When is the Best Time to Go on Safari
In this blog post, we continue our guide of the best locations for a safari to Africa throughout the year. In this article, we’ll share our guide on where to travel for a safari during the months of July, August and September.
East Africa is emerging from its rainy season at this time of year, and Southern Africa is still in the midst of winter, although things start to warm up throughout September. This is a great time of year to go on a safari as the animals are active, and the thin vegetation makes game viewing easier. June, July, and August is peak season in most of Africa though, and so traveling tends to be considerably more expensive at this time of the year.
July, August, and September are some of the best months of the year to travel to Africa as it is the dry season in both East and Southern Africa. The migration in East Africa is moving up the western corridor towards the northern Serengeti and Masai Mara. In Southern Africa, it is the peak of the dry season which means the best wildlife viewing as temporary waterholes dry up and animals move towards the permanent waterholes.
Below are some highlight destinations to consider at this time of the year.
Where to go on safari in July
Why Go to Kenya in July?
The best time to visit East Africa is between June and October, when the rains have stopped and the animals are at their most active. During July, Kenya’s Masai Mara is particularly spectacular. The Great Migration, with over 2 million wildebeest and zebra, crosses the Mara River from the Serengeti into the Masai Mara during July. If you’ve dreamt of a migration safari, the Masai Mara is the place to be during July.
Our Safari Tip:
We recommend staying in one of the private concessions on the outskirts of the Masai Mara. Being a government-run reserve, the Masai Mara itself is limited in the activities on offer, not to mention the crowds of people you’ll be sharing the park with. The private concessions do not have any fences separating it from the main reserve, so visitors see the same animals, but have the option of walking safaris, night game drives, and fly camping, to name a few.
Why Go to Uganda in July?
If you’re planning a safari to Africa during the month of July, another great option to consider is a safari to Uganda. Also being an East African country, Uganda is also now in its “dry” season, although small amounts of rain are still to be expected.
A safari to Uganda should not be overlooked in favor of more well-known safari destinations! Between June and August is a great time to visit Uganda because the vegetation is not as dense, making it easier to spot animals. It’s also an ideal time of year for gorilla trekking in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The temperature is bearable and precipitation is relatively low – making your search for mountain gorillas more comfortable.
What to Expect:
Uganda is an incredibly diverse country with plenty of phenomenal wildlife to keep a lookout for. It is best known for the chimpanzees in Kibale Forest and the famous mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. But Uganda is also home to Queen Elizabeth National Park, a reserve with good amounts of game animals, not to mention Ishasha, where you’ll find the famous tree-climbing lions.
Why Go to Namibia in July?
All of Southern Africa is lovely in July, but if we had to choose, Namibia would definitely be close to the top of our list for a safari holiday at this time of the year. This is because the days are warm and the nights are chilly – ideal weather for being out in the wilderness and experiencing the beauty of Africa. Animals are also more active at this time of year and as has been mentioned, it’s easier to see them with the thinner vegetation winter brings.
We also would also choose Namibia over other safari destinations in July because it is unlikely that visitors will have to battle crowds on a safari here. In general, Namibia is a much quieter safari destination than some of the other options in Southern Africa, and so despite it being high season, it is still possible to get a private safari experience without necessarily having to pay top dollar for it.
Where to Go:
Namibia is home to a wide variety of beautiful natural areas that are a must-see on any safari here. Sossusvlei in the Namibrand Nature Reserve is a calcium pan with petrified trees in it, nestled among the famous red sand dunes that Namibia is famous for. This is a must-see location and any photographer’s dream. Koakaland and Damaraland are desolate and beautiful regions, home to black rhino and desert-adapted lions and elephants, and of course, there is Etosha Game Reserve. Here you’ll see a wide variety of game as well as 4 of the Big 5.
The best safari destinations in August
Why Go Zambia in August?
As we’ve mentioned, the whole of Southern Africa is lovely at this time of year. The reason we have chosen Zambia as an excellent safari location in August is that it is still relatively undiscovered by the masses. Unlike Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, the Zambian tourism board does not do a lot of international marketing, and so while the rest of Africa is incredibly busy at this time of year, Zambia is still pretty quiet.
What to Expect:
Zambia is renowned as being one of the “purest” safari destinations and is also the birthplace of the walking safari, our favorite way to explore the beauty of Africa. We would recommend booking a multi-day walking safari in either the South Luangwa or Lower Zambezi National Park. Expect a truly unique experience, tracking wildlife on foot and enjoying comfortable accommodations and great food in between. This is a must for any safari enthusiast!
Tanzania’s Nyerere National Park (Formerly Selous)
Why Go to Nyerere National Park in August?
Tanzania’s Nyerere National Park (which used to be called the Selous Game Reserve) is our pick for an East African safari during the month of August. This is because while there is excellent weather and prime game viewing in Tanzania, most people are preoccupied with Serengeti’s Great Migration, so visitors to Tanzania’s other bigger parks get to experience first-class game viewing without the crowds.
What to Expect:
Nyerere in particular is fantastic because of its large size. It is not nearly as popular as its northern cousins, and so visitors here get access to incredible sightings as well as a wide variety of adventure activities including day and night game drives, walking safaris, fly camping, and more. Nyerere National Park is also one of the best places in Africa to see the endangered African wild dogs, so if it is on your bucket list to catch these beautiful animals in the wild, this is the place to be!
Why Go to Malawi in August?
Malawi is a relatively undiscovered tourism location in Africa, but don’t let this put you off! Despite being a landlocked country, Malawi offers one of the best beach destinations in Africa! We recommend adding Malawi as the beach component to your safari during the dry season from May to October. August, in particular, is a good time to visit because the weather is pleasant and there is very little rain.
What to Expect:
Enjoy warm days of lazing on the beaches of the islands in Lake Malawi, kayaking in the calm water, and snorkelling to see the large variety of colorful fish that call the lake home. Malawi is the ideal beach destination for those wishing to relax after an exhilarating safari experience.
Where to go on safari in September?
Why Go to Rwanda in September?
Rwanda is at the end of its dry season in September. It is also the hottest month of the year, but without as much of the humidity that you’d find during the rainy season. We recommend visiting Rwanda at this time because not only is the weather pleasant, but it is also the best time to see the famous mountain gorillas.
Where to Go:
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is the country’s treasure, and also home to half the world’s mountain gorilla population that is left in the wild. Here visitors have the opportunity to experience an interaction with habituated gorillas, as well as visit the Karisoke Research Centre and pay respects at Dian Fossey’s grave. Volcanoes National Park is without a doubt an important stop in your Rwandan safari.
Mozambique Beaches & Islands
Why Go to Mozambique in September?
We mentioned Mozambique in our blog post about where to go on a safari during May as well, but feel that it is an important location to include in where to safari in September too. Because of its location and the nature of its seasons, Mozambique is pleasant all year round. We particularly like it in September because this is one of the hottest, but not too humid months of the year, perfect for a beach holiday!
What to Expect:
We recommend staying on one of the islands in the Barazuto Archipelago during the beach portion of your African safari. The islands here are easily accessible via helicopter or boat from the town of Vilanculos and are the ultimate beach paradise. Spend your days enjoying the luxury of your resort, eating beautifully prepared food, and enjoying the multitude of activities on offer in this pristine part of the world.
You’re spoilt for choice when planning a safari to Africa during the months of July, August, and September. We hope this guide gave you some extra insight into what to look for when planning your trip. If you’d like Stanley Safaris to assist you in designing the ultimate luxury safari, get in touch, and we’ll create something perfect for you.