Southern Africa celebrates the festive season in the middle of our summer, which to many is a very strange concept. To have Christmas in the sun and heat, is a fabulous time to travel with so many different options. Whether you would like to spend your days relaxing and taking in the sea air, on a safari or exploring the many vibrant towns and cities, there is something for everyone.
Botswana have their low season during the summer months, therefore you can really take advantage of their lower prices and special offers. This time of year is known as the Green Season, as not only is it summer, but it is also the rainy season which means the bush explodes in lush green tones of grass, trees and also pops of colour from the wild flowers.Migratory birds have returned from Northern Africa and Europe filling the sky with bird song and vibrant colours. Animals generally give birth to their young in the summer months, and who doesn’t want the opportunity to oooohhhh and aaaaahhhh over cute baby animals. All regions seem to come alive at this time of year and every region has something different to offer. It should be noted that the Okavango Delta water levels are at their lowest at this time of year, therefore you should not expect the iconic image of water everywhere. The low water levels are however, good news for the game viewing, as lower water levels restricts animal movements as they stay around permanent water sources.
Mozambique with over 2500km of un-spoilt beaches is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a beach holiday. Whether you like to relax in the sun on the beach or by a pool, or fill your days with water activities such as deep sea diving, fishing, snorkeling, paddle boarding and much more, Mozambique’s coastlines have so much to offer. The reefs of the Bazaruto Archipelago are home to over 1200 species of marine creatures including the rare Dugong. The deep channels that flow off the coast of Mozambique offer some of the best Big Game Fishing for Marlin and Sail Fish in the world. Certain parts of the coastline also play host to both Loggerhead and Leatherback turtle nesting sites. The emergence of the hatchlings normally occurs from December through to late March.
Namibia is a popular destination for those that like to self-drive and explore everything on offer. Namibia is full of stark differences from the costal regions on Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and the Skeleton coast to the sand dunes of the Namibian desert. If you are in the south of Namibia a visit to the Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in Africa, is a must. However, you should keep in mind that it is the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia so it may well be busy in December. If you are looking to avoid crowds and see the more natural side on Namibia, a Namibian safari is like no other in Africa and there is no shortage of options. We recommend taking the opportunity to track the famous desert elephants, if you get the chance. Namibia is also home to the Caprivi Strip which separates Namibia and it’s neighbouring countries along this 450km section. It is a spectacular region to visit, however please keep in mind that the water levels in the Caprivi are likely to be low during December unless they have experienced very good early localized rainfall.
South Africa has something for everyone, however it will not be possible to do it all in one trip. Whether you would like a beach holiday, a city break or safari, South Africa has it all. Visit the buzzing vibrant city of Cape Town, taking in the culture and history of the city. Visit Table Mountain, relax on one of the many beaches, visit the penguins in neighbouring Simon’s Town or get yourself out to the many vineyards in the winelands and experience some of the best wine in the World. You will definitely not be short of things to do in Cape Town. If you would prefer the more peaceful and nature filled holiday, there are so many amazing National Parks and private Game Reserves to be seen. Spend your days getting up with the sun and getting out in search of what animals you can find that day. If you are in the Kruger Region you should include a trip to the stunning Blyde River Canyon, second largest canyon in Africa and thought to be the largest ‘Green Canyon’ in the World. South Africa also has some incredible beaches to be enjoyed. The coastlines are a popular attraction over this period and brings a real festive vibe. However, there are more private and secluded options as well, if you would prefer to avoid the crowds.
Zambia is a destination that seems too often to be overlooked, when in fact it should be up there with the best African holiday destinations. Although for many of the famous ‘Zambia must do’s’ December is not the ideal time due to being water based (Victoria Falls, Devils Pool, sunset cruise on the Zambezi) this does not mean that Zambia should not be visited at this time of year. If you are interested in History, Livingstone is an amazing town full of history with museums and places of interest to visit. For all the nature lovers, Zambia has some of the best nature reserves in Africa offering some amazing game viewing. One of the great things about Zambia is that it is one of Africa’s best kept secrets, meaning your safari experience is a lot more exclusive due to less visitors than you may find elsewhere in Africa. Did you know that the largest mammal migration is actually in Zambia between October and December? About 10 million straw coloured fruit bats descend into a tiny patch of evergreen swamp forest inside Kasanka National Park, Northern Zambia
Zimbabwe has so much to offer. December is not the best time to visit Victoria Falls as the water levels in the Zambezi are low, however Zimbabwe is not just about Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls town does have so many other things other than the falls themselves. Why not go for high tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel or a trip on the steam train during your stay at Victoria Falls. It will transform you to a bygone era of luxury steam train travel. As with Botswana, December in Zimbabwe falls into low season, therefore huge savings are to be had, as well as being able to take advantage of the summer rains. With the bush exploding into new life, why not visit Hwange National Park or Zambezi National Park for the incredible safaris. If you are a seasoned safari goer and like to get off the beaten track and away from everything and everyone, the Gonarezhou National Park should be on your list. Alternatively spend your time overlooking ‘’Zimbabwe’s ocean’, Lake Kariba, either from one of the lodges on the banks or spend your time sipping cocktails on one of the houseboats.