There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of when the best time to go on safari. The timing depends largely on what you want to see and do while you’re on safari, as well as where in Africa you plan to visit.

The Best Time To Visit South Africa For Wildlife Viewing

The best time to visit South Africa for wildlife viewing is generally considered to be between May and October. This is the region’s dry season, when animals congregate around water sources and are easier to spot. However, this also coincides with the peak tourist season, so you may have to contend with large crowds at popular game-viewing destinations.

What To Expect If You Travel To South Africa:

  • June to August – Winter / Low Season

If you visit South Africa during the winter months of June to August, you can expect relatively dry conditions and cooler temperatures. This is considered the low season for safari travel, so you may be able to find lower prices on lodges and tours. However, some areas may be inaccessible due to heavy rains earlier in the year and the weather cold.

How much can you save on safari during low season compared to peak tourist season?

You can typically save about 20% on the cost of safari lodges during low season. However, you may have to pay a bit more for flights and other transportation, as demand is generally lower during this time of year.

rhinos at kapama game reserve
Rhinos at  Kapama Private Game Reserve – South Africa

What are the advantages of traveling during low season?

One advantage of traveling during the winter months is that you’ll have a better chance of seeing baby animals. This is because many animals give birth during the rains, when food is more plentiful. another advantage is that you’ll have fewer crowds to contend with at popular game-viewing destinations.

What are the disadvantages of traveling during low season?

One disadvantage of traveling during low season is that some lodges and parks may be closed due to the rains. another disadvantage is that mosquitoes and other insects can be more prevalent during this time of year. You’ll also need to pack warm clothing if you’re traveling to Africa during the winter months.

Tours That Include South Africa Safaris:

This 10 Day Southern Africa Adventure Takes you to Kruger National park and Mozambique for a beach holiday. It can be customized to start anywhere.

12 Day Cape Town To Windhoek A safari itinerary that starts in Cape Town then takes you to Sossusvlei desert, Namib-Naukluft National Park and Etosha National Park.

3 Day Kruger Safari A short safari that takes you to South Africa’s Kruger National Park for 2 Nights.

Whale Watching In South Africa

South Africa is a great place to go whale watching, with peak season running from June to November. This is when the southern right whales come to the country’s coasts to mate and calve. You’ll also have a good chance of seeing humpback and Bryde’s whales during this time.

What To Expect If You Go Whale Watching South Africa:

  • December – May

The best time to go whale watching in South Africa is generally considered to be between June and November. This is when the southern right whales come to the country’s coasts to mate and calve. You’ll also have a good chance of seeing humpback and Bryde’s whales during this time.

What are the advantages of going whale watching during peak season?

The main advantage of going whale watching during peak season is that you’re almost guaranteed to see whales. This is because there are so many of them in the area at this time of year. Another advantage is that the weather is generally more pleasant during the winter months.

What are the disadvantages of going whale watching during peak season?

One disadvantage of going whale watching during peak season is that it can be quite crowded. another disadvantage is that the prices for lodges and tours are generally higher during this time of year.

Tours That Include Whale Watching:

We offer whale watching tours in South Africa. Most of these tours depart from Cape Town. Talk to us today

Our 10 Day Southern Africa Safari includes whale watching and can be customized to your specific interests.

Best Time To Visit The Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands of South Africa are a great destination for wine lovers. The best time to visit is during the harvest season, which runs from February to April. This is when you’ll be able to see the grapes being picked and enjoy the festive atmosphere at the many wineries in the region. Generally you can’t go wrong visiting between November to April which are the hot dry summer months.

What To Expect If You Visit The Winelands Of South Africa:

  • June – August

Because the weather is cold at this time of the year you will need to dress up warm but the air is crisp and clean. No crowds and the accommodations around here including Stellenbosch and Franschhoek have discounted rates at this time of the year.

Activities include coffee around fire places while chatting to legendary winemakers. Find out why winter in the cape winelands is South Africa’s best kept secret.

