African safari calendar

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Where to go on safari in January

Most of Africa is entering its 'green season'.

South Africa - Combine your safari visit with a stay in Cape Town as this is arguably the best season to do so. It is the height of the Cape and surrounding areas Summer. During this month you have a good chance of witnessing the hatching of hundreds of endangered turtles in the KwaZulu Natal region.

Tanzania - One of Tanzania's most popular months. The wildebeest migration gathers on the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Usually by late January thousands of wildebeest and zebra calves are being born attracting big cats and other predators for easy kills.

Botswana -The 'green' season in January is one of the wettest (and hottest) months of the year but one of the cheapest. It is also a particularly beautiful time to visit the parks of Botswana, with brilliant green foliage and dramatic skies, making it particularly appealing for photographers.

Uganda - These months are predominantly dry in Uganda's spectacular National Parks, with limited rainfall. But be warned that temperatures can reach 40ºC (104°F). Dryer ground makes trekking to the mountain gorillas easier, as the ground is more solid and visibility is better.

Where to go on safari in February

With a few exceptions, most of Africa's safari is in it's 'green' season.

Tanzania - February is the calving month for the migration animals, with approximately 500,000 wildebeest born in this one month. Calving attracts predictors like cheetah to the area, which are amazing to spot and the chance of seeing kills on your game drive are more likely. If you are not a fan of the heat, be aware that February is a particularly hot month in Tanzania.

Kenya - Relatively dry in Kenya, particularly in the Masai Mara. The grass is green and babies are being born. The game viewing will be excellent in most parts of the country.

Botswana - It is the vibrantly beautiful and more affordable, 'green' season in Botswana. The semi-desert comes alive with lines of zebra and wildebeest winding their way towards the Makgadikgadi grasslands; elephants and buffalo arrive at Nxai Pan and huge herds of springbok are in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve - who are a feast for black-maned lions and cheetahs.

Rwanda - Although not completely rain free, February in Rwanda does experience largely dry days and warm, sunny temperatures. Pleasant weather for trekking to mountain gorillas.

Where to go on safari in March

Most of Africa's safari is coming towards the end of the 'green' season.

South Africa - Tail end of the summer in South Africa. In KwaZulu Natal you could also experience a beach holiday and a marine safari with potential sightings of whale sharks. Cape Town is dry and warm, so the perfect option for a city stay before safari.

Tanzania - It is the start of the main wet season but still a very popular time to visit the country, in particular the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The recent wildebeest and zebra births have boosted migration numbers to its heaviest volumes. Low season rates usually apply throughout the country.

Where to go on safari in April

Beautiful lush lands but unpredictable rains.

South Africa - Whilst not necessarily the absolute best time for a safari across South Africa (the recent rains will have dispersed animals from water sources and thick vegetation may hamper visibility), the lush greenery and clear skies will make for brilliant photos. You may work slightly harder to find the animals but South Africa generally has excellent wildlife viewing experiences.

Botswana - Throughout the country rainfall is coming to an end, with only a few scattered showers. For the most part you can expect dry, pleasant days and cooler evenings. There will be large concentrations of wildlife and April is great for spotting grazing animal young. A big advantage of travelling to Botswana during April are the shoulder season rates (between low season and high season).

Where to go on safari in May

Marks the beginning of the 'dry season' in some destinations

Namibia - The country is in low season, making the weather cooler but more value for money when travelling. Namibia is an African country that experiences extreme heat, but during May the heat is more tolerable and animals can be seen out seeking water.

Malawi - May marks the beginning of the 'dry season' in Malawi, the most popular season to visit the south of the country with sunny, dry weather. Perfect for a beach trip to Lake Malawi. Combine this with a safari where, with the drier weather, the game will be moving towards water sources and you will have better opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Zambia - At the tail end of the wet season, with the vegetation is lush and green, and Victoria Falls in full flow, May is a particularly pretty time of the year in Zambia. It's not quite the time yet for the optimum game viewing but the advantage is that many camps operate shoulder season prices making a quality safari more affordable. Zambian guides are of such a high standard and the wildlife is so prolific that you will not feel short changed on game sightings.

Zimbabwe - May marks the start of the dry season in Zimbabwe and many lodges and camps offer a shoulder season in this month. The weather is milder but daytime temperatures are still warm and vegetation will start to thin, making the animals easier to spot. We recommend Hwange and Mana Pools.

Where to go on safari in June

Welcome to the famous 'dry season'

South Africa - Rainfall is less in the Kruger during June and upcoming months, vegetation thins and spotting wildlife is easier. There is less rain however temperatures are dropping, so you will need to pack warmer clothes for drives on open game vehicles. South Africa's coast, including Cape Town's coast, is great for whale watching in June. Humpback and Southern Right whales come to the warm waters to mate, calve and rear their young.

