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Peak Season safari or low season safari – which season is best for you?

Matthys van Aswegen

Author: Matthys van Aswegen - 30 January 2024

Last Update: 23 October 2023

Part of the African Safari Collection

Embarking on a safari is a thrilling adventure. Your visit to Africa can vary significantly depending on whether you go during peak or low season. Each time of year offers unique advantages and potential challenges that may impact your experience.

Discover the ideal time for your safari adventure! Join us as we explore what you can expect from an adventure in the most popular safari destination choices of East and Southern Africa during each season.

Three giraffes under an acacia tree in the African savannah

Peak Season vs. Low Season for Safaris in Africa

When deciding between a peak-season safari during the winter months from May to September or a low-season safari over the summer months of October through April, take a moment to consider each distinct facet of the African safari experience.

Weather Conditions

Generally, throughout Africa, the weather in peak season has cooler, drier days with clear skies. In contrast, the low season brings hotter temperatures and more frequent rain storms that transform the landscapes lush and green, helping it earn its other moniker, “the Green Season.”

Peak season in East Africa offers little to no rainfall and pleasant temperatures, making it an ideal time for Big Five safaris in popular destinations such as Kenya’s Maasai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti.

Thunderstorm in Botswana

South Africa also experiences dry conditions and much cooler temperatures. In the low season, East Africa, including Tanzania and central Kenya, experiences a brief rainy season from October to December, followed by months of pleasant weather with comfortable average daytime temperatures and higher humidity levels. Summer or low season in Southern Africa brings a warm, sunny climate with afternoon thunderstorms.

Wildlife Viewing Tips

The peak season across Africa allows you to discover an abundance of wildlife. The East African region dazzles during the Great Migration in peak season. The dry conditions during peak season in South Africa and Namibia also make it an excellent time for game viewing, as animals gather around water sources, offering fantastic wildlife sightings.

Hippopotamus wading through the Zambezi foliage

However, not to be dismissed, the low season often rewards visitors with unique wildlife encounters. Southern Africa witnesses the vegetation flourishing, attracting migratory birds and creating a stunning backdrop for nature enthusiasts. In East Africa, the wildlife is still present, yet dispersed across a wider area and more hidden due to increased vegetation.

Crowd Levels

As its name implies, peak season attracts an abundance of safari adventurers seeking prime wildlife spectacles. East Africa becomes especially busy during August. In the safari regions and reserves of Southern Africa, such as Kruger National Park, peak season, most notably July, tends to attract the most crowds.

A low-season safari gives travellers an exclusive experience

Low season in East Africa offers the luxury of undisturbed moments shared only with the wilderness. In contrast, the low season in Southern Africa brings an influx of tourists enjoying the coast and cities as the region enjoys summer. However, to avoid the frenzy of people, consider visiting the Southern African areas of Botswana and Nambia. Mick Stephens from Australia noted, “While it was not peak season for Safari, we did have an amazing time and all without the crowds.

Budget-Friendly Safari

If you’re looking for a safari deal, the low season presents the best opportunity to experience the magic of safaris without the premium price tags associated with peak season.

Benefits of Peak Season Safari

Expect the following exhilarating advantages of going on safari in peak season:

  1. Abundant wildlife due to favorable weather conditions that draw them out into the open, offering an immersive display of nature’s diversity.
  2. Optimal sighting opportunities for spotting elusive animals as the vegetation thins out, granting unobstructed views.
  3. A vibrant atmosphere and lively ambiance created by the influx of fellow adventurers and enthusiasts.

Unique Advantages of a Low-Season Safari

This time of year promises a secluded safari experience and unparalleled tranquility in the following ways:

  1. Serene landscapes abound due to a reduced number of tourists
  2. More availability of accommodations with better pricing options
  3. Greater access to national parks provides a profound sense of exclusivity
Making Your Choice

Consider your priorities and reflect on what truly matters to you. Are you driven by the desire to witness bustling wildlife scenes during peak seasons, or does the allure of an exclusive experience and serene landscapes during the low season capture your heart?

Regardless of which season you choose, by planning ahead and knowing what to expect, you can have an unforgettable experience in the African wilderness. Are you ready to plan your trip? Reach out to one of our experienced safari travel guide experts at Discover Africa Safaris and enquire about your next adventure!


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