Safari Forecast: August
August is quite simply one of our favorite times to safari. The month heralds the end of our dry winter season and offers world-class game viewing and lovely weather. You can expect pleasant, sunny days and cool evenings spent watching an abundance of animals. You will want to pack warm layers to wear on your early morning game drives and peel them off as the day heats up.
As seasonal waterholes dry and the vegetation thins, large concentrations of animals gather around water in the region’s national parks. The African bush has little vegetation to obscure viewing and it has that typical appearance you may associate with the African savanna- dry grass, vibrant sunsets, and plenty of large animals.
In Zambia, the South Luangwa National Park, with its epic river, comes into its own. The density and variety of animals around the Luangwa River are unparalleled. In South Luangwa, where the walking safari originated, the cool weather, sparse vegetation, and good visibility make August the perfect time for a safari on foot.
In southern Tanzania, far from the madding hordes, Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) is Africa’s largest game reserve and one of our favorite wildlife viewing sites. This is truly a hidden gem and August is an ideal time to visit. The humidity level is lower, the heat isn’t oppressive, animals congregate around rivers and waterholes, and the dry brush is thin enough to provide clear views of wildlife. Walking tours and boat safaris are also available.
August is also a great time to visit Cape Town-it is off-peak season and you will find yourself enjoying the major attractions without the crowds. It is chilly and can be rainy, but the city’s incredible gastronomic scene is at its best. Expect amazing wine and dining experiences. And to top it off, it is whale season with southern right whales, humpback whales, and Bryde’s whales calving in the shallow waters near shore.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
South Luangwa is a vast wildlife sanctuary known for its unparalleled variety of wildlife. In the dry season, this variety is matched by numbers, with some of the densest concentrations of animals anywhere in Africa. In August, the incredible wildlife sightings are coupled with cool, dry weather and make for an exceptional safari experience. The low numbers of mosquitoes also reduce the risk of malaria.
A highlight of South Luangwa is ditching the confines of a safari vehicle and immersing yourself in the wilderness on a walking safari. The cool days and increasingly thin vegetation in August make it the perfect time for walking. Your armed guide will reveal a wealth of knowledge as your senses tune in to the crunch of leaves underfoot, the smell of wild sage, and the sun warming your back. Meandering on foot through one of Zambia’s most remote wilderness areas while accompanied by an expert guide is a unique and life-enhancing experience.
Cape Town, South Africa.
August is the middle of winter, and it is one of the rainiest and coldest months to visit Cape Town, yet it can also be a fantastic time. Temperatures range from 11°C (52°F) to 20°C (68°F), making it tolerable despite the cold.
There are no crowds at the major attractions. During the winter months, several deals are available, and airfares are significantly less expensive. Restaurants with fireplaces, hearty cuisine, and delectable wines are also ideal for the cooler months. On clear days in the Winelands, you can sip wine and dine next to a fireplace while seeing the snow-capped mountains and lush vines. The months of July and August are also peak whale season, with the southern right, Bryde’s, and humpback whales calving near shore.
Nyerere National Park (Formerly Selous Game Reserve), Tanzania
The quiet and exclusive Nyerere National Park in Southern Tanzania is often overlooked. August is a great month to visit because it is the middle of the dry season. Due to the scant foliage and limited waterholes, the Selous allows you to escape the crowds and provides excellent wildlife viewing possibilities. The reserve is home to large populations of elephant and buffalo and the chance to see highly endangered African wild dogs is one of the park’s attractions.
The Rufiji River and its series of interconnecting lakes are the heart of this wilderness. Hippo and crocodiles abound in the Rufiji River, and the birdlife is spectacular. Lion sightings are common since they often lie in wait near the water for prey to come to drink. During the dry season, from June to October, the water attracts a large number of animals. Predator sightings are most rewarding during game drives, but the boat and walking safaris available provide an added depth to your visit.