Traditionally safaris have been most popular in the cooler months of the Southern Hemisphere, from April until September. The rumours are that the game is better, weather conditions more genteel and there are less insects around. While some of these points are true, it does not mean that summer is not a fabulous time to come on safari.
Here are just a few reasons why the warmer months are in fact extremely rewarding and not to be underestimated.
Oh the joy of experiencing the explosion of baby animals! Most species give birth during the summer months which means there are miniature versions of most of the wildlife underneath every fruiting Marula Tree.
Baby animals not only make some of the best subjects for photography, but they also provide hours of entertainment. So, whether it is watching baby elephants try and work out the mechanics of their trunks, impala lambs dancing in the morning light, baby warthogs running at full tilt with their tiny tails in the air, or zebra foals keeping balanced on their spindly legs, they are all extremely comical and endearing.
You don’t have to be an ornithologist to appreciate the migrant summer visitors, there is such a diversity of birds at Thornybush, that anyone will be impressed. In fact, summer is the best season for birders, because they can appreciate the migrant species in their colourful breeding plumage, performing mating displays and giving distinctive calls.
There is good reason that the high-pitched “tuuui-trrrrrrr” call of the Woodlands Kingfisher has been nicknamed the “sound of summer”. These beautiful turquoise-winged birds call from the moment they arrive until the breeding season is over , usually around March, when they return to North Africa.
One of the greatest wonders of a summer safari is the physical transformation of the environment. Visitors can never believe the fields of emerald green that greet them, especially if they were expecting a dry, sandy Africa.
There is such a huge variety of flowers that are in bloom, from the bright orange Lion’s Eye or the incredible delicate String Of Stars, that seeing animals flouncing around amongst these blossoms is worth a visit, at least once.
During the summer months the days are longer, earlier morning starts and later evening return mean safaris can go on for longer. Not only do you get maximum time out in the bush, but your days in camp seem to slow down and stretch out.
This creates more opportunity to experience that true safari feeling, as well as enjoy some downtime in camp, either by lounging at the pool, indulging yourself with a massage or making time to finish that page turner.
So, when you start planning your next safari, why not try a summer one – with long, warm days and balmy nights, they will be filled with flowers and baby animals – what more could you dream of?