Safari news and nuggets - June 2015
Our safari seasons turn on the solstices - from the end of June we head into the dry and increasingly warm “high season” which ends with refreshing rains around mid-November. Here’s a sample of what’s been happening in East and southern Africa over the last month.
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- Taking advantage of the secret season: May/June and October/November/December ensure extraordinary wilderness trips - here’s one option that allows us to do it in Botswana with a top notch private guide without breaking the bank!
- Late rains in the Okavango: end of rainy season saw 5 month’s worth of rain fall during a fortnight and there’s been some bumper gameviewing on offer. Including astonishing wild dog sightings with 5 different packs active in the Kwai Concession alone.
- Conservation successes: already home to 1/3 of Africa’s savannah elephants Botswana is now at the forefront on a new initiative by Rhinos Without Borders to move rhino from South Africa to safe grounds in Botswana. Support via crowd-funding.
- The spotlight has fallen on Vic Falls again: “Africa’s adventure capital”, southern Africa’s primary “safari hub”; World Heritage Site…but there’s more and we celebrate with some seasonal specials around town and then far further afield into Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia
- “Open season” of the lower Zambezi: we show you how to do it by canoe. Three ways. “Fairly tame”, “adventure style” and “expeditionary” for the more intrepid.
- Africa’s not for sissies! Debate rages on whether or not unguided walking safaris should be banned in Mana Pools. The real question should be about “amateur” walks…
- Zambezi Ambassador Jill Snyder: recounts what you learn and experience on a “real African safari” from her travels into the Luangwa.
- Luangwa’s fame shines on: the Mfuwe elephants, its “leopard capital” status, the top notch guides and hosts - it’s also one of the best places for taking advantage of our secret seasons
- Bush sightings: camera traps, “beetlecams” and drones have increasingly changed our perspectives on wild places. Take a moment to browse the collections by Will Burrard-Lucas.
- Vanishing Kings: Will and Lianne Steenkamp of Into Nature Productions have dedicated their lives to producing exceptional, meaningful wildlife films - the desert lion movie première announcement is due shortly - watch this space.
- Beyond the obvious in Namibia: we’re beating the old drum again! The “traditional circuit” is rich by every safari standard, but that remote north-west is simply epic. Here’s one way to do it. Even Prince Harry has decided that this is the place for him last month.
- Fresh takes on Namibia: Anja Denker consistently draws us back to grand elephants, solitary rhino and wide-screen landscapes. Follow Anja’s work.
- Cape Town has been rated#9 on TripAdvisor’s list of Travellers’ Choice Destination World Winners. Best time to visit is late January into April….one of our secret seasons!
- Still the best things in South Africa: Cape Town for it’s great food/wine; extraordinary landscapes; its rightful place as Africa’s “Mother City”; Johannesburg airport….to get you out into the wilder parts of Southern Africa!
- Mara lion rescue: a few year’s ago we reported on a dramatic lion cub rescue in the Masai Mara - it gathered fresh interest recently, take look at this photo-sequence by Jean-Francois Largot.
- The wildebeest migration has taken some odd turns between the short and long rains this year. The calving season started early after big rains in early January followed by a quick dry spell which sent the herds scattering south into the Maswa reserve. Rains in February ushered the migration back up to Ndutu and then it seemed to take an early northerly move into the western corridor in late March. Then the big rains started and instead of continuing north they did a U-turn and then fanned out. So the central Serengeti has had more than its fair share of action this season.
- These migration safari maps help explain how things work in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem
- Dry season in the Serengeti and Masai Mara: The “long rains” are over and it’s safe to say that the northern Serengeti and Mara are about to play centre stage until some time in November.
- 2016 Migration safaris: January to March is prime time in the southern Serengeti plains, the northern sector is best October/November - if you’re thinking of a migration safari in 2016 then get in touch now.
More essential reading
- Susan Portnoy, across at “the Insatiable Traveler” travels when she can and takes pictures along the way. Take a closer look at her postcards from Namibia (Skeleton Coast, desert-adapted lions, the Himba, desert rhino and more)
- Zambezi Digimag, June 2015: Focus on the the ebb and flow of the Okavango through the seasons; Kafue National Park; Saadani for a “bush and beach” safari; Zimbabwe’s Matobo Hills