What is the “green” or “emerald” season and why should you consider traveling to Africa during this time? In short, the green season is low season in Africa—the timing varies by country, giving you more flexibility to take advantage of its many benefits. It’s a time when many areas experience a bit more rain, causing brown landscapes to flourish with green grasses and fragrant flowers. It’s also when wildlife tends to spread out over greater distances. So while you may have to work a little harder to find your lions, leopards and elephants, you will still be richly rewarded. Read on for the top 10 reasons to travel green!
Beautiful landscapes and scenery abound as even a tiny amount of rain can turn a parched landscape into a carpet of green. Incredible varieties of flowers and grasses sprout quickly. Trees leaf and flower and fruits grow. As any good photographer knows, it’s all about the light. Rain washed, the air is crisp and clear providing a golden glow at times or a great moody gray; both wonderful for landscapes and animal images. As the landscape turns into a kaleidoscope of greens, clouds provide an amazing canvas for each evening’s sunset as well.
Many species, especially antelope, give birth during or just prior to the green season. There are countless cute zebra foals and baby gazelles across the land. As the circle of life unfolds with cuteness so does the predator action. Younger and inexperienced prey means an increase in activity from all levels of predators as they look for easier-to-catch meals.
Many bird species are showing off their breeding plumage at this time and there are more migratory bird species around. These displays mean that even if you aren’t a “birder” you will be amazed and entertained the many different species. Visiting Botswana during this time period allows travelers to see hundreds of species all in one location.
Pay less for your safari! Some green season offers offer steep discounts from high season—sometimes as much as 15% – 40% off!
Often flight prices are lower during the green season in Africa. A flight that could cost $2,500 per person in August could cost as low as $1,500 per person in November or early December.
Escape cold or unpleasant weather in the Northern Hemisphere to enjoy warm temperatures in Africa. Let’s face it – if you are looking to travel to Southern Africa between November and March, it’s a great time to escape wintry conditions in North America for summery conditions in Africa. Don’t wait till you are buried by ice and snow to plan your escape!
You might think of the “Green Season” as one short season for all of Africa but in reality it’s is a massive continent and timing varies region to region. If you are looking to travel in April, May or November then most of East Africa will be in its green season. However Southern Africa doesn’t see its green season until the months of December through March.
Looking for a feeling of exclusivity? Fewer tourists means more one-on-one opportunities for you and your guides and each time you approach a unique sighting or experience take comfort knowing there won’t be any competition for the views. You’ll see fewer vehicles at game sightings and have more of the bush to yourself.
Most times, the best camps are booked up 12-24 months in advance for high season. Finding availability is easier in the green season, even allowing for last-minute bookings in some cases.
Many regions in Africa have special wildlife viewing events in the green season, from the wildebeest calving in the Serengeti to the great influx of wildlife into the Kalahari to name a couple.