During November and December the South of Tanzania usually enjoys its first rains after a typical long dry season. This signals the start of what is called the ‘short rains’. A few weeks after the first rains have fallen, the landscape dramatically changes. Depending on how much rain is received, new grasses, leaves and flowers may appear, painting the landscape in colour.
Even though rain may be a bit unpredictable, visiting Siwandu in the Nyerere National Park during this time of the year, is still a great choice. It will rarely rain all day, but one can expect the possibility of short showers a few times a week. Of course the weather can be unpredictable, but normally will not hinder your game drive experience. Temperatures may range between the high 20’s and mid 30’s with evening temperatures dropping to the low 20’s. It can be quite humid during this time as rain builds up.
Game is still plentiful though their movements will change as they tend to move further away from the lakes as more noticeable small pools or pans of water form deeper in the bush. Animals like zebra, wildebeest, eland and buffalo are able to drink daily from these pans so some game drives will mainly focus on these areas.
Impala, warthog and giraffe are still seen regularly close to camp and around the lakes and now is the peak time for Impala to give birth. It is a lovely time to experience the magnitude of newly born Impala lambs.
With an increase in Impala numbers predators have more food available with sightings of hyena, lion and wild dog may be witnessed with greater success. This time of the year is usually a fairly productive month for wild dogs as the packs’ new puppies are now old enough to leave the safety of their dens and start joining the adults in hunting. This area is home to the largest population of African Wild Dogs in Africa with an estimated 1 500 to 2 000 wild dogs in the greater Selous ecosystem.
The Doum Palm fruits are ripening from November and the elephants love feeding on these fruits. A drive through some palm thickets can often be very rewarding. The Doum Palm is a palm tree but has forked branches instead of having a single trunk. Their fruits are an excellent source of carbohydrates and fiber. The leaves are used by locals to braid beautiful carpets, baskets and even rope.
From November many migrant bird species arrive in the area. Both intra-African and Palearctic migrants like the Woodland Kingfisher, Broad-billed Roller, European Roller, Barn Swallow, Eurasian Bee-Eater, Wahlberg’s Eagle and all the Cuckoo species can be seen here.
Even though boating safaris on Lake Nzerakera at Siwandu are good all year round, the channel connecting the lake with the Rufiji riverways may open up after the rains. There may be less animals coming down to the lake to drink, but hippos and crocodiles are plentiful year-round.
For more information about staying at Siwandu in the Nyerere National Park (former Selous Game Reserve), visit our website or contact our reservations teams at email@example.com. We look forward to welcoming you to the South of Tanzania!