Why Winter in Africa is the best Time to Go on Safari
Are you practically jumping at the bid to plan your ultimate bucket-list worthy safari trip to Africa, but you have absolutely no idea when the best time is to go to? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!
Africa is a massive continent made up of 54 countries, all boasting a variety of extraordinary National Parks, game reserves, conservancies, and several pristine safari destinations. Each African country varies greatly by region, season (including seasonal highlights), wildlife and birdlife sightings, as well as safari experiences, activities, and adventures – Africa is known for its vast and glorious diversity after all.
What you want to do, see, explore, discover, and experience on your trip to Africa, as well as the specific and /or multiple safari destinations and / or African countries and National Parks you would like visit, wildlife spectacles you’re eager to witness, and unforgettable safari adventures you’d like to tick off your bucket-list are all important factors to consider when planning your trip, holiday, or getaway to Africa.
#Excellent Game Viewing & Sensational Wildlife Sightings & Encounters
Peak safari season runs from about June to October across Africa. Winter in Africa is synonymous with prime game viewing opportunities, unbelievable up-close wildlife sightings, and thrilling once-in-a-lifetime safari encounters, adventures, and experiences. Winter in Africa is when its vast and diverse array of wildlife species come out to play in full force – It is an unbelievable sight to behold!
From watching herds of elephants striding across open plains, leopards lazily lounging on treetop hideaways, majestic lions basking in the glorious mid-day African sun, and massive herds of wildebeest and antelope running across the vast and wonderful savannah, to giraffes feasting on the lush tree-top greenery, hippos popping in and out of the water, and rhinos grazing in the distance, there are few things that compare to witnessing Africa’s remarkable wildlife roaming free in their natural habitat and the place they call home – AFRICA!
#Witness the most MAGNIFICENT Wildlife Spectacles on the planet
Winter in Africa is also the best time of year to witness some of the most magnificent wildlife spectacles in the world.
Have you always dreamt of seeing the Great Wildebeest Migration through Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Maasai Mara, witnessing up-close sightings of the renowned African Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephants, buffalo, and rhinos) in their natural habitat, particularly while exploring the Kruger National Park in South Africa?
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to go endangered Mountain Gorilla trekking in the forests of Rwanda and Uganda, bare witness to the thunderous Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River bordering between Zambia and Zimbabwe, walk in the wild in Zambia, see the largest population of elephant herds in Botswana’s Chobe National Park, experience the Great Bat Migration from the Congo Basin to Kasanka National Park in Zambia, observe the most prolific big cat sightings in Kenya’s famed Masai Mara Game Reserve, or go on the ultimate safari adventure in the evergreen jewel of the Okavango Delta? Africa has no shortage of spectacular wildlife spectacles, sightings, and up-close encounters, most of which you won’t find anywhere else in the world than right here in the heart of the African bushveld.
#Favourable Weather Conditions for Safari & Game Viewing
While Africa’s summer season is EXTREMELY hot and humid, its dry winter season is characterized by lovely and mild day-time temperatures, low humidity, fine clear skies, and minimal to no rainfall (in some parts of the country). The dry African winter season conditions, primarily due to the lack of rainfall experienced during winter in Africa, gives nature and wildlife enthusiasts the best opportunity to spot Africa’s extraordinary wildlife species, including its iconic Big 5, in their natural habitat.
The dry conditions and extremely low / minimal – no rainfall experienced during Africa’s dry winter season means that the various ponds, streams, puddles, and smaller water sources within each park, reserve, and conservancy dry up. This forces wildlife to congregate around the remaining large lakes, rivers, and any larger water sources available, ultimately resulting in the concentration of wildlife in and around these particular water sources being at their highest during Africa’s dry season.
As the concentration of wildlife congregating around each park or reserve’s larger surrounding water sources continue to increase during Africa’s dry season, it inevitably provides visitors, tourists, and avid wildlife lovers from across the world with spectacular and rewarding game viewing opportunities, including magnificent Big 5 sightings and encounters.
As most animals must drink every day, they don’t stray too far away from the remaining water sources. This is particularly true as it pertains to all water-dependant wildlife, especially herds of elephants, buffalo, and Africa’s full range of predators (lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, crocodiles, and spotted hyenas). This means you are pretty much guaranteed beyond incredible and up-close sightings of some of Africa’s most remarkable wildlife, including it’s rare, endangered, and widely beloved African wild dog.
The lack of rain during Africa’s dry winter season also means that most of the reserves and park’s vegetation either thins out or dries up entirely. This is great news for you, especially as it pertains to premium wildlife sightings. The resulting sparse vegetation and dry surroundings during winter in Africa ensures optimal visibility, essentially making it much easier to spot any and all of Africa’s Big 5, along with its vast array of other amazing wildlife species.
