The Karoo is a beautiful land (but then again, we’re a little biased). What’s even better, is that it’s beautiful as a tourist destination almost year-round. With a semi-arid climate, wildlife viewing is spectacular no matter what the season. Here’s Buffelsdrift Game Reserve’s key guide to the Karoo in winter, and what you’re missing out on if you don’t visit us here at least once in the cool season.
What is the Karoo like in winter?
Remember that winter in the Karoo can get rather cold. The great news? This may be your very best time to see real snow in the mountains! We’re typically a summer rainfall area, when we receive rain at all, so winter can be the ideal travel time. Avoid muddy dirt roads and dreary days, and enjoy the crisp, fresh air on the reserve instead. Just remember to pack warm- with a semi-arid climate, you’d be surprised at how chilly the overnights can get. However, this is also the best time of year, hands-down, for those of you interested in a karoo stargazing experience.
Winter in South Africa is generally held to fall between June and August, with May still being a fresh, crisp month and September celebrating the official start of spring (usually with a cold snap)!
What is there to do in the Karoo in winter?
Even better, this is a time of year where there’s a lot of local vibrancy- but not a lot of crowds. If you enjoy the eccentric, AfrikaBurn, the local equivalent to Burning Man, does tend to hit the desert in late fall/early winter. There’s a ton of more conventional fun to be had, too. From wine and fine dining to farm markets with fresh-from-the-ground produce for you to enjoy, there’s a little of something to tickle everyone’s palette.
What’s the winter wildlife in the Karoo like?
One of South Africa’s best-kept secrets is that summer really isn’t the best season for superlative wildlife viewing. With winter comes significant water pressures, which means local animals are forced to flock to native water sources to make it through the cold season. While viewing in the Karoo is never significantly impacted by the habitat, sparser winter flora does tend to make spotting animals a little easier too.
Of course, as you sail into late winter and early spring, it’s also the time of year to catch pregnant does and bucks cavorting in the wild, and maybe even an early birth or two. What’s quite exciting, however, is that many nocturnal species can be more easily spotted in daylight during winter. They opt to hunt while it’s still brighter, and the chill not so strong. Expect to have a better chance to spot bat-eared foxes, aardvarks searching winter termites, and the elusive aardwolf all on the prowl. There’s also the iconic African dassie, a little rock rodent, to look out for.
Buffelsdrift Game Reserve is as vibrant and full-of-life in the winter months as the summer, and we’re always ready to welcome you. Come sip a warming mug of hot chocolate (or a brandy to beat back the chill) in our delicious restaurant. It’s time to enjoy the winter in the Karoo like a native! You’re sure to fall in love.