April in Africa
It’s not all bush and mud!
Wondering about the best time to travel on safari? While some experts will recommend the dry season (May to September), here’s what not many will tell you: April is one of the smartest months to go.
During this transitional period, referred to as Africa’s shoulder season, you’ll hit the jackpot with ample availability, lower rates, and fewer crowds. If avoidance is your chief tactic and you find zero joy in dealing with throngs of people trying to do the same thing simultaneously, April in Africa is guaranteed to knock your safari socks off.
But what about the weather, you ask? Well, it’s not as bad as you might think. Although heavy rains set in across East Africa across Southern Africa, the reverse is true in Southern Africa, and safari superpowers like Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, and South Africa sit practically empty.
If you still need some convincing, here are some highlights proving that April really is the best time to travel on safari:
Catch the Great Migration
During April in Tanzania, migrating zebra and wildebeest are now moving north across the Serengeti National Park. Following the rumble of thunder and the promise of fresh grass, the mega herds stretch through the Moru Kopjes en route to the Western Corridor. During this time of year, those beautiful little baby beasties are steady on their legs and ready to get their picture taken. While the mature males battle it out for a new mate, everything is lovely and green, with birds and butterflies appearing as if by magic. You’ll also have a front-row seat to those glorious earth-nourishing afternoon thunderstorms. Can you already smell the petrichor?
Have the Delta all to yourself
As the dry season begins to set in throughout Southern Africa, Botswana cools down considerably throughout the month of April. The Okavango Delta floodwaters fan out into the central and northern regions, making for perfect boating and mokoro conditions. The bush bere becomes lush and healthy, with fruit-laden trees as far as the eye can see. It’s also rutting season for the male impalas, which proves quite thrilling as they come to blows, clashing their horns in a fight to victory. Of course, another draw during this time is ample availability throughout the region, which means you’ll get first dibs on accommodation.
Kick it in the Kruger
Where? South Africa
Increased availability? Check. Fewer crowds and lower rates? Double check. During the transitional time of April, South Africa’s national parks are where you want to be. Over in the Kruger National Park, those African sunsets still steal the show. And while the bush is still thick and bountiful, the animals are slowly creeping out into the open in search of water. For a guaranteed Big Five experience, opt for an adjoining private reserve like the Sabi Sands. There’s less ground to cover on guided drives and a higher density of animals in one area.
See Vic Falls at her fullest
Since the rainy season ends in April, the water levels of Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) are at their highest. If you’ve been longing to witness this natural spectacle at her most dramatic, then this is the best time to travel on safari in Zimbabwe or Zambia. During this month, she really steps it up, rightfully claiming her title as the ‘Smoke that Thunders’. That thunderous roar of cascading water can be heard long before you see it – something not to be missed in your lifetime!
Exclusive wine experiences
Where? South Africa
In the lead-up to peak season, South Africa’s Western Cape Province is the place to be. In addition to lower rates and fewer people, the hotel and wine estate staff are under less pressure while the on-site facilities and activities are free game. Booking your spot at desirable restaurants is a breeze (just walk right in!), with pairing experiences feeling all the more exclusive. Being Easter time in South Africa, you can also expect plenty of family events – we’ve heard a special bunny even visits this region in April.
Safari amongst sand dunes
Although Namibia follows a similar weather pattern to other safari destinations across Southern Africa, it receives less rain year-round. April is no different. However, during this ‘shoulder’ period, you can beat both the heat and high season prices. Some say that the country looks her most alluring during this time of year, and we couldn’t agree more. Etosha National Park is green and glossy, while those blood-red desert dunes look ever so handsome against those cornflower blue skies.
Safari by the sea
Following the summer rains, the best time to travel on safari in Mozambique is April due to its clear skies and light winds. Aside from the weather, fewer crowds and affordable resort rates should seal the deal. The water visibility around the Bazaruto Archipelago is also exceptional, so if you’d like to add in some diving, now’s your chance. The country’s national parks like Gorongosa are just about empty during this time but still need support, so if you’re a conscious traveler who supports wildlife conservation, there’s no better time to go.
Big Journeys Start With Small Steps
~ African Proverb