For this happy Tuesday morning, we thought we would highlight some of the best times to travel to certain countries within Africa and why. Often there can be too much information on the world wide web which can be confusing and contradicting depending on who you speak to and where you want to go. To sum it up briefly, Africa is the most versatile continent one can travel to, with elements of seasons benefiting each area depending on what you’re looking do. Whether your seeking lush green vistas once the rains have come, or looking for sparse dry African views, with the heat of the earth expectant of rain, each of the seasons offer an array of wonders whenever you plan to travel. BUT to make it a little easier, we want to highlight the pros and cons of travelling to each country, just so you can really boil down your decision on where and when you would like to travel to Africa.
KENYA – From June through to the end of March is the best time to travel to Kenya. From June through to October, we call this the dry season; wildlife is easier to see as the vegetation begins to die back and the wildlife seeks more water, which is limited throughout this dry period. It is also the best time to see predator action as the wildebeest migration begins to arrive through from Tanzania on its annual journey to seek more food. Throughout this period, it will be very unlikely if you experience rain, if you do however, these will be short sharp bursts, usually during the afternoon and shouldn’t affect your safari and you will see the joy in animals with some fresh water arriving.
From November through to May we call this the wet season; rains arrive, and the bush becomes alive bursting into a vibrant green colour. The rains are not long and are usually short showers in the afternoon. At this time of year many of the animals and plains game give birth, so you can expect to see lots of babies around! If you’re into birding, then now is the time to go as many migratory birds arrive and the bush becomes alive with colour and song.
In the dry season rates at many lodges are at their peak but during the wet season, many lodges and camps rates drop (subject to weather, some lodges and camps tend to close their doors within this period).
TANZANIA – May through to the end of October and January and February. With the months of June and July being the best months to visit, witnessing the mass migration of thousands of wildebeest as they move up from the southern Serengeti through to Kenya’s Masai Mara, this is a sight not to be missed. Animals are much easier to spot, as similarly to Kenya, this is known as the dry season and the bush will have died back with animals focusing around remaining water holes. The days will be hot but at night the temperatures drop and can be quite cool as soon as the sun sets.
November through to May is known as the wet season with January and February being the best months to see wildebeest calves being born. For keen birders, this is the time of year migratory birds arrive and make for wonderful sights and songs from the lush bush. March, April, and May can become very wet, the rains will be short, often in the afternoons and should not interfere with your safari – it can often interfere when the tracks become sodden limiting where you can drive, so ensure you find a lodge or camp where you can enjoy a walking safari, so you can get up close and personal with the African bush.
March through to May is the peak of the rainy season, with some lodges and camps closing their doors, however, many camps rates drop which makes it a good time to travel if your budget is limited. June through to October, the rates at lodges and camps will be reasonably high, but some do offer some excellent special offers either side of this. The dry season is the best time to visit parks such as Katavi, Ruaha, Tarangire and Nyerere with the Serengeti being a fantastic location majority of the year round.
SOUTH AFRICA – We will split South Africa in two, separating Cape Town and Winelands areas on the West with Madikwe and Kruger on the East. The best time to visit the West is September/October through to April, which is technically the dry season; this is the best time to enjoy the Garden Route, the weather will be warm and a good temperature for enjoying beautiful scenery and not too hot. It is a popular time of year to travel, so likely to experience more people around within this time. From May through to September, the wet season the surrounding area will be less busy, so you can enjoy the city and winelands without too many people around.
The best time to visit Madikwe and the Kruger areas (Timbavati and Sabi Sands areas) is their dry season, end of April through to October. The wildlife is much easier to spot due to the bush dying back and animals gather around the watering holes. During the day, the weather is good, with strong heat from the sun – so pack your sun cream! The night temperatures do drop, so make sure you also pack some warm jumpers!
We hope you found this brief overview of three countries in Africa and when’s best to travel to them helpful. It can be a minefield out there with tonnes of information, almost too much to take on. Our next blog will continue with three more locations and the best time to travel to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, so keep a look out!