Best Time For Game Viewing In The Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of the best places in Africa for game viewing. The best time to visit is between June and August, when the floodwaters from the Angola highlands start to fill the delta. This creates a unique wetland ecosystem that supports a large variety of wildlife.

What To Expect If You Went:

  • March – May or November – December

If you’re looking for a more relaxed safari experience, consider visiting during the low season, between March-May and November-December. Game viewing is still good at this time, but there will be fewer crowds and lower prices. The weather is also more pleasant during low season, and everything is greener making it a better time to visit if you’re not a fan of the heat.

What are the advantages of visiting the Okavango during this time?

One advantage of visiting the Okavango during the low season is that there will be fewer crowds. another advantage is that the prices for lodges and tours are generally lower during this time of year.

Expect to spend less on your safari at this time of the year. Anywhere between 15% – 20% off on your safari accommodation.

What are the disadvantages of visiting the Okavango during this time?

The main disadvantage of visiting the Okavango during the low season is that some lodges and camps close down during this time. another disadvantage is that the game viewing can be more difficult because of the lack of water in the delta.

Tours That Include Game Viewing In The Okavango Delta:

We offer a variety of tours that include game viewing in the Okavango Delta. Most of these tours depart from Maun. Talk to us today

4 Day Okavango Fly In Safari – This Okavango delta safari can be modified to your needs and preferences.

Our 9 Day Southern African Safari includes game viewing in the Okavango Delta and can be customized to your specific interests.

A 7 Day Botswana Safari that takes you to the Okavango for a few days before heading to Chobe National Park.

Non of these safari packages are cast in stone and can all be modified to better suit your needs.

The Best Time For An East African Wildlife Safari

East Africa is one of the best places to go on a wildlife safari and it consists of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Best Time To Visit Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is one of the most popular game-viewing destinations in Africa. The best time to visit Serengeti for the wildebeest calving season is between January to early March, June to July you have the opportunity see the wildebeests crossing the Grumeti River and June to October are the drier months and the animals are usually concentrated near waterholes making it great for game viewing.

Game drive at sunrise in serengeti
Sunrise In Serengeti National Park – Source Unsplash

What To Expect:

The Calving Season – January to Early March

This is the time when the wildebeests are giving birth to their young. The animals are concentrated in the southern part of the Serengeti and you can expect to see a lot of predators such as lions, cheetahs and leopards preying on the newborns. There are a lot of young ones around as other animals are giving birth too including Zebra and Thompson gazelle which often follow the wildebeest on the great annual migration.

Grumeti River Crossing Of The Great Migration – June to July

Although not as dramatic as the Mara river crossing as the grumeti river is smaller compared to the Mara river, it is still an amazing sight to see. The animals have to swim across the river and there are a lot of crocodiles waiting to prey on them.

The Dry Season – June to October

This is the best time for game viewing as the animals are concentrated near waterholes and predators will be waiting to ambush them as they drink water. You can also expect to see a lot of elephants as they are forced travel long distances to find water during this time.

The Wildebeest Crossing Serengeti – June to July

The wildebeest and Zebra herds head north along the western edge of the park toward an even bigger barrier: the Mara River in the north of the Serengeti and will be crossing the Mara river around July although the timings can vary from year to year. This is nature at its most brutal as there are a lot of animals trying to cross the river and many of them will be eaten by crocodiles and some drown as stampedes often occur.

Tours That Include Serengeti Safaris:

A 5 Day Tanzania Safari that starts in Arusha but can be tailored to start anywhere in Tanzania. Takes you to Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara.

4 Day Tanzania Safari A Tanzania Safari Package that covers two Tanzania Parks in 4 days and you stay in Mid-Range accommodations.

5 Day Big Five Tanzania Safari A safari package that is tailored to give you the opportunity to see the Big five on a Tanzania Safari.

Best Time To Visit Kenya

Kenya is a great place to go on a safari year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you want to see. For example, if you want to see the wildebeest migration, you should visit between July and October.

Just like any other safari destination the best time for Kenya wildlife safaris is during the dry months of the year which are between June and October. The rains usually start around November and continue until May which can make game viewing difficult as the animals are dispersed throughout the bush and it is also more difficult to get around.

