Ideas for my African Safari

If you are planning your Safari around specific dates of when you can take your vacation, then you will be considering options in many countries that have superb wilderness areas, depending on what you want to experience. We’ll get to that.

If you are planning your African Safari specifically to visit certain game reserves or to see “bucket list” animals (say, endangered species like rhino or the African Painted Hunting Dog), or events (like the Serengeti migration) then you might have to be more flexible in the dates that you choose to give yourself the best chance of seeing that game.

This extremely rare picture was taken by Roan Ravenhill a Safari tour guide at Malamala in South Africa. It shows the Painted Hunting Dogs and White Rhino in the same photo!

There are also other niches that you may wish to consider, or even other sights that could be better viewed at certain time of the year.

Travelers wanting to take in more than just safaris may want to include destinations like Cape Town or Zanzibar. While these two can be enjoyed all year, we recommend you avoid mid-winter (July/August in Cape Town) and the two wet-seasons (April/May and November) in Zanzibar.

The Peak Season for South African safaris is the summer period from December to February. Cape Town is Africa’s most visited tourist attraction (for good reason) and most visitors will also do a trip through the Kruger Park at that time. Kruger is wild, but has high traffic and good (and mostly paved) roads.

In this website wildlife is the major attraction, but there is so much to do in Africa when you travel for a Safari, you should also consider these options for the more adventurous traveller:

Victoria Falls – magnificent viewing of the full height of the Falls is only possible when the water flow is low (October to January)  – this is the ‘wet’ season for most nearby game reserves. When game viewing is better – in the ‘dry’ season you might have too much spray at the Falls to see well! If you want to do white water rafting in the Zambezi gorge check the best months to visit. Solution: Enjoy getting drenched by the spray in the Rain Forest on the Zimbabwean side, or choose to safari in September or October, when the Falls’ flow is lower and season is drying out.

Climbing Kilimanjaro – there are some considerations to the best dates to climb to the ‘Roof of Africa’, its highest peak, and linking your animal safari destination – especially if you are looking for game lodges near the migration. Note that a climbing expedition usually takes a week to complete.

Kilimanjaro. Africa's highest mountain.

Kilimanjaro. Africa’s highest mountain.

Bird Watching – ornithologists may prefer the wet season, or could be researching the best times to find particular migratory species. The flamingos in East African soda lakes are a sight that should be on your “bucket list”.

Swimming with Whalesharks in East Africa or Great White sharks in Cape Town – both of these are possible but seasonal. Low season for Great White shark sightings is January to March, high season is May to October. East Africa high season for Whale Shark swimming is November to January.

Walking Safaris abound: Walk with lions. Ride on horseback with game. Ride on elephants. – These are also are all available for the adventure seekers. Be aware that certain times of the year will be better than others – those rides may not operate late in the season when it’s too wet and the grass is too tall.