From the Expert’s Desk

At Windmill, we want to bring our travellers closer to our travel partners and with that let the industry experts say what extraordinary experiences makes travel special to them. After all, it’s one person’s experience that becomes another’s inspiration which helps us create magical holidays for our clients.

As the first in our series, we run to the wild and ask Graham Simmonds, our wildlife expert from Wilderness Safaris, when is the best time to be in the bush.

When is the best time to be in the bush?

Whenever I am in the bush is the best time!
The reason for this is that there is no right or wrong answer. There are seasons, there are animal movement patterns, there are temperature differences, and so on; but each time in the bush is different, depending on what a guest wants to see and feel, the time may change. This goes for first- time safari goers as well as experienced safari enthusiasts.

The peak dry season (September to mid-November) is an epic example of dust, density, and drama in areas such as Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe where one can find large herds of elephants and buffalo loping towards the last remaining waterholes. Where the predators such as wild dogs and lions know there will be tired and weary herbivores that haven’t eaten well for a few months, their energy drained and easier prey! (Linkwasha, Little Makalolo, Davisons)
Add on a visit to the mighty Zambezi River where both predator and prey hang around the life- sustaining river. Making it not only scenic beauty but beauty with animals abundant. (Chikwenya, Little Ruckomechi, Ruckomechi)

Fast forward to the start of the rainy season, (mid-November through to February) when storms roll in and deposit their rain onto grateful dry plains which will soon burst into life with varied colors and an explosion of life, insects, birds, grazers, and browsers. But the rains must be off-putting. Not at all. The storms are not constant, often lasting 45 minutes, they offer relief to the warm weather and clear the air, settle the dust and create an amazing time in the bush.
A favorite area of mine is the Okavango Delta.

Here, although being in the dry season (June-September) we get to witness the arrival of the flood. A slow creep of water has traveled from the mountainous regions of Angola to spill into an area in Botswana known as the jewel of the Kalahari. Almost perfect timing, as the rain has stopped and browsing dries out, the life-giving waters arrive on cue. Meaning that this area now has food to sustain large amounts of animals throughout the year. Boating and traditional canoes known as mokoros complement game walks and drive to witness one of the wonders of the world in the heart of Botswana.

(Too many camps to list, but a few favorites are Mombo, Jao, Vumbura, Tubu, Qorokwe, Chitabe)

Let’s also not forget Zambia!  The origins of a walking safari in South Luangwa with the different types of terrain, rivers as well as dry river beds to explore. Or the vast Busanga Plains where lions rule the area, kings amongst the thousands of lechwe and puku, bowing for no one and feasting when they want, in full view of safari-goers.

Each area also boasts a different price range for guests – offering an opportunity to witness the natural world with which we should be connecting more. Would you like a mini bar in your room, or are you looking for the authentic safari travel that has wowed guests since the dawn of wildlife travel? Whatever the add-ons and price increase, the comfort and safety of guests are paramount. When is the best time in the bush you say? Whenever you are in the bush is the best time. A time to connect with yourself and loved ones whilst experiencing Mother Nature in all her glory, a time to remember that we are not the apex predators on the planet, and a time to remember who we are and what is important in life.

Graham Simmonds