Wildebeests In Masai Mara
Kenya Safari Masai Mara – Image Source unsplash

What To Expect If You Visit Kenya for a Safari During The Rainy Season

The rains usually start around November and continue until May which can make game viewing difficult as the animals are dispersed throughout the bush and it is also more difficult to get around. The upside to visiting during the rainy season is that there are fewer tourists and you can get better deals on accommodation and safari tours.

Also this is a great time for birding safaris as the vegetation is green.

The Down Side

The parks will be muddy and some areas inaccessible and the animals will be more difficult to spot.

Safari Holidays that Include Kenya’s Parks

7 Day Classic Kenya Safari An all inclusive luxury Kenya fly In safari, that takes you to Amboseli, Samburu and Masai Mara National Reserve and includes a balloon safari experience.

3 Day Amboseli Safari A safari itinerary that takes you to Amboseli often referred to as elephant country because of it large herds of elephants. Also a great safari for bird lovers as Amboseli is known for its birds.

13 Day Kenya and Seychelles A safari package that combines a wildlife safari in Kenya and an beach vacation in Seychelles.

Best Time For Masai Mara Wildebeest Migration

The best time to witness the annual wildebeest migration is between July and October. This is when the herds move from the Serengeti plains of Tanzania into Kenya’s Maasai Mara reserve in search of greener pastures. The best place to see this is on the Kenyan side of the Mara river in Masai Mara.

Wildebeest Migration Tours:

A 3 Day Migration Safari that takes you for 2 Nights in Masai Mara during the wildebeest migration season.

Planning A Trip To Mount Kilimanjaro When Should you go?

The best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro is December to mid-March and June to the end of October. This is the region’s dry season, so you’ll have the best weather conditions for your ascent. However, this is also the busiest time of year on the mountain, so you may have to share the trail with large crowds of other climbers.

Mount Kilimanjaro Climbing Tours

10 Day Mount Kilimanjaro Climb – This Kilimanjaro climbing package through lemosho route it is possible to do this route in 6 days but this itinerary allows you to ascend steadily getting acclimatized to the high altitudes in the process.

6 Day Mount Kilimanjaro Climb This Climbing itinerary takes the Rongai Route which has a 98% chance of getting to the summit.

5 Day Mount Kilimanjaro Climb A Kilimanjaro climbing itinerary through the Marangu route providing first timers with an easier climb to the top of Kilimanjaro.

Best Time For Gorilla Trekking In Uganda And Rwanda

A gorilla in rwanda
Gorilla Trekking Rwanda

Uganda and Rwanda offer year-round gorilla trekking, but the best time to go is during the dry season from December to February and from June to September. This is when conditions are at their best for hiking through the jungle in search of these elusive apes.

Tours and Safaris That Include Gorilla Trekking:

11 Day Gorilla and Wildlife Safari A Uganda Safari that takes you to Murchison falls, Kibale National Park for chimpanzee trekking, Queen Elizabeth National Park and finally Bwindi for Gorilla trekking.

3 Day Uganda Safari A Three day safari Uganda gorilla trekking safari to Bwindi.

What Time Of The Day Should You Go On A Game Drive

If your goal is to see big cats like lions and leopards, for example, you’ll have the best luck spotting them from dusk to dawn when they’re most active. The best time to see the predators on a game drive therefore would be very early in the morning or late in the afternoon/evening.

On the other hand, if your focus is on seeing herbivores then anytime before and after the hot mid-day sun is perfect. That is the early and late hours of the morning as well as the late hours of the evening.

In Conclusion

Keep in mind that the best time to go on a African safari will also depend on what you want to see and do while you’re on safari and where in Africa you are going. For example, if you’re interested in bird watching, you’ll want to visit during the wet season, when the birds are breeding and there are more of them around. If you’re interested in seeing big cats, you’ll want to visit during the dry season, when they congregate around water sources and are easier to spot. Ultimately, the best time to go on safari is whenever is most convenient for you and your schedule.

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