February is the height of the green season, in many places, there has been rainfall since November and this continues. The temperature is warm and it's sunny with generally afternoon downpours.
As February brings substantial rains, the bush is at its fullest and loveliest, and wildlife highlights abound, including calving season for many antelope species. The presence of numerous antelope calves attracts a lot of predators to parks such as Savuti in Botswana and South Luangwa in Zambia.
Landscapes are beautifully lush and green and stormy skies over green landscapes and sunlit animals in the foreground make for incredible photographs. This is not the month to forget your camera!
Victoria Falls and the Zambezi water levels are high and the world wonder at its fullest is an incredible thundering display that drives plumes of spray high into the air and drenches viewers.
Summer birding is typically spectacular, and this month is no exception. Birders with a keen eye can spot a variety of specialities. Colourful weavers, widows, and whydahs moult into their magnificent breeding plumages, while Southern Carmine Bee-eaters nest beside rivers. Throughout February, bird enthusiasts will find Southern Africa to be a dream visit.
Savuti, Chobe National Park, Botswana
Savuti is a wild and enigmatic region in the Chobe National Park's centre, secluded from the Chobe riverfront's peak season visitors.
Incredibly what is now a bleak, austere environment for most of the year, was once immersed beneath a vast inland sea. The rivers that supplied the sea eventually found new channels due to tectonic movement.
The Savuti region is centred on the intriguing 100-kilometre-long Savuti Channel and the marsh it periodically feeds. Due to ongoing moderate tectonic plate movement and water levels in the Zambezi and Chobe, this waterway floods and dries in a wholly unpredictable manner.
The channel does not need to be flowing to provide fantastic wildlife encounters; this is a year-round attraction with a well-deserved reputation for enormous concentrations of species. Savuti is known for its predators, particularly its resident lion and spotted hyena populations, as well as its large bird of prey population. The goosebump-inducing sounds of lions roaring and hyenas whooping in the starlight characterize nighttime.
Camelthorn and Terminalia dotted scrub savanna, as well as mopane veld, define the Savuti area. For most of the year, Savuti offers a desert-like setting. With blistering sun, loose, hot sand, animals crowding together in the available shade, and elephants lining up at waterholes.
One of the best times to visit is during the rainy season. Savuti's grasslands and savannah forests bloom from November to April, and food is plentiful. Thousands of zebras travel south from the Linyanti to the Mababe Depression grasslands in December, passing through Savuti. In February, they return north, passing through the Savuti again, and the landscape transforms into a dazzling display of stripes.
Although Savuti is famed all year for its large bull elephants, breeding herds of cows and babies also arrive during this time. The broad plains are teeming with young antelope, while migrant birds add a splash of colour to the sky. As you traverse the Savuti swamp, your safari vehicle is swarmed by swooping carmine bee-eaters attempting to snag a grasshopper disturbed by the car.
The ancient rock art seen in the granite outcrops of Savute is another attraction. The rocks are adorned with delicate, stylized paintings of buffalo, giraffe, eland, snakes, and other creatures painted in brilliant colours of oxblood and ochre. They were painted by the San people up to 1,500 years ago and are still amazing to behold now. A grove of seven mighty and old baobab trees can also be seen on a low rocky outcrop.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.
South Luangwa National Park in the Luangwa River valley is the highlight of eastern Zambia and is famed for its abundant wildlife. Luangwa is near the top of the list of Africa's most famous parks because it combines a fantastic wildlife region with incredibly high-quality guiding.
Wide alluvial plains populated with grazing animals stretch on both sides of the Luangwa River. The location is lovely, with lush grass, shallow lakes, and great stands of forest stretching to the escarpment. The river is home to hippos and crocodiles, and supports diverse species and habitats, with over 60 mammal species and 400 bird species.
Three endemic herbivores stand out among this buffet of species: the gorgeous Thornicroft's giraffe, the Cookson's wildebeest, and the Crawshay's zebra. Elephants, buffalos, pukus, and impalas graze in large herds. Leopards and spotted hyenas are also prevalent, as are large prides of lions. South Luangwa is one of Africa's few national parks that allows spotlit nighttime drives, making nocturnal predators easier to spot.
The Luangwa is renowned for its walking safaris. You will explore the park's rich natural habitats with some of Africa's most skilled guides, and there is no better place for a walking safari. You can carefully approach large game animals on foot or spend time learning about the subtleties of nature's little wonders, such as termite mounds and flowers.
The Luangwa receives its first rain in November. Short downpours followed by mild sunshine result in a vegetation explosion. Animals take advantage of the plentiful food to give birth to offspring, while migratory birds flock to the area. It's a time of plenty when the park is vibrant and alive with activity.
Due to access concerns, camps have historically closed around this time. However, times have changed, and some operators now provide fantastic safaris during the green season. Green season safaris are offered by camps such as Chinzombo, Kapani, Nkwali, and Tafika, which explore the tributaries, flooded pans, and plains by boat, gaining access to locations that were previously off-limits at this time of year. These are fantastic places to go birdwatching and experience Africa at its most alive.
In the green season, birds are in breeding plumage, singing and displaying, frogs and insects abound, flowers are in bloom and butterflies are everywhere. The big game viewing is also superb especially by boat and on foot. The lush vegetation and vivid storm skies are ideal for photography and with few lodges operating, it will feel like a private paradise.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Victoria Falls is the world's greatest curtain of cascading water, with a height of 108 meters and a width of 1,708 meters. It's also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which means "the smoke that thunders," and is one of Africa's most evocative names. The rising mist, rumbling rumble, and yawning chasm into which sheets of water cascade are all fascinating. All of the superlatives in the language have been used to try to describe this great natural wonder, but none of them come close to doing it justice. To properly appreciate the falls you must see them in person.
The falls are located on the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia and may be seen from either side of the border. We recommend seeing the falls from both to truly experience its grandeur, especially at times of high water. On either side of the waterfall, there are national parks to visit and hike around. There are numerous little pathways that meander around the clifftop opposite the falls. The mist coming from the chasm has produced a rainforest-like ecology, and you can see close-up views of the plunging water as you wander among the fig, palm, and mahogany trees. Bushbuck, warthogs, vervet monkeys, trumpeter hornbills and baboons are also common sightings in the rainforest.
The falls can also be seen from the window of a helicopter or the back of a microlight, or from the edge of the precipice whilst swimming inside the appropriately called Devil's Pool.
Aside from the breathtaking waterfall, there are other more activities available. Supper is served on the Bushtracks Express, a restored 1920s steam train that takes you through Victoria Falls National Park and onto the Victoria Falls Bridge, where you may savour sunset views of the falls before continuing on to the Victoria Falls Bridge for an elegant five-course dinner.
A sunset ride on the Zambezi is a classic activity that entails watching for wildlife while admiring the river's splendour and sipping your favourite beverage. Victoria Falls National Park is home to zebra, giraffe, buffalo, lion, impala, and the occasional leopard, which can be seen during game drives. Whitewater rafting downstream from the falls in the Batoka Gorge provides a thrilling adrenaline rush. The gorge also offers a variety of high-wire activities, including bungee jumping, ziplining, and more.
The best time to visit is between January and April when the falls are at their most spectacular. If you want to see the full force of the Zambezi River crashing down, February is one of the best months to visit Victoria Falls. Do be prepared that the water's exhilarating strength creates a lot of sprays, which can drench visitors and make gaining panoramic views from the ground challenging. February is also a great month for birding, with many hotels providing discounted prices.