Green Season Safaris

Where’s the best place for a safari in the green season in Africa? We compare and contrast safari areas & game lodges in South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.

Overview

Sometimes you will want (or need) to take a safari outside the peak time. The wetter summer months from December to March are considered to be the ''green season'' for African safaris.

This may be the only time you can travel. Or you may be combining a safari with a summer trip to the Cape? Many of our clients like to escape the endless grey winter days of the northern hemisphere during this time. So on this page we compare and contrast the Green Season safari options in South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.

What are Green Season safaris like?

So the wet summer months are generally not the ideal months for a safari in terms of sheer quantity of animals. The game-viewing will not be as prolific as in the dry winter months. It will also be harder to spot because of the lush bush.

But the wildlife won’t be completely absent. Indeed this is the time when many animals are giving birth so you'll see lots of youngsters around. It’s also a beautiful time of the year when all is green and lush. All the migratory birds in full breeding plumage. Plus it’s a great time for butterflies, flowers and colourful insects.

Where do we recommend for Green Season Safaris?

South Africa

Game lodges in South Africa don’t usually offer lower prices as they remain busy through the summer months. (This is because they are often combined with Cape Town and the Garden Route by people escaping the Northern hemisphere winter.)

But they have the advantage of fenced national parks and private game reserves. This means that the South Africa reserves are not as noticeably affected by animal migrations as the unfenced reserves of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Madikwe is in the summer rainfall area but it is generally drier than the Kruger National Park and less prone to the cyclonic influences coming in from the Indian Ocean from mid January to early March.

Madikwe-Hills-activities-game-drive

Ironically the Eastern Cape game reserves and the few Western Cape reserves are about the only area in Africa where the months of May to August are NOT the best time for a safari. The Eastern Cape has a temperate transitional climate which means that it can rain at any time of year. But its winters are pretty cold and so the animals tend to head for protective thick bushveld away. So the summer months are a perfect time for a safari here. There may be some rain but much less than elsewhere in Africa.

Elephants in Addo elphant park safaris

Zambia

Hang on a second, we said elsewhere in this website that Zambia was ‘closed for business’ during the summer months! Generally this is true but there are exceptions. Some of the central lodges of the South Luangwa remain open for the green season, some open especially for a few weeks. They focus on game walks, boating and game drives in the part of the park which is not flooded. This can be surprisingly good for game-viewing given that the animals are ‘forced’ to hang out in these non-flooded areas as well. Check out our Rivers and Rainbows safari below.

South Luangwa Safari - Rivers and Rainbow safari

Botswana

Botswana has two attractive reasons to visit at this time of year.

Firstly, November, and again from mid January to March are some of the best months to visit the Kalahari desert and Makgadikgadi pans in Botswana with the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest to and from these areas.

But, more mundanely nearly all Botswana camps offer attractive Green Season pricing. This means that the price of the camps can be a fraction of the peak season. If the very high cost of a Botswana safari in July or August brings on a panic attack, this is the way to see the beauty of the Okavango Delta. Without having to pawn Granny’s jewellery collection...

Botswana green season safaris

Check out our blog articles on Best time to Travel

Highlights

  • The skies are exploding with colour and are very photogenic especially at dawn and sunset. So keen photographers often love the summer (green) season.
  • Lots of babies being born so plenty of youngsters around...
  • In Botswana and Zambia, the green season is offered at very attactive safari prices
  • The afternoon rains bring slightly cooler weather. You might even need a sweater just after the rains. Though days are hot and sunny.

Seamless arrangements

"We were often posting on Facebook during our travels and many of our friends were asking who arranged our trip, so don’t be surprised to get a few referrals. Again, thank you so much for your time and effort with our trip! " Ms Tammy

Ginny made excellent suggestions

"Ginny made excellent suggestions for our holiday ensuring we had a good variety of things to do which suited the whole family. " Mrs Mary Creayen, UK

The whole travel experience was excellent!

"We were very happy with the kind and professional way our travel request was dealt with. We received an outlined itinerary swiftly with an elaborate description that sounded very attractive. A couple of changes were made to adapt it somehow a little more to our wishes. The whole procedure was easy going and agreeable. A last minute change concerning our rental car was dealt with swiftly and smoothly. The whole travel experience was excellent! We all enjoyed our holiday very much. We would highly recommend booking with Cedarberg any time to family and friends and we hope to be able to book with them again in the future. " Mrs Fenagun, UK
 
staff image

Gloria Darvall

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I'm Gloria, I'm here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

Popular tours & safaris

We arrange trips to more than 100+ destinations throughout the African continent.

View More Tours & Safaris

Start planning your dream trip

Find me the best in for

Need a little help? View our Safari Guide to help you get started

Did you know
  • WhenGreen Season is typically mid November to March

Accommodation

View More Accommodations

Very good value

"Peter was very helpful and clearly paid attention to our thoughts and ideas – we really valued his recommendations " Ms Winter, UK

I would only want to book through Cedarberg

"Thank you so much for booking this experience for us, Mari. Everything was so well organized and went so smoothly, from car rental and driving and hotel directions, to lodge details, inclusions, exclusions, etc. The link you gave us with all the details on the locations we were going to as well as the detailed itinerary and pre-departure information was very helpful. We’re grateful for your efforts and for making this an outstanding experience for us. I have already sent your details to friends in case they’re interested in booking a trip of their own, and now that Tom has seen the beauty of Africa I know I won’t have to convince him to head back there again. I’m dreaming of safari in Namibia next time, and I would only want to book it through Cedarberg. " Mrs Michelle B

The whole travel experience was excellent!

"We were very happy with the kind and professional way our travel request was dealt with. We received an outlined itinerary swiftly with an elaborate description that sounded very attractive. A couple of changes were made to adapt it somehow a little more to our wishes. The whole procedure was easy going and agreeable. A last minute change concerning our rental car was dealt with swiftly and smoothly. The whole travel experience was excellent! We all enjoyed our holiday very much. We would highly recommend booking with Cedarberg any time to family and friends and we hope to be able to book with them again in the future. " Mrs Fenagun, UK

Book with confidence

 

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Start planning

How it works

 
Cedarberg talk-to-us
Chat with us about your perfect itinerary
Cedarberg curate
We listen, discuss and curate your ideal experience
Cedarberg pack
You pack and enjoy your holiday

staff image

Ginny Russell

Co-founder & Director

Hi I’m Ginny, I’m here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience

Subscribe to our newsletter

Keen to get some more useful info about planning a dream safari? Enter your name and email below

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.