The seasons of the year and what to expect at Thanda Safari

Thanda Team

In the wildlife country of South Africa’s northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), you will find Thanda Safari, a multiple award-winning Big Five private game reserve. This region is one of South Africa’s most popular holiday destinations, with magnificent wildlife, beaches and scenery. KZN weather is subtropical, with summer temperatures reaching 30C+ / 90F+.

The seasons of the year in South Africa and specifically KZN and Thanda Safari all have their own special beauty. With 14 000 hectares to explore on the reserve, led by our experts of the African bush, you’ll see the Big Five and an incredible range of animals, including cheetahs, hyaenas, giraffes, warthogs and abundant bird and plant life. In winter the grass is short and the animals are more reliant on specific waterholes, which makes it easier to find them. In summer the glorious African grasses offer greater cover for the animals but our sharp-eyed trackers and guides know where to find them.

In spring and summer, the days are generally balmy, with showstopping thunderstorms cooling things down. Winter mornings and nights are colder but the days are beautifully warm. Guests are always advised to bring bush clothing for warm and cold weather all year round.

An early morning or late afternoon safari is the best time to look for animals. You’ll awaken just before sunrise, which, in summer, is an early start, while in winter it’s a bit later. Throughout the year all Thanda Safari guests say their experience of an African sunset in the wild is something that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

In every season, there is nothing like a campfire at Thanda Safari under South African stars in our traditional African bush bomas. Thanda’s chefs prepare your feast ahead of your arrival, knowing how hungry you’ll be after your game drive.

Accommodation on Thanda Safari is suited to all seasons. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Thanda Safari is a multi-award-winning luxury game reserve with three accommodation offerings: Thanda Safari Lodge with its 9 exquisite bush suites; Villa iZulu – a completely private, luxurious bush retreat, ideal for celebrities, small groups and families; and Thanda Tented Camp with its 15 luxury safari tents for an evocative, traditional safari.


The best season to visit South Africa for your safari very much depends on which part of the country you choose as SA seasons vary. Thanda Safari, a magnificent Big Five private game reserve, is situated in the subtropical climate of northern KwaZulu-Natal. Each season here offers unique colours and moods, and the guides make sure guests experience an abundance of wildlife.

Summer brings the magnificent thunderstorms of the rainy season, starting around October and ending around March. The days are hot and balmy (30C+ / 90F+) and the reserve is full of grasses and flowers. One of the most striking trees during September and October is the Weeping Boer-bean (Schotia brachypetala) which produces massed bunches of beautiful scarlet cup-like flowers, overflowing with nectar on which the shimmering sunbirds feed.

In winter the grasses are short, making it easier to find the animals, and it’s a wonderful time of year to visit. The nights are cool (5-10C / 40-50F) and the days are mild (20-25C / 70F). Many consider June, July and August to be the best dry season months for wildlife viewing. Winter also offers the clearest night skies, with the Milky Way an arms-reach away. In African mythology, the Milky Way is the pathway of ancestral spirits, and meteors are the trails of celestial cattle hastening to new grazing in another part of the sky.

At all times of the year, bring warm and cool clothing. The nights can get cool even in summer. And always pack walking shoes, a sun hat and a good sun-block.


The best season to visit South Africa for your safari, more specifically KwaZulu-Natal, depends on your personal preference as every season in this subtropical region where Thanda Safari is situated, has its beauty and bounty.

If you are looking for hot weather (30C+ /90F+) and you want to combine your safari at Thanda Safari with time at the beach or a trip to the Garden Route or Cape Town, then spring and summer is a good time. Bear in mind this is also the rainy season at Thanda Safari, with awe-inspiring bush thunderstorms. The rainy season normally starts around October and ends around March.

Wildlife viewing is often considered at its best in late autumn and winter, generally the dry season, when the grass is short, offering excellent visibility, and the animals gather at specific waterholes. The nights are cool – around 5-10 C / around 40-50F) and the days are warm and mild – around 20-25C / 70F.

Whichever season you choose to visit, always bring warm and cool clothing, as even the summer nights and early mornings can get chilly, especially on game drives.

After time out in the bush at Thanda Safari, you return to one of the three magnificently appointed, award-winning accommodation options that personify romance and mystique, and are geared for all seasons. There is Thanda Safari Lodge with its nine exquisite bush suites and spa. There is Villa iZulu – a sumptuous, butler-serviced bush retreat for individuals, groups and families who need absolute privacy. And there is Thanda Tented Camp with its fifteen classic safari-style tents for an evocative, traditional safari experience.