WHERE TO TRAVEL WHEN

Our Top Picks for December

Whether you are planning to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration in East Africa, experience a Big 5 safari in the Kruger National Park or spend your honeymoon in the Seychelles, timing is important. Our guidelines are based on our expert, on-the-ground knowledge of Africa’s travel seasons.

Kalahari Desert - Botswana

Season | High Summer | Average Temperature for January | 26 Celsius | 79 Fahrenheit

What

Excellent birding, game viewing and the zebra migration in the now-green Kalahari Desert.
Why

January falls within Botswana’s intense rainy season, making animals hard to find in the northern parts of the country like Chobe National Park. The Kalahari is in the south, however, and being a desert, doesn’t receive the same level of rain. But what rain it does receive transforms it from red sand to green grazing, attracting predators, prey and plenty of migrant and resident birds.

Zebra migration through Nxai and Makgadikgadi Pans.
When to book

The Kalahari is not nearly as visited as Botswana’s superstar wilderness areas, the Okavango Delta and Chobe. You should be able to get good accommodation and rates without booking too far in advance.
Good to know

Read our seasonal guide to planning your Botswana safari and our expert advice for amateur photographers on how to photograph birds on your safari.

KwaZulu-Natal - South Africa

Season | High Summer | Average Temperature for January | 28 Celsius | 82 Fahrenheit

What

Big 5 game viewing in beautiful private reserves like Phinda and pristine national parks like Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, coupled with good reef diving.
Why

KwaZulu-Natal has a sub-tropical climate that is very different to that of the rest of the country. Returning safari goers will enjoy seeing different terrain and families will welcome being able to combine a Big 5 safari with an affordable beach holiday.
When to book

If your plan is to visit KZN from about mid-December to after New Year’s, then get in touch at least six or more months in advance as the area is very popular during South Africa’s annual school holidays that fall at this time.
Good to know

KZN is a multi-faceted destination – learn more about its ‘berg, bush and battlefields’ activities.

Mahale Mountains - Tanzania

Season | High Summer | Average Temperature for January | 20 Celsius | 68 Fahrenheit

What

Trekking habituated chimpanzee families in the Mahale rainforest. Chimps are highly endangered because of poaching and habitat destruction but, like gorillas in central Africa, responsible travel is helping to save these extraordinary primates.

Why

The earlier rains bring allow the chimps’ favourite fruits, seeds and nuts to grow, bringing them down from the treetops to forage. Chimp trekking is both fun and memorable as they tend to be very active and expressive.

When to book

Both accommodation and trekking permits are very limited in the Mahale region so don’t leave this one until the last minute. You also need to give yourself a few months to get ‘walking fit’ – the chimps can move quickly and you’ll need to keep pace in dense rainforest at high temperatures and humidity. You’re chances of seeing them are not unlimited so you don’t want to waste your visit by not being able to keep up.

Good to know

How Tanzania is a world in one country and the Mahale Mountains are just a small part of this fascinating place.

Join Our Newsletter