When is the Best Time to Travel to Southern Africa?

The bottom tip of the African continent comprises the region known as Southern Africa. Moving along the southernmost area clockwise, this region includes the following safari destinations: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. The rule of thumb in Southern Africa is that winter is best for seeing game, but this season is also dry and dusty. Summers in South Africa are best for bird viewing and to see the grasslands and woodlands in their entire lush splendor.

South Africa

The exception to the winter high season rule is South Africa. The best time to travel to South Africa is actually during the summer months. November through February in South Africa is the high season since this is the timeframe when South Africans take their vacations.  Take note, however, that the temperatures are frequently hot during this high season. Be prepared for highs reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit in January and February in South Africa.


The best time to travel to Namibia is also during the winter from May through October. Summers in Namibia are hot, while winter days are warm and winter nights are cold to downright freezing. The main rainy season in Namibia occurs from February to March, which is also when the risk of malaria is highest.


The best time to travel to Botswana is in winter, roughly from July through October, since it is the dry season. Winter months in Botswana are when grass and bush cover are minimal, so game viewing is easier during this period.


         The best time to travel to Zambia is also during winter fro June through October since this timeframe is preferable for game viewing when the seasonal water sources dry up and game congregates around the central waterways. However, other factors to consider are that the winter months in Zambia are also extremely dusty and frigid cold temperatures occur.


The best time to travel to Malawi is during their dry season from May through October since game viewing is easiest during this period. Rainfall is intermittent throughout the rest of the months with afternoon thunderstorms that usually occur December through February.


The best time to travel to Zimbabwe is also during the winter dry season from March through October with cool temperatures and prime game viewing reign supreme. Canoe safaris on the Zambezi River operate year round and are the most popular from April through November.

Best time to Travel to Southern Africa - Malawi
Nyika Plateau National Park, Malawi
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