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
- Great family holidays with game viewing and whale watching in South Africa
- Memorable game viewing in Etosha National Park
- Combining Victoria Falls with a safari in either Zambia or Zimbabwe
- Gorilla trekking in Uganda
By August, 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.
It 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.
Seeing the Great Wildebeest Migration in Kenya
The vast plains of the Masai Mara come truly alive from the end of July through to mid October time, when over 1.5 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra migrate here from The Serengeti. This is truly nature at its most dramatic.
By August, Botswana's dry season has been underway for 4 months. Temperatures are starting to increase slightly throughout the month, so days are becoming very pleasantly warm but it can still be feel chilly in the evening once the sun has set.
Zero rainfall means the wildlife is heavily reliant on waterholes and rivers, so expect some wonderful sightings wherever there is permanent water – especially Chobe Riverfront and the Delta. The vegetation is very dry, making it easier to spot wildlife who are not congregating around the water supplies.
The flood waters in the Delta are still very high, and these do not tend to fall lower until September - this means that visitors in August can enjoy the full range of water-based activities including paddling through through the reeds in a traditional mokoro as well as game viewing in a motorboat.
Visitors can expect prices to be at their peak, and early planning is advised as the camps/lodges to get booked up months in advance.
The Best of Botswana
Stay in some of Botswana's most exclusive and secluded safari camps and lodges for the ultimate Botswana safari experience. Your elegantly indulgent accommodation will complement the outstanding game viewing, in the company of highly trained and qualified guides.
South Africa is a great choice in August for families looking for a varied holiday with plenty of choices to appeal to all interests. Safari-goers can expect excellent game viewing throughout all the game reserves in South Africa during the month of August but will still need to wrap up warmly against the chilly winter mornings and evenings when out on an open game drive vehicle.
Cape Town is one of the world's great cities, and is a great place to visit even in the winter months. Winter in South Africa is rather different from winter in much of Europe or North America: the average daily temperature is still 18c-20c even in mid-winter, and days where the temperature rise to 25c or warmer are by no means uncommon. The is so much to do in an around the city, and the cooler weather may even make some activities such as climbing Table Mountain even be better in winter than in summer.
The whale-watching season in Hermanus and Gansbaai (90 mins drive from Cape Town) starts in July, and the whales continue to arrive into the bay in greater numbers throughout August. 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. Gansbaai also offers shark cage diving for those brave enough to try it!
A Family Holiday in South Africa
South Africa is very popular with families from all over the world who are looking for a holiday that offers sunshine and beaches and plenty of activities for kids of all ages in a country that is truly family-friendly. It is especially good for families with younger children, as South Africa is the one country in Africa where you can go on safari without having to worry about taking malaria tablets.
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 quite chilly), and early booking is advised as August is a very popular month for international visitors to this country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holidays to Uganda
Uganda - home to the endangered mountain gorilla, habituated troops of chimpanzees, tree climbing lions and the rare shoebill - a stork-like large bird whose large bill resembles a Dutch clog. Not to mention beautiful mountain ranges, impressive waterfalls, vibrant African cities, and rivers lined with elephants drinking, hippos wallowing and crocodiles basking in the sun.