January is a month that sees the large majority of safari destinations entering the rainy ‘Green Season’. Animals move with the start of the rains, dispersing over huge areas in search of fresh grazing, knowing that waterholes will be everywhere.
For those whose priority is big game viewing, the classic destinations are Tanzania and Kenya, which are still in their dry seasons and superb at this time of year. If you are hoping to view gorillas in Rwanda, this country will be in its dry season too, as with the rest of East Africa. Many travellers also look to South Africa & Namibia in January, as the Cape and Garden Route are at their best and the safari in Etosha is still extremely good despite the fact that it is the rainy season there.
Namibia is a year round self drive destination, so you can certainly travel here in January, knowing it is not a peak time. The weather can be quite humid and there will probably be some rain, perhaps a torrential afternoon downpour, clearing up to give you a lovely sunset. Mornings are often clear, but thunderstorms are common in the afternoons, making for spectacular photos, and quite an exciting experience, especially on a self-drive.
January is the ‘wet’ season, and it can get very hot, and not just for you. The animals will be looking for shade and vegetation to cool off behind, making them a little more difficult to spot. The animals can also disperse due to the amount of surface water, which means they do not need to congregate around water holes for easy viewing. However this is the start of birthing season, which more than makes up for the numbers.
Nowhere should be particularly busy and you can also take advantage of low season rates at lodges and campsites as well as on your vehicle and flights. Not to mention the psychological & health benefits of escaping the northern hemisphere’s winter!
Tanzania is a great destination in January, the Northern Circuit especially – the Serengeti is excellent throughout January, February and March. The first Great Migration herds have reached the Ndutu plains just south of the Serengeti itself and are starting to get ready for the calving weeks in February. It is at this time of year that the Serengeti becomes arguably the finest place in Africa to view cheetah and the sheer concentrations of predators on the open plains is astonishing.
January is a lovely time to visit Kenya and while we don’t offer self drive here, we can put together a more classical safari where you might be based on 2 to 3 different lodges with transfers included. With clear hot days and little rain, game viewing is at its peak.
South Africa is beautiful at this time of year. The weather is perfect and driving trips up and down the famous Garden Route are never better. The negative to travelling at this time of year, however, is that combining the fabulous Cape Town and Winelands with high-quality wilderness safari is hard – Botswana is entering its rainy season and the vast majority of Zambia is closed due to rain and floods. Namibia on the other hand would combine well. Nevertheless, South Africa’s own safari, specifically the Kruger and Sabi Sands, is still superb – and this is the area we would combine with Cape Town for a short add-on safari.
This can be a wet time of year to visit with often torrential downpours in the late afternoons. When there are no clouds, temperatures can peak to as high as 40 degrees celsius however it is much more usual for there to be afternoon cloud cover moderating the temperatures somewhat. The Central Kalahari is a wonderful place to be in the wet season (December to May). Game congregates in the huge grassy valleys there, most famously in Deception Valley when the vegetation is lush during and shortly after the rains.
A good time to visit Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, but the rest of the country is too wet for travel.
Another great month to escape the winter in the northern hemisphere. While you may experience a bit of rain, it really won’t be very much when compared with the weather at home. Tanzania is our go to at this time of year.
February is, like January, still ideal for travel to East Africa. The land is green and beautiful, plus it’s calving season for the wildebeest, where the Serengeti welcomes a few thousand wildebeest calves every day. This, of course, means there will be plenty of predators on the prowl as well and perfect opportunities for big cat spotting.
Like Kenya, January is a lovely time to visit Kenya and while we don’t offer self drive here, we can put together a more classical safari where you might be based on 2 to 3 different lodges with transfers included.
Namibia is also really good in February. It is still low season, but temperatures in the day time are comfortable, slightly less chance of rain, game viewing in Etosha will be good. Bear in mind that thunderstorms are often localised and so you may not see any rain. Flights are also generally cheaper from Jan – March.
Rain means greener landscapes which can result in some unique photography of Namibia’s usually arid environment.
Namibia combines really well with South Africa and a drive between the two makes for an epic self drive trip.
A good time to visit Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, but the rest of the country is still too wet for travel.
Still a good time to go! How about starting your self drive in Cape Town and driving up to Namibia or even on to Livingstone? Hottest month of the year in SA.
Travelling between seasons can mean great value.
March falls right between the summer and the start of autumn. This is a period known as the ‘shoulder season’ where conditions are reaching near perfect – where you can also get some great rates at expensive lodges. Flights should be reasonable depending on when Easter falls.
