When Is the Best Time to Visit Africa?
The best time to visit Africa is during the shoulder seasons of April to June (fall) and September to November (spring). You’ll find that the weather is mild and pleasant across most of the continent, crowds are smaller, and prices are lower.
You can look forward to these benefits if you visit Africa during the shoulder seasons:
- Mild weather: Africa is massive and climates here are as varied as the landscapes. But there’s a sweet spot between April-June and September-November when the weather throughout most of Africa is mild and pleasant. It’s the perfect time for sightseeing, exploring, and enjoying outdoor recreation.
- Smaller crowds: Avoiding huge crowds of tourists in Africa is easy in the fall and spring. Most tourists come in the peak summer and winter seasons, leaving the shoulder seasons wide open with smaller crowds at tourist hotspots (like Kenya, Egypt, and South Africa), and shorter lines to visit attractions.
- Lower prices: Traveling to Africa outside of the peak seasons means you’ll save a lot of money on flights, hotels, and activities. When tourism dips, prices follow suit. Africa’s spring and fall seasons are when you’ll find the most budget-friendly prices for a more affordable trip.
- Diverse wildlife: The biodiversity of Africa is stunning, but if you travel during the hot summer or rainy season, seeing wildlife is harder with dense greenery obstructing your views. Fall and spring are both perfect for viewing the diverse wildlife here, from zebra and lions to wildebeest and elephants.
The best time to visit Africa for mild weather and active wildlife varies a bit by region:
- North Africa: The best time to visit North Africa is during the shoulder seasons of spring (September to November) and fall (March to May). Expect balmy weather that’s ideal for spending time outdoors, lower prices, and smaller crowds of tourists.
- East Africa: The best time to visit East Africa is during the region’s dry season from June to October. You’ll appreciate the sunny, cooler weather and minimal rainfall that brings wildlife out in droves. It’s an excellent time for an East African safari!
- West Africa: The best time to visit West Africa is during the region’s dry season from November to April. Rainfall is rare and limited, drying out the vegetation and making it easier to spot the wildlife roaming in the area. Malaria risk is lower in the dry season and the weather is sunny and pleasant.
- Central Africa: The best time to visit Central Africa is during the dry season (May to October). Limited rainfall during this season keeps dirt roads passable and warm sunshine makes spending time outdoors particularly nice this time of year..
- Southern Africa: The best time to visit Southern Africa is during the sunny, cool dry season (May to October). It’s the prime time for wildlife viewing in the savanna, especially around watering holes where animals congregate to drink.
We recommend traveling to Africa during the spring and fall shoulder seasons if you’re looking for the best possible travel experience. With balmy weather, better opportunities to see wildlife, smaller crowds, and more affordable prices on flights and hotels, these are the prime seasons to visit.
Climate in Africa
Summer Season in Africa
In Northern Africa, the summer season (June to August) is hot and dry with temperatures often exceeding 90°F. It's toasty, but a good time to explore popular destinations like Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. June to August marks the start of the rainy season further south in the sub-Saharan region. It's not an ideal time for safaris in countries like Kenya, Tanzania, or South Africa.
Rainy Season in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa experiences the worst of its rainy season from November to April. While the wet conditions put a damper on safaris and make it hard to see wildlife, it's an excellent time for experiencing lush landscapes and birdwatching. The rainy season occurs between December and March in some countries, like Namibia and Botswana.
Winter Season in Africa
The winter season in Southern Africa (like South Africa and Namibia) runs from June to August. It's the perfect time for safaris with cooler, dry weather and less vegetation to obscure views of wildlife. This time of year is when the Great Migration occurs with wildebeest and zebra on the move. You'll spot a menagerie of animals gathering around water sources. In Northern Africa, the winter months offer ideal conditions for exploring historical sites and landmarks like the Egyptian pyramids and Great Sphinx of Giza.