The best time for an African safari is typically from July through October when animals are easy to find and in substantial numbers. Deciding to go on a safari depends on what country you would like to visit and when you can plan your trip. Seasons vary in East and southern Africa so you can plan an exceptional safari for almost every month of the year if you are flexible about where you want to go.
Below you will find a country-specific guide for the absolute best time to plan a safari. A month-by-month guide for the best country to visit is also included. The last part of this article is for if you’re looking for animal-specific safaris, like a gorilla or a chimpanzee safari.
The best time to go a safari in Kenya and experience a vast density and diversity of wildlife is when the annual migration of millions of wildebeests, zebra, and gnu incline on the Mara plains with predators close behind. The best time to see this wildlife spectacle is from July to October. Other parks in Kenya are also excellent and the best time to visit these would be during the dry seasons-January through March and July through October.
With the scarcity of water during the dry seasons, animals tend to gather in more concentrated numbers around permanent waterholes, rivers, and lakes, so they are easier to find. The vegetation is also less lush which means that viewing animals from a distance is easier.
If you want to see Great Migration unfold, head to Tanzania’s northern parks; the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. The best time to witness the migration is probably February through March when the wildebeest and the zebra have their young. Not only you can enjoy seeing baby animals, but the predators are at the highest numbers too. Because the herds also concentrate in the south of Serengeti, it’s easy to plan your wildlife viewing in that area and find a safari company that offers to lodge there.
June to November is Tanzania’s dry season and is the best time to visit all the parks and you can even hop to Kenya to witness the great migration during this time. Tanzania’s southern parks are perfect to visit during this time since the animals tend to congregate around permanent water and it isn’t so hot and humid.
All of Tanzania’s parks suffer from the rains which generally fall from March to May in the north, and from November to May in the south and west. Roads get washed out and given the sheer size of Tanzania’s, the animals tend to spread out, and this makes wildlife viewing less satisfying( if you are looking for sheer numbers of animals).
December through March can get quite hot and humid, especially in Western and southern Tanzania which makes it a little uncomfortable to spend a lot of time in the bush.
Uganda has some magnificent national parks which are best visited from December through march or june through September when it is predominantly dry. Most people choose Uganda as a safari destination go to see the mountain gorillas. Although rain is likely all year around, the rainy seasons make the trek up to the gorillas particularly tricky. So, avoid the months of march and April or October and November.