When is the best time to go on an African Safari

When is the best time to go on an African safari?

When choosing when to go on an African safari, it’s important to remember that you’ll see animals all year round. However, there are times of the year that are better than others. Summer typically gets hot and can often be in the high 30 degrees Celsius, tending to make the animals less active, compared to the winter months. Regardless of when you go though, you will have multiple opportunities to spot the Big Five with game drives occurring at both dawn and dusk.
Here’s a quick overview to help you choose when best to go on an African safari.

Winter (May to October)

One of the best times that we recommend going on an African safari is during the winter months between May and October. This is when the grass is shorter, making it easier to spot the wildlife. The weather is also colder and drier at this time of the year, so the animals are more active for longer, with more wildlife congregating around water sources, making game-viewing much more dramatic and interesting. Be sure to bring warm layers of clothing as it can be chilly early in the morning during your game drive, whilst temperatures in the day can rise to approximately 20 degrees Celsius. As winter also marks low season, you may also encounter fewer tourists, providing a more intimate safari experience.

Planning a safari in winter also allows you to discover more of Africa’s incredible sights, such as whale-watching in Hermanus between June to September.
See more African wildlife during the winter months when the grass is shorter

The Great Migration ( July to August)

Witness one of the world’s most dazzling spectacles – the Great Migration, where thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle make the incredible 3,000 kilometre journey north from Tanzania’s Serengeti to the south of Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of fresh grazing lands, water holes and breeding grounds. Closely chased by lions on land and hunted by hungry crocodiles in the rivers, the Great Migration is fascinating to watch, where only the toughest will survive.

Typically between July and August, the wildebeest herds will start making the terrifying Mara River crossing through crocodile infested rivers, but depending on rainfall and the weather, this can happen earlier or later.
Witness the Great Migration

Where to safari?

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Spot rhinos at Kruger National Park
Journey to the world-renowned Kruger National Park for some of the best wildlife viewing in the country. As one of the largest national parks in Africa, many of the private reserves have removed their fences allowing animals to roam freely. Lions, leopards, elephants, antelopes, zebra, Cape Buffalo, Black Rhino and White Rhino, baboons and monkeys are all found here along with more than 500 species of bird and over 100 species of reptile.

Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Amboseli National Park is one of the best places in Africa to watch large herds of elephants in close proximity against the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak rising 5,895 metres. Other wildlife to be viewed include lions, zebras, cheetahs, leopards, buffalo, crocodiles and the nocturnal porcupine as well as more than 370 bird species. Visitors can also meet the local Maasai community and learn about their authentic culture.

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Enjoy hot air ballooning in the Masai Mara, Kenya
Situated in south-west Kenya, the Masai Mara is home to some of Africa’s most diverse and spectacular ecosystems and offers top safari big game viewing. Here you can witness the Great Migration as well as elephant, buffalo, lion, cheetah, giraffe and zebra. For a different perspective, take a hot air balloon flight to experience the savannah at dawn.

Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

Spot flamingos at Lake Nakuru, Kenya
Located in the Great Rift Valley, Lake Nakaru National Park is home to a vast number of flamingos, particularly during peak season. Their beautiful vibrant pink colour, set against the aqua blue waters of Lake Nakaru make for prime photo opportunities. Alongside flamingos, expect to see other birdlife including kingfishers, pelicans and eagles as well as Kenya’s largest population of black and white rhinos.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe National Park, Botswana
As one of the best national parks in Southern Africa, Chobe National Park is situated next to the Chobe River and within close proximity of the borders of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Home to vast herds of elephants and buffalo, take a cruise along the beautiful river and watch elephants playing, washing and crossing the river, whilst keep an eye out for an abundance of crocodiles and hippos.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Watch the wildebeest migration at Serengeti National Park
First established in 1952, the Serengeti National Park plays resident to one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles – the Great Migration. Here you can view the Big Five and over 500 bird species as well as the migrating wildebeest and zebra.
Ready to see the Big Five? Experience dawn and dusk game drives at all of the above national parks during the 23 day Grand African Safari.

Top African Safaris