When to go on your African Safari
There are two different ways to approach this.
1. Are you flexible to go whenever you want?
If so you can look at the other factors to determine the places that you most want to see and then pick the best time to be in that location for wildlife viewing. For example: you may determine that you really want to visit the Okavango Delta region of Botswana when it is crowded with elephants. I would then recommend late in the dry season, thus a trip in September to mid-October would be optimal.
2. Are you tied to a particular vacation time?
Many people must travel during a certain time of the year. Fortunately there is always a great safari destination for the time you need to travel but you may want to let your timing dictate where you go. For example: perhaps you have always wanted to go to see the wildebeest migration and you always thought you would like to go to Kenya. Your vacation is in February, luckily this is a spectacular time to see the migration because it is their calving time. However, the migration will be in the Serengeti (Tanzania) and not in Kenya at this time. If you only have a week to go and wanted to see the migration it would be wise to forego Kenya at that time and instead safari in Tanzania.
Other things to consider:
Off Season/Green Season:
Typically the ‘off season or green season’ is because it is the wet season. In most year round destinations rain is not a big problem, of course there are exceptions and some years are worse than others. It can make some areas inaccessible and because of the moisture grasses grow higher and trees fill with leaves providing more cover for the wildlife and thus often more work to find them. The higher availability of water allows wildlife to disperse as opposed to dry season viewing when many animals may be tied to specific dwindling water sources.
All that said there are some very good year round destinations and for the budget-minded, prices can be more than 50% lower at some lodges. The green vegetation can be beautiful in pictures and the lack of dust can be refreshing. This is a very good time for those with tight budgets to visit the prime destinations. Especially give consideration to the time very close to being ‘in season’ as nature does not follow dates on a calendar and the first couple weeks of ‘off season’ may have sightings and conditions identical to in-season for a significantly discounted price.