What month is best for South Africa safari?

Old Oct 25th, 2023, 07:35 AM
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What month is best for South Africa safari?

Are there "best months" of the year to take a safari/wine country trip to South Africa? By "best" I mean both weather-wise and prime animal viewing.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 01:19 PM
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We went in June - middle of the dry season and only getting into winter. Fantastic weather wise - comfortable to be out all day. Chilly only early in the morning and late evening but much much warmer in the day. Dry season so it was very easy to spot animals. Saw the big 5 easily and multiple viewings. The bush is less dense then and animals congregate around the water holes.
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Old Oct 25th, 2023, 03:43 PM
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It's also a matter of "where" as well as "when." South Africa has several safari areas - the big Kruger Park complex in the north, parks and reserves in coastal Kwa-Zulu Natal, Madikwe on the Botswana border, Addo Elephant National Park at the top of the Garden Route, centrally located parks like Pilanesberg, or parks on the Atlantic coast or close to it. All of these areas have different - from slightly different to very different - climates and "best" seasons, depending on your definition.

Our favorite times in several trips tended to be in the late winter (August - September) in the Kruger area, for the reasons mentioned by Desibabe, but also because my wife was especially sensitive to mosquitoes, and in the winter that's less an issue in malaria zones like Kruger Park, Limpopo and coastal KZN. But there are many people who enjoy the "green season," i.e. summer, when there are often lots of baby animals in the Kruger complex. It's hot, wet and humid, but if that's your thing, go for it. Other areas like Madikwe are essentially on the edge of the Kalahari desert, where in the summer the temperatures can be very high.

It also can depend on what else you plan to do or see in SA in addition to safaris. While June is nice around Kruger, it can be wet and chilly in Cape Town. One of our most enjoyable experiences was to witness the remarkable wildflower shows along SA's west (Atlantic) coast. Namaqualand National Park in the far northwest of the country is legendary for the flower displays in September. We only managed to get as far as West Coast NP, around 90 minutes north of Cape Town, but that was plenty.

So sorry to turn your question into a term paper, but you can see the reasoning.
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Old Nov 2nd, 2023, 06:10 PM
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I went in February to Kruger. It was not "hot, wet and humid". Please check with an expert safari planner rather than rely on limited experience of random Fodorites. Weather varies from year to year, and Kruger is 200 miles long, with different climate zones. It did not rain at all until our last day up in the Pafuri -Punda Maria area, near the Crooks Corner tri-country border with Zimbabwe-Mozambique. Most Fodorites despite their numerous visits have never visited the full extent of Kruger (especially in the north) instead usually staying in the private reserves. I think a few have never even been to Kruger.

Last edited by mlgb; Nov 2nd, 2023 at 06:15 PM.
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