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LAX_Esq Apr 19, 17 1:15 am

Choices for Southern Africa
 
Hi, which destinations in Southern Africa would you recommend in November? We're looking to plan a trip in November, and we'd like to do Southern Africa at some point. We're not wedded to Southern Africa if November isn't the best time, and we can do it another time.

From my initial research, it seems that November isn't a particularly good time for the parks that seem most appealing (Okavango Delta, Chobe, Etosha) nor is it a good time for Vic Falls. But it seems like November could be a nice time for a road trip around RSA.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

johan rebel Apr 19, 17 3:06 am


Originally Posted by LAX_Esq (Post 28198894)
From my initial research, it seems that November isn't a particularly good time for the parks

Depends on your definition of a good time.

November is spring, all the birds are chirping, the bush is going green, trees, shrubs and herbs are flowering, all the impala ewes are ready to give birth.

On the other hand, it will most likely be hot and humid, and rain cannot be ruled out. Game may well be harder to spot, but if you are staying at private lodges that's less of an issue than if you are doing a self-drive.

Prices are generally lower in the green season, which may be a factor for some.


Originally Posted by LAX_Esq (Post 28198894)
nor is it a good time for Vic Falls.

The falls are at their best when the volume of water coming down the Zambesi is neither too high nor too low.

Volumes do not only fluctuate seasonally, but also from year to year, depending on the amount of rain in the Angolan highlands. In a normal year, I would say that January and July are the best months. The flow should peak in April, and be at its lowest in October.


Originally Posted by LAX_Esq (Post 28198894)
But it seems like November could be a nice time for a road trip around RSA.

I agree.

South Africa has several pretty distinct climates, with rain falling mainly in winter the Western Cape, at any time of year along the south and east coast, and in summer in the rest of the country.

November is a nice compromise. It is also low season for tourists, which is good for prices and availability.

Johan

LAX_Esq Apr 19, 17 4:20 pm

Thanks for the good advice, Johan. We're not huge birders and being out on safari during rainy weather doesn't sound too fun, so I don't think the green/rainy season is ideal for us.

Are there other things in Southern Africa that we're overlooking that might be better in November in terms of weather -- other parks besides Okavango Delta, Chobe, Etosha perhaps? Other natural phenomenon?

Jasper2009 Apr 21, 17 1:29 am

Having been to South Africa 7-8 times myself and having planned many trips for clients, I'd argue it's always a trade-off:

- Cape Town, the Cape Peninsula and the Garden Route are probably most enjoyable (or at least most predictable in terms of good weather) during the SA summer (~Nov. - April)

- temperatures are obviously warmer during the SA summer (= NA winter)

- Game viewing is generally better during the SA winter (~May-Sept.) since there's little vegetation and little precipitation, but it can also be rather chilly at night (0C)

Adam1222 May 12, 17 9:43 am

Jumping onto this. I've seen some stuff online that suggests that November is a good time for Vic Falls for rafting and/or Devil's Pool. Is it silly to schlep to the area when the falls are drier?

I am looking to combine a trip to Cape Town with somewhere else in November. Any other places in Southern Africa other than South Africa recommended for November? (I've done JNB and Namibia and am not rushing to do safari again after not loving Etosha.) Mozambique doesn't seem worth the Visa costs for < 1 wk, and Zanzibar seems too much of a schlep from CPT.

Thanks!

Tania De Jager Jul 3, 18 4:06 am

November is a good time for the South OR Durban. Think Cape Town, Garden Route - perfect for a road trip!

LAX_Esq Dec 2, 19 2:34 pm

Bringing this thread back up, we're still hoping to go to Southern Africa when the time is right. We have a good window to travel in mid-January to early February. Based on my research, the same weather pros/cons should exist for that time as in the November question previously discussed. Is this about right?

T8191 Dec 3, 19 7:47 am

Jan/Feb should be even better weather on the Cape. We've literally just got home from 2 weeks down there, and Hermanus (19-22) was decidedly cool compared with last year in Dec. Rest of trip (Franschhoek and Stellanbosch) was fine, though ... shorts and sandals all the way!

Note: we like it hot. YMMV. :)

LAX_Esq Dec 3, 19 9:49 am


Originally Posted by T8191 (Post 31799483)
Jan/Feb should be even better weather on the Cape. We've literally just got home from 2 weeks down there, and Hermanus (19-22) was decidedly cool compared with last year in Dec. Rest of trip (Franschhoek and Stellanbosch) was fine, though ... shorts and sandals all the way!

Note: we like it hot. YMMV. :)

Thanks for this. Seems like it's a great time for CPT and the Cape. But it also seems like there will be high grass and not-good animal spotting anywhere in Southern Africa -- Kruger, Etosha, Okavango, etc.

