What is the Best Time of Year to Go on an African Safari?

Are you planning to travel to Africa? Get ready to explore the most magnificent destinations, activities, and adventures! 

Africa’s diverse climate and unique wildlife make it critical to consider the season when planning your trip. Millions of people search on Google for the best time to visit Kenya safari, Tanzania, Uganda, and other destinations. However, with vast information and different perspectives, deciding the ideal season and the best time of year to go on a safari can be a considerable challenge.

The best way to make an informed decision is to consult with local experts or tour operators who offer up-to-date information on weather patterns, wildlife movements, and park accessibility. They can provide specific details about the best time to visit based on your preferred destinations and interests.

Travel to Africa: Dry Season VS Wet Season – Pros and cons

The dry season is one of the best times of year to go on safari. It is known for clear skies and lower humidity, providing excellent visibility for photography and scenic views. However, the dry season is the peak tourist season in many African destinations, so popular parks and attractions can get crowded, especially around wildlife hotspots. Sometimes accommodations prices are higher during the dry season due to increased demand.

The Wet season provides a  more exclusive and intimate safari experience, as accommodations and parks are less crowded. You can enjoy vibrant greenery, blooming flowers, and lush vegetation. The seasons sometimes coincide with the birthing season for many animals, including wildebeest and zebra, providing opportunities to witness newborn wildlife. However, it is unpredictable sudden downpours and storms that may affect outdoor activities and wildlife sightings.

To assist you in your decision-making, we have chosen a selection of activities tailored to each season:

  • Bird Watching: 

Best Season: Wet season for migratory birds (varies depending on the region).

The wet season attracts migratory birds to different regions, offering bird watchers a unique opportunity to observe and study these species. Besides, birds usually choose this time of the year to breed because of the availability of food and resources required for raising their offspring. The increased activity during the breeding season makes it an exciting time for enjoying the view.

With the arrival of migratory birds from distant regions, travellers may have the chance to spot species that are not common in their area. These rare sightings add excitement and a sense of discovery to bird watching, making the wet season a preferred time for many enthusiasts.

  • Gorilla Trekking: 

Best Season: Year-round, but drier months are generally easier for hiking (e.g., December to February and June to September)

Gorilla trekking is an incredible wildlife experience that involves tracking and observing gorillas in their natural habitat. While you can experience gorilla trekking year-round, the drier months are generally considered easier for hiking. It can result in a more enjoyable and less physically challenging trekking experience. 

However, you should consider that sometimes there may be a higher demand for permits and limited availability during this period. You can book your trip in advance if you plan a gorilla trekking trip during these months.

  • Walking Safari:

Best Season: Dry season, avoiding the hottest hours of the day.

Walking safaris are a unique way to explore and experience the African wilderness on foot. While you can enjoy walking safaris throughout the year, the dry season often corresponds with cooler temperatures, especially during the early morning and late afternoon: it is the prime time for walking safaris.

During the dry season, water sources become scarce, causing animals to gather around remaining waterholes, rivers, or other permanent water sources. This concentration of wildlife increases the chances of spotting various species during a walking safari.

  • Wildlife Tracking: 

Best Season: Year-round, but tracking can be less challenging during the dry season

While the dry season offers advantages for wildlife tracking, tracking can be done successfully in other seasons. Among the reasons people give preference to the dry seasons is that it promises more favourable weather conditions, including lower chances of rainfall and clear skies. This weather makes tracking more comfortable and enables lasting observation making it easier to identify and follow them. Studies show that track visibility is higher during the dry season due to less rain and foot traffic, which helps in effective tracking.

  • Cultural Performances: 

Best Season: Year-round, depending on the specific cultural events.

You can enjoy cultural performances in Africa year-round, as there are various occasions and festivals. The best season for cultural performances depends on the specific cultural events you are interested in.  Africa is known for its rich cultural diversity, and different regions and countries celebrate traditional festivals at various times of the year. These festivals showcase traditional dances, music, costumes, rituals, etc.

People of Kenya

Cultural performances are an integral part of many African tourism experiences. You can often join these performances in tourist-friendly destinations and during organised cultural tours. These experiences allow you to engage with local traditions, music, dance, and customs.

  • Green Season Photography: 

Year-round, but the wet season transforms the landscapes into vibrant green hues.

The rain brings life to the landscapes during the wet season in African safari destinations. The vegetation becomes lush and green, creating a beautiful setting for wildlife photography. The vibrant colours and abundant greenery make your images more captivating and visually rich. It is a great time to capture stunning photos with a backdrop of lush greenery.

Besides, fewer tourists visit compared to the peak travel seasons. It means you will have more space and opportunities to photograph wildlife without crowded safari vehicles or other distractions. The peacefulness of the environment allows you to concentrate on taking great photos and fully enjoy the beauty of nature.

  • Boat Safari: 

Best Season: Year-round, but the dry season may offer better water visibility.

Numerous African locations offer boat safaris as part of their wildlife and nature experiences. Countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and others have various waterways, including rivers, lakes, and deltas, where you can embark on boat safaris to explore and observe wildlife from a unique perspective.

Depending on your travel season, you can enjoy various benefits. During the dry season, there is typically less rainfall compared to the wet season. On the other hand, the cooler temperatures and water abundance result in increased movement and interactions among wildlife. You may observe animals playing, bathing, and engaging in social behaviours, creating exciting and dynamic scenes for your boat safari experience.

  • Waterfall Visits: 

Year-round, but the wet season can result in fuller and more impressive waterfalls.

During the wet season, something magical happens at waterfalls. It’s like nature turns up the volume! The rain pours down, filling up rivers and streams by making them overflow. All that extra water rushes down the falls, creating a show that will take your breath away. So, if you want to see a waterfall in all its glory, it is better to visit during the wet season and prepare to get amazed.

Besides its beauty, some waterfalls become easier to reach in the wet season. However, you need to remember about safety first! Before you go, check the local conditions to ensure it is safe to visit. Sometimes, heavy rain can make things slippery or cause floods. 

  • Photography Safari:

Best Season: Year-round, but the dry season offers clearer skies and better lighting.

If you want to reach your goal to capture stunning photos of wildlife in their natural habitats, including close-ups, action shots, and landscapes, you should plan everything.  While photography Safari can take place in any season and is not limited to the wet or green season, you need to research specific destinations and consult with local guides or photographers who can provide insights into the best photography opportunities based on your interests and exact destination.

Some experts note that the dry season often coincides with specific wildlife events, such as animal migrations or mating seasons. These events can offer extraordinary photographic opportunities.

Conclusion

Are you among the ones looking for the best time to visit Kenya safari, Zanzibar, Tanzania, or other destinations? Flash McTours will help you decide the best time to go on  African safaris. Considering various factors such as weather, wildlife movements, and personal preferences, we will provide valuable insights and expertise based on our local knowledge and experience organising safari trips. We will guide you on the unique characteristics and seasonal variations of various locations, helping you choose the most suitable destination based on your interests and preferences and when is the best time to go on a safari.

Whether you need detailed information about the weather and climate conditions in different regions during various times of the year, want to get custom Kenya safari packages and accommodations, or plan your ideal safari experience when travelling to Africa, we are here to help. We will recommend specific activities that align with your interests, such as bird watching, specific wildlife interactions, or other activities popular during certain times of the year.

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