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When to go on safari

Our month-by-month analysis

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The best month to go on safari?

Travel in Africa is about knowing what, when and where to go and with whom – for the ultimate experience. A few weeks too early/late or a few kilometres off course, you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity?

The most important part of that equation is WHEN TO GO ON SAFARI. The time of year you select will influence your wildlife encounters, the weather and ultimately, whether your safari meets your expectations. The month-by-month analysis below is a broad description of a typical safari year in Africa, but of course, ongoing seasonal variations and natural cycles require the in-depth and current knowledge of our safari experts. For more details, please tap the buttons below to start the dialogue about your perfect safari.

JANUARY - predators, chimps & gorillas

January is one of the secret months for safari ecstasy – excellent action combined with low tourist volumes. This is the start of the calving season throughout Africa, and the predators are cashing in on easy meals. It's also the best time to trek for chimps and gorillas and search for rare, endemic birds. Along the coast, water clarity is good for snorkelling and diving

FEBRUARY - babies, primates & beaches

February sees fantastic wildlife action and low tourist volumes if you know where to go. The calving season throughout Africa is in full swing, and the predators are easily picking off young animals. It's also an excellent time for gorilla and chimp trekking and searching for rare and endemic birds. Along the coast, the skies are clear and the days hot - perfect for snorkelling, diving and lazing on white-sand beaches. Expect lower lodge prices and no crowds

MARCH - no crowds and lower prices

March enjoys favourable weather in southern Africa, where the summer heat has dissipated. Wedged between the Christmas festive season and Easter, this is a period when fewer people travel - resulting in lower lodge prices and no crowds. There are many antelope calves in March - and the predators are cashing in. Coastal beaches and offshore islands still offer good beach weather during March, but for late March travel, your safest bet is Southern Africa, due to the imminent arrival of the East African 'long rains' season

APRIL - cooler weather & lower prices

April heralds cooler weather in Southern Africa as it transitions into the dry winter, while the 'long rains' season has commenced in East Africa. Expect lower lodge prices and no crowds, although watch out for Easter and other public holidays in South Africa, which can attract more local visitors

MAY - start of the southern dry season

May announces the start of the dry season in Southern Africa, while the 'long rains' season has settled into East Africa. Seasonal camps and walking safaris open for business in Southern Africa as the dry weather settles in. Expect lower lodge prices and no crowds in both regions

JUNE - start of the prime wildlife season

June is the start of the best wildlife-viewing season in Africa. It's early winter in Southern Africa - heralding pleasant dry weather and good visibility as grass whithers and leaves drop. East Africa has emerged from the long rains, meaning drier weather and ongoing moderate temperatures. Tourist numbers and lodge prices have not yet increased to peak season amounts - this is a good time to travel!

JULY - excellent wildlife encounters

The prime safari season has arrived, and you can expect spectacular wildlife encounters throughout Africa. There is very little rain expected (the dry season prevails) and temperatures are moderate - perfect safari weather. Tourist numbers and lodge prices are higher between July and September than at other times of the year

AUGUST - Africa's most popular month

The prime safari season is in full swing - ensuring spectacular wildlife encounters throughout Africa. There is very little rain expected (the dry season prevails) and temperatures are moderate - perfect safari weather. Tourist numbers and lodge prices are higher from July to September than other months - early booking is essential

SEPTEMBER - dry season action

September provides ongoing prime safari-season action throughout Africa. Very little rain is expected (this is the late dry season), and temperatures are increasing in Southern Africa. Tourist numbers and lodge prices are higher from July to September than other months - early booking is essential

OCTOBER - best African safari month?

Several of our safari experts view October as the best month for a safari in Africa. In Southern Africa, it’s the height of the dry season (wildlife is easier to find), in East Africa the Great Wildebeest Migration is ongoing, trekking for the great apes is at its best and you can expect great weather on the coast and islands

NOVEMBER - for something different

November is the month of variety and for seeking out localised migrations and other unique safari experiences. From the world's largest mammal migration to the second-largest wildebeest migration and exotic destinations such as Ethiopia and Madagascar, this is the month for something different

DECEMBER - beaches and lush bushveld

Our safari experts view December as the month to seek out lush green landscapes, festive-season Cape Town and the white sand beaches of Indian Ocean islands. The festive season is in full swing, so why not double down on delicious cuisine, award-winning wines and laid-back beach time before or after heading out for your wildlife fix in the bushveld?

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