January: Big 5 Safari
With the South African Highveld lit up by brief, dramatic thunderstorms and the sandy white coastline boasting hours of sunshine, January is the perfect time to combine a Big 5 safari with a balmy beach holiday. The Big 5 remains an iconic African experience and travellers from around the world come to sight the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros in their natural environment. In mid-summer, animals drink at waterholes in the mornings and evenings, creating many opportunities for excellent sightings.
February: Mnemba Island Turtle Run
The highly endangered green turtle returns to its breeding grounds on Mnemba Island year after year, travelling hundreds of kilometres to return to the very place where they were hatched. Under cover of darkness, female turtles come onto the beach to dig a nest and lay its eggs above the high water line. In the month of February, these eggs hatch and guests can witness the spectacular sight of countless tiny hatchlings making a life-or-death dash across the beaches for the relative safety of the ocean.
March: Kalahari Game and Bird Migration
In March the rains bring about a dramatic change to the normally barren and desolate Kalahari. There is a sudden influx of birdlife, and impossibly large flocks of flamingoes can be seen wading in the muddy waters left by the rains. The change in conditions also brings migrations of buffalo, elephant, springbok, wildebeest and zebra, resulting in an unforgettable viewing experience.
April: African Wild Dog Season
African Wild Dogs are one of the continent's most endangered predators. The South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is one of the few places where their numbers are actually increasing thanks to tireless conservation and research efforts. April is the best time to catch a glimpse of these highly social hunters, and several packs are known to pass through the areas around the local camps.
May: The Lemurs of Madagascar
Madagascar is truly like no other place on earth. Once a part of the supercontinent Gondwana, it split from India around 88 million years ago, allowing plants and animals to evolve in complete isolation, including over 70 varieties of Lemur. Most of the wildlife found on the island of Madagascar evolved here and nowhere else, making for a unique travel experience.
June: Wild Coast Sardine Run
Every year in June, millions of sardines travel north from the icy waters off South Africa's Cape Point to the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean off the coast of KwaZulu Natal. During this time, the ocean's predators follow the vast shoals, with great white sharks, whales and dolphins creating a spectacular "Serengeti of the Sea", and some of the most exciting wildlife sightings on the ocean.
July: Great White Sharks breaching
Seal Island in False Bay, just south of Cape Town, is one of the few places in the world where you can witness the awe-inspiring sight of the ocean's deadliest predator leaping out of the water to catch an unlucky seal. This occurs most frequently during the month of July, and provides visitors with a unique view of this mysterious predator, and the opportunity to secure the photo of a lifetime.
August: Wildebeest Migration
The annual migration of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores across the Serengeti is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. Followed by countless predators, their endless search for food and water leads to the famous Mara River crossing, resulting in some dramatic game viewing as the 2-million-strong herd attempts to safely cross the river and reach the grazing plains.
September: Namaqualand Flower Route
Namaqualand's desert flowers are one of the most dramatic natural spectacles in the world. This arid area on South Africa's West Coast bursts into a spectacular ocean of colour as flowers cover the dusty plains in the month of September. The blossoming wildflowers coat the surrounding hills in palettes of reds, blues, yellows and whites creating a beautiful, and short-lived, floral display.
October: Gorilla Safari
The dry months of September, October and November are the best time to view gorillas in the wilds of Rwanda. Located in the misty mountain ranges, the Silverback gorillas are some Africa’s most elusive creatures, and it’s only by hiking through inhospitable terrain that the would-be viewer can catch a life-changing sight of these endangered giants in their natural environment.
November: Whale Season
Every year in November, the Southern Right Whale returns to the South African coastline of Hermanus to breed in the historic breeding areas. These graceful and majestic creatures can be seen frolicking in the surf just off the coast of this quaint town. Visitors can enjoy spectacular whale sightings, whether by boat, from the shore or for the lucky ones, simply by looking out their hotel windows.
December: Cape Town Summer
With the Cape’s sandy white coastline boasting long hours of sunshine, December is the perfect time for a balmy beach holiday. Follow hot summer days with a chilled glass of local white wine at one of the fine beachside restaurants, or overlooking the vineyards in the nearby Cape Winelands. The city is abuzz with festive attractions, all within sight of one of the world’s natural wonders, Table Mountain, where you can walk or ride a cable car amongst the smallest and richest floral kingdom in the world.