What is the best time to go for a safari in Africa?
Planning a safari to Africa is a little bit easier than knowing the best time to go for a safari in Africa, as it is known Africa is generally warm and sunny throughout the year but some Africa regions experience varying climatic conditions.
The best time to go on a safari in Africa typically depends on the seasons which varies depending on the time of the year and region of Africa, below is the detailed best time to go for a safari in Africa based on seasons.
Seasons are a great factor which is heavily depended on while deciding on the best time to go on a safari in Africa, Africa as a continent lies in north and south hemispheres and it is divided by the equator and these hemispheres receive varying seasons. Africa’s North hemisphere experience 4 seasons that are spring, summer, autumn, and winter, regardless of the 4 seasons the best time to visit Africa depends on the wet and dry seasons.
The African continent is again divided into regions that are west Africa, East Africa, Northern Africa, and southern Africa, these regions experience different season at a different time of the year as below.
West Africa experiences a dry season from November – April and the wet season are experienced in from April – to July and September to October. South region of west Africa experiences 2 rain seasons that are April – mid-July and September to October, North region of West Africa experiences only 1 rain season from July to September.
East Africa experiences dry season in the period of June – November and Wet season is experienced in November – March.
Northern Africa experiences dry season in a period of June – September and Wet season is experienced in November to March.
Southern Africa experiences dry season in a period of April to October and wet season in a period of November to March.
As per seasons, the best time to go on a safari in Africa in any destination is the dry season. The dry season comprises of thinner vegetation cover which makes the sighting of wildlife easy, in this period most water sources dry up making animals congregate around watering holes. Routes used on game viewing in-game destinations are drier and passable in the dry season, dry seasons on the Africa continent differs on different regions.
Below is the break down of the best time to go for a safari in Africa month by month
January to February
The period from January to February is the best time period to visit African destinations in Africa, Botswana, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.
January – February is the best time to visit various game destinations such as Serengeti national park, lake Manyara national park, Tarangire national park, Ngorongoro conservation area and many more. This period is the best time to visit Tanzania for wildebeest viewing in Serengeti national park, January is the preparation stage for the great wildebeest migration and a birthing time. Depending on January rains, if they were good it is time for wildebeest and zebras to gain strength and begin grazing on the green pastures.
In this period thousands of wildebeest calves are born each day of January and tourists have an opportunity to view wildebeests and zebras giving birth which is a memorable experience. The birth of claves attracts predators such as lions, cheetahs, and wild dogs which track down the herds to fist on the calves.
January – February is a rainy season/green season in Botswana offering an abundance of lush greenery and it is a perfect time for a birding safari in Botswana and sightings of big cat calving season, in this period many big cats “cheetahs, lions, leopards, springbok, impalas, and wild dogs” give birth to newborns. Birding in this period id perfect in the various birding destinations/birder’s paradise in Botswana such as Kalahari Desert national park, in the period January to February birds such as flamingoes flock around lakes, and migratory bird such as kingfishers, swallows, bee-eaters, and many are present in numerous Botswana birding destinations.
In January – February, herds gather and start their great migration for example zebra migration through the wetlands of the Makgadikgadi pans,
January – February is a dry season in Rwanda which is the best time for mountain gorilla trekking hiking, birding, and game viewing safaris, most destinations in Rwanda are heavily forested and because of the season it is a lower risk for malaria. Learn More about Rwanda
Uganda is a great tourist destination in East Africa worth visiting on a safari Africa, Uganda has a number of protected areas habiting various species of wildlife such as Bwindi impenetrable national park and Mgahinga national park habiting the critically endangered mountain gorillas, Kibale national park, Queen Elizabeth national park, Kidepo national park and many more.
In this period there is thinner vegetation cover offering the best time for spotting animals and for mountain gorilla trekking the trails are dry which makes hiking through the mountainous landscape easy. Learn More about Uganda
March to April
Period of march – April is a wet season in South Africa but it is an ideal time to visit South Africa’s Kruger national park, in his park temperatures are pleasant (not too hot, not too cold) and there is lush green vegetation. This period is ideal for both bird and wildlife viewing as there are plenty of birdlife to spot and animals are easily sighted grazing on the green grass.
As it is known, South Africa is an ideal year-round safari destination, this period is perfect for combing a game viewing safari in Kruger national park with a safari to cape town, cape Winelands, and beach holidays in the Indian ocean’s warm waters.
Zambia and Zimbabwe
The month of April is an ideal time of the year to visit the magnificent Victoria falls situated between Zambia and Zimbabwe, this period is technically a wet season, and over 500 million liters of water cascade down into River Zambezi creating a larger spray which is visible 30 miles away. On top of enjoying spectacular scenic views of the falls, there is plenty of wildlife such as baboons, warthogs to spot around the falls, and hippos in hippos around Zambezi River.
The period march – April is the best time for game viewing in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains national park which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, this park comprises breathtaking views from a mixture of towering mountains, valleys, and gorges. Simien Mountains national park is home to extremely rare wildlife species such as gelada baboon, Walia ibex goat, and simian fox which are spotted in the park, and other animals such as leopards, jackals, hyenas, and bushbucks.
May to June
In the month of May, Botswana’s climate is warm, dry, and mild which is conducive for game viewing in Kalahari and Chobe national park, in this period zebra migration is spotted. Herds of zebras move across the plains of Kalahari heading to the wetter north and large herds of elephants are sighted along Chobe River. What makes this period ideal for visiting Botswana is that as the weather becomes drier, mosquitos are fewer thus reducing the risk of malaria.
