The secret to figuring out when the best time to experience the best family African safari is knowing where exactly you’re going. The country you go to and what you want to see will determine when to travel.
September through to April are the ideal months to go to Ethiopia as this is the dry period – although up until October the landscape will be green and fresh. Avoid going in August, as this is when the country is at its wettest and coldest – some areas can even drop below freezing when the sun goes down.
While it’s generally cold and damp all through the year, June and July (until around October) tend to face the longest downpour, with lots of fog hiding all the beautiful views. If you want to attend Timkat (the country’s largest Christian celebration), the best time to visit Africa is in January.
Madagascar is a beautiful country, but beware of cyclones! Cyclones most often strike during February, but to be safe, avoid going between January and March. If you want to see the baby lemurs, the best time to visit Africa is during October and December.
If you’re planning on seeing game in Botswana or Namibia, travel during the cool yet dry season from July to October, where you’ll see wildlife huddled around waterholes. It gets busy during this period, so be sure to book ahead and be prepared to pay high prices. If you go during November to March you won’t see as much wildlife, though you may see more young animals.
If you’re going to Cape Town, however, it’s the opposite – November to March is the driest, hottest period. The best time to visit Africa in Malawi and Zambia is during May to November, ideally towards the end; it’s the perfect warm weather for a safari. March through to May tends to be quite damp and soggy, so accommodation in some areas may be closed during this period.
The best time to visit Africa in Tanzania and Kenya is between July and October; this is when the Great Migration across the Mara River takes place. While game is around all year, the rainy months between March and May makes them more difficult to find, and roads are often blocked. However, if you’re looking for a cheap deal, this is a good opportunity. Avoid climbing Kilimanjaro during the wet season, though, as the rain can make it dangerous, and some lodges in the area will be closed.
If you’re planning on going gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda, try to avoid the rainy period between March and May (November is also quite wet), as it may affect your ability to go on the trek.
If you’re heading north, the best time to visit Africa will be during autumn and spring, as they boast the ideal weather for walking in Morocco. Be aware that dust storms tend to hit the desert during February through to April, however. During the middle of summer, you’ll want to skip the Sahara as temperatures will be scorching – the coast will be much more pleasant. If you want to sightsee in Egypt, opt for anywhere between October and April, where temperatures are milder. Avoid peak season during December and January if you want to skip the crowds. You can travel on a budget during the summer if you want to brave the heat.
As you can see, the best time to visit Africa depends on where in the continent you are travelling to and what you want to see.