cosy lounge and wood burning fireplace

The inviting and cosy lounge of Bayethe Safari lodge

Winter is arguably one of the best times of the year for going on safari, between May and extending all the way through to spring in September. Winter in South Africa is usually what most northern country’s locals would call a summer day. Over 7 months of weather recorded in the Eastern Cape, the average temperature was over 25 degrees.

Here are 6 reasons why you should visit Shamwari for your winter holiday:

1. Escape The African Heat

While everyone loves a hot day, summer in South Africa can be intense. The heat can be especially bothersome if you are wanting to explore on foot with one of our bush walks

South Africa, in particular the Eastern Cape, experiences a generally dry and mild winter.

bushwalk in shamwari with rhinos in the background

An incredible sighting on a bushwalk at Shamwari

The mornings and afternoons tend to be cooler, whilst during the day temperatures tend to be warm and pleasant. And if you choose an early morning game drive where the weather is cooler, we will provide you with warm and fuzzy blankets and a special warm beverage at the hotel.

Bearing in mind it will be wise to pack a few clothing options to suit all weather patterns as winter varies all over Africa. Warmer jackets and sweaters are essential for game drives however, cosy blankets and hot water bottles are supplied to make your game drive that much more enjoyable.

2. See More African Wildlife

Game viewing is spectacular in the winter months as the animals tend to stay active for longer. Animals tend to flock to water holes as a result of little rainfall during this time and this makes for interesting wildlife encounters.

two elephants playing in front of green bush

Two elephants playing in the wild

Many varieties of wildlife also tend to be more active and less territorial, as they usually do not have babies in winter. In spring and summer, most of the wildlife have their babies and can become more aggressive or withdrawn to protect themselves and their babies.

The more elusive and nocturnal animals tend to appear out in the open on cooler days, as opposed to their reclusive behaviour in the summer months. Hippopotamuses often graze out in the open during cool winter days or they can be found wallowing in the mud. In the summer months, the sun is too harsh on their sensitive skin.

There’s a higher chance of seeing the nocturnal aardvark, as well as other creatures that come out at night. And there’s good news for guests with ophidiophobia (a fear of snakes) because many snakes will be less active and explore less in the cooler months.

If you’re looking for a sneak peek of the wildlife in Shamwari, you can watch this adorable video of a lion and his cubs.

3. An Exclusive Experience

Since winter in South Africa is categorised as a “low” season, tourism will be less busy than in the summer months. This can allow you to experience the country with less foot traffic – and actual traffic. There is nothing worse than booking a relaxing holiday and spending most of your time in queues.

two cheetahs in the african bush with people in the background

Guests watch two wild cheetahs from afar at Shamwari

With winter being our quieter months, you may be pleasantly surprised when at some lodges, as you have a greater chance of ending up with your own private vehicle. A little something that can make your winter safari in South Africa even more special.

With less hustle and bustle you will be able to truly enjoy your downtime at Shamwari. You may also find yourself meeting new people as the groups on vacation are smaller. It will also be easier to coordinate and book your special activities. You may be able to get a booking for that last-minute spa treatment you wanted before you leave!

close up of the table at Bayethe spa at Shamwari

Experience bliss at the spa of your choice

4. Enjoy A More Affordable Safari Vacation

As it falls in our low season, guests will also find that the rates are much more affordable than during the busy, peak summer months. We have a variety of specials that will fall in the same time frame as a South African winter holiday. This is quite an anomaly for a luxury safari holiday, as many lodges do not offer discounts.

Because many people will be hunting for discounts on holidays, it is pertinent that you book your stay in advance. This allows you to find the perfect week or weekend for your visit to Shamwari, without having to compromise on dates.

One of our most popular offerings is the African Safari Special, where guests can get 10% off their stay at selected lodges when 3 consecutive nights are booked. This winter getaway is valid from 1st May to 31st October. The discount is increased to 15% when booking 4 consecutive nights or more!

bedroom and balcony of sindile lodge at sunset

The spectacular Sindile interior and balcony at sunset

5. Explore South African Festivals

Depending on how far you are willing to travel, there are many wonderful festivals in South Africa! We’ve rounded up some of the most celebrated winter festivals in the Country.

1. AfrikaBurn

Although this may not technically start in winter, it is right on the cusp! AfrikaBurn is one of the most famous festivals in South Africa. This event is all about the expression of creativity and helping humans connect to their inner artists. Well-known for the wild outfits, massive wooden sculptures and amazing music – this festival is sure to be an unforgettable experience.

wooden sculpture at Afrikaburn backlit by the sunrise

An abstract wooden sculpture at AfrikaBurn backlit by sunrise

2. The Knysna Oyster Festival

This festival has it all – sport, oysters and wine! The festival spans one week in July in the beautiful and charming town of Knysna. If you have been waiting for an excuse to take a trip down the Garden Route, this is well worth the drive! The Knysna Oyster Festival will immerse you in a tight-knit community of food and drink fanatics.

boats parked at a port with mountain in the background

The sunset from the Knysna Yacht Club

3. Grahamstown National Arts Festival

From mid-June to the beginning of July the quaint town of Grahamstown is transformed into a cornucopia of creativity. The National Arts Festivals draws in creatives from around the country. The festival features art, music, performances and entertainment. This family-friendly event is perfect for people travelling with younger children.

theatre stage stock photo with audience silhouetted

Attend a variety of wonderful performances

6. Get Cosy In Luxury

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is revered for its luxury. From the gorgeous architecture to the plush interiors – you are sure to be blown away by the beauty of the lodges. One of the perks of coming here on your winter getaway is that you will get a chance to relax in the gorgeous interiors.

Many of the lodges have wood-burning fireplaces that create the perfect atmosphere for relaxation. If you prefer sitting in the fresh air there are also firepits at the different lodges which can take the chill out of the air. There are of course extra blankets at the lodge that you can use to cuddle up with outside.

exterior shot of Bayethe lodge at Shamwari

Enjoy the cosiness of winter in luxury lodges

Book your dream winter vacation!

Clearly, there is no better time to book a vacation than in the winter months of South Africa. With special discounts, less stress and better wildlife sightings – your winter holiday will be one to cherish.

So, if you haven’t yet been on a safari in winter, why not give it a try? It could be something magical and memorable. Check out the list of our luxury safari lodges for your vacation to ensure you find your perfect place. Remember to book your stay in advance to avoid disappointment.