Featured photo by Hendrik Cornelissen on Unsplash
Best Time To Travel To Africa
The number one question we hear is “When is the best time to travel?”
How do you avoid gorilla trekking in the rainy season? When is the ideal time to witness the magnificent Great Migration? Should you avoid ‘peak season’?
Our comprehensive list below will help inspire your African adventure. We explain the best time to travel to each region, and why.
Worth Noting: While ‘peak season’ may be the busiest time with tourists, it is often for good reason. Our itineraries are curated with smaller, more intimate camps and lodges set on private conservancies where you’ll feel less like another tourist and more like part of the herd.
JUNE TO OCTOBER – Ideal for game viewing
YEAR-ROUND – Cape Town and the Winelands
Rugged mountains, white sand beaches, penguins along the Cape, delicious wines, and cultural Cape Town provide a well-rounded choice for the Safari lover who wants to infuse a variety of experiences throughout their journey.
South Africa enjoys a high percentage of clear, sunny days. The climate is generally mild throughout the year, though this can vary by region. Cape Town can be enjoyed year-round, although can be wet during June-September. The below guideline is for your safari destinations.
June – October: Winter is the long dry season and peak period for game viewing. On Safari, shorter grasses make wildlife viewing easier, animals congregate around waterholes and game is thriving. June through August brings chilly mornings and beautiful sunny days. September and October are lovely and warm.
November: Lush green landscapes and wildflowers emerge, a haven for photographers. However, long grasses make wildlife viewing a little trickier.
December – March: The Green Season and hottest time of year; lush landscapes, billowing skies, morning and afternoon thunderstorms. Wildlife is more dispersed. Avoid February and March when rains are heavy.
April – May: Fall brings pleasant temperatures and occasional showers.
MAY TO OCTOBER – Ideal for game viewing
Intimate wildlife encounters, watering holes and wild places, the infamous Okavango Delta; this diamond of a country will leave its impression on your heart long after your departure.
May – October: Similar to South Africa, winter is the long dry season and peak period for game viewing with shorter grasses and animals seeking watering holes. June through August, waters start to flow into the floodplains. July is the coldest month.
November – April: As the waters of the Delta recede during the Green Season, wildlife is more dispersed. Expect morning and afternoon showers or storms with sunny days. This is the best season for landscape photographers and birdwatchers, and the best time for wildlife in the Kalahari.
Zambia & Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls)
JUNE TO SEPTEMBER – Ideal for game viewing
JULY TO SEPTEMBER – Best time to visit the Falls
The wondrous Victoria Falls may be on your bucket list, but Zambia and Zimbabwe have some of the most remote and untouched wildlife viewing with barely any tourists. Game drives, bush walks, evenings under the stars, camps positioned along snaking waterways. You’ll feel like time slows down here.
June – September: The peak period for game viewing with wildlife being easier to spot in drier landscapes. May-June receives so much water the Falls can be obscured by spray. July through August can be cold, and is the ideal time to view the Falls from either the Zambian or Zimbabwean sides.
October – November: By September-October, water levels at the Victoria Falls are low and best viewed from the Zimbabwean side. If water levels are low, we will arrange a tour that visits both sides in one day. This is the hottest time of year and can be uncomfortable, especially on Safari.
December – April: Many Safari camps close during Green Season due to heavy rains. Lodges and hotels around Victoria Falls remain open year-round.
MAY TO SEPTEMBER – Ideal for exploration
Hauntingly beautiful landscapes, desolate scenes in an untamed land, desert-adapted wildlife, remote tribes, the Skeleton Coast, infinite blue skies against rust-colored sand dunes, and the world’s oldest desert – the Namib, deliver a photographer’s dream.
May – October: The best conditions for wildlife viewing and moderate day time temperatures are found in the dry season. From June-September temperatures can dip to freezing in the mornings, will bright sunny days. This is the peak season.
April, May and November: Transitional months, with a moderate climate, and a fusion of the Green and dry seasons.
December – April: Spectacular thunderstorms add drama to the sky, wildflowers bloom and wildlife is more dispersed during the Green Season. Excellent photography opportunities abound with great lighting. Temperatures rise, especially in the desert.
