safari south africa

image via ryan kilpatrick

Since it sits well south of the equator, the seasons are reversed in South Africa. When the searing summertime heat and tropical storms are making life miserable for summertime travelers in the Caribbean and Eastern Mexico, sunny and dry "winter" days give South Africa’s June and July visitors the perfect setting for a pleasant getaway.  And, of course, "winter" is a relative term.  The temperatures are still very pleasant in most of South Africa throughout the year.

South Africa Waterberg vacation

image via Jean and Nathalie

During the winter "dry season" afternoon temperatures in the 60s or 70s are the norm in the wildlife-rich northern regions of the country.  The Limpopo Province (previously known as the Northern Province) is attractive for both wildlife seekers and those who want to experience adventure without giving up luxury.  Both types of travelers flock to Limpopo's private game reserves.  These exclusive places offer the classic safari experience.

African luxury safari

image via David Siu

The Waterberg area is one of South Africa's stand-out safari destinations, both because of its scenery (stunning valleys, mountains, and grasslands) and because it is a malaria-free zone.  Lions, elephants, and giraffes inhabit the province, making it a prime location of nature-seekers who are trying to photograph Africa's Big 5 animal species.

However, Waterberg’s private game reserves can only be reached by bush plane and the number of guests are limited, so there is no need to worry about jeep traffic jams creating a zoo-like atmosphere.  At places like the Leobo Private Reserve, it is just you and the wildlife (and the stunning Limpopo vistas). The stars of the safari scene are all here: zebras, hippos, gazelles, giraffes, and Cape buffalo. You may even come across a crocodile or two in the preserve's wetland areas.

Private game reserve South Africa

image via Estate Weddings and Events

Leobo is a standout for a couple of reasons. First of all, it is a completely private reserve, meaning that if you stay there, you will have the whole of the 12,000 acres to yourself.

The onsite rangers can take you on a traditional Land Cruiser safari, a quad bike expedition, or a game-viewing helicopter trip. There is even a horse stable at Leobo so you can gallop with zebras and canter along the veld while taking in the sunset over the distance mountain peaks.

South Africa safari venues

image via steve slater

Leobo offers the kind of rustic luxury that people seeking a true safari experience will appreciate. The preserve's cottages feature airy traditional African design and discreetly placed luxuries that can add to the level of comfort without detracting from the classic game lodge atmosphere.

Luxury safari venues in South Africa

image via Estate Weddings and Events

A second accommodation option, dubbed the Observatory, is what truly sets the Leobo Private Reserve apart from other private properties in the Waterberg and wider Limpopo areas. Sweeping verandas, spacious living areas, and a state-of-the-art sunset deck provide a true feeling of luxury.  And the Observatory is not just a unique name.  There is actually the working astronomical observatory, complete with state-of-the-art telescope, allows guests to take advantage of the ever-clear wintertime skies to take a safari of the solar system.

Luxury game lodge Africa

image via Estate Weddings and Events

Like the surrounding areas of northern South Africa, the "winter" daytime temperatures will be pleasant, but not hot, at Leobo.  The nights are still well above freezing and there is plenty or warmth near the fire places located throughout the property.  There is even a traditional African enclosure that features a roaring bonfire nightly.


Perhaps you’d rather spend your wintertime vacation in the more tropical climes of Eastern Africa. We have estates in Kenya and Tanzania (including the fantastic island of Zanzibar).

You turn...

Have you ever been on a safari in South Africa? Use the comments section to tell us about your experiences.