Best Time for An African Safari

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Going on an African safari requires some planning – You can’t just get up and go.

Generally, the best time to go for any safari is during the dry season.

So, it varies depending on where exactly you want to go on the continent.

The dry season is preferable because that is when animals come out to look for food and water.

Best Time To Visit Different African Safari Destinations

Since most safari destinations are located within the tropical regions of Africa, you can visit the continent any time of the year.

However, some months are more ideal than others.

Here is a look at the best times to visit some of the most popular African safari destinations.

Serengeti National Park- Tanzania

Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is among the most popular safari destinations in the world and has even inspired many books and films.

It is also home to the world-famous Great Migration, which features millions of wildebeests. In addition, it houses the big 5, including over 3000 lions.

Serengeti vs Maasai Mara guide
Serengeti vs Maasai Mara safari destination

The best time to visit Serengeti depends on weather patterns, which also influence the behavior of animals.

For Instance – January to February is when there is mass birthing of calves in Southern Serengeti, which also attracts the big cats to hunt.

The Great Migration takes place in different stages and at different times of the year.

If you want to witness the river crossings in Serengeti, you should head over there between July and August.

Maasai Mara National Park- Kenya

The Mara, as it is simply referred to, is arguably one of the most visited safari destinations in Africa.

African safari Maasai Mara National Rreserve Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

It is located in the Southwestern part of Kenya, a country endowed with approximately 40 national parks.

The Mara is home to the Big 5 and also hosts the annual Great Migration.

Kenya’s climate is incredibly convenient for an all-year-round safari, but you would have a better experience between July and October.

These months are cooler and drier, making it easy to spot animals. It is also when the Great Migration at the Mara takes place.

Kruger National Park- South Africa

Kruger National Park is the biggest park in Southern Africa and home to the Big 5.

Safari Kruger National Park South Africa
Kruger National Park South Africa

The best time to visit the park is between March and April, as the weather is pleasant and the crowds are significantly fewer.

The park is conveniently close to Johannesburg, so getting to it is easy.

You will also get a good view of Table Mountain, the plain and beautiful tropical forest scenery.

Simien Mountains National Park- Ethiopia

There is no bad time to go to Simien Mountains National Park in Northern Ethiopia as the region boasts good weather throughout the year, although it gets a bit rainy between June and September.

View Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia
Simien Mountains National Park in Ethiopia

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park is among the best to visit while on an African Safari.

The park is covered in the green of alpine forests, and you will also get a view of the sweeping mountains and deep valleys.

You will also spot animals such as hyenas, jackals, leopards, klipspringers, and a plethora of bird species.

If You Are Lucky – You will also catch a glimpse of the Walia ibex and Simien fox.

Hwange National Park- Zimbabwe

Hwange National Park is the largest park in Zimbabwe and is just an hour south of Victoria Falls.

It is the only place in Zimbabwe where you will see brown hyenas and gemsbok.

African safari Hwange National Park Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

May is a good time to visit Hwange National Park, mostly because it is a transitional month between the wet and dry seasons.

Rain makes the place lush and green, which creates such beautiful scenery.

Towards June, it becomes a little drier; the weather becomes warm and pleasant, and the nights chilly.

Drier weather draws animals to rivers and water holes in the park, and you will have a higher chance of spotting:

  • lions
  • leopards
  • elephants
  • and zebras

Okavango Delta- Botswana

Also known as “Africa’s Last Eden,” the Okavango Delta is one of the best safari destinations in Africa.

Okavango Delta aerial view Botswana
Okavango Delta Botswana

The best time to visit the park is between May and September, which is the region’s dry season.

You can expect less vegetation during these months. It will be easier to spot lions and other animals.

The animals also tend to concentrate around water places.

Another reason why it is a good idea to go at this time is that when rain is rare, there are also few mosquitoes on Okavango.

Chobe National Park- Botswana

Chobe is a stone throw away from Okavango Delta.

