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The nights are drawing in. There are a few colds and sniffles around. It’s the perfect time to start planning your 2024 safari holiday.

One of the most common questions we get asked is: when is the best time to go?

There isn’t a short answer to this! You can travel all year round but when you should go depends on what your priorities are, your budget and what you are hoping to see & do.

Broadly speaking, here’s a few tips on where to go when based on optimum times and some of the most popular destinations, but it is by no means an exhaustive list!

January – March

There’s still time to book a last minute trip to East Africa! Kenya and Tanzania enjoy a short dry season from mid December through till mid March with humidity increasing through March and the long rains arriving towards the end of the month. It’s a great time to combine safari and beach with very good water visibility for diving/snorkelling in January and February. The Great Migration is on the Serengeti’s southern plains around Ndutu too. Expect hot days and warm nights.

In Botswana the zebra migration is in the salt pans (Makgadikgadi and Nxai) with the best wildlife viewing in the Kalahari in March/April.

South Africa is also a good option if you aim for the Eastern & Western Cape. January can be very hot in the Cape, so we prefer the cooler and quieter month of March.

 

April -June 

April is a transition month as the long rains end in Southern Africa and start in East Africa.

May/June is the ‘secret’ season  – there are often good ‘shoulder season’ deals around before the high season prices kick in – this is when travel professionals tend to travel!

Across East and Southern Africa,  May offers a jewel green landscape with many baby animals around after the long rainy season. It’s a very beautiful and photographic time of year although tall grasses can obstruct viewing and wildlife tends to disperse across a wide area at this time of the year. You won’t see the same density of wildlife as in August/September but there is still plenty to see & do.

The bush starts to thin out in June allowing bush camps to open and walking safaris to operate more widely.  Wildlife density increases.

There are so many great destinations to visit at this time of year, especially if visiting some of the iconic parks/reserves with fabulous all-year-round wildlife including, the Greater Kruger in South Africa, Hwange in Zimbabwe, South Luangwa in Zambia and the Masai Mara in Kenya.

 

July – September

This is prime time for Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania and if you’re thinking of travelling during these months of the year then don’t delay! The camps we use are small and tend to get booked up early. You are really spoiled for choice when it comes to these months of the year.

You can expect cold nights and early mornings but wonderful warm and sunny days.

The bush has thinned out and been browsed back by the wildlife meaning there is excellent visibility.  As a result, wildlife sightings are optimum at this time of year across East and Southern Africa. You also have the Great Migration entering it’s most dramatic stage as it crosses the Mara River from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara from July – August time.

Victoria Falls is resplendent with just the right volume of water and spray at this time of the year.

Lake Malawi is a dream enjoying warm clear days and cold starry nights.

In South Africa, Southern Right whales gather off the Cape coast and by September the fynbos flowers as the Cape says hello to Spring  – a beautiful time to be in the Eastern or Western Cape and a good time to combine a Kruger safari with Cape Town / coast (September/October).

 

October – December

Temperatures are hotting up and humidity too,  before the rains break in November/December in both East Africa and Southern Africa.

October still offers a superb safari experience with maximum wildlife densities around waterholes and rivers. Water levels may be too low for boating. In the Mara there is a chance to see the Great Migration as it pauses briefly to graze before turning south once more.

November is the hottest time of year, the dustiest,  and sometimes even the animals don’t want to retreat from the deep shade. However – the migrant birds start to arrive and are spectacular!  Bush camps roll down the canvas and are packed away until next May. If you’re thinking of visiting Victoria Falls then it may run dry in the hottest part of the year.

On the Cape coast it is paradise as Spring gives way to summer. By December all the locals are enjoying their holiday time too and the Cape is very busy. The long rains tend to  arrive in the Greater Kruger making the Eastern Cape reserves a better bet for safari between December and March.

 

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