Best Time to Visit by Season
Dry Season: July | August | October
The best time for an African safari is during the winter dry season between July, August, and October. Any rainfall that does happen is short and replenishes the grasslands for the herds leading into the wildebeest calving season. The lack of tall grass gives you great visibility while also forcing wildlife and birds to gather around the limited water sources giving way to the likes of wildebeest, zebra, and elephants.
Wet Season: December | January | February
The wet season in East Africa has the best African safari opportunities in December, January, and February when the short downpours turn the high grass and thick foliage emerald green. The gorgeous scenery can hide the wildlife making it more challenging for your hopes of game viewing. The ample rain also provides greater sources of water allowing the wildlife to spread out. However, most species give birth when there is plenty of food and water meaning more wildlife and more active predators.
Dry Season: May | September
The best time to visit Southern Africa for a safari is the winter dry season in May or September. The wildlife clusters around the waterholes and rivers mainly in the cooler hours of the early morning or night. The shorter grass also makes it easier to spot wildlife including elusive animals like the pangolin, African civet, or sidestriped jackal revealing the sheer concentration of wildlife across the region.
Wet Season: November | December
The best time for African safari during Southern Africa’s wet season is in November and December when the wildflowers start blossoming and the vegetation turns emerald. The rainy season across Southern Africa brings a different perspective to the wildlife perfect for birding, butterflies, and finding lesser-visited corners with wide ranges of dramatic herds often only viewed by safari aficionados with the beginning of the wet season consisting of short rains rather than the long rains in April and May.
Best Time for Game Viewing
Best Months: June | July | October
June, July, and October will give you the best game viewing experience in East Africa at the heart of the dry season. The weather is sunny and mainly rain-free but is also the time of year for famous game-viewing opportunities on the Serengeti, Masai Mara, or Samburu National Reserve.
Best Months: May | September
The limited rainfall in May and September will give you the best opportunity for seeing wildlife during a Southern Africa safari with typically sunny and cool days. Parks and conservancies brim with the likes of elephants, lion, and kudu while the spring flowers blossom along the plains.
Best Time for the Great Migration
Best Months: August | September | October
The best time for you to experience the Great Migration on an African safari is in August, September, and October depending on where you are visiting. The celebrated annual migration occurs between July and November when the staggering hordes of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle travel between the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. Depending on where and when you plan your safari, you can witness the spectacle in either park.
Best Time the Zebra Migration
Best Months: February | March | April
The best time to witness the Zebra Migration in Botswana is between February and April during the rainy season giving you a view of the largest mass migrations in Africa. The zebras embark on a journey of over 360 miles roundtrip between the Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi grasslands.
Best Time for Gorilla Trekking
Best Months: June | July | August
June, July, and August are the best months for gorilla trekking whether in Uganda or Rwanda. The weather is usually warmer with less rain resulting in a more comfortable and easier trekking experience for you. During the wet season, the paths can be steep and muddy but also less-visited.
Best Time with Family Travel
Best Months: February | March | September | October
The best time for a family African safari is in February, March, September, and October. These months give you the best weather and therefore also maximize your game-viewing opportunities. Whether traveling in Southern or East Africa, by visiting as a family between February and March or again between September and October, you can also couple your safari excursions with other unforgettable family-friendly activities.
Best Time for Couples
Best Months: June | July | August | September
The dry season from June to September will give you the best chances of a romantic African safari steeped in ideal seclusion. Wildlife is easily found around known watering holes and the diverse protected landscapes can reveal stunning displays of leopards, giraffes, and elephants. The dry season also makes it easy to couple an African safari with nearby exotic islands.