One of the things travelers wonder about is when is the best time to go on African safaris. With weather changes and continuous movements of wildlife year-round, planning can be a bit tricky, especially if you have limited time. We're giving a guide on when to go on an African safari.
When to Go on an African Safari?
The best time to go on an African safari is during the dry season of June to October. The foals and fawns season in January and February is ideal for photographers who want to witness hunting. March, April, and May are perfect for seeing lush landscapes, whereas June is suitable for catching animal migration.
Weather patterns vary per African country. Weigh in factors such as crowds, pricing, and what you want to see in Africa.
Factors to Consider When Deciding When to Go on African Safaris
The seasons and your availability mainly influence the perfect opportunity to go on a luxury safari tour in Africa.
Flexibility and Date Preferences
If your schedule is flexible enough to go on safaris any time of the year, prioritize the activities you want to do on your trip, like the river crossings of the Great Migration. After that, choose the corresponding months.
For instance, it's ideal to go to the Etosha National Park during the dry winter months of July to October, so you can spot herds of elephants, leopards, lions, and rhinos.
If you're tied to a particular vacation time, it would be wise to avail yourself of a luxury African safari tour that features the best destinations and wildlife viewing in Africa.
Each month has a significant safari experience you may consider when choosing the right time to go to Eastern and Southern Africa.
Foals and fawns season: This happens around January and February, making it the perfect time to witness the suckling season and birthings.
Green season: The rainy green season around March, April, and May turns Africa into a lush landscape. This makes it the peak season for travelers, especially those who want to visit the Okavango Delta.
Northbound: Another great opportunity for wildlife viewing of herds of animals starting to move around June in search of greener pastures.
River crossings: This peak season covers the Great Migration and river crossings to Masai Mara from July to September.
Rest and feed: Herds of animals settle, rest, and feed around October and November before moving south of Africa.
Southbound: Herds prepare for their gestation period before making the long journey for another year.
Best Months to Visit African Countries for Safaris
Here is a breakdown of what seasons to expect in every African country and the best time to visit them for African safaris.
While Tanzania is one of the best destinations in East Africa, you can visit throughout the year because of its dry season. However, April to May has the highest chance of rain.
Best time for safaris: It's best to have a wildlife viewing in Tanzania around July to September because of the long dry season. Aside from witnessing the Great Migration, this is a high season for trekking and beach escapades.
Kenya is another East African safari destination offering a year-round spectacular safari experience due to its dry season, although April to May may have intense thunderstorms.
Best season for safaris: June, July, August, September, and October are the best travel months for a safari tour in Kenya because of the pleasant temperatures. The peak season of early September lets you witness wildebeest migration across the Masai Mara.
South Africa is another year-round destination for safaris, raking in crowds, mainly in its dry season. However, in South Africa, July is the mid-winter season.
Best time for safaris: The months around May to October are perfect for wildlife viewing in South Africa because wildlife tends to concentrate on water sources and vegetation. It's also the right opportunity for game viewing at Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands private game reserves, as well as visiting Cape Town.
You'll need to come to Botswana during the hot and dry season for one of the best game-viewing experiences in Southern Africa.
Best season for safaris: It's ideal to go on a safari trip in Botswana around August to October when wildlife concentrates on a few waterholes. The weather can be hot in the morning, while thunderstorms occur at night. November to April creates lush green spaces in Botswana, making it the perfect time to watch migratory birds at Okavango Delta.
Mozambique generally has a sub-tropical climate, so take advantage of this calm and warm weather for the best game viewing.
Best time for safaris: Schedule a safari trip in Mozambique between September and November for marine life migration and a superb diving experience.
Uganda has a distinct wet season, especially from April to May and November to December.
Best season for safaris: The dry season of January to February and June to July are the best times to go on a safari in Uganda. These months draw crowds in East Africa for game viewing and gorilla trekking.
The rainy season happens around March to May, making Rwanda less crowded. Additionally, the heavy rains may make it challenging to bushwalk.
Best time for safaris: The dry season from June to September is the perfect time to go on a safari in Rwanda because you'll get a closer look at the mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.
Namibia's dry season generally has a pleasant climate, letting you visit the country at any time of the year.
Best season for safaris: July, August, September, and October have the lowest chances of rain, making them the perfect opportunity for bird watching and visiting the Sossusvlei sand dunes.
Zambia is known for its sub-tropical climate, with a wet season from December to April.
Best time for safaris: Plan your safari trips to Zambia around May to October for the best game viewing experience in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks. You can also visit around February to May when Victoria Falls releases the greatest volume of water.
The wet summer season from November to March makes it harder for wildlife viewing because of the unpredictable weather.
Best season for safaris: Schedule your safari trip in Zimbabwe around August to December to do water rafting. May, June, July, and August are good options for game drives at the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Lake Kariba, and Hwange National Park. You can also see part of Victoria Falls around May to September.
What Is the Best Weather for a Safari?
The dry weather of the winter season is the best weather to go on an African safari. Most African countries have this dry weather around June to October, letting you enjoy the prime of game drives and walking safaris.
How Many Days Do I Need for a Safari Tour in Africa?
A good rule of thumb is to spend at least 10 to 14 days on an Africa safari. This is why we've created the ultimate safari experience that enables you to camp in three different areas and witness the Great Migration within 10 days and nine nights.
What Is the Average Cost of African Safaris?
While the cost of a safari trip in Africa depends on whether you want an expensive luxury safari tour or a budget-friendly tour, it may range from $125 to $1500 per person per day. Our 10-day luxury trip offers an all-inclusive tour worth $15,000.
It's best to know the dry season of each African country to find the right time to go on safaris. When booking our custom luxury safari tours consider the perfect weather conditions and wildlife viewing to give you the safari experience of a lifetime.