There are many positives about winter in the northern hemisphere – wintery walks, roaring fires and plenty of mulled wine. But after a few months of intermittent sunshine, we also understand the need for a little vitamin D, and what better place to escape to than Africa for a Christmas safari? Whether you’re looking to escape yuletide traditions, embark on the safari of a lifetime or swap the snow for sand on an exotic beach, we’ve come up with the best places to visit in Africa when the temperatures plummet at home.
Get your dose of wildebeest-watching in the Serengeti
Fill your Christmas with a different kind of hooved beastie (sorry Rudolph) and visit the southern Serengeti plains in Tanzania. In December the wildebeest herds of the Great Migration amass in their hundreds of thousands to munch on the newly-sprouted grass, making for some rather spectacular game viewing. Combine a few nights wildebeest-watching in the south before heading to the northern Serengeti to take advantage of the peace and quiet outside migration season. Up here, expect big cats aplenty, emerald-green landscapes and your pick of the luxury lodges. Now that’s what you really want for Christmas!
Add Zanzibar to a Serengeti safari for a blissed-out beach Christmas! Have a look at our route, The Great Migration safari and Zanzibar beach holiday.
Discover endless activities in Cape Town
If the turkey and all the trimmings isn’t for you, escape to Cape Town for a different kind of Christmas cheer. There really is something for everyone in the city that regularly tops ‘The Most Beautiful in the World’ lists; drop-dead beautiful mountain-scapes and endless ways to explore them, swathes of sandy beaches, shopping to impress the most hardened fashionista and some of the best food and wine in the world. Add to that an overnight flight, zero jetlag and a whole lot of sunshine (temperatures are a soul-warming 30 degrees in December) and Cape Town could quite possibly be the ultimate winter-sun destination.
Explore the vibrant landscapes of the Masai Mara
December in the Masai Mara is a special time. Perhaps it’s the wonderful weather (the rains are usually over by mid-December), the juicy green landscapes or simply that holiday feeling? Game-wise, expect splashing eles in the river, newborn babies springing around the plains and big cats luxuriating in the sunshine. Sounding dreamy? It might do for some others too, so make sure you start planning your Christmas safari early for your pick of camps and dates. But if you’re looking for some last minute sunshine, the Mara is worth checking out too – in a place with so many camps, there’s always a good deal to be had.
Have yourself a green Christmas in South Luangwa
Who needs a white Christmas when you can have a green one? December is officially the ‘Green Season’ in Zambia, bringing with it sparklingly clear days, full-flowing rivers and some very happy animals. ‘But doesn’t it rain in the green season?’, we hear you cry. Well, yes it can do, but aside from being really quite exciting, the thunderstorms rarely last for more than a few hours and don’t often disturb game viewing. Try the South Luangwa for some of the best green season Christmas safari trips – walking and driving safaris are both available, the prices are excellent and the game viewing is remarkable.
Indulge in a sun-kissed Christmas in Mauritius
Fancy swapping the cold, snowy nights of a northern hemisphere winter for long lazy days on a sun-soaked island? Yes, us too… Mauritius has long set the standard for ritzy beach breaks, particularly in December when temperatures hover around the 26 degree mark and there’s just enough of gentle breeze for textbook swaying palm trees. It’s reputation for honeymooners and hand-holding couples may precede it but we can also happily confirm there are plenty of hotels geared towards families and enough activities to tire out little legs, making for a very merry Christmas for all involved.
For a hassle-free, family-friendly Christmas, try combining Mauritius with a safari in the Kruger! Have a look at our route, Family holiday and safari in South Africa and Mauritius.
Experience the rich diversity of wildlife in the Kruger
Like a reliable little black dress, a Christmas safari in the Kruger suits all manner of occasions. Jam-packed with superb wildlife year-round, November and December are the months of new life in Kruger and the surrounding reserves so prepare to up the cuteness factor with tiny lion cubs, wide-eyed antelope and baby warthog (wart-lets?!) playing in the grass. Even better, the South Africans like to holiday in January and February, so squeeze in a visit over Christmas to enjoy the peace and quiet.
Add Cape Town to your Kruger safari for a stylish Christmas! Have a look at our route, South Africa escape from Cape Winelands to Kruger safari.