When to go on safari

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When’s the best time to go on safari in Africa?

An Africa safari is always a good idea – and you can go wildlife watching here at any time of year. There are three main things to think about when you’re deciding when to go on safari: what you’ll be able to see, weather and cost.

Generally, the best wildlife viewing happens in the dry seasons, when the grass is shorter and animals gather around the waterholes. For most of the national parks, we think it’s a good idea to go on safari outside of peak times as the experiences can be just as incredible, crowds are smaller and you can find some great offers.

In places like the Maasai Mara in Kenya, there are great wildlife viewing opportunities throughout the year, while other destinations like Botswana and Zimbabwe have more seasonal regions and in some areas camps may close.

Whether you can only travel at a particular time of year and want to know where’s best to go, or you have a specific destination in mind and want to find out when’s best to go there, we can help.

When to go on a safari in…

Kenya safari

There’s great wildlife watching all year in Kenya. Days are warm year-round, but it gets chilly on early morning and evening game drives.

Learn more about Kenya

JANUARY TO MARCH

Great game viewing at cheaper prices. This is the dry season, so animals are easier to spot in the shorter grasses and around waterholes.

APRIL TO JUNE

April to May is peak rainy season – a good time to escape the crowds and get the best value. With these long rains, vehicle access can be more difficult so be prepared for adventures in the mud!

JULY TO SEPTEMBER

The most popular time to go on safari in Kenya, as the Great Wildebeest Migration herds are usually in the Maasai Mara. It’s the most expensive time to travel and crowds gather in the hope of seeing the famous river crossings. We’d recommend booking far in advance to get your first-choice camps or lodges.

OCTOBER TO DECEMBER

November to December is the short rainy season – a good time to see new-born animals. Also the best months to see migratory birds, especially at the lakes.

Tanzania safari

Northern Tanzania has great wildlife viewing year-round and the migration herds move around the Serengeti for most of the year. The southern parks close during the rainiest months.

Learn more about Tanzania

JANUARY TO MARCH

Dry season, so animals are easier to spot in the shorter grasses and around waterholes. The migration herds are in the southern Serengeti and most of the baby wildebeest are born here in February. Animals can tend to move away from Tarangire in these months, but it’s the best time for birdwatching.

APRIL TO JUNE

April to May is peak rainy season. It’s a good time to see new-born animals and get the best value – but expect more adventurous game drives. The migration herds are in the western Serengeti. Safari lodges are closed in Selous and Ruaha from April to May.

JULY TO SEPTEMBER

The high and dry season, when there’s the best wildlife watching. It’s the most expensive time to travel, but prices don’t jump as much as in the Maasai Mara. The migration herds are in the northern Serengeti.

OCTOBER TO DECEMBER

November to December is the short rainy season – a good time to escape the crowds and get the best value. Also a chance to see the migration herds heading through the central Serengeti.

South Africa safari

You can visit South Africa’s safari spots (the Kruger, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Madikwe and the Waterberg) year-round. Time it right and you could even see whales, too. It can get very cold on early morning and night game drives so layers are essentials.

Learn more about South Africa

JANUARY TO MARCH

It’s hot and humid, with short bursts of rain. The game reserves are lush and green, there’s great bird watching and lots of baby animals. January is busy, as local schools and unis have their summer holidays. March is the best time to catch the tail end of summer but avoid the crowds. Birding in the Kruger is fantastic.

APRIL TO JUNE

The weather is mild and dry season begins – there’s not much rain and days are warm. Animals are more active in the cooler days of winter, so they’re easier to spot.

JULY TO SEPTEMBER

Dry season continues – wildlife is easy to spot in the shorter grass, there’s not much rain and days are warm. Mornings and evenings are much chillier. It’s whale watching season around Hermanus.

OCTOBER TO DECEMBER

The weather goes from mild in October to hot and wet in December. December is busy, as local schools and unis have their summer holidays. It’s still a great time to spot whales around Hermanus until the end of November.

Botswana safari

Prime time to go on safari in Botswana is between March and September, when rainfall is lower and days are much cooler.

Learn more about Botswana

JANUARY TO MARCH

Wet season – this is a good time to escape the crowds and see lush landscapes, new-born animals and lots of birds.

APRIL TO JUNE

Dry season begins, so animals are easier to spot in the shorter grasses and around waterholes. Great months to see elephants in Chobe.

JULY TO SEPTEMBER

Dry season continues, so animals are easier to spot in the shorter grasses and around waterholes. June to August is the best time to spot game in the Okavango Delta and so it’s the most expensive time to visit this part of the country. Another good time to see elephants in Chobe.

OCTOBER TO DECEMBER

October is the hottest month. The wet season begins in November, so the parks aren’t as busy.

Namibia safari

Namibia is generally hot and dry for most of the year. You’ll see the most wildlife in the national parks during the dry season from April to October. Temperatures can change massively between day and night so layers are necessary.

Learn more about Namibia

JANUARY TO MARCH

There’s top bird watching in Etosha National Park. But it’s very hot – so hot that we don’t recommend going on safari in January.

APRIL TO JUNE

Warm, dry and sunny, with excellent wildlife watching opportunities. Easter holidays can get very busy so book early.

JULY TO SEPTEMBER

An excellent time to visit Etosha National Park, when the dry weather means that animals head for the waterholes. The night sky is incredible at this time of year. This is the busiest time as it’s during the European school holidays.

OCTOBER TO DECEMBER

There’s top bird watching in Etosha National Park. The rainy season begins in December and it gets very hot – in fact, we don’t recommend travelling in December as the heat can be stifling.

Zimbabwe safari

The best time to visit Zimbabwe is now – it’s slowly regaining its status as one of Africa’s safari greats. The best months to go on safari are April to October when it’s dry and warm.

Learn more about Zimbabwe

JANUARY TO MARCH

The wet season – there are plenty of animals around but some lodges in Hwange close during this time and access to Mana Pools is limited.

APRIL TO JUNE

The dry season begins. This is the best time to spot wildlife as the grass is short and animals flock to waterholes.

JULY TO SEPTEMBER

The dry season continues so more great months to spot lots of wildlife. If you’re combining your safari with a trip to Victoria Falls, now is a top time to take amazing photos of the ‘smoke that thunders’.

OCTOBER TO DECEMBER

October is the hottest month and temperatures soar. September and October are great times to see huge elephant herds in Hwange National Park. The rainy season begins in November; the grass is green and you’ll see new-born animals. Most lodges in Mana Pools start to close for the rainy season in October. Victoria Falls’ waterflow at its lowest.

Rwanda safari

You can see gorillas and chimps year-round, so it’s more about the weather. The most popular time to go gorilla trekking is between June and September, while your best bet for chimpanzee trekking without getting wet is June to August.

Learn more about Rwanda

JANUARY TO MARCH

You can get good savings on gorilla permits at this time of year – ask us for details. The Nyungwe Forest’s rainy season is in full swing, with some dry weeks in January.

APRIL TO JUNE

April to May is rainy season in Volcanoes National Park and the Nyungwe Forest.

JULY TO SEPTEMBER

The driest months and the most popular time for gorilla trekking and chimpanzee trekking.

OCTOBER TO DECEMBER

October to November is rainy season in Volcanoes National Park and the Nyungwe Forest. December has mostly dry weeks.