March is coming towards the end of the wet season and the heat is slightly reduced compared to February. However, it can still be hot and humid, with chances of localised rain.
March is usually when landscapes are at their greenest, giving you a really unique look at Namibia and its desert landscapes. It is also common to see some new born animals.
A great time to visit the Central Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi National Park. Most of the herbivores are in their best condition, having fed well on the lush vegetation. It’s a perfect time to catch huge concentrations of springbok and oryx on the short grass plains of the Central Kalahari’s fossil river valleys.
The days can still vary enormously from one to the next. Even within a day skies can change from sunny to cloudy within minutes and then back again.
A good time to visit Livingstone and the Victoria Falls, but the rest of the country is still out of season.
The last hot and relatively dry month in the Cape Town/Garden Route areas. A great time to do our Winelands to Windhoek itinerary!
In April the wet season is winding down and the dry season is picking up. Destinations like Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe are great getaways and there is value to be had at this time of year.
April marks the end of the rainy season and the start of a shoulder season; air is fresh, vegetation lush (as it can be), and the air is largely free from dust. Temperatures are more moderate than earlier in the year, and the average rainfall drops dramatically. As with March, some of the landscape can be green, and this is considered by some to be when Namibia is at its most beautiful. There are green patches in the normally orange and arid desert, and bright flowers can pierce through.
The mix of wildlife, birds and stunning landscapes makes it a great time to travel.
The rains stop and grounds dries and the country looks very green. Not ideal for predator viewing, but that doesn't mean you won't see excellent game sightings. You will however see plenty of elephant, giraffe and birdlife in a very a luscious environment. The seasoned safari goers love this time of year. It's also much cheaper to travel then, which can either reduce the total trip cost or let you travel longer. The longer you're on safari, the more you will see and enjoy.
April marks the end of the ‘Emerald (a.k.a wet!) Season’ and is an interesting time to visit as lodges offer cheaper rates and are generally less busy. Roads could still be tricky to navigate or at worst impassable and so we would suggest that you either do a Migration trip and not self drive or if wanting to self drive our experts will tailor a lodge to lodge trip, no camping involved, to accessible areas. Vegetation everywhere will be lush.
We like Namibia, Botswana & Zimbabwe at this time of year.
In May, the summer has ended and the rain is called to a halt – in fact the average rainfall drops to just 6mm in May. Landscapes can still be quite lush and green, and the temperatures are still lovely and warm, with the nights not quite dropping enough to be considered ‘cold’.
Still a shoulder month, May is an ideal time to travel and flights should still be priced fairly attractively when compared to flights in July/August/September. A favourite time of year amongst the Safari Drive experts!
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is surely one of the most beautiful places on earth and is home to over 122 species of animals and over 440 species of birds. Situated in the Kalahari Basin of northern Botswana, this basin floods annually just as Botswana’s rainy season ends in April and May. The water revitalises the land, and brings this diverse ecosystem back to life, making an ideal location to see some of Africa’s most amazing wildlife. The self drive season through Moremi, Savuti, Linyanti and Chobe can begin in earnest.
The dry season begins when you are unlikely to meet rain and can expect clear blue skies – a good time to be self driving. Lots of big game to be seen at this time of year.
While Malawi can be visited year round, the most pleasant time to visit is possibly between May to October when there are warm to hot days and cooler nights. Winter is also the dry season meaning that rain is unlikely to disrupt any travel plans.
Let the dry season commence!
June sees Southern Africa heading into its best safari period and South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia enjoy their respective high seasons this time of year. June is also a good time to visit the grasslands of the Serengeti. It’s the start of the great wildebeest migration and ideal for lion spotting.
Winter draws in, yet the weather is still lovely and warm, although the nights are getting colder – it’s definitely time to get the fleece out if you are sitting around the campfire! The wildlife sightings are excellent in Etosha, as well as the other parks. Water holes are now scarcer, and you’ll see wildlife gathering together with the common goal of hydration around them. Vegetation is drying out as well, giving the animals fewer places to seek shade or shelter.
Parks are still relatively quiet at the start of the month, but they do get busier towards the end due to the start of the South African school holidays.
A wonderful time to be exploring the Okavango Delta area.
The ground starts to dry out after the rains, making June a lovely time to visit. The rivers are still full and the bush is colourful. The camps have opened. June to August are the coolest months (think ‘comfortable’) for travelling.
The wettest time to visit. Not ideal.