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The dry season in Southern Africa

Winter in southern Africa lasts from May to August and some consider this the best time to visit – temperatures are mild, and foliage is thinning, making wildlife easier to spot. As temperatures begin to rise and the dry season progresses into September and October, water is becoming increasingly scarce and animals are drawn to available water sources, providing excellent wildlife sighting opportunities.

This is when the classic game-viewing destinations shine – places with perennial water sources to sustain wildlife through the dry season. Here are our top picks for each country at this time of year.

Zimbabwe

  1. Hwange National Park is a vast wildlife reserve teeming with big game and known for its massive herds of buffalo and elephants. Wildlife congregates around water holes throughout the dry winter months, making for superb and reliable game watching.

  2. Mana Pools National Park. The woodlands and floodplains of the remote and wild Mana Pools, which stretch beside the Zambezi River, are home to vast herds of elephant,  antelope, and an abundance of other plains game. The park lies opposite Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park and both can only be accessed from April to October.

Zambia

  1. Lower Zambezi National Park straddles the northern bank of the Zambezi River. Day and night game drives, guided nature walks, river cruises, and fishing expeditions are all available in this wildlife-rich region. Because of the park’s inaccessibility due to heavy summer rains, you can only visit this region from April to October.

  2. South Luangwa National Park is our top pick in Zambia for wonderful big game watching. Few parks in Africa can equal the incredible concentration of wildlife that congregates around the park’s waterways during the dry season, from May to October.

Botswana

  1. Chobe National Park is renowned for elephants, especially between June and October when huge groups gather on the banks of the Chobe River.

  2. The Okavango Delta’s high-water season, from June through August, provides the best opportunity for water-based activities. Many animals move to the delta during this time, and the consequent game viewing, combined with the mild, dry, and mostly mosquito-free winter climate, makes this the ideal time to visit.

South Africa

  1. World-renowned Kruger National Park is home to South Africa’s greatest diversity of wildlife. This biodiversity hotspot serves up incredible game watching, including reliable sightings of the legendary Big Five.

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