Is it just coincidence that August is the month when many people go on holiday and Africa becomes the perfect place to visit? In fact, there’s so much happening across the continent that travellers really are spoilt for choice: safari destinations feature the best game-viewing conditions, while the beaches and tropical islands bask beneath warm, dry skies.
Planning your safari is very exciting – there are so many bucket-list experiences to choose from and natural wonders to see, every kind of accommodation you can imagine and as many different settings, from mountains to beaches, rainforests to deserts.
When you think of a safari, you probably think of a big 4x4 Jeep, hunkered down on a dusty African road, with a host of excited passengers peering out of the windows, all eagerly trying to spot the next animal. While this is probably the most common style of safari and has its own perks and benefits, there are others that are definitely worth exploring such as:
Walking along the banks of Zambia’s Luangwa River, watching the antics of kingfishers and African fish eagles over the water, all while following a guide tracking giraffe prints… this is what a really wild African safari entails. Sometimes, your own two feet are the best way to experience the wild wonders of the African bush.
Contrary to popular belief, bucket lists aren’t only for retired folk who are keen to SKI (‘spend the kids’ inheritance’). Today, youngsters are more switched on than ever before and after spending hours watching BBC or Lost Planet documentaries, many can’t wait to come to Africa and experience the thrill of seeing a leopard in the wild or elephant family at play for themselves.
If you're planning a paradise island holiday then you've probably got palm-fringed beaches and warm turquoise water in mind. You'll want beachfront accommodation, delicious seafood and opportunities to both relax and explore.
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.
There is something thrilling about staying in a tent on safari. Instead of being shut away behind brick and glass, enjoy the glow of lantern light on canvas walls and drift off to sleep to the sounds of the African night. And if your idea of staying in a tent means having to rough it; you're in for a wonderful surprise: Africa's top tented camps offer a softer kind of adventure with all the comfort and the trimmings you'd expect from a luxury safari lodge.
Famous for its Kalahari setting, Botswana is generally a place of empty blue skies and dazzling sunshine. It does have a rainy season, however - 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.
Everybody wants to snap one of those National Geographic-style images when they go on a photographic safari, an iconic picture that captures the moment and its subject perfectly. Apart from the fact that National Geographic photographers spend months in the field and you have a few days at most to attempt to lock down your perfect image, it is possible with some preparation and a good dose of luck, of course.