(aka Green season, Emerald Season or Birding Season)
The only thing that should apply to Low Season in such terms is the reduced number of other safari goers travelling at the same time!
Low season often refers to the time of year that sees the most rainfall but this should not be seen as a problem. In fact, the rainy seasons offer some of the best wildlife photography opportunities in the calendar year.
Here are five reasons to go on safari in Low Season:
1. Firstly it’s a bargain. Because most non-photographer safari goers have always been told to go on safari when its only dry the demand for room (especially in Botswana) is drastically reduced and therefore with the laws of supply and demand working in perfect harmony the rates per night tend to be around half of that in high season. For solo travellers there is also good news where some places will waive the single supplements at their lodges and hotels over this time.
2. Green and verdant backgrounds. With the rains come the growth of the vegetation and this is great news for photographers. Open those apertures, shrink the depth of field and frame your subject in 50 shades of beautiful green!
3. New-borns everywhere. Scientists believe that Impala can delay giving birth for up to a month at the end of their gestation period to “drop” only when the rains arrive and this is certainly evident in what we see each year. As soon as there are a few days of good intermittent rain there is an outbreak of new arrivals. It’s not just impala too with all the other plains game following suit.
4. It doesn’t rain all day every day. When it does rain in Africa it does it properly. It buckets it down in short sharp bursts and then before you know it you are back in the sunshine accompanied by huge dramatic clouds which make for dramatic landscapes. Not only is this refreshing but it also clears the air for crisper images with less haze. When we talk about rain don’t think constant drizzle like in the Norther Hemisphere. Think tropical.
5. Birding heaven. The summer months (yes summer is the low season) also means the arrival of all the migratory species to Africa as they escape the winters of the Northern Hemisphere. The Low season is often referred to as Birding Season too and for good reason.
(aka the best of both times)
As with their namesakes there are two shoulder seasons in most parts of Africa. They normally fall in the months before Christmas (Nov and Dec) as well as from Easter through to high Season which starts in mid June).
Shoulder season is a great time to visit Africa. Being outside of the school holiday seasons of the Northern Hemisphere the lodges and reserves are not as busy and there are some very well priced safaris to be found.
The Shoulder seasons also offer some of the best weather with spells of both dry and wet weather and the best average temperatures in the day and night.
Late in the year November sees the arrival of the rains in dramatic fashion with large thunderclouds seen on the horizons which are dramatic. We know several top wildlife photographers like Hannes Lochner who can’t wait for the rains to begin to get those dramatic shots with dark thundering clouds in the background.
The Easter Shoulder season see lots of movement of animals as they start to move towards the permanent water sources. In Botswana, this would be The Chobe River and the Okavango Delta. With so much movement there is also lots of action as the predators must work more for their meals as the thick vegetation and cover starts to dissolve.
Unlike the Northern hemisphere high season on a southern African Safari takes place over the winter months from June through to October. Traditionally tour operators have encouraged their clients to visit over this time as it is the driest time for outdoor activities and it also coincides with the traditional summer holiday periods of the North.
This influx of visitors means that the rates for the safaris increase because of demand. At Pangolin, we know that most of our clients are after the best wildlife experience and don’t necessarily
As the winters are dry there tend to be more animals congregating at the major water sources and that is when you will have large numbers of elephants in The Chobe and around the waterholes and rivers of Savute and the Khwai Private Reserve (Okavango Delta) where the Pangolin Khwai Camp is located.
It’s important to note that the camps in and around the Okavango Delta are restricted as to the number of bed nights and clients they are allowed so even in high season it won’t feel as busy as other destinations in Southern and East Africa. There is a price to pay for this exclusivity and in the Delta, it’s a high one with average nightly High Season rates of $1500 per person per night not unusual at the most popular lodges. In return for that you can expect all the bells and whistles of a high-end lodge.
At Pangolin, we know that our clients are more interested in what’s outside the lodge rather than inside so we like to keep things simpler and concentrate on the wildlife experience rather than the expensive luxuries to justify the room rates being charged. This means we can keep our rates in high season at around half of those of comparable lodges in similar locations such as The Okavango Delta.
For more information and advice of when to travel and how to get the most out of your budget please speak to one of our consultants who will ensure that you get the most photo safari “bang for your buck”.