It is Botswana’s first and most biologically diverse national park.

Visit safari Chobe National Park in Botswana
Chobe National Park in Botswana

Dubbed the “land of giants,” Chobe is home to more than 120000 elephants, which is easily Africa’s largest elephant population.

Just like Okavango, the best time to visit Chobe is during Botswana’s drier months, May to September.

While the best way to go around most parks is by using a 4 by 4 truck, you will have the best experience in this park if you went around it using a boat.

Volcanoes National Park- Rwanda

If you want to see gorillas, chimpanzees, and colobus monkeys in their natural habitat, then Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda would be your perfect destination.

Volcanoes National Park Rwanda safari best time
Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

There is a rainforest within the park, which makes it a perfect home for the animals.

The best time to go to the park would be July to August, as it is Rwanda’s dry season.

During That Period – The skies are blue, and it is nicely sunny, both of which are perfect conditions to take part in gorilla trekking adventures.

Kakum National Park- Ghana

Kakum National Park in Ghana is perfect for birdwatchers and is an avenue for an excellent canopy tour.

Kakum National Park Ghana safari time
Kakum National Park Ghana

Some of the birds you will see in the park include the guinea fowl and African grey parrots, which are quite rare.

The best time for a safari to Kakum would be September to October, which is part of the dry season in the region, albeit with light rainfall.

You will also spot animals like forest elephants, leopards, pangolins, civets, and a variety of monkeys out looking for water.

Tai National Park- Ivory Coast

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tai National Park in Ivory Coast is perfect for tourists who want to see wildlife in their natural habitats.

Leopard hunting

It has a tropical rainforest inhabited by leopards, flying squirrels, chimps, pygmy hippos, and colobus monkeys.

Plan your safari to Tai National Park around November to December, which is the beginning of the warm and dry season.

There is minimal rainfall during this time, which is hardly inconvenient, not to mention fewer mosquitoes.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park- Uganda

Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is home to almost half of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas.

If you want a memorable mountain gorilla trekking experience, then this would be the perfect safari destination.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda safari time
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda

The best time to go to Bwindi would be between June to September because this is when the skies are clear; there is less rain and more sunshine.

If you want to make the trip during the low season when prices are a tad bit competitive, November would be a perfect time.

Permits can be as low as half the usual price, and the weather will not deter you from having a good time.


If you want to go to Madagascar, plan your safari around the winter months, which are between May and June.

Go to Madagascar safari
Go to Madagascar safari between May and June.

Since the area is close to the equator, the temperature is generally pleasant. Also, it is not too crowded as it is the low season.

Apart from a lush landscape, the island has many flora and fauna that are endemic and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

It also boasts very many species of amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals.

Is The Green Season Favorable for An African Safari?

The green season is when there are frequent rains.

During this time, it becomes a bit challenging to spot wildlife, thanks to the thick vegetation.

Also, there is plenty of water for animals and no need for them to go searching for it.

Additionally – It is the time when most animals give birth, so there are plenty of newborns running around.

Green season in Botswana hosts part of the longest animal migration.

Elephants from Maasai Mara safari
Elephants from Maasai Mara

Thousands of Burchell’s Zebras cover more than 310 miles in a straight line between Namibia and Botswana.

While the green season is not the best time for an African safari, it is a great time for second-time visitors.

Those who have already experienced the best of African safaris, like the Big 5, and want a slightly different experience, should consider visiting during the green season.

Prices are also relatively cheap since it is low season.

In Conclusion

The best time for an African safari is during the drier months, when vegetation is not too thick, making it easy to spot animals.

Also, animals will be out wandering, looking for water holes.

The safari will also be smooth because there won’t be rain to distract or cut short a tour.

Different regions in Africa have different climates, so the dry season in the south will not necessarily coincide with the dry season in the east.

Therefore, the best time to go to, say, Kruger National Park may not be the best time to visit the Maasai Mara.

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