Are "green" season and "low" season the same?

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Mar 29th, 2005, 07:46 AM
  #1
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Are "green" season and "low" season the same?

I'm considering heading to Botswana or Botswana/Zimbabwe or Botswana/Zambia during the "green" season in 2006, but am not exactly sure when that is. I've heard the "green" season runs from early December through the end of March. And, I've heard the "low" season runs from November through the end of June. So, I'm not sure which of those months would be the best in terms of game viewing and weather or when the prices are lower.

Any clarification or advice is appreciated. Thanks.
phernska is offline  
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Mar 29th, 2005, 04:18 PM
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Having always traveled in the high season, my answer is not from personal experience, but from just checking out camps and pricing and contemplating a green season getaway someday.

The green season, also called the emerald season, is the low season, when there is more rain and more vegetation. Depending on the camp, it can run from the beginning of Nov or Dec until the end of March or even May.

I think game spotting is more difficult during the green season due to higher grasses and more vegetation. Also animals have more sources of water so they are not as concentrated near rivers or lakes. One exception I believe is in South Luangwa, the wild dogs are in areas more likely to be seen during the green season than the high season. However, I think most other animal viewing is not quite as good in the green season. Those who have gone during both wet and dry seasons could give a better comparison based on their actual experiences.

Birding is usually better in the green season and I would imagine the landscape would be lovely at this time, not as brown and dead as in high season. Fewer people may also be a green season advantage.

I would avoid Jan. Feb. and early March in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi just because I think you'd be battling rain too much and not see enough.

If you could get a reservation just before the high season rates kick in around the first or middle of June, that would be a nice window of opportunity. By that time the rainfall is very low so you are not getting soaked and it is not terribly hot. While not as good as Aug or Sept, the game viewing should be better than earlier in the low season.
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Mar 29th, 2005, 07:03 PM
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Thanks Lynn....As always, your responses are detailed and thoughtful. I'm pondering the question you raised about going into debt to travel to Africa.....
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Mar 31st, 2005, 05:54 PM
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Phernska,

The Emerald Season is a term that I have seen mostly used in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. In the past it has been used to describe the time period between about November 15th - March 31st, when there is a chance of thunderstorms, but when the park is also a beautiful emerald green.

However, I have received an e-mail, I think from Robin Pope Safaris, that has extended the Emerald Season specials, which are very good prices, all the way until May 31st. Each of my past two visits to South Luangwa have been in the first week of June, and I found the timing to be very nice.

The weather was cool at night but never uncomfortably cold, as I have been at the same time of the year in the Lower Zambezi and in the Sabi Sand (early June).

The gameviewing is still good at this time of year and the landscapes are amazing. I do think, however, that for anybody considering a May safari to South Luangwa that you will likely miss the wild dogs, which really seem to hang around in March and April before seeking more remote parts of the park by May and especially by June.

I did just complete reading a very good book by the late Norman Carr, Valley Of The Elephants. This book was nearly entirely devoted to taking the reader through the different months in South Luangwa, with about 6 - 8 pages devoted to each month and what a visitor would expect to see during those months. Also, it concluded by taking the reader through a "walking safari." This would be excellent reading for anybody planning their first trip to South Luangwa, although I found only two copies in existence on the internet at the time of my search and paid over $100 for this book...at least it was signed by Norman Carr with some nice words to the visitor who likely bought it in England and then brought it along on his safari with him to South Luangwa.

Without Norman Carr's books, there would be very little to read about South Luangwa National Park.

Anyway, the only months that I would probably avoid in South Luangwa would be anytime between about mid December to early March.

Also, do not limit yourself to "Emerald Season" specials. There are other lodges, such as Luangwa River Lodge (www.luangwariverlodge.com) that offer similar specials.

For November 01st - May 31st, for examply, you may stay at Luangwa River Lodge for only $250 per person per night for the first three nights and then only $200 pppn thereafter. Wouldn't seem like a bad idea to just go and chill out at a luxury lodge such as LRL for a week, paying only $1,350 pp for a 6 night stay.
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Mar 31st, 2005, 06:00 PM
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Phernska,

I think I remember you saying that you may be going solo. If so, I think it would be brilliant to combine Botswana with Zambia using something like one of the packages in this link for Botswana:

http://www.tagasafaris.co.za/explorations-safaris.htm

There is only a 10% or so single supplement. I think it would be nice to do Botswana first, spend a night or two in Livingstone (Victoria Falls) and then finish up with a nicely priced luxury lodge such as Luangwa River Lodge!
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