What Is The Best Time Of The Year To Go On Safari In South Africa

What is a Safari?

A safari is an overland journey to observe wild animals, especially in Southeast Africa. The so-called “Big Five” game animals of Africa – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo – particularly form an important part of the safari market, both for wildlife viewing and big-game hunting.

What Is The Best Time Of The Year To Go On Safari In South Africa?

The best time to visit South Africa on safari is widely considered to be May to September.

This is when the east of the country – where the main safari parks such as Kruger National Park are located – experiences its dry season. With less vegetation, wildlife-watching opportunities are greatly improved.

Best and Worst South African Safari Seasons

What are the best and worst seasons to go on safari in South Africa? Winter tops the list while summer comes in dead last. 

If you’re just looking for general seasons to plan your South African safari trip with, check out the info below to learn more. 

Winter Safaris

In South Africa, the peak safari season is winter from May through September. This is also the best time to go on safari. 

The winter season in South Africa is mild, dry, and a little windy in parts. It provides the best viewing opportunities for the full range of animals here, but it’s more expensive to go during this peak season. 

During winter, the grasses are low and vegetation is dried out. This makes animals easy to spot in the brush and will ensure a great safari experience. 

Spring Safaris

As winter transitions into spring, safari opportunities are slightly dampened with increased rain, more baby animals making appearances than adults, and grasses only beginning to grow lush. 

Not only are your viewing opportunities a bit limited in the spring, but it’s also not quite as comfortable in certain areas with higher temperatures.

Temperatures begin heating up around October-November, hitting highs around 60F-80F in different areas of South Africa in spring. 

Summer Safaris

Summer in the Southern Hemisphere – November through March – isn’t a popular safari season with highs averaging around 86F or 30C. This makes it cheaper to go during this period. 

Grasses and vegetation grow wildly during this time, obscuring the amazing wildlife views safari trips are designed to provide. 

Summer is also the wettest and most humid period here, making safaris difficult with near-daily rainstorms.

What is the best time of year to go on safari in South Africa?

The best time to go to South Africa for a safari is from May to October. These months are superb for game viewing in Kruger, Madikwe, Pilanesberg, and KwaZulu-Natal as the animals are concentrated around water sources and are easier to spot in the dry season’s thinned-out vegetation.

How many days do you need for a safari in South Africa?

Four to six days provide sufficient time to combine an in-depth safari experience with a broader set of other venues and activities. Begin by driving to Hazyview (or fly into nearby Nelspruit and rent a car).

What are the cheapest months to travel to South Africa?

The cheapest time to visit South Africa

During this period, prices soar for accommodation, activities, and flights, and coastal and national-park accommodation books up months in advance.

The low season is June to August and the shoulder season is sunny autumn (April to May) and pleasant spring (September to October).

Are South African safaris expensive?

Overall, South Africa is the least expensive safari destination and one of the few countries in Africa where it’s possible to enjoy luxury on a budget.