Weather in Africa is a mysterious thing, making the question “What is the best time to visit Africa?” a tough one to answer. African climates range from hot dry deserts to cold, windy and wet coasts. It is safe to say that weather in Africa is as diverse as the continent itself.
If you’re going to pay good money to go on a safari, you’re going to want to go during the best season. Because you’re clever like that. So, what is the best time to visit Africa?
East Africa is best visited during the dry seasons: July through to October and December through to March.
Photo by Thomas van den Berg
Just before the wet season is usually the best weather to experience game viewing in Africa. This time of year the grass is at its lowest and wildlife don’t wander too far from permanent water holes.
Malaria is also at its lowest level just before the rains. The rainy seasons move northbound in a band across continental Africa, so travelling in a southbound direction means you will only be within the rain band for just over a week.
Southern Africa is best visited from April through to October for the same reasons as East Africa: low grass, better game viewing and a lower malaria risk.
During May, June and July you will experience relatively cool temperatures during the day and in the evenings, temperatures drop during winter, but you will only need a jersey or jacket at most to keep comfortable and warm. Its Africa, not Alaska.
Some say that November through to March is not a good time to travel in Southern Africa. Ask anybody who lives in Southern Africa whether they agree with this fact and you’ll be pressed to find someone who agrees! This time of year is Southern Africa’s summer… the weather is gorgeous!
Photo by Nick Holdstock
Sure, January in the Namib desert can be a scorcher, but November to March include many pleasant months to travel throughout most of Southern Africa! Those are the months that we Capetonians enjoy our precious city most in. Apart from the gaggles of tourists which swarm the Mother City streets in December and the winds that blow in October around the Peninsula, a slice of Southern Africa between November and March is utter bliss.
There is no such thing as a good or a bad time to travel in Africa. Period. If you travel in the wet season, everything is fresh and green. Nature is at its best, making for stunning photos, however its tougher to spot wildlife because the bush is so thick.
If you travel to Africa in the dry season, its dusty and nature is dry, but it is much easier to spot wildlife. Traveling in the rainy season does affect your travel, rains in most areas in East and Southern Africa come fast and furious. This means that you experience intense downpours, but then the sun comes out again and all is well. You don’t have to worry about spending 3 weeks on an overland safari and not seeing the sun once. The sun will come out, but if all else fails, a spray-on suntan seems to work wonders too.