Summer: the season of joy, adventure, sun, sand and sea. It’s the season that puts that spectacular sparkle back into our lives as we bid farewell to the dreary winter months and look forward to the days filled with excitement and adventure.
The sweet summer sunshine and refreshing aromas of the fresh flowers and sea air has the ability to put a spring in our step. We no longer have to drag ourselves out of our warm bed in the mornings and pluck up the courage to brave the chilly breeze, we now look forward to getting up and out and seeing what the day has in store.
In the heart of Africa, the summer season, which lasts from November to March, brings remarkable sightings and unrivalled experiences. Most of the wildlife species give birth to their young over this period, which offers visitors an increased chance of catching a glimpse of the newborns. It’s a heartwarming experience which allows one to witness the gentleness and maternal characteristics of the wildlife, and ‘ooh and aah’ over the adorable new additions.
Light rainfall also descends upon the open plains during this season, and the wildlife welcomes the water with open arms. For the first time in four months they’re able to venture out, away from their usual water sources as water is finally in abundance, and can be found almost everywhere. The dry plains spring to life and fresh new grass grows. It’s a time when the great African outdoors comes alive, and the sights and sounds reflect the new beginnings.
Special Encounters under the African Sun
Wildlife in abundance
Other than the aforementioned new arrivals, there’s also more wildlife to be spotted in the unsuspecting areas of the desolate plains – this is because the wildlife can move around freely without having to stay near to the watering holes. They’re also easier to spot during the summer season, as the grass is low and of a more vibrant colour, meaning they won’t easily be able to hide in a camouflage surrounding.
You’ll have a good chance of spotting the likes of lion, elephant, zebra, giraffe, leopard, buffalo and hyena, all of which give birth to their offspring during summer.
Viewing of the newly arrived migrant birds
Migrant birds come from near and far to the warmer areas of Africa. They arrive in large numbers and attract avid bird-watchers and photographers in their numbers too. The birds bring with them sweet whistles, songs and exquisite colours from their breeding plumage. The bright colouring of the male birds is used to ‘attract’ the females for breeding, and some of them even put on a show for their female counterparts.
Different parts of the continent attract different bird species, but one can catch sight of the arrivals of kingfishers, cuckoos, bee-eaters, grey-crowned cranes and red-necked falcons, to name a few.
Enthralling Experiences in the summer
Boating and canoeing safaris
Due to the summer rainfall, the water channels and rivers, such as the Okavango Delta and its spillways, will start to fill up. This will allow for the extraordinary boating or canoeing safaris which will allow you to experience the desolate lands from a different angle. It will give visitors a chance to view the wildlife drinking and bathing in the water, and one may even come across a herd of hippos enjoying their midday swim. The best time for boating safaris is during the middle and end of the summer months, as the water will have accumulated to such an extent that the channels would have met up with each other, making the boating trip longer and more enjoyable. For example, one can take a canoeing adventure through the spillway during this time, as the spillway will be full, and one would be able to start at the beginning and end at the desired location, without dry patches.
Sunset Game Drives
The captivating African sunset can be enjoyed throughout the year, but there’s something about the summer, that turns the sun into an orange disk, illuminating the sky with an enchanting red glow. It’s a sight that leaves one utterly breathless and turns even apathetic photographers into photo-snapping enthusiasts. Due to this unrivalled, picturesque sighting, sunset game drives are a hit with the tourists and are usually only on offer during summer, although there are many lodges that keep this activity on their itinerary throughout the year.
A kaleidoscope of colours from the healthy plant life
Where there’s water, there’s life, and it’s proven when one witnesses the flourishing of the plant life in Africa, over the wet summer season. An array of colours sweep the lands, with lush green grass, lilac pom-pom weeds and yellow jackalberry shrubs.
It makes for an exceptional sight, which, mixed with the wildlife and the draw-dropping sunset, will leave you in complete awe.
So a summer safari is surely a must try.