the bush is alive with birds zipping around making the most of the conditions.

Pied Kingfishers - Liwonde Camp, Malawi. © Toby Pheasant

Great time to visit other destinations

Frustratingly (for those who travel between July and October), many of the other destinations in Africa aren't in their prime during peak season. Green season travellers have the best of both worlds! 

Victoria Falls is thundering just as Livingstone so famously described. Summer is in full swing in Cape Town and it's a superb time to kick back in the winelands, sampling the finest New World wines. It's also a great time to visit the Zanzibar Archipelago for superb snorkelling and beach time.

Cape Town - © Toby Pheasant

So, what are you waiting for? It's more affordable, quieter, and there's an abundance of wildlife. 

It's time to start planning your 'Green Season' safari!

Thanks for reading,

The Bonamy Travel Team

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