The Best Time to Visit Southern Africa for a Safari

Southern Africa’s arid interior follows a predictable pattern. The summers (November to February) are hot, humid and wet. Winters are cooler, clearer and dry.

So the natural time to go on safari in Botswana and Namibia is May to September, when the desert climate is more manageable and dry season conditions make game viewing easy.

This is the same time that the Okavango Delta floods, creating an oasis that thirsty and hungry animals migrate to.

Both Namibia and Botswana are enormous countries, so even though May to September is clearly peak tourist season, visitors are widely spread out.

South Africa’s coastline has a different climate. Summer days are long and warm, then winter brings the rain and cooler weather.

There aren’t many safari destinations along the coast but most visitors want to combine a safari with some time at the beach or in the city of Cape Town.

September to November and February to April are superb shoulder seasons, when you can enjoy a wild safari and a beach break.

December and January is school holiday season in South Africa: the prices go up, everywhere gets busy, and you must book months in advance for good accommodation.