Destination Focus: Why I love a GREEN Botswana!
Posted by Giovanna Fasanelli
in Africa and Expeditions
There’s no doubt that a Botswana safari tour is an essential check on any animal-lover’s Bucket List. It’s simply one of Africa’s most sensational wildlife destinations. Its exclusive concessions and vast reserves allow the visitor to feel the peace and quiet of an Africa long ago. Here the mighty Okavango River stretches its tendrils deep into the red sands of the southerly Kalahari desert to form the world’s largest inland delta, transforming the thirstlands into a kaleidoscope of green and gold. Most people travel to Botswana in the dry winter months of May to September when the savanna vegetation is at its most sparse and seeing elusive predators is made that much easier. But to miss out on a green Botswana, a Botswana polished by salubrious summer rains, when the air is crisp and all around life is exploding and exalting, unleashing itself upon the land in fervor and enthusiasm, is to miss out on a truly magical time in this Africa safari wonderland.
By October, the lack of rain has forced temperatures into pressure cooker levels, such that this period is sometimes referred to as the “Suicide Month”! This crescendo eventually breaks with November’s thunder clouds rolling in to deliver much needed liquid relief. Soon enough the grasses spring back to life, shooting apple-green spears towards the sun, precipitating a domino effect of activity throughout the ecosystem. Birding goes from superb to sensational, as weavers, bishops and widow birds sprout their vibrant breeding colors of deep lipstick reds and sunflower yellows. Migrant kingfishers, bee-eaters, cuckoos, swallows and rollers move in to capitalize on the booming insect populations, and the herbivorous animals start fattening up, eventually dropping bellowing calves in their thousands. Following these huge honking herds of zebra, wildebeest and springbok are the lions, hyenas and cheetahs. These long-toothed predators now begin their season of feasting, until their bulging bellies drag on the green ground. One of my favorite aspects of this time of year is watching the afternoon thunderheads roll in over the bustling, wild landscape, whilst a scattering of giraffes feed on the freshest acacia leaves and happy elephants splash in verdant reed beds. Flying ahead of these bulbous storm fronts are migrant Abdim’s Storks and Steppe Eagles, attracted by the bounty of locusts and emerging termites. It’s also possible to observe the sky-darkening murmurations of swarms of breeding Red-billed Queleas, arguably the world’s most numerous bird species, drawn to these fertile grasslands as they begin to yield their nutritious seeds.
There is a sense of celebration in the green season that is utterly infectious. Describing it here, in mere words, seems something of a shame. Seeing the wildlife on a Botswana safari during this time of plenty, when the stress of brutal winter drought is replaced by the palpable joy of overflowing abundance is simply not be missed.
Join us on our own Green Botswana Safari to experience this magic for yourself!