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Our December Safari Forecast

In December, while the northern hemisphere is experiencing a cold and dark winter, Africa is experiencing a balmy, welcoming summer. The temperature is warm and it is usually sunny, with periodic refreshing rain and cool breezes.

Fresh grass has begun to cover Africa’s Serengeti, causing a massive wildlife migration. Predators follow the migrating herds in large numbers. Migrant birds also arrive from far afield, bringing with them a riot of color and melody. Beach vacations are very popular in most Indian Ocean areas. The sun is shining brightly on the beaches, and the Christmas and New Year summer vacation seasons are in full flow. It’s a fantastic and festive time of year to travel to Africa.

In Tanzania, the short rains continue in December, and the month is marked by lush landscapes, the great migration herds coming into the South Serengeti, and a plethora of colorful birdlife. Tanzania’s northern circuit is spectacular at this time of year. The days are hot, with a likelihood of light showers during the day and heavier rain overnight. Beautiful vistas make for once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities.

December is also one of South Africa’s finest months, as the weather in the Cape and along the Garden Route is at its best. From December to February, you can expect dry and sunny days, often with tropical thunderstorms. It is the best time to visit Cape Town for the vibrant beaches and end-of-year celebrations. Game viewing is not as good as a couple of months ago, but Kruger’s private reserves still offer excellent big game viewing. Timbavati is one of our favorite destinations for a South African safari at this time of year. Because of the abundance of water and food supplies, many animals are born at this time of year. This results in unique sightings.

Seychelles is a 115-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It is famed for its smooth golden beaches, crystal clear waters, and numerous nature reserves. Even though December is the rainy season in Seychelles, the showers are brief and the sun shines for long periods of time. You can expect plenty of warm, sunny days with gentle breezes, a beautiful blue sky, and lush foliage.


In Tanzania in December, the “emerald” season has begun, and the scenery is becoming greener and more lovely by the day. The Serengeti is at its most beautiful this month. As they go south to Ndutu, large herds of wildebeest blanket the Serengeti grasslands, and the wildebeest are getting ready for the calving season. It’s a wonderful time for birders, as there are hundreds of species to see. Temperatures and humidity levels are gradually increasing. Remember to bring your rain gear. Tanzania is a particularly popular location for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so if you want to visit during this period, you’ll need to book ahead. 

Other locations that are great to visit in December are the Ngorongoro Crater and Zanzibar.

Even in the rainy season, the Ngorongoro Crater provides superb wildlife viewing. The environment is lush and lovely. In April and May, the low season, fewer tourists visit, so rates may be lower. Because of the abundance of migratory birds, birding is at its peak.

In December, Zanzibar is very hot and humid, but with little rain. It’s the perfect weather to lie on a beach or by a pool with a cocktail in hand, pre- or post-safari. This is Zanzibar’s peak season. 

South Africa

In December, Cape Town is one of the best places to visit in Africa. The city offers breathtaking peaks, verdant wine-growing valleys, and gorgeous beaches. Cape Town is one of South Africa’s most popular travel destinations and is at its most beautiful in December. The weather is hot and dry, the beaches are bustling, and the festive spirit is felt everywhere. If you want to escape the cold weather in the northern hemisphere, South Africa offers the perfect blend of sun, heat, and mild sea water at this time of year. 

The Kruger still offers lovely game viewing and scenery. Expect rain as well as hot and humid weather, with daytime temperatures well above 80°F. The private concessions in the park and the private luxury reserves on the Kruger’s western boundary have the best wildlife viewing chances. These spaces offer privacy and a less congested game viewing experience. This is the best time to go birding in Kruger.  


 The epitome of an island paradise, the Seychelles offer a welcome escape to warm weather. The archipelago’s exquisite islands are timeless in their beauty: dense green, cloud-forested peaks rise up out of the turquoise sea, while palm-shaded bays are brimming with satiny sand beaches and the smoothest of granite rock formations. The location of Seychelles in the Indian Ocean means warm weather lasts all year round, making it a fantastic destination to visit at any time. December is a very popular month to visit Seychelles. 

The weather in December is hot, with temperatures climbing throughout the month. This is also the cyclone season, though only the most remote southern islands are within the cyclone belt. Diving and snorkeling are excellent, and for unrivaled privacy, stay at an exclusive resort on a private island. Easily accessible by commercial flight,the Seychelles offer a terrific add-on to an East African safari.

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