In the dark, dreary months of February, nothing beats anticipating warmer days and having an adventure to look forward to. The Easter holidays beckon, and with them all manner of opportunities for exploring Africa with your family. The rains will be falling in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, so if it’s a safari you are looking for, it’s an excellent time of year to head further south and west. The following destinations enjoy good weather in April, and tend not to be too busy.
The more water there is in a waterfall, the more impressive it will be. It makes perfect sense. In April, the Zambezi River is in full spate due to the rains, and the river comes crashing down at Victoria Falls with a thundering roar and billowing clouds of mist.
Victoria Falls marks the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Kolo tribe who live in the area call it The Smoke That Thunders, which is an apt moniker as it captures both the sound and the sight. When the sun’s rays hit the clouds of mist, there are dozens of dancing rainbows, increasing the site’s photographic appeal.
The falls are only a short distance from the Mana Pools National Park, so you can easily combine a couple of days in Victoria Falls with a thrilling safari. Families travelling with teenagers will also find all manner of adventures in Zimbabwe’s Matobo Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This area is a natural habitat for leopard; they like the varied vegetation, and the plentiful antelope ensure they never go hungry.
The deserts of Sossusvlei and Etosha in Namibia are brought to life as soon as the first light rains fall. By April, the landscapes have turned green, even the deserts are decorated with a sprinkling of flowers. With the growing vegetation, the animals and birds are well fed and content.
In April, it is also cool enough to go hiking in Damaraland, which is surely one of the most scenic part of Namibia. Barren plains, forests, mountains, and valleys shape the landscape, and there are some superb walking trails. Even if you’re not feeling particularly active, I’d recommend taking a drive through Damaraland, stopping for a picnic somewhere that you can soak up the sublime views.
KwaZulu Natal in South Africa is one of my very favourite family friendly destinations to visit during April. Known as the Garden Province, KwaZulu Natal stretches out along the Indian Ocean coast. It’s not only scenic, but there are opportunities for whale watching, too.
The most exciting attractions in KwaZulu Natal, however, are the battlefields from the Anglo-Zulu Wars. Here, you will learn the real stories behind films such as Rorke’s Drift and Zulu. The guides – often passionate amateur historians – are some of the best in Africa, and might even let you handle antique weapons from the wars.
Botswana is an incredible country with many unique destinations, but in April my #1 pick is the Kalahari Desert.
Base yourself at Jack’s Camp for an unforgettable desert experience. One morning you might opt for a meerkat encounter, sitting on the sands as these curious, cuddly creatures use you as a human climbing frame or look out post. Later in the day, you could be quad biking across the Makgadikgadi Pans, or even fossil hunting in the desert. There are numerous archeological sites to discover, and some fascinating opportunities to see the Kalahari’s desert-adapted wildlife.
The camp itself is also something very special. The design harks back to the 1920s, and it definitely has a luxury feel with antique furniture, vintage trunks, and fine Persian carpets decorating the floors.
You don’t need to wait until the summer holiday for an epic family adventure: Easter is a fabulous time of year to explore together in Africa. Get something in the diary now!
Laura Burdett-Munns is Managing Director at Africa Exclusive. Africa Exclusive has been creating the finest tailor-made safaris since 1990, specialising in luxurious accommodation in beautiful remote places.