Tanzania - Tanzania's dry season begins in June, bringing with it, clear skies and perpetual sunshine. The migration herds have gathered around the Grumeti River in the Serengeti to build up numbers before the famous river crossings. Rutting (breeding) season may still be happening with males grunting to attract female attention. Plenty going on but a noisy time of year.

Zambia - Camps are re-opening across the country after many being closed during the 'wet season'. 'Dry season' has truly begun, although some of the landscape beauty from the 'green season' still lingers. The South Luangwa will now be operating its famous walking safaris.

Rwanda - June marks the beginning of the dryer months in Rwanda. Although the country is prone to light rains during June due to its tropical climate, June is one of the better months to visit if you are planning on trekking to see mountain gorillas.

Where to go on safari in July

The 'dry season' is now in full swing across most safari destinations

South Africa - 'Dry' season in the northern reserves carries on, giving peak visibility for game viewing. Be aware that this is winter. Cape Town can be cooler with persistent rain. However, whales are calving off The Cape's coast lines and it is a great time to dive with Great White sharks and see dolphins.

Kenya - The migration usually crosses from Tanzania into the Masai Mara in July, making this the perfect time to witness one of the greatest natural phenomenon's in the world. This is also the beginning of the peak season in Kenya, so lodges and camps will be at their most expensive and crowded. It is essential to speak with an expert to ensure you choose the right accommodation for your trip. Temperatures drop to around 20-23°C and approximately 8-10°C between dusk and dawn. With the wind chills, we recommend layers on morning and evening game drives.

Uganda - July would be a dryer month in Uganda's spectacular National Parks, with limited rainfall. Dryer ground makes trekking to the mountain gorillas easier as the ground is more solid and visibility is better.

Tanzania - This is the middle of the 'dry season' in Tanzania, with busy watering holes and game sightings made easier. The migration is pushing north, crossing over into Kenya, but July can be great month to witness the famous river crossings.

Botswana - Game moves to the northern areas of the country, so if you are wanting the best game viewing possible it is advisable to concentrate your stay around the Okavango, Chobe and Linyanti.

Zambia - July is a great month in Zambia for walking safaris as the landscape has thinned out. Walking safaris are a truly unique and exhilarating safari type.

Zimbabwe - With minimal rainfall and thinning bush, animals are gathering around the main water sources, which makes game easier to track and see game.

Rwanda - Although Rwanda is prone to light rains during these months due to its tropical climate, July would be known as one of the dryer months in Rwanda. July is a peak month in Rwanda and we would recommend booking your trip well in advance to secure accommodation and Gorilla Trekking experiences.

Where to go on safari in August

The most popular safari month

South Africa - The 'dry' season in South Africa's national parks and reserves means vegetation is well stripped back, allowing maximum visibility for spotting game.

Kenya - The migration has crossed into Kenya and is working its way across the Masai Mara. You may be lucky enough to witness the dangerous river crossings through crocodile infested waters.

Tanzania - Another dry season month in Tanzania, with busy watering holes and sightings made easier. Opportunities to witness the elephant migration in the Tarangire region with the last of the wildebeest migration crossing the Kenyan boarder is truly something to behold.

Botswana - The most famous parks in Botswana are in their peak for game viewing in August, with elephants congregating in the Chobe region in particular.

Zambia - August is a great month in Zambia for walking safaris as the landscape has thinned out. Walking safaris are a truly unique and exhilarating safari type with the opportunity to view game like nowhere else.

Zimbabwe - The dryer months cause the water levels of the Zambezi to drop and quicken, perfect rapids for Whitewater rafting.

Rwanda - Although Rwanda can experience light rains during August due to its tropical climate, this month would be known as one of the dryer months in Rwanda, making it better for Gorilla Trekking.

Namibia - August is the perfect time for a trip to the desert and up the Skeleton Coast with enjoyable temperatures and clear skies.

Uganda - August would be a dryer month in Uganda's spectacular National Parks, with limited rainfall. Dryer ground makes trekking to the mountain gorillas easier, as the ground is more solid and visibility is better.

Where to go on safari in September

Another great month for game viewing in the 'dry season'

South Africa - Cape Town may be experiencing average temperatures of 18°C, however off the coast whales are visible as they come to the warmer waters to raise their calves. The further north you go in South Africa, towards the Kruger, there is still excellent game viewing to be had and warmer weather.

Kenya - Another dry month in Kenya. Great for game viewing and the annual migration is present in the Masai Mara.

