Visiting Africa during the rains

Russell Gammon • 23 November 2013

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If you live in Africa you yearn for the rain.

At this time of year we all live, straining our ears, for that distant rumbling of thunder that marks the changing of the seasons and if you work in a safari camp, this time of year takes on an even greater significance. It marks the end of the tourist season and a long anticipated rest since, for some reason, very few people choose to travel in what has now become known as the "green season"

As a guide, I must confess, it's my favorite time of year to be in the bush, since it's the time when the wilderness is bursting at the seams with life. Every puddle is alive with butterflies, tadpoles, dragonflies and frogs and overhead the sky whirls and buzzes with the most astonishing collection of insects all going about their business. The argument against traveling in the wet season centers around the quality of the game viewing experience, and while it's true that the game are spread out and hard to see since visibility is reduced, there are other factors to consider.

Firstly- I would rather watch one fat, happy, healthy animal going about his business than 100 of the same, at the end of their tether for lack of food and water.

Secondly- since it's the season of plenty, everything is breeding and all the migrant birds are here as well, so while you may not see large numbers of herbivores you will see a sample of them, as well as an extraordinary wealth of other smaller life forms. Thirdly- if it does rain it's seldom set in rain that goes on and on, usually it over is one blinding burst of thunder and lightening and then the sun comes out, and you can carry on with your game viewing.

It's the best time of year for photography since the black skies and towering thunder clouds make for a spectacular backdrop to any photograph and the air is clear of haze, thanks to the cleansing rain. Lions and Leopards are easy to find since they don't like getting wet and so, in the morning, walk down the roads to avoid the heavy dew in the undergrowth. But best of all, I love the green season because I have the place to myself- that is unless you, and everyone else reading this, are convinced and decide to come and join me!!

Ten Reasons to visit in the "Green Season"

Migrant Birds - The bird population seams to almost double as the migrants arrive following the rains and the abundance of food they bring!

Photography - Dark skies, clear air and every shade of green you could possibly imagine make this my favorite time of year to be taking photographs.

Cats - They don't like getting wet and since the heavy undergrowth is laden with dew in the morning they walk down the roads making them easier to track and find

Frogs - At night, wherever you are, you will be serenaded by a host of different species of frog, each lustily singing his own tune
Thunder and Lightening - If you haven't lived through a tropical thunder storm then you haven't lived

Babies - In the green season, all the inhabitants of the bush are fat and happy and producing offspring

Insects and Butterflies - the air is full of the buzzing and whirling of an astonishing diversity of the most outlandish looking creatures imaginable- contrary to popular opinion most of them are not the slightest bit interested in you.

You might get stuck! - Trust me, it will be the one experience you will never forget

You will get wet! - So what, the rain comes in great lumps and before it rains it's hot and humid so you welcome getting wet to cool down

You will have the place to yourself! Unless everyone else reads this and decides to join you!

This article first appeared on 21 November 2013 as a Blog on Russell Gammon's Africa

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