August in Southern Africa marks the end of the region’s short-lived winter and the welcome return of warmer temperatures. Down in Cape Town, the last few winter storms wring themselves out and the days get longer, while up in safari country the weather is pretty perfect: sunny, warm and dry.
Robben Island, lying off the coast of Cape Town, is part of a long list of islands known primarily for being prisons. But, unlike Rikers and Alcatraz, its history has seen it go from being a leper colony, to a thriving 19th century ‘town’ complete with a school and post office, to a notorious penitentiary, and now a must-see travel destination studded with historical buildings and home to a flock of adorable but highly endangered African penguins.
Timing is everything. If you want the best seats in the house, you need to book your place well in advance. When it comes to once-in-a-lifetime journeys to Africa’s vast playground, you definitely want to be in the front row seats for all the legendary spectacles.
Part of the charm of travelling on Africa’s most luxurious train is that guests are required to look the part. Forget your yoga pants and flip-flops – it’s time to whip out those sparkly cocktail numbers, flowy dresses and sports jackets.
The first time I visited Victoria Falls I was eight years old. We put on raincoats in the bright Zimbabwean sunshine then wandered into an Enchanted Forest filled with a low rumble and fine drizzle. I’d been excited about seeing this big waterfall but had never imagined something so powerful it could surround me with sound and soak me with its rainbow-lit spray – it was magical!
Here’s what you might already know: The Great Wildebeest Migration involves millions of wildebeest, zebra and antelope moving around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem in search of fresh grazing. The animals cover vast distances and are never in one place for too long. All of nature’s momentous events happen en route, including rutting, mating and calving.
Say the 'Wildebeest Migration' and most travellers picture hundreds of thousands of grunting gnu and elegant zebra, braving predators and charging into croc-infested rivers in an ancient cycle, often literally covering the vast plains as far as the eye can see...
It is rated as one of the world's most spectacular natural events - every year over a million wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate clockwise around the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem, taking in two different countries and making time for birthing, courting and mating on the way.
Halfway through the year, Africa’s dry winter months arrive marking the start of safari peak season.
Botswana is generally a place of empty blue skies and boasts an enviable 300 days of dazzling sunshine a year. Thankfully around December, life-giving summer rains begin to fall, marking the start of the Green Season. The bulk of rain falls over January and February, and the landscape stays beautifully lush and green until about April.