JULY TO OCTOBER – Ideal for game viewing
The Great Migration, Maasai warriors and National Geographic inspired wildlife viewing across wide savannahs and arid plains. Home to some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa, it’s only natural the modern Safari was pioneered here.
July – October: Wildebeest in the thousands cross the Mara River, wildlife masses around water sources, cool mornings and the peak time to travel during the dry season.
November – Mid-December, April-May: The two rainy seasons bring heavy rains and lovely fertile landscapes. Wildlife is more dispersed. Some areas can receive heavy rains, others are more bearable. Muddy roads can become impassable and camps close during April-May.
Mid-December – Mid-March: Transitional months during a shorter dry season, this is the hottest time of year with lots of babies around after the rains! February can be particularly hot.
JULY TO OCTOBER – Ideal for game viewing
This country holds many a bucket-list traveler’s dreams; the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, the Great Migration. Tanzania also provides little secrets like remote chimp trekking opportunities, a cultural beach break on Zanzibar, and trekking Mount Kilimanjaro. So many names, so little time!
July – October: Wildebeest in the thousands make their way across Tanzania and wildlife opportunities are varied during the cooler peak season. Tarangire boasts vast elephant migrations at this time.
November – Mid-December, April-May: Similar to Kenya, the two distinct rainy seasons provide lush green landscapes as dramatic stormy skies prevail. Wildlife is more dispersed. Some areas can receive heavy rains, others are more bearable. Many camps close in April-May when muddy roads are impassable.
Mid-December – Mid-March: Transitional months during a shorter dry season, this is the hottest time of year, particularly February. It’s calving season for zebra and wildebeest in the Southern Serengeti.
Rwanda & Uganda
JUNE TO OCTOBER, DECEMBER TO MARCH – Ideal for gorillas
Both countries straddling the enormous mountain we call home to the incredible gorillas, step further into this region and discover misty clouds shouding lush green jungles and hills, cultural encounters, beautiful people and safari opportunities. Chimpanzees and golden monkeys can also be found. Rwanda and Uganda may just steal your heart. In general, humidity here is much higher than the rest of East Africa.
June – October: Ideal gorilla trekking weather and the best time for wildlife viewing is during the dry season. Mornings and evenings are cool. This is peak season.
December – March: The second dry season with warmer temperatures, heating up in February.
November, April – May: Rainy seasons are best avoided if you are here to see the gorillas, trekking can become very muddy and difficult as heavy rains prevail. Wildlife is more dispersed, landscapes are beautiful and green.
FEBRUARY TO MAY, LATE SEPTEMBER TO NOVEMBER – Ideal for exploration
A mystical, magical country featuring the Sahara Desert, winding souks filled with spices and sweets, lush snow-capped mountains, relaxed seaside towns and a bucket full of history. Delicious food and welcoming people invite you to discover a culture ingrained over thousands of years.
March – May and late September to November: Ideal temperatures make Spring and Fall peak seasons in Morocco. Days are warm and sunny, and the evenings are comfortable. This is the perfect time to visit the Sahara and the cities.
December – February: Winter can be cold, especially in the Sahara Desert and Atlas Mountains where temperatures drop below freezing after nightfall. Days are chilly, however, fewer tourists make this a lovely time to visit if you don’t mind a little cold weather.
Late May – Early September: Summer is very hot and the sun is unforgiving; the Sahara and cities are best avoided. Coastal towns such as Essaouira, along with the Atlas Mountains afford temperate climates year-round and are great options if this is your preferred time to travel.
DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY, MARCH: Summer in Cape Town and the Winelands, winter in Morocco, with March starting the peak season.
APRIL: Shoulder season in Namibia. Peak season in Morocco.
MAY: Game starts to pick up and is best viewed across South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia.
JUNE – SEPTEMBER: Ideal game viewing across South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The best time to hike with gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. Peak season in the Victoria Falls.
OCTOBER: Ideal game viewing across South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia. The best time to hike with gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda. Peak season in Morocco.
NOVEMBER: Shoulder season in Namibia. Game can be great in Tanzania & Kenya with less crowds.