Zambia - September is a peak month for travelling in Zambia. Rainfall is at its least during the month of September, meaning the vegetation thins making spotting wildlife easier. The animals tend to move towards the limited water sources, meaning tracking is easier for the guides.

Tanzania - Another month of the dry season in Tanzania, with busy watering holes and sightings made easier. The Tarangire region will beat its peak with large herds of elephants attracted to the permanent waters of the Tarangire River.

Namibia - September is the ideal time for a trip to the desert and up the Skeleton Coast with enjoyable temperatures and clear skies.

Rwanda - Although Rwanda can experience light rains during August due to its tropical climate, this month would be known as one of the dryer months in Rwanda, making it better for Gorilla trekking.

Botswana - Game moves to the northern areas of the country, so if you are wanting the best game viewing possible it is advisable to concentrate your stay around the Okavango, Chobe and Linyanti. If you are an elephant fan, herds can be found in Chobe in September.

Where to go on safari in October

Sporadic rainfall but still good game viewing

Botswana - October is a hot, dry month meaning animals gather around watering holes. Great if seeing as much wildlife as possible is on your agenda and if you can handle the heat.

South Africa - Cape Town is moving out of the 'wet' season and October sees more clear skies and dry days. The rains usually haven't fully moved in to the Kruger and private reserves yet, so still an enjoyable month for safari in South Africa.

Kenya - In October Game viewing in most Kenya safari destinations is good. The wildebeest migration can usually still to be found in the Masai Mara.

Tanzania - Although rain is more common in October than the earlier months of the dry season, temperatures are beginning to rise again making the early morning game drives and evenings more comfortable.

Zimbabwe - The beginning of the month is still dry with likely strong game viewing as wildlife gathers around watering holes.Short rains will arrive in the second half of the month.

Zambia - If you are able to handle the hot temperatures, October is a great month to visit Zambia as concentrations of game are high around water holes and vegetation is thin.

Namibia - October can be a great month for spotting whales off Namibia's coast, as they come to calve and rear their young in the warmer waters. Further inland in the deserts, temperatures are high, making it one of the best months for game viewing as the wildlife is gathering around the scarce water holes.

Rwanda - October is the half way point between the 'dry' and 'wet' seasons in Rwanda, with most days being warm and sunny which makes this month still suitable for Gorilla trekking. However, rain is still unpredictable.

Where to go on safari in November

'Wet' season but can be one of the best safari months if you choose the right destination

South Africa - Spring is turning into summer in Cape Town bringing warm, sun filled days. Great for a city stay as part of a twin-centre safari.

Zambia - Home to Africa's second largest wildebeest migration, this is the month to visit Zambia and witness over 40,000 wildebeest move back to the south across the Liuwa Plains National Park. The numbers may not be as spectacular as the Serengeti, but the setting is remote, wild and intimate.

Namibia - Flamingo flocks and coastal breezes are some of the highlights in Namibia during November, with the weather being mostly hot and dry. One of the features of travelling to Namibia in late November is witnessing the occasional Thunderstorm, which must be seen to be believed.

Tanzania - The annual wildebeest migration crosses the boarder from Kenya into Tanzania during this month. Although the heavier vegetation can make wildlife sighting more difficult, the growth means the beginning of the birthing season and increased predator activity.

Botswana - With Botswana's heat being dry, the high temperatures are more bearable than the humid months. November also brings regular thunderstorms, which are a spectacular sight.

Where to go on safari in December

Great for Gorilla trekking

South Africa - Weather in Cape Town and the Garden Route is at its peak in December, making it a great addition to a 'Twin-Centre' Safari holiday.

Tanzania - Although the rainfall and heavier vegetation can make wildlife sighting more difficult, the annual migration crosses the boarder from Kenya into Tanzania's Serengeti during December as they settle to graze here and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The southern plains are certainly the place to be to see the wildebeest migration towards the end of the month.

Zambia - December is the month which has been called the 'emerald season' in Zambia, and the stunning, lush landscape makes up for the increased difficulty of game viewing.

Malawi - One of the most interesting times of year for diving in the Lake Malawi as many species of cichlid begin their complex mating rituals. Their mouth brooding is fascinating to watch.

Rwanda - Rwanda is prone to light rains year round due to its tropical climate. December marks the beginning of a dryer season in Rwanda, making it good for Gorilla trekking as paths are less slippery.

Uganda - December marks the beginning of a predominantly dry season in Uganda's spectacular National Parks, with limited rainfall. Dryer ground makes trekking to the mountain gorillas easier, as the ground is more solid and visibility is better.