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Lion in Kruger National Park

When is the best time to visit Africa?

Africa is a year-round destination, its varying climates providing good conditions for a visit in one region or another at every time of year. Many of the large southern game reserves are at their best in the drier winter months, from May to September, when vegetation thins out and wildlife congregates around remaining water sources.

The green season, from November to April, offers lush vegetation, good birdwatching and often lower prices. While some areas see heavy rains during these months, it’s a good time of year to see Victoria Falls, go diving in Zanzibar or track chimpanzees in Rwanda.

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Our recommendations for when to visit Africa

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
South Africa climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

Tanzania climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Botswana climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Kenya climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Namibia climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Madagascar climate guide

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Uganda climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Rwanda climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Zambia climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Zimbabwe climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Zanzibar Archipelago climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Mozambique climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Malawi climate guide

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Egypt climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Morocco climate guide

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Best time to visit

Best time to visit

Good time to visit

Good time to visit

Travel possible

Travel possible

Not recommended

Not recommended

Month-by-month guide to traveling in Africa

Wildebeest in the Serengeti

Visiting Africa in January

The migration herds give birth in the southeast of the Serengeti, making January a busy but dramatic time to visit. In Namibia’s Caprivi Strip you can make the most of excellent birdwatching opportunities, with more than 450 species in the area. You could also see flamingoes gathered on lagoons in their thousands in Swakopmund. Clear, calm seas in Zanzibar make January a great time for diving and snorkeling.

Events & Festivals

  • The anniversaries of the Battle of Isandlwana and the Battle of Rorke's Drift are commemorated in the South African Battlefields in KwaZulu Natal.
  • Turtles come ashore to nest in Mozambique.
Eastern cataract of Victoria Falls in full flow

Visiting Africa in February

Although it’s the rainy season in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is in full flow with water thundering over the edge into the canyon below. In the rest of Zambia, large flocks of migratory species make it a good time for birdwatchers. Meanwhile in Uganda, it’s a good time to go trekking in search of mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.

Events & Festivals

  • Sauti za Busara Music Festival (early February): An annual African music festival held in Stone Town’s Old Fort, Zanzibar.
Lilac breasted roller, Tarangire National Park

Visiting Africa in March

March is a changeable month across much of Africa, with rains disrupting travel in many places. Humidity is building in advance of the rains in Tanzania. Wildlife viewing is still good and migratory bird species arrive in their thousands, yet the camps are quiet and offer good deals, making this a more affordable time to visit.

Roan antelope on the Nyika Plateau

Visiting Africa in April

The breeding season for antelope is underway in Botswana and Malawi — you’ll see males strutting around and butting heads in a show of force. As fruit ripens, chimpanzees come down to the lower branches to feed, so it’s a prime time to spot them in Rwanda. In Mozambique, clear, calm water and great visibility make it a good time for diving.

Events & Festivals

  • Whale-watching opportunities abound as humpback whales make their epic annual migration from Antarctica to warmer waters off East Africa to have their young.
  • In Malawi’s Liwonde National Park and Majete Game Reserve, the crocodile courtship season begins. You might see and hear males bellowing, blowing bubbles and fighting as they strive to establish dominance.
Essaouira, Morocco

Visiting Africa in May

May is the start of the dry season across Southern Africa. It’s a good time to visit as grass dries up, forcing herds to move from pastures to wetlands. This makes their whereabouts easier to predict — along with the predators they attract. However, peak-season crowds and rates have yet to kick in. Clear skies and warm weather make it a great time to visit Mozambique, while Egypt and Morocco see pleasant temperatures for exploring.

Events & Festivals

  • Dry, calm weather makes for great visibility for diving in Mozambique, especially in the Bazaruto and Quirimbas archipelagos.
  • Mana Pools, Zimbabwe’s World-Heritage-listed national park, re-opens this month.
Elephant, Botswana

Visiting Africa in June

It’s mid-winter in Southern Africa, so you’ll experience warm days and cool nights. In Botswana and Uganda, the ground starts to dry out, the vegetation thins and the water holes shrink, making game easy to spot. Meanwhile, the Niassa Game Reserve in northern Mozambique and Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, with its pumped waterholes, open up, attracting all manner of wildlife for photographers to capture.

