Zebra Crossing, Masai Mara

November 2015 Newsletter, Woodbridge Safaris

Ever-decreasing daylight, gale force winds, even a bit of slushy snow. Are you enjoying Winter in the UK? How about an out-of-season Safari to Africa? Certain to boost your Vitamin D levels, even if the generous camp cuisine might expand your waistline!

Kenyan Elephant in the Rain

Iíve enjoyed a number of safaris in the UK Winter: itís the Green Season (i.e. verdant vegetation and can be wet) in much of Southern Africa, but generally good weather in Kenya and Northern Tanzania. I wouldnít recommend the Green Season for a first safari, but for ďold-handsĒ it can be a fascinating experience. Itís great for birding, with many of the LBJs (notably Widows and Bishops) in extravagant breeding plumage. With the rain typically falling in intense but short-lived downpours, the light can be amazing for photography.

Luangwa River in Flood

A few years back I was in South Luangwa in late October just as the rains started: you could literally step across the trickle of water that flowed through the riverbed sand. I returned to the same spot a few months later and the Luangwa was a raging torrent several hundred metres across. Very few rivers of that size remain uncontrolled by man, and it was a remarkable transformation.

A Christmas trip to Southern Tanzania also brought memorable sightings: flocks of hundreds of Amur Falcons on their migration across Africa, tracking the alates (emerging termites); and a frenzy of mating bull frogs emerging from the baked-earth into newly formed ponds. Next day the ponds were populated by storks, feasting on the frogs!

Bull Frog Fight

In Botswana Iíve had to eat in complete darkness because the termite mounds around camp were opening up to release the alates. Any light was immediately covered in an uncountable number of insects. This time there was a fat bullfrog sat by a lamp on one of the camp paths: he had a huge grin, as if he couldnít believe his luck.

Bull Frog Feast

The UK Winter can be an excellent time for a Kenyan safari: typically dry weather and few other visitors, with prices significantly lower than later in the year. Iíve enjoyed excellent game viewing in the Masai Mara, and a few years ago was fortunate to ride across Amboseli National Park under the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.

So there are plenty of options to take an African break from the UK Winter: yes I like my log-burner, but who wouldnít rather exchange it for a camp fire for a week or two?

In 2016 Iíll be at the usual Shows with Safari Consultants: Destinations, Suffolk Show and the Bird Fair. Itís always a pleasure to meet up with clients, so please do get in touch.