Drought in Southern Africa Leads to Incredible Wildlife Sightings

Those of you who have booked a 2024 safari to southern Africa should expect incredible game viewing… in addition to supporting Africa at a vital time.


An El Nino weather pattern between October 2023 and March 2024, resulted in hot, dry weather and little rainfall in southern Africa. Therefore the region is now experiencing a drought. Droughts of course lead to failed crops, food shortages, and suffering among people and animals. They also offer spectacular wildlife viewing for safari goers who visit Africa during these times. Several clients have asked if it is OK to visit the region as they don’t want to make the situation worse… we suggest that by visiting safari travelers are providing incredibly vital income, employment and conservation funding when needed most.


Why does animal viewing improve? Animals must have access to water and with dwindling water supplies they are easier to find. Already clients visiting Botswana and Western Zimbabwe have returned from trips during the first few months of the year are reporting game viewing akin to what you might expect during the high season months June through October.


February 2024 was the driest February in 40 years for Zambia and Zimbabwe, according to the WFP’s seasonal monitor, while Malawi, Mozambique and parts of Angola had “severe rainfall deficits.”


The 2015-2016 El Niño also brought a severe drought for southern Africa, the region’s worst in 35 years, according to the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs.


John Steglin, a senior meteorologist at the Department of Meteorological Services in Botswana, said the dry spells are becoming longer and more severe in this landlocked southern African country. Steglin said that Botswana’s rainy season, which ran reliably from October to March for decades, has become erratic in recent years, sometimes starting only in December with no guarantee of consistency.


Stay well,

Ian Proctor

Ultimate Africa President
“I first visited Africa in the late 1980s. I came face to face with a wild elephant, and fell in love with being on safari! I made it my goal to create an African travel company that was all about authentic wildlife experiences. Many years later we are one of the top African travel companies in the Americas – known for arranging custom safaris to East and Southern Africa; personal trips, no cookie cutter stuff.”

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