What’s the best time to go on safari? It’s a question we’re often asked, and the answer is, well … it depends, and whilst there are periods that are said to offer the best safari experiences in Africa, there are other times that offer better value.
We believe that no two dream safaris are the same, and to determine what’s best for you, and your particular dream, we recommend a thorough consultation with Art of Safari. In the meantime though, here’s our breakdown of what to consider when deciding on the best time to visit Africa on safari.
It hinges on what you want to see and do, where you might want to go, what your style of travel is and so on. These are the kinds of things we’d discuss with you in our consultation process.
After careful consideration, we’d then advise you on the best times of the year to travel for you, and we’d ultimately be able to create a bespoke safari for you.
That said, it is possible to split the year into sections, each of which have their pros and cons for safari travel. Read on to find out what these are.
We believe your classic ‘best time to visit Africa on safari’ is when there’s a good mix of:
- Excellent game viewing
- Comfortable weather conditions
- The opportunity to witness truly iconic African events, like the Great Wildebeest Migration river crossings, the Okavango Delta in flood or the Zambezi River plunging over Victoria Falls at its fullest, sending plumes of mist high into the air.
- These peak-season periods come with the highest prices
- Some of the more popular destinations can get crowded
BEST VALUE FOR MONEY
A common misconception is that game viewing outside of the classic ‘best time’ isn’t good, the weather’s terrible, and there’s really no good reason to go. This simply isn’t true. Your ‘best value’ periods have the following attractions:
- Good, or even excellent, game viewing
- Mid- and low-season pricing, often significantly lower than peak season
- The opportunity to visit Africa’s finest safari destinations and have them all to yourself (well, almost…)
- You might miss out on some of the really iconic wildlife and wilderness experiences
- The weather’s likely to be hotter and/or wetter than the peak seasons, but it will still be pleasant enough
For the truly adventurous, we’ve characterised a period especially for you. This essentially covers the rainy seasons in East Africa: the long rains of April and May, and the short rains of November. While the rain can set in for a few days, you can generally expect bursts of heavy showers interspersed with clear weather. Here are the advantages of travel during these times:
- Low-season prices are often up to 50% lower than peak season, and many lodges offer further special offers, so you get truly excellent value
- Game viewing is pretty good, and with a bit of luck it can be excellent
- You’ll almost certainly have vast tracts of East Africa all to yourself … a genuinely unique experience
While it does rain, the gaps in between are wonderful times to be in Africa
- Due to wet and muddy roads, travel can be tricky, and you can often get stuck … however, the guides know how to deal with it, plus getting unstuck is always fun
- You might get caught in the rain when game viewing. However, open vehicles carry ponchos and pop-top vehicles can simply close the roof and carry on