Some great suggestions where to have the best safari experiences in December
Operations & Marketing Development
30 Sep 2020
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In December, Africa is in the height of summer with many places at their lushest. Rains are at their heaviest with beautifully dramatic storms sweeping across the continent brining much needs water. Because of the abundance of water, the large herds have dispersed making wildlife viewing more difficult than other months but it is still a very rewarding time to travel to certain areas of Africa. In Southern Africa, impala ewes have begun dropping their adorable lambs with predators lurking nearby. South Africa is potentially one of the best countries to visit in December as it has enough concentrations of wildlife to provide fantastic, top-quality safari experiences.
Uganda and Rwanda
Whilst thunderstorms light up the skies across Southern Africa, Rwanda and Uganda are in their dry season which creates ideal conditions for mountain gorilla trekking in Bwindi Forest, Uganda and Volcanoes National Park, in Rwanda as the paths are less slippery and the skies are clear. Conditions are like this throughout the region, meaning other primate experiences are also just as accessible.
South Africa hold such tremendous diversity that it simply cannot be discounted in December. Some areas are prone to spectacular thunderstorms, but these can be short lived. The bush is alive, filled with lush greenery, beautiful coloured birds and an abundance of young animals both prey and predators alike. The Sabi Sands in the Greater Kruger National Park can provide some stunning safari options with private lodges offering some of the most luxurious lodges you will find anywhere in Africa.
The Central Kalahari region which is usually bone dry and arid is flush with a green carpet, attracting large herds of springbok and oryx which provides an annual abundance for the resident cheetah and black-maned lions. This region is probably one of the finest and most productive to see both these critically endangered big cats.
December is also a great time to visit Cape Town with days usually filled with beautiful weather warm with clear, cloudless skies and little to no rain. It’s a great time to visit as there’s a lot going on in this modern, cosmopolitan city. Beer, wine, gin and champagne and food festivals aplenty as it’s the height of the South African summer. And don’t forget the Franschhoek Wine Tram – a journey which makes plenty of stops along a route strewn with some of the oldest and distinguished wine estates in South Africa.
Head to the central regions of the Serengeti and you’ll be rewarded with the spectacle of the Great Migration in relative isolation as the peak season is well past. The vast herds are making their way south towards their calving grounds. And of course, the journey is fraught with danger as they pass through territories belonging to prides of lion, coalitions of cheetah and clans of hyena… dramatic and adrenaline hunting scenes await.
Sao Tome and Principe Islands
Between September and April are the best months to head to these tranquil, idyllic equatorial islands of Sao Tome and Principe off the west coast of Africa as several different of turtles are nesting along the beautiful beaches. Hawksbill, leatherback, green and olive ridley turtles can all be seen in what has become an site of ecological importance to the survival of these gentle ocean dwellers.
If you’re lucky you may get to see a female digging out her nest before laying her precious eggs and then making her way back to the ocean. Or you may get to see the emergence of the hatchlings as they struggle from their nest buried deep in the sand, then scrambling their way through the gauntlet of the beach.
It is a remarkable and emotional experience as you watch the hatchlings overcoming obstacles such as driftwood and dodging predators in the form of birds and crabs before reaching the open ocean waters. It’s estimated that out of every 1,000 turtles born, only a handful will survive to adulthood before eventually returning to the same beach to make their own nests, laying the next generation of hatchlings.