When and where to go on a family safari

16 July 2018

A safari is a great family adventure that needs careful planning and expert advice so that you and the kids can make the most of what is probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience. With some exceptions, wildlife-viewing in Africa is best in the dry seasons, when animals are more visible due to sparser vegetation and tend to congregate around water sources. The main dry season in equatorial east Africa (including Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) is June to October, with a second one lasting mid-December to mid-March. That said, it can rain at any time in east Africa and there is some merging of seasons. Southern Tanzania differs, with a wet season from November to May. 

The main dry season in sub-tropical southern Africa (which includes Botswana, Namibia and northern South Africa) lasts from April to October. In southern South Africa, especially the Cape, the drier summer period lasts from November to March. These general guidelines are subject to caveats. Some of the best-established regions can still offer fantastic game-viewing even in the rainy season. Also, with changing weather patterns and increasing meteorological unpredictability, being flexible about when you go on safari can pay off, allowing you to avoid peak-season prices at the same time as enjoying parks at their least busy.

South Africa

Big-game viewing in South Africa – including within the iconic Kruger National Park with its rhinos, leopards, lions and elephants – is great all through the year but is at its very best from May to October. The Cape is best-visited from December to March but is also good in April, October and November.

Kenya

July to October and January and February are the top months to go on safari in Kenya, with March and June also good. If you come between August and October, you can see the wildebeest migration in the Masai Mara, one of the world’s greatest safari areas.

Tanzania

January, February and July–October are the best times to take a safari in Tanzania, with March, June, November and December also good. From December to March, the wildebeest migration is focused on the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti, with calving in late January and early February. Or from August to October, the creatures can be found in the northern Serengeti.

Botswana

This destination is best-visited from June to October, but May and November are also good. The main safari region is the glorious, game-rich Okavango Delta, explorable by a variety of means including 4X4,  motorboat, canoe-like mokoro or horse-back. Alternatively, the rainy season from December to March is optimal for viewing game in the Kalahari ecosystem of the Central Kalahari and the Makgadikgadi Pans with its flamingo and zebra.

Namibia

 

Offering awe-inspiring desert wilderness, Namibia is best from April to October but also good in March and November.  The Etosha National Park and the Caprivi region are top for game-viewing, while desert rhinos and desert elephants can be seen in the harsher Damaraland.

Uganda

Known for its mountain gorilla populations in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Mgahinga National Park on the northern slopes of the Virunga volcanoes, Uganda is best-visited in January, February and July–September, although March, June, October and December are also fine. Other primates you might spot in Uganda are chimpanzees in Kibale and Budongo forests and the Kyambura Gorge, while there’s big game to be seen in several spots.

 

To find out more or book your family safari holiday, contact your Travel Counsellor now.

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