General AfricaSafariSafari advice

African safari weather and when best to travel

By 29th March 2012 No Comments

My mind has turned to the unusual weather and how it really has changed dramatically over the past few years. We seem to be having heat-waves in March and October and chilly summers and winters. The weather is becoming truly much more unpredictable not only here in the UK but also across the world.

Having said that there are still weather patterns that are still apply to Africa and make it easier to work out when to go and when to avoid sitting on the beach in the rain!

The traditional rainy seasons for East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) are March and April with a shorter rainy period in November. These tend to be the cheapest time of year to travel and you can have some great game viewing and you often get the place to yourself. Sometimes it may rain only for a couple of hours at a time. However the downside – apart from the rain! – is that you may well encounter problems due to muddy tracks and roads which become impassable.  The hot dry period is over Christmas and New Year and then again in the summer months when the annual migration takes place. This is a spectacle not to be missed as the predators follow the herds and the game viewing is amazing. You do have to book well in advance as August and September get very booked up early and the safari lodges and camps have limited space.

Down in Southern Africa the weather is quite varied depending how close you are to the Equator. In general in southern Africa in places like Botswana it’s dry from May or June through the summer months before peaking in October, then it rains from November  through to April.  However further south around Cape Town and the Cape in general they are best visited in our winter months i.e. from November through to March as this is their summer. October is the best time to go if you are interested in whale watching around the Cape and Garden Route and game viewing is good in the Kruger National Park all year round.

Sometimes it pays to be even more precise depending on what you are hoping for on your holiday. If you want to see Victoria Falls at its finest then you should do during the rainy season or just after when the Falls are at the fullest and most magnificent.  Just before the rainy season is a good time to go game viewing as animals tend to congregate around the diminishing waterholes and these are often the ones closest to your safari camp!