African safari in January – some suggestions

Great time to visit Cape Town and the Western Cape of South Africa as it’s high summer: pleasantly hot days and low rainfall. In northern KwaZulu Natal (Coastal Maputaland) the sea is warm but with some afternoon thunderstorms. It’s the crossover period between the nesting and hatching seasons of the leatherback and loggerhead turtles.

If you want to do a safari in January, then the Eastern Cape of South Africa is your best bet, followed by Madikwe and northern KwaZulu Natal.

The rainy season officially starts a little earlier in other Southern African countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and the Kruger area of South Africa but in many parts the rain really arrives now. Many parts of Zambia (the Lower Zambezi, Kafue and much of South Luangwa) are closed due to the seasonal flooding of these areas.

This is a good time for a safari in Kenya, with short grass in most areas making it easy to see game and take walking safaris. The picture is not so clear cut in Tanzania as the short rains may still be making their presence felt, and the rains may be heavy in the south of the country. On the other hand, this is a great time in the Serengeti as herds are gathering in the south, ready for the short calving season.

In the northern parks of Uganda, Murchison Falls National Park and the lovely Kidepo Valley National Park, January is the heart of the dry season. This makes the animal movement more predictable and one barely has to travel to see a huge array of wildlife. With temperatures  heading toward 40ºC (104°F), the far north may be too hot for some.  It is also marginally less rainy in the gorilla and chimpanzee tracking forest habitats of the south, where  the altitude means there’s no problem with heat.

It’s cyclone season in Mauritius, Madagascar (especially the east coast) and, to a lesser extent, the coast of Mozambique and the Seychelles.

SOUTH AFRICA – Especially Cape Town, Winelands, Garden Route, Eastern Cape & northern KwaZulu Natal for turtle-tracking

KENYA – Enjoy warm days but cooler evenings. Showers are short and intermittent and the grass is lush but short

TANZANIA – For the short and intense calving season in the Ndutu area of the Southern Serengeti in northern Tanzania; plenty and plains game and plenty of opportunistic and equally hungry predators!

BOTSWANA – To take advantage of excellent green season specials…

Enquire now for more on the best places to go in January