When planning a Safari to Africa, I am often asked what the ideal time of year is for the very best wildlife-viewing.
It is true – July to October is the time of the annual Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya’s Masai Mara, and when wildlife concentrations are high in Botswana’s Okavango Delta – yet it is not the only time to visit.
Although you may witness spectacular scenes in the high season, there are many advantages in visiting at other times of year, not least being that you can enjoy watching the teeming wildlife without so many other travellers being around.
Elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes and many other species roam the African savannah all year around. Visiting at quieter times of the year means that you’ll find considerable savings on off-season prices. Also -solo travellers can often forgo the single room supplement.
One of Africa’s best-kept wildlife secrets is that there are actually other migrations. January to March is the calving season for wildebeest, as they migrate across the southern plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti in their thousands in search of greener grass, often closely followed by predators, such as lion and cheetah.
Did you know that from January to April the Zebra Migration takes place in Botswana? Since the game fences were removed, these animals have re-established their ancient migration routes between the Chobe River and the Kalahari Desert to the south. As you are surrounded by countless Zebras moving slowly across desert, you’ll realize that it’s not called a ‘dazzle of Zebras’ for nothing!
During these hot, dry months, animals tend to congregate near water-holes, which gives rise to excellent wildlife viewing and great photo opportunities, often undisturbed by other safari enthusiasts.
Birders may be intrigued by Zambia’s Fruit Bat Migration (in November), or by the chance to spot the elusive Shoebill. During our Birding Safaris, (between November and May) you’ll be rewarded with unforgettable sightings of rare and migratory birds.
As you can see, there are many reasons to travel in the off-season – especially if you wish to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the African wilderness.