Here’s our guide on how to pick the best time of year to go on African safari in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
The best time of year to visit Kruger National Park (as well as most wildlife parks in South Africa, including Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi) is the winter months, from May to September. This is the driest time of year, which means the animals tend to congregate around waterholes. That, coupled with the fact that the vegetation is drier and sparser, makes the animals easy to spot! Having said that, Kruger is a year-round safari destination, and you can have amazing wildlife sightings in the summer months.
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Etosha National Park, Namibia
Just like in Kruger National Park south of the border, Namibia’s Etosha National Park is best visited in the winter months of May to October, when this arid region receives no rain. It’s incredibly easy to spot lions, elephant, rhino and other animals at this time of year, because they all have to come to the waterholes to drink. Temperatures are also pleasant at this time of year – warm days and cool nights. In the summer months of November to April, the temperatures soar and the vegetation in the park becomes lush and green, making it harder to spot animals.
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Chobe National Park, Botswana
If you want to spot wildlife, the best time to go on safari in Chobe National Park is in the dry season, which runs from May to October. This is when animals congregate along the river to drink. Keep in mind that October is also the hottest month of the year (so if you don’t deal well with heat, don’t come at this time of year). However, the rainy season, which runs from November to March, is also a good time to visit the park if you want to spot birds and see baby animals (this is when they are born).
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Okavango Delta, Botswana
At any time of year the Okavango Delta is fantastic – it’s one of Africa’s prime wildlife destinations, without a doubt. If you want to pick the ultimate time of year to visit however, it would be in the dry season when the flood waters arrive, from June to August, which is also when many animals have migrated to the delta. September and October are also good months to visit, if you can handle the high temperatures. The rainy season, which runs from November to April, is good for game viewing, but particularly great for bird watching.
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Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Serengeti is spectacular at any time of year but the absolute highlight is definitely the world-famous wildebeest migration. This happens at slightly different times each year, depending on the rains, somewhere between July and October. Wildebeest calving, a great spectacle to behold, is from January to March. It rains in April and May, but even then the game viewing is superb.
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Masai Mara National Park, Kenya
As with the Serengeti, the Masai Mara is a good year-round safari destination, but most travellers prefer to time their visit to coincide with the wildebeest migration, which happens between July and October. March to June is the wet season, while December to February is a better time to visit.
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