**BONUS: The sparse vegetation during Africa’s dry winter season is particularly helpful (and a MAJOR bonus) if you’re eager to spot the most mysterious and elusive member of the African Big 5 – the leopard of course – which spend most of their time in trees. However, as the trees thin out and lose their leaves / is less luscious and dense during this time it undoubtedly makes these sleek felines far easier to spot – so get ready for some extraordinary leopard sightings!
In addition to spectacular and down-right thrilling wildlife sightings and encounters, the lovely mild day-time temperatures provide visitors with the perfect climate for exploration, discovery, and enjoying an incredible array of safari activities and adventures. It’s the ultimate time to tick some long-awaited wildlife and safari experiences off your bucket-list!
As cool mornings and pleasant afternoons are the order of the day, you can comfortably enjoy extended game drives as well as other exhilarating safari experiences and endeavors, all without melting or freezing – What a win! While, for some tourists and travelers, swapping their northern hemisphere summer for an African winter will feel rather strange at first, don’t worry, you’ll get just as much sunshine on a visit down south!
#Explore Africa’s Vast & Diverse Landscapes
Winter in Africa gives you the perfect opportunity to explore its vast, wonderful, and widely diverse landscapes, surroundings, and destinations.
While most people travel to Africa for its magnificent wildlife, believe it or not, there is so much more to Africa than its astounding wildlife. As Africa’s dry winter season conditions are perfect for adventuring and exploring, you’ll have the unbelievable opportunity to discover some of Africa’s unsurpassed natural wonders, glorious landmarks, incredible attractions, and vast contrasting landscapes – you simply have to see it to believe it!
From searing deserts, immense freshwater wetlands, dramatic coastlines, soaring mountain peaks, thunderous waterfalls, endless stretches of open savannah plains, lush tropical rainforests, and so much more – Africa is unlike any continent you’ve ever experienced before. Or are likely to experience again. At least in our lifetime.
#Winter in Africa is Great for Family Safaris & Summer Holidays in the Bush
Are you thinking of going on an African safari holiday with your kids, but you’re not sure what to expect or when to go? A winter safari trip to Africa not only promises to be a trip of a lifetime – for EVERY single member of the family – but leave your kids with memories and experiences that they’ll absolutely NEVER forget!
Plus, going on a family safari adventure getaway during Africa’s dry winter season, when game viewing is at its peak, Africa’s animals are thriving, and all of its wildlife species, including the legendary African Big 5, are out and about in full force just waiting to be spotted by YOU, means you’ll have the added bonus of seeing your little one’s eyes light up with pure joy and excitement as they see the cast of ‘The Lion King’ in real life. That alone is reason enough to pack your bags and book your unforgettable family safari holiday to Africa during its dry winter months of June to October right away!
Here are some of the top reasons why you should choose a safari in Africa for your next family holiday or getaway:
- Family safaris in Africa offer specially designed kids safari programmes to keep little ones entertained and learning along the way.
- Many kids’ safari programmes are split into different age groups so that even your pre-teen can have some fun and meet some new friends.
- Some safari lodges also offer shorter game drives so that you can share the experience with the kids without them getting restless.
- Many family-friendly safari lodges have excellent amenities for kids such as playrooms, swimming pools, and more so that they never get bored, giving you the opportunity to sit back, relax, and soak up the glorious African sunshine and stunning wilderness surroundings.
- South Africa has plenty of malaria-free safari destinations to make travelling with kids safer and easier.
- Many of the lodges have childminders who can keep an eye on the kids while you and your significant other enjoy a date night.
- You can hire out exclusive-use safari villas or lodges with your own private butler, chef, game vehicle, and more to ensure everyone in the family gets a break from chores and have a home in the bush.
Here are some of the Top Family-friendly Safari Lodges in Africa:
While there are numerous family-friendly safari lodges and camps in Africa, here are a few more top and highly regarded options that provide exceptional experiences for families and visitors of all ages and should undoubtedly be on your African safari bucket-list:
- Singita Sasakwa Lodge | Tanzania
- Mombo Camp | Botswana
- The Kruger National Park | South Africa
- Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge | South Africa
- Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve | South Africa
- Thornybush Game Lodge, Kruger National Park | South Africa
- Angama Mara | Kenya
- Chief’s Camp | Botswana
- Londolozi Founders Camp | South Africa
- Royal Malewane | South Africa
- Ol Donyo Lodge | Kenya
- Kwandwe Ecca Lodge | South Africa
- Mara Plains Camp | Kenya
- &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge | Botswana
- Ulusaba Private Game Reserve | South Africa
- Singita Lebombo Lodge | South Africa
- Little Chem Chem | Tanzania
- Chitabe Camp | Botswana
- andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge | South Africa
- Serian the Original | Kenya
- Makanyi Private Game Lodge | South Africa
- Ngorongoro Crater Lodge | Tanzania
- Serra Cafema Camp | Namibia
- Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp
- Jacks Safari Lodge
- Ngala Safari Lodge
- Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve | South Africa
- The Motse at Tswalu, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve | South Africa
- Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp | Kenya
- Sarova Mara Game Camp | Kenya
- Jaci’s Lodges | South Africa
- Lewa Wilderness | Kenya
- Linyanti Ebony Camp | Botswana
- Marataba Safari Lodge
- Kambaku Safari Lodge
- Nottens Safari Lodge
- Rockfig Timbavati
- Black Rhino Safari Lodge
These lodges and camps offer a range of family-friendly amenities such as spacious accommodations, dedicated children’s programs, child-minding services, and tailored safari activities suitable for guests of all ages. However, it’s always a good idea to check with each property directly to ensure they meet your specific needs and preferences before making a booking.