Events & Festivals

  • Lake Turkana Cultural Festival (mid-June): A three-day celebration of tribal culture around Lake Turkana in Kenya
  • Knysna Oyster Festival (late June to early July): A feast of sport and oysters on South Africa’s coast.
Southern Right Whale, Hermanus, South Africa

Visiting Africa in July

It’s a good time for whale watching and game viewing in South Africa, with humpbacks migrating along the coast and animals congregating around waterholes in the game reserves. The Great Migration herds tend to be in the north of the Serengeti as they move towards Kenya, elephant start to gather in Tarangire, Tanzania, and cruises are possible on the Lower Zambezi in Zambia.

Events & Festivals

  • The floodwaters begin to rise in the Okavango Delta, making mokoro (traditional canoe) trips possible along the channels.
  • Knysna Oyster Festival (late June to early July): A feast of sport and oysters on South Africa’s coast.
  • The first herds arrive into the Masai Mara from Tanzania.
Wildebeest cross the Mara River during their Great Migration

Visiting Africa in August

The Great Migration is at its height in Kenya’s Masai Mara, with huge herds of wildebeest and zebra gathering to cross the Mara and Talek rivers. Walking safaris are at their best in Zambia and combine well with a visit to Victoria Falls. It’s also a good time of year to visit Lake Malawi, where you can relax in the sun’s pleasant temperatures.

Events & Festivals

  • Lillian’s lovebirds congregate in flocks of hundreds in Liwonde National Park, southern Malawi.
Elephant family in Tarangire

Visiting Africa in September

High numbers of elephant gather in Tarangire in Tanzania. While the country’s northern circuit can be busy, its southern parks are quieter. It’s a great time to visit Namibia thanks to low humidity and pleasant temperatures. In Zambia, you can look for thousands of carmine bee-eaters, which arrive to nest in the riverbanks, while snorkeling and diving are at their best in Mozambique.

Events & Festivals

  • Kwita Izina (early September): Rwanda’s traditional baby gorilla naming ceremony with traditional music, dancing and performances.
  • Lake of Stars Festival (late September): A three-day annual festival on the shores of Lake Malawi featuring musical acts from Africa and the UK.
  • Hermanus Whale Festival (late September): Celebrates the arrival of both spring and migratory southern right whales to South Africa’s shores.
  • Game count, Hwange National Park (late September to early October): Join a team of volunteers for the annual 24-hour census of Hwange’s animal population.
Fossa, Madagascar

Visiting Africa in October

In Malawi, you can often see the world's largest antelope, the eland, in the Nyika National Park as herds start regrouping in their hundreds for the breeding season. It’s the end of the dry season in Mozambique and wildlife viewing is at its peak. It’s also a good time to sight fossa, a cat-like, carnivorous mammal, in western Madagascar’s deciduous forests.

Wildebeest migration, Serengeti

Visiting Africa in November

This is a great time to take advantage of low-season rates in Tanzania as overnight rains reduce visitor numbers. Migrating herds start to travel south from Kenya, so you can often see river crossings in the north of the Serengeti. It’s also a good time for birdwatching in Zimbabwe, where parks have become quieter despite the presence of both resident and migratory bird species.

Events & Festivals

  • Bat migration in Zambia: the world's largest mammalian migration as millions of bats fill the skies.
  • Turtles come ashore to nest on the beaches of Mozambique.
Crocodile in Tsavo National Park

Visiting Africa in December

The festive season can be very busy in Tanzania and South Africa, so plan head to ensure availability. December is also a great time to visit Kenya — the rains are short and you have the chance to see new-born animals and migratory bird species. In Malawi, crocodiles begin to hatch, the mothers delicately transporting new-borns in their mouths to the water’s edge.

Africa trip ideas and travel guides