T8191 Dec 3, 19 11:00 am


Originally Posted by LAX_Esq (Post 31799894)
Thanks for this. Seems like it's a great time for CPT and the Cape. But it also seems like there will be high grass and not-good animal spotting anywhere in Southern Africa -- Kruger, Etosha, Okavango, etc.

Cheers! I can say nothing about your other interests ... at our age its just food/wine/sunshine :D

johan rebel Dec 3, 19 11:29 am


Originally Posted by T8191 (Post 31800170)
Cheers! I can say nothing about your other interests ... at our age its just food/wine/sunshine :D

To each his own, but I'm not sure what age has got to do with anything?

Game viewing is hardly a physically taxing activity, and can be enjoyed by persons of any age, including children and the aged, just like food, wine and sunshine. Although good eyesight is an advantage, the infirmities and frailty that may come with old age should not stand in the way of a safari. Nor are physical disabilities necessarily an insurmountable obstacle. People in wheelchairs go on game drives, and Berg en Dal in the Kruger National Park even has a walking trail for the blind.

As for the grass, it may indeed well be high in summer, depending on rainfall. Precipitation varies considerably from year to year and from place to place. In addition, rain affects the distribution and concentration of animals. So I you want to see lots of animals in a short period of time, January and February may not be your best bet.

Johan

LAX_Esq Dec 3, 19 11:58 am

Agree with johan; don't see why old age means you can't enjoy game viewing. We're in California, and luckily don't need to go halfway around the world for food, wine and sunshine. ;)

AlienInTheFatherland Dec 3, 19 12:36 pm

With you on this. I am mid sixties and setting up for our fourth Namibia trip in a 4x4 with a roof-top tent. Very easy place to travel.

Yes, we will be doing some wildlife, but in my view Africa is not just about Big Five Game, but countryside landscapes, beautiful sunset vistas and lots of colourful birds. We have a whole bookshelf full of reference editions.

Most important things to us are the people in Africa and the colourful way they dress and the way they walk and the whole spirit of things and their very welcoming attitide.

And many thanks to Johan for the incredible amount of advice and guidance he has given on this and other threads

cheltzel Dec 4, 19 7:42 am


Originally Posted by johan rebel (Post 31800286)
To each his own, but I'm not sure what age has got to do with anything?

Game viewing is hardly a physically taxing activity, and can be enjoyed by persons of any age, including children and the aged, just like food, wine and sunshine. Although good eyesight is an advantage, the infirmities and frailty that may come with old age should not stand in the way of a safari. Nor are physical disabilities necessarily an insurmountable obstacle. People in wheelchairs go on game drives, and Berg en Dal in the Kruger National Park even has a walking trail for the blind.

As for the grass, it may indeed well be high in summer, depending on rainfall. Precipitation varies considerably from year to year and from place to place. In addition, rain affects the distribution and concentration of animals. So I you want to see lots of animals in a short period of time, January and February may not be your best bet.

Johan

+1 Johan

Our last trip was 3 months short of my 70th birthday. I had a blast!! Now after some serious back surgery about 7 months prior to the trip, I had to spend most of my game drives sitting next to the ranger as the bumpiness of sitting 6+hours a day further up caused a little soreness and discomfort. But otherwise, it was totally pleasant.

We are already planning our next trip which will be when I am over 71 years old and I expect no issues whatsoever. And I want to agree with the previous poster in thanking you for your constant high quality posting here. This makes a really positive contribution in the forum.

allbrosca Dec 21, 19 1:55 pm

YMMV, but our trip was late January, early February a few years back starting in Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls then down to Cape Town and up through the wine regions and the garden route and then o a ptrivate game reserve east of Kruger. There was no shortage of animals for us to see. We saw the big 5 and then some and our guides were great.

jrl767 Dec 28, 19 12:42 am

various safari accommodations for Jul/Aug travel
 
I need to be in CPT the evening of 19 Jul for a conference that ends ~noon 23 Jul

current bookings have us flying into and out of JNB, arriving 15 Jul/0915 and departing 31 Jul/2230

Samara Game Reserve looks to be a good option for the beginning of the trip ... 4 nights for the price of 3, including transfers from/to PLZ airport: JNB-PLZ placeholder arrives ~1250 and PLZ-CPT (not yet booked) departs ~1710

however, I just found a very affordable National Geographic package for 23-31 Jul; it includes two nights at Muluwa Lodgeand three nights at Karongwe Private Game Reserve

needless to say, were only going to do one safari tour :) ... that said, wed greatly appreciate any insights from folks who may have experiences with any of these


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