Africa in January - crazy?

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Africa in January - crazy?

Postby darlinggirl » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:59 pm

Hey everyone,
I've been dreaming about going to Africa for years. All the chips are finally falling into place and it looks like January 2012 is when I'll be able to go (ideally the Dunes, Delta, Falls tour)...except everything I've read says that this is the summer (hot and wet) with wildlife not being easy to spot.

Has anyone ever been to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana or South Africa in January?? What was your experience? My main goal is to see as many animals is possible and I'm worried the season won't cooperate with my schedule.

Unfortunately January looks like the only time I'll be able to get away, at least until really late 2012, but I don't think I'll be able to wait that long.

Thanks!!
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Re: Africa in January - crazy?

Postby lesliew » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:05 am

Here is a thread posted by another user that I found extremely helpful. It has a chart showing the months that are best for viewing wildlife. It looks like for January, some parks are good to excellent, and some are poor, so you'll want to pick the right parks.

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17612&p=75444#p75140
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Re: Africa in January - crazy?

Postby kateyb » Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:14 am

i did that same tour in March last year which is also in the wet season. I still saw all the animals that I came to see except the leopard. it was a fantastic trip and I would go regardless what time of year it is.
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Re: Africa in January - crazy?

Postby darlinggirl » Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:43 am

Thanks so much for your input :) If I could put it off until March I would!

The link to the past thread was super helpful and basically confirmed all my fears...eek!

However, I have to think that if the weather and game viewing are as terrible as I imagine, G wouldn't run tours in January...so it has to at least be a little ok...right?

Chime in anyone!
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Re: Africa in January - crazy?

Postby Praha335Ci » Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:39 am

Leopards in the wild can be some of the hardest animals to spot.
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Re: Africa in January - crazy?

Postby bushkid » Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:25 pm

Hey Darlingggirl,

There is no right or wrong time to visit Southern Africa. The only wrong decision is not to visit it. :lol:

I have travelled through every country in Southern Africa at every time of the year (and used to guide that route for G Adventures). Each season has it's unique charms and benefits and occasional draw-backs.

Everybody thinks either that the time they went was "the best" or that "maybe I missed out on what XYZ experienced when THEY went". In fact, no safari experience is ever the same, and they should never be compared. All are unique and all should be life-changing experiences. I've been on hundreds of trips, and every time I get left breathless.

One of the best trips with the nicest guests was the Dunes Delta Falls trip in January 4 years ago, and the greatest difficulties we encountered had nothing to do with wildlfe, game viewing or weather (I'm still going to write a book on that trip, though :D).

Firstly, it's not as dusty as the October to November trips. It does get hot and humid in Namibia and Botswana, though. Our rain usually comes in short bursts, in the form of spectacular thunderstorms that leaves the air crystal clear and sparkling, and also takes the heat out of it. The bush is usually at it's most vibrant, and most of the wildlife babies are out in full force. Predators and prey are in peak condition. There's a good chance you'll see the deserts in blossom. It's possible that animals are harder to find, but good guides and drivers don't let that deter them, and generally know where and when to look.

The Cape will be stunning at that time of the year. Explore it before heading off on the trip. Well worth an extra few days.

The Okavango should be quite empty, but with the last three or four years of heavy flooding, anything can be expected. The empty delta attracts many animals that move away when the floods are high. Remember that wildlife doesn't read the text books, and patterns over the past three years have changed incredibly, particularly in Namibia and Botswana (in my experience - I travel to Botswana at least 8 times a year, and Namibia quite often).

To really appreciate the Vic Falls, budget to go the Zimbabwean side (the Zambian side is pretty pathetic in January, but the Zim side will still be amazing). Or do a microlight or helicopter flight. You don't really get enough time to appreciate the falls included in the package, so I recommend you add in another day in Livingstone. Do Livingstone Island if you can - check out this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=17880).

Don't stess too much about whether it's the right or wrong time to do the trip. Go for it! Make it happen. You won't regret it!

If you want more detailed info or insight, you're welcome to ask or PM me.
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Re: Africa in January - crazy?

Postby schafer10 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 2:35 am

Wow bushkid..excellent details.

Any other general tips for the region? Any must do optional activities?

Thanks for the post, makes me not able to wait another 25 days for my Ultimate Africa trip!!!

Waiting sucks..
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