An African safari is not the type of vacation you plan at the last minute. Because of this, we’re often asked “when is the best time to go?”. It’s a loaded question since it really depends on what you would like to see and do. We can probably all agree that the weather is a big determining factor.
Many of Africa’s most popular destinations are close enough to the equator that cold weather is not an issue. It’s the rain that we keep track of in East and Southern Africa. The dry season generally falls from January – March and July – October. This differs depending on how close you are to the coast, where it is often wetter. If you plan a beach holiday and/or safari in the more remote parks, then it may pay to stick within the dry season. On the other hand, there are still plenty of places that make the “green season” particularly rewarding. Babies are born when the grass is green and wild flowers bloom in the desert. Of course the biggest benefit is that it makes your safari more affordable..
It does get cold in South Africa during the winter months from June – August, especially around the Kruger National Park area. But it is dry and the days are never too chilly. Winters in Morocco (December – February) can also be a bit chilly and rainy, but it is the best time to visit the Sahara desert, which gets too hot in the summer months. Egypt is best overall in the winter months, the coast is still sunny and you won’t melt while checking out ancient Egypt’s tombs and temples out in the desert.
Africa has a steamy reputation and it is well deserved, especially during the Christmas months in East and Southern Africa. The closer you get to the lower coastal areas, the warmer and more humid it gets. Morocco and Egypt can get very hot during their summer months (July – September) and it is almost impossible to enjoy the desert during those times. But the heat can be beat by running for the hills. There are several safari destinations at higher elevations that are still comfortable during the peak of summer. And when the sun goes down, it always cools down.
Besides the weather, a good reason to plan your trip is to enjoy one of the many major festivals that take place throughout the continent. We keep our eye on festivals on this blog, other sources include:
- Africa Travel at About.com
- Africa Guide’s Festivals
- South African Festivals and Events
- Frommer’s Whats on When
There is no bad time to visit Africa, the worst you can do is to not visit Africa. Call us, we can help you figure out what to do and when to do it.