Lions are the most sought-after sighting on a safari. The excitement of seeing them is partly because we expect to see them in Africa and are reassured when we do but there’s also something a bit more primal behind our fascination with them. Thanks to their reassuringly feline name – Panthera leo – we know we are technically dealing with ‘cats’ but lions are startlingly huge, almost bear sized. Their muscular, barrel-chested bodies and arrogantly jutting chins let everyone know who the boss is – and it’s not the 2-legged creatures wearing sunglasses!
In our modern era of online everything, it’s important to understand what travel agents actually do before you decide if they have a role to play in your travel plans. You don’t always need an agent, which means you need to know when to bring one into your vacation planning. And, if you use an agent, do you know how to pick a great one?
September in Africa see temperatures climbing steadily and many safari destinations across the continent rapidly approaching their annual best.
Exploring Congo's untamed rainforests is one of the most authentic wilderness experiences we’ve had in a long time. The journey to Odzala National Forest – home to gorillas, elephants and flocks of parrots - is exciting but conveniently straightforward. You fly into Johannesburg, Africa’s international hub, catch a regional flight to Congo’s modern capital, Brazzaville, stay overnight in a luxury hotel, and hop on a charter flight to Odzala the next morning, rested and refreshed. As your charter plane descends out of the tropical cloud cover, you know you’ve found that rare and precious thing in our modern world: a truly wild frontier.
She pushes her huge tail down, ducks under the waves with tremendous forces and then, with colossal power, launches her huge body above the water, coming down with a fantastic splash. Everything is quiet except for the chorus of ‘Wows!’ from my fellow boat passengers. There’s a shared anticipation and keen excitement as we hope she’ll do it again… Our luck is in as she once again uses her tail fin to propel herself like an aquatic rocket above the ocean off Kleinbaai, a tiny hamlet on South Africa’s Whale Coast, less than an hour’s drive from Hermanus and regarded as the whale-watching capital of the world.
The Green Season is a specific period in Africa that falls between or after the annual rains. Wildlife spreads out from waterholes and rivers, making the most of the abundant surface water and, most importantly, taking advantage of the fresh grazing that turns the dry savannah into lush rolling grasslands. This new grazing triggers the migrations of large herds of wildebeest and zebra in both East and Southern Africa.
Famous for its Kalahari setting, Botswana is generally a place of empty blue skies and dazzling sunshine. It does have a rainy season however - often disarmingly called the Green Season - but don't worry too much about that word 'rainy'. The absolute wettest part of the country records as much precipitation in a year as London or Melbourne do, while the rest of the country gets about enough to fill a coffee cup. You're not going to need to pack an umbrella. And besides, nearly all the rain falls between December and April with soggy February accounting for the bulk of it.
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.
Preparing well for your safari can make all the difference to your vacation. As Africa Safari Experts, we take pride in sharing practical, useful travel trips with our travel community - every single suggestion we make is based on firsthand experience on safari in Africa. All true adventure vacations require some thoughtful preparation and travelling to the Congo is no exception. There are medical requirements like inoculations and planning requirements like a personal medical kit, gear and clothing checklists - the key to comfortable travel is often as simple as bringing no more than you need without leaving behind something you'll end up wanting. Here is our guide to getting ready to trek the Congo - enjoy!