In May the wet season blends with the dry season which is referred to as shoulder month in Zimbabwe, in this month days are warm but not too hot and as June approaches it becomes drier, nights are chilly but not freezing thus making it a perfect time of year for a safari in Zimbabwe. Because of the green but quickly drying out land, wildlife viewing is very easy and also animals start to congregate around rivers and watering holes. This period is an ideal time for spotting the big five “lions, leopard, rhino, buffaloes and elephants” in Zimbabwe. Learn More about Zimbabwe
In South Africa, this period is the best time for spotting the big five in the big game country of the eastern cape most especially in May, in the period the bug game country of the eastern cape is malaria-free thus an ideal destination for a family destination for a game viewing safari and animals like leopards, cheetahs, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos and lions are easily seen. The period of May – June is ideal for a combined south Africa safari with beach vacations to Indian Ocean beaches. Learn More about South Africa
This period is ideal for watching the great wildebeest migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti national park most especially in June, over 2 million wildebeests, gazelles, and zebras migrate north from the dry plains of Serengeti national park to the grasslands of Masai Mara national reserve in Kenya searching for green pastures and water. This period is also a mating period in the wildebeest migration cycle and also a dramatic river crossing is watched at Grumeti river as animals face-off with hungry crocodiles waiting to feast on them. Learn More about Tanzania
July to August
The period of July to August in Kenya is an ideal time for spotting the wildebeest migration and its animals which have survived crossing the Grumeti River as they make their way north to the plains of Masai Mara in Kenya. On their way to Masai Mara animals, taking part in wildebeest migration are watching crossing Mara River running along the border of Tanzania and Kenya separating Masai Mara national reserve and Serengeti national park. Learn More about Kenya
This period is a long dry season in Rwanda running from June to September, this time is characterized by sunny clear skies which makes it an ideal time for mountain gorilla trekking in volcanoes national park which is the highlight safari activity in Rwanda. Dry and less slippery trails in volcanoes national park make the mountain gorilla experience amazing and the mountain gorillas are easy to find. Learn More about Rwanda
September to October
The period of September to October is a dry season and an ideal time for chimpanzee safari in Rwanda, September marks the beginning of the rainy season in Rwanda, and in this period, food is abundant in the forests habiting chimpanzees. Chimpanzees in Rwanda are found in Nyungwe forest national park are of the population together with other 12 primate species such as olive baboons, blue monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, and many more.
The period of September to October is the best time to visit Rwanda for chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe forest national park as the chimpanzee are easy to find a due abundance of fruits which are part of the chimpanzees’ diet. Learn More about Rwanda
September to October in Kenya is an ideal time to watching the wildebeest migration and it is ideal for spotting cheetah and lions, this period is a dry season with cooler weather conditions. Animals taking part in the wildebeest migration (wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles) finally reach the Masai Mara plains in large herds and they are closely followed by predators (lions, leopards, and cheetahs).
Since it is a dry season, many animals are watched congregating at watering holes such as a river, waters, and streams in large numbers, the vegetation cover is also thin offering easy sights of animals. September to October is an ideal time for game viewing in Kenya. Learn More about Kenya
The period of September to October in Zambia is the best time for wildlife viewing, in this period most of the watering holes in Zambia’s parks dry up and animals are seen congregating in large numbers around the remaining watering holes to drink water. Animals like elephants, buffaloes, impala, zebras, and more are easily sighted. Learn More about Zambia
The period of September to October is the best for wildlife viewing and water activities such as water rafting adventures in Zimbabwe, this period is a dry season in Zimbabwe thus thin vegetation cover Zimbabwe’s national parks such as Hwange national game reserve where animals are easily seen. Also in this period, water is low and the rapids are fast at Zambezi River which makes an ideal time for white water rafting on this river. Learn More about Zimbabwe
November to December
The period of November to December is a wet season in Namibia which is an ideal time for bird watching in Namibia’s game parks and reserves, this period is the best time for birders to visit Namibia for birding safaris and one of the incredible birding sights got in this period is the flocks of pink flamingoes which gather on the saltpans of Etosha national park. Many other bird species such as parrots, bare-cheeked babblers, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, and many more are also sighted in this period of the year. Learn More about Namibia
November – December is a green/wet season in Botswana, in this period the arid Kalahari Desert transforms into spectacular lush green grass and the dry water holes are filled to the brim with rainwater creating wonderful scenery best for photography.
The months of November and December in Botswana is the best time to witness the world’s longest migration of zebras, in this migration thousands of zebras migrate from Namibia to Botswana on a journey of more than 500 kilometers.
This period is also a birth period for buffaloes, wildebeests, and springboks, it is also a hunting and feeding period for predators in Kalahari, and travelers in Botswana’s Kalahari Desert get a chance to see predators like lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and leopards in feeding action. Learn about Botswana
In the month of November in Tanzania, the wildebeest migration starts migrating to back to the plains of Serengeti national park in the south and this time is the best time to visit Tanzania’s Serengeti national park for the viewing of the wildebeest migration. This period is also the best time for beach holidays on the numerous stunning beaches in Tanzania’s Zanzibar. About Tanzania
The period of November – December is the best time of the year to visit Kenya’s national parks and reserves such as Masai Mara national reserve for wildlife viewing, this period is also the best time for beach holidays in one of Kenya’s stunning beaches. More about Kenya