Six of the best summer vacation ideas in Africa

It’s a happy coincidence that that Northern Hemisphere’s summer holidays overlap with the best time to travel to many African destinations. Winter in Africa usually means dry conditions and cooler temperatures, which animals love. It’s generally still warm enough to wear a t-shirt during the day, so it hardly feels like the winters many of us are used to in Europe or North America. Here are some of the top summer vacation ideas, whether you’re travelling as a family, with friends, solo or in a couple.

Walking across the Mupamadzi River, Zambia. Credit: Robin Pope Safaris.

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

The winter months in Zambia are great for game viewing, as the weather is cooler and the rains have finished. From May to October, the dry season, animals tend to cluster around waterholes or on the banks of the Luangwa River. Zambia is the home of the walking safari, so where better to explore the bush on foot during a multi-day safari adventure?

Elephants crossing the Luangwa River.

Western Cape, South Africa

If sunbathing isn’t your bag, winter can be a great time to visit the Western Cape. By many standards, the weather isn’t too cold (the August average high in Cape Town is 20°C or 68°F) and you still get plenty of beautiful, clear sunny days, which are perfect for hiking. From June to September, the southern right whales can be seen right from the coast, especially in Hermanus, one of the best places in the world for land-based whale watching. Wine tasting is also a fun winter activity; farmhouses and cottages stoke up their fires and provide cosy spaces for sampling some of the best vintages in the country.

whale watching south africa
June to September is whale watching season in the Western Cape.

Lake Malawi, Malawi

Winter brings big blue skies, dry conditions and warm weather to the shores of Lake Malawi. One of our favourite vacations spots, this huge lake sports sandy beaches and clear water, making it ideal for some chill-out time after a safari and for fishing, snorkelling and kayaking.

Lake Malawi
On the shores of Lake Malawi.

Sossusvlei, Namibia

The Namib Desert is one of the most striking landscapes in the world: endless rolling, rust-orange dunes, clear skies and a real sense of remoteness. Explore this desert country in August, after the South African and Namibian school holidays, and soak up the great vastness of the landscape. Watch the sun rise from the top of famous Dune 45, climb Big Daddy, one of the world’s highest dunes, and watch the Milky Way glittering at night.

The dunes of Sossusvlei are some of the highest in the world.

KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

South Africans love visiting KwaZulu-Natal during the winter, especially sun-seekers from the colder Western Cape. With year-round sunshine and warmth, and reduced humidity during the winter, these tropical Indian Ocean shores are the perfect August holiday destination. It’s not just the beaches either: you can go on safari in Zululand, hike in the Drakensberg Mountains and explore Durban’s rich historic and cultural heritage.

Turtles hatchlings swimming out from Rocktail Beach, KZN. Credit: Wilderness Safaris.

Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania 

One of the largest game reserves on the planet, the Selous is also far less visited than the Serengeti or the Masai Mara – particularly at this time of year, when the famous river crossings of the Great Migration are taking place. And as winter is the best time for wildlife spotting, this period is the perfect time to take advantage of all that space.

An aerial view of the Selous.

Header image: Rocktail Beach Camp, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Credit: Wilderness Safaris.

Don’t stress! We can help plan your summer holiday – you let us know what you want and we’ll deal with the details.

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