Magic can be found in Africa truly on a year-round basis. Any visitor to this most special of continents is sure to return with lifelong memories, and at African Aerial Safaris, creating these is our speciality.
The best month to travel to Africa depends on the experiences you are after and their associated season. It is important to remember that Africa is a year-round destination. Its varying climate provides ideal conditions throughout the year, depending on which countries and areas you plan to visit. Generally, the weather is warm and sunny, with marked differences between the wet and dry seasons.
African Aerial Safaris specializes in African Safari trips throughout Southern Africa. Let’s look at the best months to visit, depending on the trip you plan to take.
- Safari In Southern Africa: May To October
- Beach Holiday In Cape Town & Garden Route: November To March
- Beach Holiday Mozambique – June To November
- Namibian Safari Holiday – July To October
- Victoria Falls Full Flood – March To July
- Whale Watching – July To November
- Zambezi Queen Boat Safari – May To October
1. Safari: May-October
The best time to enjoy a safari with African Aerial Safaris is during the so-called “dry season.” The reason is that sparse vegetation means easier wildlife spotting, and animals tend to congregate at watering holes – making for richer, more diverse sightings.
Then again, the so-called “green season” from December to March, featuring a burst of rain and impressive cloud formations, holds some charm too. Game spotting is more challenging due to the lush, green landscapes, but the reward is that most animals give birth at the beginning of this season. Flowers burst into bloom, spectacularly coloring the landscape; migratory birds make their return (twitchers take note), and there are fewer travelers. This season is an excellent option for return travelers to Southern Africa. Most destinations look entirely different when comparing the seasons, and it’s pretty amazing to see both ends of the spectrum. An added bonus is the incredible savings many properties offer for traveling at this time of year.
2. Beach holiday: November-March
With some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, there is something quite special about a South African beach holiday. African Aerial Safaris can introduce you to the gorgeous sandy beaches of Cape Town and the Garden Route, where beautiful people meet to sunbathe, swim, people-watch, and enjoy the sunshine. From the photographers’ dream, Cape Town beaches of Camps Bay and Llandudno (and many more) to the golden sands of Robberg Beach in Plettenberg Bay and the charms of Knysna, November to March is the best time of year. Should you venture further for your beach holiday, Mozambique, off the east coast of Southern Africa, is best from June to November. Enjoy the slow pace of an island holiday during the Mozambican winter, with cooler temperatures and less rain. Kick off your shoes, grab a cocktail, and relax.
3. Victoria Falls: March-July
Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya (meaning “the Smoke that Thunders”), is the world’s largest sheet of water, accessible from both Zambia and Zimbabwe. If you want to experience this magnificent waterfall in its full cry, the best time to visit is directly after the summer rains. The roar beneath your feet, the mist against your skin, and the magnificent rainbows thrown up by the water all make for a showstopping experience. Should you wish to do some white-water rafting, the ideal month to visit is January, but to experience the full might of the Smoke that Thunders, March to July are the months to visit.
4. Zambezi Queen boat safari: May-October
What can be more luxurious, more lush than a cruise down one of Africa’s mighty waterways in a beautifully appointed riverboat made possible by African Aerial Safaris? The Chobe River region experiences winter from May to October, when the drier weather means the riverbanks come alive with animals ambling down to graze.
5. Whale watching: July to November
Watching a 49ft (15m) Southern Right Whale break the ocean’s surface to fling itself playfully into the air is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. These massive migratory mammals make their way to the Southern African coast between July and November, where the lucky few who used African Aerial Safaris to visit the coast will see them breach and lobtail (slapping their fins and tails on the water). The annual Hermanus Whale Festival, held at the end of September in this sleepy, picturesque town 76 miles (122km) from Cape Town, is the ideal time to visit.
Best time to visit Southern Africa – country specific:
With a maximum temperature of 91°F (33°C) in January and a minimum temperature of 38°F (4°C) in June, Botswana has a pleasant climate with relatively low humidity. The best time to experience its exceptional game viewing is during the dry months of June to October, referred to as “peak season.” The days are mild to warm, but temperatures drop sharply at night and early in the morning, particularly around June and July. Rain that falls on the Angolan highlands reaches the delta during this period to create what is referred to as the “flood.” Waterways and channels swell with crystal clear water, lilies bloom, countless aquatic creatures frolic in the water, and a vast diversity of game from the surrounding dry areas moves into the delta. This creates the spectacular scenery Botswana is famed for.
