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-   -   Safari in January? (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/safari-in-january-1015255/)

P_M May 24th, 2014 04:39 PM

Safari in January?
 
I've been wanting to go on safari for a long time and I'm looking at Overseas Adventure Travel's web site for a trip to Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. The least expensive trip seem to be in January but surely that's because it's hot and very rainy in January.

Has anyone gone on safari at that time of year? Is it worth doing in January? The price difference is huge if I wait until dry season but I'm wondering if it's worth the extra money to wait.

Thanks.

TC May 26th, 2014 02:36 PM

We were in Botswana in Nov/Dec last year. It wasn't rainy at all. It was a bit hot in the afternoons, but not unbearable. Can't speak to your other destinations. We have been to Kenya and Tanzania twice - both times in January and the weather was outstanding. I wouldn't hesitate (obviously). The savings is worth any small inconvenience a bit of rain might bring. Added bonus.....many fewer vehicles around.

P_M May 27th, 2014 06:32 AM

Thanks TC, that is very helpful. I realize good weather is not a guarantee at any time of year but I still wanted to hear from someone who had been there.

sandi May 27th, 2014 12:42 PM

January shouldn't be the rainy season. Who said it was? If it was Mar-May or even Nov/early-Dec, yes more likely whether in East or Southern African countries. That though is Not to say it might not rain or there be showers, but nowadays who ever really knows. But for sure if the price is that much lower than other times of the year, I'd take a shot at it.

christabir May 27th, 2014 08:17 PM

I can't find the trip report, but someone did a "green season" Botswana trip and loved it. Go for it - it's a great way to save money and get a great experience. So what if it rains - we've had some great viewing days when it was pouring! It's worse when it's windy. Look for that trip report. It was well done.

christabir May 27th, 2014 08:20 PM

Here it is:

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...een-season.cfm

stokeygirl May 27th, 2014 09:37 PM

January is definitely the rainy season in Botswana. In East Africa there are short rains Nov-Dec and long rains March-May but the further south you go the more these converge into one. In Botswana the rains typically start in Nov and go through until March-April, with the highest rainfall being in Dec, Jan and Feb. Having said that, Botswana actually has a very dry climate, with rainfall in the rainiest months being less than half that in the rainiest months in East Africa (about 100mm vs 250mm). People think of the Okavango delta as wet (which it is!) but most of the water drains in from Angola, with the actual rainfall being relatively low.

I've done 3 trips now in green season and whilst the game viewing may not be quite as good as in the dry season, there is still plenty to see and the reduction in pricing makes it excellent value. In Jan/Feb 2013 we only really had rain twice in 15 days.

There are a lot of great specials around in green season and I would recommend at least looking at something tailor made rather than a prepackaged tour. If you are travelling solo, there are no single supplements and most camps have communal dining and shared game drives and there's really no need to be in a group.

P_M May 28th, 2014 05:04 AM

It's great to get so many helpful responses, thank you all. Before posting this question I had almost talked myself out of going in January but now I will give it a lot more thought.

sandi May 29th, 2014 11:26 AM

There it is, whether it will or whether it won't. Who ever knows if/when it will rain, in the so-called rainy season if Jan is in Botswana, when some friends have visited that time of year and only reported light showers on 2 or 3 evenings. While in 'dry' season, people are surprised if there is wet.

Apparently, no one can be certain as worldwide weather is wacky these past many years. So if you're not sure about a January visit, more research is needed, if wishing to select another period and hope it doesn't rain then.

atravelynn May 31st, 2014 11:13 AM

Check these weather sites:

Weather month by month in Botswana
http://www.climateandweather.com/weather-in-botswana

Weather overview Botswana
http://www.uyaphi.com/botswana/weather.htm

Depending on your goals and budget, Jan could be very well worth it. If you want to see a variety of wildlife and save $$, then I'd strongly consider January. I like stokeygirl's comments "There are a lot of great specials around in green season and I would recommend at least looking at something tailor made rather than a prepackaged tour. If you are travelling solo, there are no single supplements and most camps have communal dining and shared game drives and there's really no need to be in a group."

But there is a reason for all the good deals in Jan and that is more likelihood of rain and the concentration of animals is less because water is abundant and dispersed.

I've traveled to East and Southern Africa during Nov, Dec, Feb, March (not Jan) which are wetter months than the winter dry season of July-Sept. Saw fantastic stuff every outing. In numerous trips, only lost about 3 total hours of wildlife viewing to heavy rains. In my experience the prey species, such as antelope, actually are less skittish in the rain than the sunshine.

I would not hesitate to go on safari in Jan if it fit my plans and budget.

Have fun whenever you go.


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