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Where to go in Africa in August

Where to go in Africa in August

Visit Kenya for a Bucketlist Experience - a Mara River Crossing

August continues to be a very popular month for safari goers and wildlife fanatics. Seeing a Mara River crossing is on many people's bucketlist, and now the best chance of seeing this is in the Masai Mara National Reserve - but be prepared to be both patient and to see lots of other visitors all eagerly awaiting the same spectacular event.

Elsewhere, the game viewing in and around Kruger, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana is fantastic due to this being the height of the dry season, so the wildlife are congregated around water sources and cannot hide in any bush foliage as this has all dried out too due to the lack of rain.

It is also towards the very end of one of the dry seasons in Uganda, so if you want another bucketlist experience, head to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Quick 'At a Glance' Summary

    • Mara River Crossing opportunities in Kenya's Masai Mara
    • Peak time to travel to Botswana
    • Memorable game viewing in Etosha National Park
    • Combining Victoria Falls with a safari in either Zambia or Zimbabwe
    • Great game viewing and whale watching in South Africa
    • Gorilla trekking in Uganda

Kenya

Huge numbers of the migrating wildebeest and zebra herds have now crossed from the Serengeti in Tanzania into Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. This is the month where the exhausted wildebeest face their final challenge – a Mara River crossing. The hungry crocodiles lie in wait and take their pickings of any wildebeest that flounders in the strong currents or loses their footing on the perilous rocks.  A river crossing can never be guaranteed, and you do have to be prepared to do a lot of waiting as the wildebeest do not cross every day. 

Mara River CrossingIt goes without saying that due to the popularity, early bookings for this month is definitely recommended and you can expect to see many tourist and game viewing vehicles, especially around the river crossing points.  

Amboseli continues to be a good safari destination in August, and this is also a lovely time to be on safari in Samburu – the game viewing is at its best as the bush dries out due to lack of rain, making it easier to spot the wildlife, it is always less crowded than the Masai Mara, and because it is closer to the equator, the temperatures at night and in the early morning do not feel quite as cold as in the Masai Mara, which is further south.  

The beaches along the Kenyan coastline continue to attract visitors, and it is a pleasant time to be here to enjoy a typical beach holiday after your safari experience.

Botswana

The peak period for safari goes continues in August.  Zero rainfall again means the wildlife are heavily reliant on waterholes and rivers, so expect some wonderful sightings wherever there is permanent water – especially Chobe Riverfront and the Delta.

Temperatures are starting to increase slightly, so days are becoming very pleasantly warm but it can still be very cold during the night.  The bush is very dry, making it easier to spot wildlife who are not congregating around the water supplies.  Prices are still at their peak.

Etosha Waterhole Game ViewingNamibia

Head to the Etosha Park in August if you are looking for some memorable game viewing. The wildlife are heavily reliant on water as August is in the middle of the dry winter months.The animals gather around every available water source, and it is therefore easier to find the game when out on a game drive across the vast Etosha plains.

The days are warm and sunny (although the nights are cold), and early booking is advised as August is a very popular month for international visitors to this country.

Zambia

This is one of the best months to be in Zambia on safari.  The climate is cooler and dry, as these are the winter months.  Due to the lack of rainfall, water levels in rivers and watercourses tend to dry up,  and the game viewing gets progressively better as animals concentrate around the permanent water sources.  The bush is also knocked back, also making it easier to spot the wildlife in the undergrowth. 

For those on safari in Kafue, this is the first month you can enjoy a hot air balloon safari, as they only operate for a couple of months a year.  Floating over the Busanga Plains and taking in the stunning views for an hour, then landing and enjoying a champagne breakfast in the bush is a truly memorable safari activity.

Elephants drinking at Waterhole in HwangweZimbabwe

August is the dry season in Hwangwe and Mana Pools and one of the best times for wildlife sightings in both Parks.  The many waterholes in Hwangwe become a magnet for the wildlife, and it is not uncommon to see huge herds of elephants drinking together.  In Mana Pools, the areas around the Zambezi River have high concentration of game.  

Victoria Falls

If you want to view the Victoria Falls, August is a great time – the Zambezi River is still flowing fast, so the volume of water thundering down the cliff face makes for a truly memorable holiday add on to any Southern Africa safari holiday.

South Africa

Safari visitors can expect excellent game viewing throughout all the reserves in South Africa during the month of August but will still need to wrap up warmly against the very cold winter mornings and evenings when out on an open game drive vehicle.

The whales continue to arrive into the bay at Hermanus, and the early morning boat trips give you a fabulous opportunity to see these huge giants of the ocean, sometimes at very close quarters if they decide to approach the boat out of curiosity.

Uganda

August is a good time to head to Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park if you want to trek to see gorillas in the wild. It is the end of one of the dry season here, so the ground is as dry as it will get, before the rainy season starts in September. 

Trekking the endangered mountain gorilla is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the permits are limited, so early booking is advised if you want to tick this unforgettable safari activity off your bucketlist.

Elsewhere in Uganda, the game viewing is good in the other National Parks, and it is also a good time to trek chimpanzees in the tropical forests of Kibale - for the same reason - the ground will be easier underfoot.