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.
You're out on a game drive when, slowly, your guide stops the vehicle, picks up her binoculars and scans the dense thicket. With a slight nod to the tracker seated out front, she reverses and points right... there, from behind a large shrub, you can just make out the first of a family elephants coming through the vegetation. Astonishingly quiet for such large creatures, you watch as one by one they come through, the little ones in the middle of the group, the rear brought up by a huge tusker that keeps an eye on everything.
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 in a brightly coloured 'dome', 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.
The Serengeti, Victoria Falls, the Kruger National Park ... Africa's most iconic destinations have long delighted their visitors but if you're the kind of person who likes to do things a little differently and prefer your wildlife encounters without the crowds, then maybe it's time to take the road less travelled in Africa.
Botswana is a year-round destination with an enviable 300 days of sunshine a year but anyone planning a safari should take note of the monthly changes in weather and the effect this has on the country's wildlife. For example, rainfall can trigger the zebra migrations, so an understanding of Botswana's seasonal nature is essential if you want your game-viewing expectations to be met. If you are planning a Botswana safari, read on and choose the month that's best for you:
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!
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.
Today's teenagers are rarely seen without earphones resolutely docked in their ears, fingers deftly generating more text messages per minute than Reuters issues global news updates. Their constant connectivity with friends in cyberspace often disconnects them from the people around them, their parents and even their siblings.