In April and May, the transition period between summer and winter brings pleasant, drier winter days, referred to as the “shoulder season.” Drier, sunny days become more prevalent, and from the beginning of May, the dry season slowly starts to take hold. Average daytime temperatures are now about 30°C and nights hover around 15°C. Mid-April marks the start of antelope mating season, setting the stage for a bumper birth rate.
November to March brings warmer temperatures, broken by heavy afternoon thundershowers, with January and February being the wettest months. These short sharp showers typically don’t last all day and are often followed by bright sunshine. This makes game drives possible, and guests can enjoy the abundant new life seen during this season. This period is referred to as the “low season” or green season. As a result of the warm, wet conditions, these are not the most popular months to visit the delta, making it the ideal time for more budget-conscious travelers.
Mozambique is where you’ll enjoy warm tropical water on pristine beaches – yet it’s important to note that its dry and wet seasons differ vastly. The dry season, June to October, offers clear skies, warm sun and no rain, and perfect tropical beach holiday weather. The rainy season offers its charms, with December to February being the wettest months. The rain subsides, humidity drops in April or May, and better weather gradually moves in from the south to north.
As with most safari destinations, the best time to visit Namibia and experience its abundant wildlife is during its winter months (the dry season) from June to October. The evenings are pretty cold, with temperatures dipping below freezing regularly (daytime temperatures vary from 20-28°C/68-82°F). November brings the rainy season and all the drama of a late afternoon thunderstorm. The rain transforms the landscape from brown to green and breathes a new lease of life into the animals. If you’re a keen birdwatcher, January and February are when the migrant birds return. These are also the months you can experience new beginnings, with births reaching a peak. Temperatures average between 30-35°C/86-95°F and sometimes climb to 40°C/104°F or more in the desert. March brings a decrease in rainfall and cooler evenings. The rains that fall early in the year make much of the country verdant in April.
May marks the start of winter when the rainfall has all but disappeared. Animals start congregating around waterholes as other water sources begin to dry up.
4. South Africa
The best time to travel to South Africa depends on what you wish to do. The best time to visit Cape Town and the garden route is between October and April. You get to enjoy warm and sunny days, with temperatures ranging from 16°C to 32°C (60.8°F to 89.6°F) in January – the hottest month in South Africa. From June, the days become shorter, bringing seasonal rains, cooler temperatures, and winds. These winter months also mark the beginning of the whale season in Hermanus, about a two-hour drive from Cape Town.
If you want to spend time in the Winelands, February and March are ideal because the vines are heavy with grapes, and the temperatures are nice and warm.
The dry season from May to October is ideal for safaris. These cooler months bring an average temperature of 16°C (60.8°F). Dry weather conditions, shorter grass, and fewer watering holes mean better visibility for wildlife viewing.
South Africa’s Northern Cape offers five flower regions. The blooms occur between July and October, with the most spectacular of them all being the Namaqualand daisies that emerge in early August.
5. Zambia & Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe and Zambia’s climates are very similar to South Africa’s northern provinces, with the rainy season in summer, mostly between December and mid-March. Temperatures range from 90°F (32°C) in October and November to 60°F (16°C) in June and July.
The best time to visit Zambia and Zimbabwe is between the cool, dry months of May and August. From the beginning of May, you can experience elements of both wet and dry seasons. The recent rains leave the land looking lush and green, but as the month progresses the weather becomes drier, and the nighttime temperatures begin to drop. Come June, the days are warm and pleasant, while the nights are chilly. This time of year is the peak season for safaris. The drier weather draws animals to the country’s rivers and watering holes.
Many safari lodges are only open between April and November due to flooding caused by heavy rains during the rainy months of December to March.
Whatever time of year, sunshine or rain, African Aerial Safaris will show you the magic of Africa. There’s a season for everyone and everything on this amazing continent. It’s time to experience it for yourself.