Seasons in the Southern Kalahari can be described in traditional terms - spring, summer, autumn and winter - but their true character and duration are very different from most other climates.
In Spring (September - October), the weather begins to warm, though a cold front can still sweep inland from the Cape; come prepared with a fleece for the evening..
Three-thorn thickets bloom with soft, tissue-like flowers, and blackthorn and honeybush blossoms scent the evening air. Barking geckos call for mates in a cacophony unique to the Kalahari, and meerkat pups emerge from their dens in anticipation of the rains.
Summer (November - March) brings hot days and mild evenings with only an occasional afternoon thunderstorm.
Rain is always unpredictable in the desert, but if you are fortunate enough to experience it, you will be astounded as the desert turns into a lush green spectacle glittering with golden trebles flowers.
Many of the antelope calf early in summer, and signs of new life abound. Jackals and foxes bring their pups above ground after the first rains to enjoy prolific insect life. Migrant birds such as cuckoos and lanner falcons arrive at Tswalu, making bird watching especially exciting.
In Autumn (April - May), the days become mild and the evenings cool. With luck, there may even be some late season’s rains.
This is the greenest time of the year; the savannahs take on a beautiful silkiness as the grasses surrender their seeds to gentle breezes.
Autumn is the time of the rut as antelope such as impala, in peak physical condition, begin a frenzy of fighting to establish territories and claim mates. Animals that hibernate through the short winter (such as leguaans and leopard tortoises) become very active, eating as much as they can before the first frost.
Winter (June - August) sees temperatures cool. The first frost falls as nighttime temperatures occasionally drop below freezing, though the daytime will still be pleasantly warm.
Conditions become very dry as humidity disappears. As the grasses and thorn bushes dry out, so sightings of rarer, smaller mammals such as aardvark, aardwolf and pangolin increase as they emerge into daylight.
Dust devils (small swirling dust storms) drift across the sand dunes. The clear evenings of winter offer the best stargazing spectacle under the Kalahari’s breathtaking “diamond skies”.
No matter the season, the Kalahari promises thrilling sights you won’t find anywhere else on Earth.