Africa is a huge continent with much regional climate variation. So, when you travel will depend on where you go – and vice versa. Here’s a brief guide to help you start planning your trip of a lifetime.
Updated February 2019.
January to March
From December through to February, the wildebeest herds are in the Serengeti (Tanzania) for calving season. It’s also a great time to visit the Masai Mara (Kenya), where game viewing is good and the weather is dry.
December to February is one of the dry seasons in Rwanda and Uganda (the other is June to September), so a perfect time to go gorilla trekking.
If you want to include a city break in your safari holiday, it’s summer in Cape Town – that means hot, dry weather, but be aware of the strong wind that the city experiences from December to early February. Remember that the festive season and school holidays fall over December and January, so the Cape can get very busy. Things quieten down from mid to late February. March is a great shoulder-season month to visit South Africa generally.
For a completely different kind of wildlife-spotting, try Zanzibar, off the Tanzanian coast, where you might spot whale sharks, the gentle giants of the ocean.
April to June
Mozambique is a great destination for a beach holiday, with May to November being the dry season and the best time to enjoy these pristine shores.
Victoria Falls is at peak water in April, when you can barely see a thing due to the spray – but from the air, it’s a really impressive sight.
As the dry season sets in from May, South Africa’s Kruger National Park is great for wildlife viewing, though the southern park and the Sabi Sands Private Reserve are solid choices all year round.
Also starting its dry season, Botswana‘s Okavango Delta is one of our favourite safari destinations. The dry weather means animals are easier to spot, gathering around key waterholes.
July to September
Safari season is in full swing in most southern African destinations. As it is peak season, lodges tend to fill up months in advance.
Malawi is one of the most underrated safari destinations that deserves to be discovered: the wildlife is exceptional and Lake Malawi offers superb diving conditions and a great place to unwind.
Victoria Falls is starting to dry up, which means you can access places such as Devil’s Pool, which is usually open from late August to early January.
The great wildebeest migration river crossings in the Serengeti and the Masai Mara take place between July and September and are by far the most popular part of this endless migration.
Along the East African coast, spot migrating humpback whales.
Rwanda and Uganda are back in season for more gorilla trekking adventures.
September in the Western Cape of South Africa means whales and wildflowers.
October to December
Many of the beaches of Africa are perfect through this period, with ideal weather in Mozambique and South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal, before the wet season starts in mid December.
The Indian Ocean islands – e.g. Seychelles and Mauritius – are also best visited in October and November before the rains hit in December.
Namibia is a great choice of destination until the start of November when the heat begins to pick up.