Pretty much all travel guides talk about seasonal attractions, but we’re safari experts so this booking advice is about what safaris to book during the months of May and June to ensure that you can have the best lodges, guides and locations on your vacation, whether you’re travelling now or the coming year.
Africa's undisputed gourmet capital, Cape Town rolls out a feast for every sense. We've gathered together our favourite favourites in this video, from the city's cafe culture of artisan coffee roasters to the inspired menu of a Cape Winelands treasure set in heavenly gardens, from the decadence of pure chocolate to a pedigreed high tea and, finally, a signature cocktail at our favourite spot to admire the setting sun.
Summer in Cape Town is all about beautiful views, good food, sunshine and enjoying the great outdoors. For the more adventurous traveller, there is a host of exciting options and the lastest of these is the SA Forest Adventures Zipline at Silvermist Estate in Constantia Valley.
It's February in Africa and summer is in full swing. Rain has settled in across much of the continent and many of its top safari destinations, drenching the tropical coastline in afternoon showers. But it's not all grey clouds: choose the right destination, and you’ll find yourself under Africa's classic blue skies and gorgeous sunshine.
Blessed with abundant wildlife and a temperate climate, South Africa has long been a leading safari destination. Its most famous and flagship national reserve – the Kruger National Park – is Africa’s oldest conservation area. Among South Africa's reserves you'll find Big 5 safaris in malaria-free areas and conservancies for rare and endangered animals, ranging from rhinos and cheetahs to aardvarks and mountain zebras. These attractions combined with a first world infrastructure make South Africa the perfect choice for a first-time safari goer.
As much as I admire the big cats of Africa, I have a soft spot for all members of the canine family. As slightly built as domestic dogs, super smart and wonderfully loyal to their packs, jackals are one of my favourite creatures.
My first evening on Botswana’s Chobe River was the stuff of dreams. I sat on the roof of a game drive vehicle and watched in open-mouthed wonder as herd after herd of elephants poured out of the surrounding forest and down to the river to drink. Many younger ones broke into a run, their trunks and ears flapping in excitement; the older ones usually managed to keep to a dignified pace – at least until the last few yards. The countless trampling feet sent dust billowing into the air, turning the setting sun into a huge, hanging orb of fire.
Book a window seat if you’re flying into Cape Town for the first time: the bird’s-eye view of the Mother City’s natural beauty deserves the chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ it elicits from arriving visitors. Accessible and easy to enjoy, the city’s mountains and beaches are its primary natural attractions, but there are hidden gems on the wilder side of this Atlantic Ocean peninsula. Underwater kelp forests, rugged hiking trails and great white shark enounters all lie within sight of Cape Town.
Game drives cover a lot of ground but it’s only when you get out of your vehicle and set off on foot that you shift from being a camera-clicking observer to an active participant in the wilderness. As your armed guide leads you along well-worn elephant trails your senses sharpen and you notice things you’d otherwise miss in a vehicle: the alarm call of a troop of baboons, leopard paw prints on a sandy riverbed, the rich scent of sweet mahogany blossoms.
South of the equator, January is midsummer. If you’re planning to come to Africa at this time, you might hear things like: it'll be hot, it'll be wet, the wildlife is as widely dispersed as the abundant surface water (instead of conveniently concertrated around waterholes), and some lodges and camps are closed for the 'off' season.