**Check out our ‘Family Safaris in Africa’ blog to find out more**
Another great thing about a winter safari in Africa is that it lines up perfectly with the traditional holiday season in the northern hemisphere. For those of you with kids, it means they could have the time of their lives on an African adventure without having to cram everything into a few rushed days. And for those without little ones in tow, it means escaping the crowds and chaos of the ‘typically popular’ European holiday destinations.
#Africa offers a variety of amazing & exciting wildlife & safari experiences & adventures
It’s safari time! Everyone should experience an authentic African safari and game drive at least once in their lives. Going on a safari in any of Africa’s premium conservation areas or National Parks not only gives you the opportunity to tick an unforgettable experience off your bucket-list, but enjoy an up-close perspective of Africa’s magnificent wildlife in their natural habitat. To make things even more exciting, you can choose between a vast variety of other amazing safari experiences.
First-off, when it comes to safaris in Africa, you can either opt to go on a self-drive wildlife adventure through the African bushveld or enjoy a thrilling game drive in an open 4×4 vehicle with an experienced and knowledgeable wildlife guide by your side. Besides the wild and untamed beauty of the African wilderness, going on an action-packed game drive gives wildlife lovers the opportunity to enjoy up-close sightings and encounters of the African Big 5 and several other birdlife and wildlife species, explore off-the-beaten-path routes as your expert guide leads the way, and learn more about the animals, biodiversity, and landscapes.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, going on a walking safari is right up your alley! Exploring the African bushveld on foot encourages you to fully immerse yourself in the experience and enjoy amazing up-close wildlife and birdlife sightings from a whole new perspective. As the guides are highly experienced, exceptionally trained, and incredibly knowledgeable, they are only too happy to share their wealth of knowledge regarding the wildlife, birdlife, and biodiversity of the area with each and every guest.
It doesn’t end there – from thrilling night drives; admiring the beauty of a glorious African sunset over the striking savannah with a glass of champagne or sundowner in hand; reveling in every unbelievable and thrilling second of going on a hot air balloon ride over the majestic plains at sunrise; sleeping out in a tree house or lavish bed under the African stars and waking up to the awe-inspiring scenery at dawn; or simply sitting back, relaxing, and savoring the sounds of the African bush. The choices are truly endless when it comes to going on an authentic and memorable safari holiday during Africa’s winter season.
Besides these amazing bucket-list worthy safari experiences, you can also choose to enjoy a variety of other activities and adventures. Some of which include, thrilling river safaris kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, thrilling hiking expeditions, and one-on-one guided safari tours, to mention just a few. You also have the option of an expertly guided and tailor-made private tour, specifically designed to suit your needs. On an African safari holiday, the bush is your personal playground, so be sure to enjoy every single second of it!
#The risk of malaria is at its lowest during Africa’s dry winter season
Nobody likes uninvited guests, especially when it comes to mosquitoes. But here’s the great thing – mosquitoes hate the cold just as much as you do – YAY! The mosquito population shrinks significantly during Africa’s winter season, further reducing the already minor risk of contracting malaria. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy your safari trip without the buzzing nuisance of mosquitoes or any fear or worry you may have about contracting malaria.
#Winter in Africa allows for a more relaxed safari experience
An African safari can be an action-packed experience. However, that often means waking up early to make sure you’re out and about on a game drive when the animals are most active.
So, if you like to sleep in a little later – you are on holiday after all – the African winter may be the best time to visit. Shorter daylight hours and later sunrises allows for more time to snooze, sleep in, and relish in the sweet pleasure of enjoying a leisurely morning in the glorious African bushveld.
This means you will not only feel totally refreshed and rejuvenated, but ready to take on and enjoy all the safari adventures and experiences of the day ahead, including once-in-a-lifetime wildlife sightings and encounters, ticking exciting safari and wildlife adventures and activities off your bucket-list, as well as experiencing everything a true African safari has to offer – all without missing a single African beat – What more could you possibly ask for?
Plus, let’s be honest, even the king of the jungle knows the importance of beauty sleep, so why should you be any different?