In most of Southern Africa, including Namibia, the “Green Season” refers to the summer months of November to April. These months correspond to the rainy season, where the landscapes come back to life with the first drops of rain and display all kind of green hues in the prolific vegetation.
Historically, travelers looking for a safari were typically advised to travel during the dry and cooler months of July to September, where the wildlife is forced to congregate around the few water points and can easily be observed there. This period also coincides with the long holidays in the Northern hemisphere, and has therefore gained in popularity.
However, the “Green season” is equally attractive, and that for a number of reasons. So before you decide on when to travel, take the time to read below and discover why the “Green Season” is actually my preferred time of the year to travel, where the advantages are a pretty good tradeoff for the warmer temperature and the rain.
1. The reduced price
Many service providers (airlines, accommodation, car rental…) will have different rates for the low and high seasons, and offer consequent drop in prices during the “Green Season” (especially during the months of January to March). It can take different forms, such as special offers (for example, an extra night is offered if you book a certain number of nights, enabling you to stay longer for the same cost), or a reduced nightly rate compared to the high season rate. In any case, the traveler gets better value for their money. Some of the upper hand lodges also waive the single supplement at that time of the year, which can be interesting for single travelers.
2. The lower frequentation
The other obvious advantage during this time of the year is that there are fewer travelers. The crowd can be an issue during high season. Nothing can be more irritating than trying to take a picture of Deadvlei (or any other landmark) while visitors are always in your field of view! Travelling during the “Green Season” is likely to offer you a more peaceful and intimate visit, wherever you decide to go to in Namibia.
3. The availability
If you are not the type of traveler to book months in advance, finding availability during the high season in Namibia may be an issue, even more so if you have specific requirements when it comes to the accommodation you want to stay at. During the “Green Season”, the reduced number of travelers mean there is more likely to be rooms available at your chosen accommodation.
4. The green and lush landscapes
This is for me the best advantage to travel during the “Green Season”. The rains enable the shriveled vegetation to become abundant, green and lush again. The different shades of green make up for vivid and contrasting landscapes, as opposed to dry, dull, brownish sceneries. The “Green Season” is the ideal time to travel to experience the most breathtaking displays of scenery. Even a few drops of rain will bring out the colors of nature, displaying even more intensely the vivid red sands of the Namib or Kalahari desert, or the green vegetation.
5. The skies’ texture and wonderful lighting
If at first glance a uniform blue sky seems appealing and the best for photos, it is however lacking some texture. The presence of clouds adds character to the landscapes. Be they small white airy clouds, or huge stormy menacing clouds, they in any case create a far stronger atmosphere than a dull uniform blue sky, for the photographers’ delight.
The bright and harsh sunlight of a bare blue sky can often lead to overexposed photos, displaying harsh shadows, which may hide interesting details. Shooting with plentiful cloudy skies makes for a softer, more even and smoother lighting, benefiting the pictures greatly. The “Green Season”, with its cloudy skies, is to the year what the “Golden Hour” is to the day: the best time for a wonderful light!
6. No dry and dusty atmosphere
During the high (and dry) season, the scattered pools of water evaporate, the vegetation dries up, and the air tends to become dusty. Due to the more frequent eastern winds (especially during the months of August and September), we can experience strong winds as well as sandstorms, which are not the most agreeable experience. In addition, when our bodies are not used to this dry climate, it can be difficult to withstand. A strong moisturizing cream and a good lip balm can help alleviate some of the dryness and itchiness. By contrast, during the rainy period, the air is clearer and free of dust, which makes it easier to cope with.
7. The ideal period for cute baby animals
Many antelopes are synchronous breeders. They usually breed at the same time of the year, and with it also comes synchronised births, at the start or middle of the wet season, where the lush grass enables the mothers to produce good milk for their calves. The “Green Season” is the best period to observe many cute baby animals, see their hesitant first steps, how they suckle for milk, and witness this touching display of nature. However, these large quantities of young and vulnerable calves also attract many predators, thus creating great sighting opportunities for those on safari.
8. The prolific bird life, with migratory and breeding birds
The summer months also bring new life in the form of migratory birds that reach Southern Africa, some of them to breed, building their nests and rearing their chicks. That is for example the case of many raptors, some storks, cuckoos or colorful bee-eaters…
9. The days are longer
Throughout the summer months, there is overall a longer daylight time than during winter. You can therefore enjoy longer game drives. You also have more time to go from one destination to the next, allowing you the possibility to stop more often on the way without having to rush to reach your next accommodation before sunset.
10. To avoid the cold mornings
During winter (dry season) in Namibia, the nights and mornings can be freezing! An early morning game drive in an open 4×4 will most likely require a beanie and a warm jacket or a poncho. If you do not particularly enjoy the cold – the “Green Season” will be best suited for you. In winter, the sun also sets earlier than in summer, around 18h15 at the earliest. Therefore, if you enjoy the evening with some daylight, you will better appreciate the “Green Season” for that (where the sun sets shortly before 20h00).
Overall, travelling in Namibia during the “Green Season” is presenting numerous advantages that should really make you consider this period of the year, in order to discover a lesser-known facet of Namibia.
Lucie Trottier is the owner of Namibian Essence Safaris. Namibian Essence Safaris is a boutique tour-operator that creates exquisite and bespoke trips to Namibia and Southern Africa.
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