As an overnight chill tingles in the air, it’s time to talk winter in the Karoo. For many of our overseas guests, you’re just heading into summer, and maybe you’re a little worried about travelling to our ‘cold’ season for a holiday. However, as our local fans know, winter in South Africa is actually one of the very best times of year to enjoy wildlife in the bush- and all the other delights on offer here at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge.

Wonderful for tourism year-round

It’s just one of the many things that make the Karoo so special. Because we are officially classed as a semi-arid zone, we get hot summers and cold winters. While winter days are mild and pleasant, overnight can get surprisingly chilly, so be sure to pack some light, warm layers. 

This gives visitors one of their few chances to see snow in the South African mountains, a fact that delights the locals. You also skip the rain, as we get the bulk of our humidity in summer. While refreshing rain is always welcome in Africa, it can be a little annoying bouncing down muddy dirt roads and can also keep wildlife in their dens, which no one wants on holiday! Instead, you’ll get crisp morning air and some of the best stargazing opportunities in the world. 

South African winters officially stretch from June to August, but May can also be a little crispy. September 1st is when South Africans love to celebrate all things Spring, but it’s not unheard of for there to be a cold snap or two throughout the month.

Wildlife and wide-open spaces: why winter in the Karoo is the best

Winter in the Karoo offers a host of delights, both eccentric and traditional. It’s always a little less crowded here in fall and winter, allowing you to soak in the local colour instead. There’s plenty of vibrancy to enjoy, no matter what makes your heart sing. Sample delicious local treats at a wide variety of cafes and restaurants, taste wine from the nearby vineyards, or explore the very best of the local farmer’s markets, with produce that will have you drooling.

Yet the real reason to come to the Karoo in winter is for the wildlife viewing. While spring is the perfect time to spot wobbly newborns, summer isn’t actually the prime game viewing season- winter is. Due to the encroaching dry season, animals cluster at watering holes, making for fantastic viewing opportunities. 

Additionally, while the Karoo always has sparse vegetation, some winter die-back of leaves makes it easier than ever to spot animals at play. Later in the season, you’ll also spot pregnant does at play- and maybe even the earliest births of the season. Intriguingly, winter also marks a point where traditionally nocturnal species start creeping out earlier in the day, making the choice to hunt while it’s a bit warmer and brighter. If spotting an aardvark, bat-eared fox, or elusive aardwolf would make your day, there’s no better time than now! Don’t forget to add the iconic ‘rock dassie’- a tiny, hamster-like creature immortalized in South African legend- to the list!

Buffelsdrift Game Lodge offers you year-round vibrancy and spectacular wildlife experiences no matter when you visit. Let us warm you up with a coffee or hot chocolate (or even try a traditional South African renoster koffee with some warming brandy) in our outstanding restaurant and experience the magic of winter in the bush for yourself.