Below you'll find a country specific guide for the absolute best time to plan a safari. On Page 2, you'll find a month by month guide for the best country to visit for a safari. If you're looking for animal specific safaris, like a gorilla or a chimpanzee safari, see page 3.
If you still have questions about planning your safari, you can always e-mail me.annual migration of millions of wildebeest, zebra and gnu's descend 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, the animals tend to gather in more concentrated numbers around permanent water holes, rivers and lakes, so they are easier to find. The vegetation is also less lush which simply means that viewing animals from a distance is easier. More tips on viewing animals while on safari...
Great Migration unfold, head to Tanzania's northern parks; the Serengeti and Ngorongoro. The best time to witness the migration is probably February - March when the wildebeest and zebra have their young. Not only can you enjoy seeing baby animals, but the predators are at the highest number too. Because the herds also concentrate in the south of the Serengeti, it's easy to plan your wildlife viewing in that area and find a safari company that offers lodging there. For more details see my Tanzania Safari Planner.
June to November is Tanzania's dry season and is the best time to visit all the parks (and you can always hop over to Kenya's Masai Mara 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 parks, the animals tend to spread out, and this makes wildlife viewing less satisfying (if you're looking for sheer numbers of animals).
If you want to add a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro to your safari, the best time to hike is January - March and September - October.
see the Mountain Gorillas. Although rain is likely all year round, the rainy seasons make the trek up to the gorillas particularly difficult, so avoid the months of March-April and October-November.
Liuwa Plain National Park, that's not witnessed by many, but worth trying to plan a trip around.
The Victoria Falls are at their most impressive in March and April after the rainy season. You will get totally soaked to the bone with the thunderous spray coming off the falls at this time of year.
Hwange, the largest game reserve in the country.
White water rafting on the Zambezi is best from August to December when the water is low and the rapids are fast.
The Victoria Falls are at their most impressive in March and April after the rainy season. You may have difficulty seeing all of the falls due to massive amounts of spray it can be quite torrential.
Botswana is one of Africa's most expensive safari destinations because many of the parks are inaccessible by road and you have to charter a small plane to get there. If you have your heart set on Botswana's excellent parks, but can't quite afford them, check out some of the shoulder season deals in April, May and October.
Etosha National Park is Namibia's prime safari destination and the best time to visit is from May to September. This is Namibia's dry season (despite being mostly desert, there are still seasons in Namibia!) and animals congregate around the water holes making viewing easier.
Many birders come to Namibia, and the best time to visit is during the summer months from December to March, but be prepared for some very hot and humid weather.
Kruger National Park are best visited from June through September when the weather is cooler and dry. But South Africa's wildlife parks have better infrastructure than most parks in Africa, so rains don't necessarily mean the roads will be washed out. There are also many excellent game parks in South Africa's Eastern Cape region which experiences less rain during the winter months than in the north of the country.