There is no ‘best time’ to visit Tswalu, as each of the four Kalahari seasons offers unique wildlife viewing opportunities and dramatic changes to the landscapes as the environment responds to the presence or absence of water.
SPRING AT TSWALU
The mercury begins to climb in September and October, particularly as the days start to lengthen. Evenings can still be chilly, so come prepared with layered clothing.
In Spring, thorn bushes are softened by blossoms, and the night echoes to the calls of amorous barking geckos – the quintessential sound of the Kalahari. Meerkat pups venture outside their burrows for the first time, and there is a palpable sense of anticipation as we anticipate the beginning of the summer rains.
SUMMER AT TSWALU
Summer is our longest and most important season. Between November and March, hotter days are punctuated by delightfully mild evenings and spectacular afternoon thunderstorms.
While rain may be a regular inconvenience elsewhere, here it is both unpredictable and near miraculous. Consider yourself fortunate if it rains during your safari, as you’ll witness the almost instantaneous eruption of colour as the Kalahari transforms into a carpet of golden flowers and green shrubs and grasses.
Many species coordinate their reproductive cycles with the reappearance of the rains. New life is evident everywhere, from wobbly young antelope to irrepressibly curious jackal pups. Flocks of migrating birds descend on the reserve to enjoy summer’s bounty.
AUTUMN AT TSWALU
In the southern Kalahari, the autumn months of April and May are marked by milder days and cooler evenings as the last of the summer rains peter out.
The savanna remains at its greenest, and shimmers as the breeze carries seeds aloft. The sounds of clashing horns carry across the landscape as the impala rut reaches its peak, while tortoises and other reptiles prepare to hibernate through the winter.
WINTER AT TSWALU
Between June and August, temperatures can dip below freezing overnight while the days remain pleasantly warm. The contrast between the red earth and white early morning frost is a visual treat.
Winter is our driest season, with dust devils dancing across the dunes and exceptional stargazing on cloudless nights. Nocturnal species change their daily routines, tempted above ground by afternoon sunshine. This makes winter a wonderful time to look for Tswalu’s elusive species, such as aardvark, aardwolf and pangolin.