Adventure Safaris In Africa

The Best Months for a Safari in South Africa

Safari in South Africa
Avatar of Teresa Mwangi
Written by Teresa Mwangi

There are many places to go on safari in South Africa and Kruger National Park wins it all. However, there are, many other reserves – privately owned- with the same thrill.

A major highlight is that Kruger’s surroundings have phenomenal views of sighting the big five. Rhinos, aggressive African elephants, leopard, lions, buffalos and leopards freely roam the park.

Taking reputation as one of the best safari in Africa destinations, camps, lodges and other luxury accommodation facilities crown your safari experience.

So, if you are piecing together your bucketlist, you can bet on a memorable experience with a safari in South Africa.

What is the Best Month to go on Safari in South Africa?

September is the ideal month to visit South Africa in order to take advantage of a variety of the country’s attractions.

Many parts of the country experience mild temperatures in September. There is a strong likelihood that you may witness wildlife with baby animals and breaching whales.

However, depending on your interests and the regions of South Africa you want to see, there is no one optimal time to visit.

Safari in South Africa

Safari in South Africa. Photo by Go2Africa

Whether you travel to South Africa from the west or the east, your purpose dictates if the timing is right or not. Here is what I mean. The country’s eastern flank is more suited to the cooler months, while the west is beautiful in the summer (November to April) (May to October).

Like stated above, your interest or purpose of visit dictates when to visit. For instance, from November to February, the Garden Route is mild and dry. But September and October are the best months to see whales.

If you don’t mind the occasional downpour, the best time to visit South Africa for bird watching in the north is from November to February. For the best safari in South Africa, visit during the milder winter months (May to September). The wildlife viewing opportunities are excellent then.

Summer months of November to February at the Cape are pleasant and dry. September and October double up as the best months to go for whale watching.

Overall, this Southern African country is dry and sunny. Most things here are designed for warm weather so when the cold season comes, you feel it to depth.

In the southern hemisphere, midwinter occurs in June and July; temperatures occasionally fall below zero. Be ready for minimum temperatures averaging 4°C in Johannesburg, 7°C in Cape Town, and 11°C in Durban in winter.

The country closes down for its annual break during midwinter in December and January. So, consider the various climatic zones when planning your visit.

How Much is a Safari in South Africa?

On average, safari costs $4,500 to $5,000 per person. For a classic safari in South Africa experience the baseline cost is per person is between $7,000 and $8,000.

Worth to note is the following five factors determine the cost of any safari trips in Africa.

  • How many people are involved?
  • Season – is it peak or off peak?
  • What are your preferences?
  • What sort of accommodation are you looking for?
  • What is your travel destination?

Where is Better for Safari Kenya or South Africa?

Kenya and South Africa are two of the most popular destinations to visit for a scenic wildlife adventure. The big question is, though, which of these countries gives you the best safari experience?

Well, both countries win in different fronts when it comes to adventure. The answer to this question varies from one wanderlust to the other.

Conversely, Safari in South Africa or Tanzania applies the same rationale. Again, it all boils down to personal preferences. In a nutshell, Kenya wins in the following:

Wildlife Experience

Buffalos in the vast Maasai Mara

Buffalos whiling around in Maasai Mara. [Photo: travel_with_kamunjure_]

While both Kenya and South Africa are excellent places to see Africa’s “big 5” animals, Kenya has a better experience.  The East African country has more national park space and animal reserves than South Africa. The famed Masai Mara is one of them.

The road network in Kenyan parks and reserves is better than that in South Africa. Also, more reserves and parks give visitors wildlife diversity.

Camping Cost

Kenya is an excellent camping choice as it is a bit wilder than South Africa. You feel more connected to nature here than in South Africa.


The Swahili people add a fascinating cultural flavor to Kenya’s historic ports. It also has amazing ruins from the Middle Ages which tells a tall tale of the pre-colonial era.

On the other hand, safari in South Africa wins in the following categories.


South Africa is more budget-friendly than Kenya when it comes to accommodation in luxurious lodges. It beats Kenya’s pricing and also on the DIY-safari front.

Lower Risk for Tropical Diseases

South Africa presents a much lower danger of catching malaria, bilharzia, and other tropical diseases. It’s ideal for families, first-time safari visitors, and other health-conscious travelers.

As a matter of fact, South Africa is the only country in Africa to boast of several malaria-free safari destinations.

More Family-friendly

Kenya is not quite as family-friendly as South Africa. Both nations have beautiful coastlines but the south wins with better infrastructure accommodating families.

How Long Does a South African Safari Take?

A safari in South Africa will take five to seven days. This is the best schedule to explore Kruger National Park and other famed wildlife sanctuaries here.

In addition, you can combine a thorough safari experience with a wider range of other locations and activities in four to six days.

However it can also take less than five days depending on your itinerary and preference.

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About the author

Avatar of Teresa Mwangi

Teresa Mwangi

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, loves travelling and telling stories about tour and travel in Africa by every angle.

1 Comment

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