Think the mild, dry summer months, from June to October, are the prime time to safari in Kenya and Tanzania? Think again.
Although November and December typically see the period of ‘short rains’, travelling during these allegedly low-season months can reap huge rewards – and maybe this year more than ever.
First thing to address: the weather isn’t that bad. While there is an increased chance of rain, showers are usually brief. Plus the water is a balm to the desiccated landscape, filling rivers and pools, turning the plains lush and green, bringing life and vitality. Also, after a downpour, the dust in the air is washed away, making everything look that much sharper – it’s a great time for crisp, clear views of Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro.
The wildlife-watching is still world-class; in some ways it’s actually better. Spots such as the UNESCO-listed Ngorongoro Crater remain fit to burst – most of the 30,000 animals found here are resident year-round – but from December to March, numbers are further boosted as the great migration spills in. Likewise, Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park sees a ‘mini migration’ in November, as animals move between here and lovely Lake Manyara (another wild place that’s wonderful in all seasons).
In the south-central Serengeti, November-December isn’t off-season at all. This is when the great migration gathers on this area’s freshly watered plains to feed and calve, attracting high numbers of attendant predators. Expect wildlife thrills to ensue.
A huge benefit to low-season travel is the added sense of space. Take the Masai Mara: while the spotlight-stealing great migration may have moved on by November, so too have the majority of tourists. Which means that wildlife encounters – still plentiful and diverse in this truly year-round reserve – are all the more rewarding and more intimate.
Tourist numbers might be down but the approach of winter in Europe brings an increase in migratory birds to Africa’s parks from November. Areas such as Amboseli and Loisaba are a-flutter with additional avian species making this the perfect time for ornithologists.
There are great deals and discounts to be found at this time too – including a special offer from the Elewana Collection this year. Guests staying at its exclusive bush camps for at least seven nights in November and December 2021 will be guaranteed their own private vehicle for every game drive*. Not only does that mean more space, it means getting the most out of every drive – seeking the species you want to see, going exactly where you want to go, having the full attention of your own personal guide. A safari doesn’t get more immersive or bespoke.
* Elewana Collection offer subject to availability. Applicable to seven-plus nights at one or more bush camp properties. Minimum two people. Valid 1 November-20 December 2021. Valid in conjunction with circuit discounts.