Travel in May to avoid the Crowds!
Southern Africa is the big draw for safari goers in May. With the rains now in the past, the bush is beginning to dry up nicely, making it easier to spot the wildlife while out on game drives. Because the surface water is now a lot less too, the animals head to waterholes and permanent rivers, so you have more luck in finding game around these areas.
Visitor numbers are generally lower, so all you will see is wildlife, not people.
Quick 'At a Glance' Summary
- Combining a safari in either Zambia or Zimbabwe with seeing Victoria Falls at their best
- Good game viewing in Botswana as the long safari grasses dry out
- Avoiding the crowds in Namibia
- Warm days and balmy tropical evenings in Mauritius
Now well into the dry season, May is a great time to be on safari in Hwange, Mana Pools, or one of Zimbabwe's other national parks. It also has the advantage that this is just before the peak season travel period begins, so you can expect to see just as much wildlife but fewer tourists! Coupled with no rain, beautiful blue skies and warm days, it really is a winner.
May sees the start of the dry season, so this coupled with pleasant day time temperatures makes this a lovely time to be on safari in any of the National Parks. The majority of the camps in South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi are now open, having been closed over the summer rains, and many take this time to refurbish the rooms so you can benefit from everything looking new! The waterholes and rivers become more attractive to the wildlife as the lack of rain means that water is not readily available everywhere.
A lot of lodges are offering lower accommodation rates for travel in May, making this a great time to pick up a real safari 'bargain'.
The Falls are in full flow in May as the Zambezi River reaches its highest water levels. The sheer noise of the Falls as the water cascades down the steep precipice is deafening, and the spray can be seen for up to 30 km away - so be prepared to get a bit wet while viewing this Seventh Wonder of the World!
A trip here makes a wonderful addition for a few days before or after a safari in Zambia or Zimbabwe, and you can also easily combine a trip to the Falls with a safari in South Africa or Botswana. You should allow enough time to visit both sides of the Falls if your schedule allows, although you can base yourself in a hotel on either the Zimbabwe or Zambia side for the whole of your stay in the area.
Zambia is a land-locked, warm-hearted African country with an endless list of adventures on offer. Many tourists overlook Zambia as a wildlife destination in its own right, yet the nation is packed with natural delights, making it a superb and secret spot for a safari.
May sees the start of the cooler, dry season across the whole of Botswana. Practically no rain falls at all, so the grass and the bush begin to wither, making for better game viewing in terms of being able to spot the wildlife.
May is a good time to travel to Namibia if you want to make your budget go further, as the rates are lower compared to the peak period months of July through to October - and also if you want to avoid the crowds. You may get some occasional light showers during the day, but the vegetation is still green which makes for a beautiful backdrop to your safari photos.
From the sea of sand dunes in the south, to the harsh landscape of Damaraland in the north, and across to the wildlife rich plains of the Etosha National Park, Namibia is a truly stunning country full of contrasts. The vastness of the country will both impress and delight first time visitors looking for adventure, and returning visitors will always find somewhere new to explore and enjoy.
If you are looking for a beach stay after your safari, then Mauritius could well be the answer. This is the start of their winter period, but don't fret - Mauritius has a tropical climate so winter here means warm days filled with sunshine and balmy evenings.
There really is nothing like wrapping up a Big 5 safari with a few days on the beach, and combining a South African wildlife adventure with a relaxed beach retreat on the island of Mauritius will give you an unbeatable blend of excitement and relaxation. We can't recommend it highly enough!