DECEMBER 15TH – JANUARY 7TH (or so)
The end of the calendar year brings annual festivals including Christmas and New Year.
Places not normally known for being shy with luxury particularly enter into the seasonal spirit.
This is a very popular time in the Kruger. It brings a perfect storm of school holidays both local and international. Appropriately, it may well rain, and simultaneously be very hot. Once you have cooled off in the pool, there will be plenty going on in dry, air-conditioned comfort indoors to keep you entertained. The traditional of feasting at this time of year is well observed.
Peak prices allow some budget for seasonal festivation. The private lodges lay on quite a party.
South African school summer holidays including winter and Christmas are the busiest times of the year. Some facilities get booked a year in advance, so you must plan ahead to get what you want then. The period after the Christmas peak (schools restart mid January) up until the week before Easter is quiet. It is the best time to go if you are after a summer safari without hordes of other visitors. A few Lodges discount rates after the festive rush before increasing them for Easter, but sufficient numbers of sun-seekers from the northern hemisphere keep prices above those of low season.
Note that government restcamps and some of the Lodges offer fixed year-round rates. Inevitably these are the first to go, so you need to book well in advance. Park and Reserve entry and conservation fees do not change.
Game viewing activities remain unchanged during the festivities, although you may struggle a little with the early starts after a night of Springbok cocktails.
Game drives go out at their earliest to catch the last activity of the nocturnal and crepuscular predators, such as this leopard on New Years day at Londolozi.