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 February accounting for the bulk of it.
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.
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.
Birthplace of the classic Hemingway-style safari, Kenya is home to some of the best game viewing and most famous reserves on the continent. But unlike neighbouring Tanzania, whose most popular parks lie on a well-trodden circuit, Kenya's safari destinations are scattered throughout the country and planning an itinerary depends on what you want to see and who you're travelling with.
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. Well, for those who do not get pulled down by ravenous predators, that is.
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 front-row seats to all the legendary spectacles.
Say the 'Great Migration' and most travellers picture hundreds of thousands of grunting wildebeest 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...
There is so much to see and do at Babylonstoren – a deluxe working farm hotel in the Franschhoek Winelands – that’s best to arrive with some sort of plan. This is how we’d spend 48 hours at this very unique accommodation.
Halfway through the year, Africa’s mostly dry winter months arrive along with safari season.
There is no denying that Kenya has had more than its fair share of tragedy over the past few years. Ordinary Kenyans have suffered the Nairobi Mall attack, an accidental fire at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, bombings in the far north along the border with Somalia and, most recently, the attack on students at Garissa. Except for the fire, all the other incidents are connected to terrorism perpetuated by al-Shabaab, a militant group based in Somalia. Much like ordinary New Yorkers and Londoners who survived the attacks by al-Qaeda, Kenyans are determined not to let the terrorists get the upper hand or wear them down. But, unlike those in New York or London, they don’t seem to be getting any global support. In fact, countries who have also been victims of attacks are advising against travel to Kenya – rather than offering a hand in solidarity.The hard question is: for the average tourist who wants to experience the once-in-a-lifetime splendour of game viewing on the Masai Mara or the thrill of the wildebeest migration, is it safe to travel to Kenya?