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Low-And-High-Season

Difference Between Low Season And High Season

Low And High Season – In Africa, seasons are typically simplified into two main categories revolving around rainfall:

  1. High, peak, or dry season
  2. Low, off-peak, or wet season

Planning an African safari is an exhilarating endeavor, involving a thorough consideration of various factors like holiday availability and budget constraints. While timing your trip according to personal schedules is paramount, the seasons in Africa significantly influence both experience and cost, prompting careful deliberation.

Whether opting for peak or off-peak seasons, each presents its own set of advantages. Additionally, some destinations offer a shoulder season, bridging the gap between high and low periods.

Having explored Africa throughout different seasons, we’ve discovered unique charms in each timeframe. Regardless of when you embark on your safari adventure, Africa never fails to enchant and deliver unforgettable experiences.

Low-And-High-Season
Gorilla Relaxing in Uganda’s Bwindi NP

Dry Seasons In Africa

Africa’s dry season, varying across the continent, has traditionally been favored for safari travel. During this time, water sources become more concentrated, drawing animals to gather around water holes in greater numbers. With less vegetation obstructing views, both trees and grass are depleted, offering clearer visibility through the bush.

Many mobile camps operate exclusively during the dry season, as remote locations become accessible only when roads are dry. However, the dry season brings about considerable dust, particularly towards its conclusion. In places like Ngorongoro Crater, where space is limited and vehicle numbers high, the afternoon dust can become quite intense. Yet, it also creates breathtaking full moon rises, casting a mesmerizing red hue as the dust particles scatter the moonlight.

Pricing tends to reflect the peak game viewing opportunities of the dry season. While exceptional wildlife sightings abound, so do the numbers of safari-goers. Popular destinations like Masai Mara National Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park, Chobe National Park, and Kruger National Park often witness large congregations of vehicles, with up to 50 vehicles vying for a glimpse of predators or a river crossing during the great migration.

Addo-National-Park
Elephants In Addo National Park

Wet Season In Africa

Traditionally, the rainy seasons have been less popular for safari travel, but they harbor hidden treasures and attract more visitors due to lower pricing.

Rain is a precious commodity in Africa, celebrated by all. Many antelope wait until the rains arrive to give birth, resulting in an abundance of newborns amidst lush vegetation. This attracts predators, creating exciting wildlife encounters. The rainy season also sees rapid blooming of flowers and temporary flow of dry riverbeds, replenishing parched lands. Migratory birds return from Europe, and cloudy skies offer stunning opportunities for sunrise and sunset photography.

However, accessibility may be limited, and mobile camping is less enjoyable in the rain. Some activities are also restricted due to unpredictable weather. Nonetheless, it remains a fantastic time to travel.

During the rainy season, animals disperse as water becomes more abundant, making sightings more challenging but ultimately more rewarding. The absence of other vehicles at sightings enhances the experience.

Rain rarely interrupts game-viewing activities, with adjustments made to timing or attire. After rain, there’s a refreshing relief from the heat, and everything feels revitalized. While continuous rain is uncommon, changing weather patterns may occasionally impact safari plans.

Rainy Patterns

Low-And-High-Season

In Africa, the rains often resemble tropical downpours, typically occurring in the afternoon and accompanied by thunder and lightning, creating dramatic skies and stunning sunrises and sunsets. Watching a storm sweep across the savannah is a truly magical experience. Rainfall tends to be localized, with areas just kilometers apart experiencing vastly different conditions. While rain rarely persists all day or every day, changing weather patterns can occasionally disrupt plans.

East Africa experiences two distinct wet seasons: the “long rains” from March/April to May and the “short rains” from October/November to December. In Southern Africa, rain can begin as early as September, with more consistent rainfall occurring later in the year and continuing until around March. After these late rains, animals develop thick winter coats to endure the long, cold winter.

Cape Town stands out as an exception, receiving winter rain similar to New Zealand. Therefore, combining a peak season safari with a trip to Cape Town may not guarantee the best weather in the city.

While Christmas falls within the wet or off-season, it remains a popular time for travel, potentially resulting in peak season pricing. Therefore, there are pros and cons to traveling during off-peak or shoulder seasons, although not every location offers a shoulder season.

Difference In Seasons And What They Offer

The optimal time for an African safari varies across countries and even within a single country. To assist in making the decision, here are some advantages and drawbacks for different seasons.

Peak Season ProsPeak Season Cons
Concentrated game viewingMost expensive time to travel
Very little chance of rainIt can be very cold at night
All mobile camps operatingDusty roads to travel on
Full range of activitiesExtremely busy in public parks
Full accessibility on all roadsNeed to book far in advance
Low Season ProsLow Season Cons
Lower numbers of visitorsPossibility of rain
Lower pricing and often specialsHumidity can be high until it rains
Plants are floweringAnimals are less visible
Excellent migratory birdingMore insects and mosquitos
Calving seasonSome activities are not available
Dramatic photo opportunitiesSome areas may not be accessible

Below is a simplified breakdown of high, shoulder, and low seasons for various locations. However, it’s essential to note that there can be significant variations within each country. For more detailed tables, please refer to the individual country pages.

Content Box

Low/Green/Wet SeasonShoulder SeasonHigh/Peak/Dry Season
Green DotOrange DotRed Dot

East Africa

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
KenyaOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotGreen DotGreen Dot
TanzaniaOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotGreen DotGreen Dot
RwandaRed DotRed DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotGreen DotGreen DotRed Dot
UgandaRed DotRed DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotGreen DotGreen DotRed Dot

Southern Africa

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Botswana Green DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotOrange DotGreen Dot
MadagascarGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotOrange DotGreen Dot
NamibiaGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotOrange DotOrange Dot
South AfricaGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotOrange DotOrange Dot
ZambiaGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotOrange DotGreen Dot
ZimbabweGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotRed DotOrange DotGreen Dot

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