When is the Best Time to Go on Safari in East Africa?

When is the Best Time to Go on Safari in East Africa? :  East Africa is a great safari destination you (travelers) should visit once in a life time, however to enjoy a safari to East Africa timing is everything. Climates and weather play greatly contribute to how fantastic and memorable your safari will be, while weather patterns may change, East Africa still offer amazing safari experience throughout the year. Weather you choose to travel in November or in July you will also have a fantastic safari experience.

The major attraction in East Africa is witnessing the great wildebeest migration, as Focus East Africa Tours we have put together the year and seasons in East Africa. The great migration is an annual migration of over 2 millions of wildebeests accompanied by about half million of zebras, gazelles and elands on their annual movement between Serengeti – Mara ecosystem comprising of Serengeti national park of Tanzania  and Maasai Mara national reserve of Kenya.

Below is the monthly breakdown on traveling to East Africa.

January Through April

January is when the New Year and its celebrations kick off, however in the wildlife world in East Africa. As January begins, the herds are typically present in the plains of Serengeti to the south. Through January and February, the plains of Serengeti national park  the most famous wildlife destination in Tanzania is absolutely packed with animals, together with wildebeest everywhere the collective mooing is quite loud in the wide open space of the park.

 Visiting Serengeti national park in this period, you will be amazed at the sheer number of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles on the plains, the numbers of these animals will grow significantly before the month of March is through. The calving season of the Great Migration begins in the late January running through to March where nearly half a million wildebeest are born, this time of year is the best time frame to spot young animals while on a Tanzania safari  so it is a thrill to bring your camera out and capture the beautiful plains filled with babies.

As new mothers and their young ones roam the Serengeti plains, predators naturally move into the area as well with the intentions of feasting on the vulnerable newly born. The dense numbers of wildebeests, zebras, gazelles and elands attract the attention of predators such as cheetahs, lions and hyenas. This time frame is one of the rare times you will see lions and cheetahs occupying the same area, these animals are natural competitors for game however the sheer number of opportunities are too enticing to pass up.

When is the Best Time to Go on Safari in East Africa?
Serengeti National Park wildebeests

From January to March, this period is stellar for a Tanzania game viewing safari, at this time of the year, Africa as a continent is pulsing with life and lush green is everywhere in the plains and they are inhabited by animals which are simply thriving with lovely views in each and every direction you look.

Pro Tip: if you are a wildlife photographer, January may be one of the best times for you to capture beautiful landscape shots especially during sunrise and sunset, everything from the colours to the scenery is fascinatingly superb.

Throughout March, the plains will get continually drier with the rains arriving late in the month, from Late March all the way through April, the long rains arrive.

May Through June

After the long rains of April, the dry season begins and the migrating herds will make their way towards the Grumeti River, if your African safari is particularly focused in Tanzania you will like have the opportunity of witnessing the great herd across the Grumeti River.

The river crossing is not as simple as you may think, it is a very incredible and an action-packed event with thousands of wildebeests looking forward to crossing and hungry – deadly crocodiles lie in the water waiting for a chance to feast on the crossing herds.

July Through October

As July approaches, the grasses around the Grumeti River are severely depleted which prompts the herds to go on a move, for the most of the next three months the herds will be present in the northern regions of Maasai Mara national reserve in Kenya.

Maasai Mara national reserve is a home to endless rolling grasslands, stunning vistas and extraordinary wildlife which make it a stunning destination. The grasslands in Mara are particularly rich at this time of the year, they support the large herds for the next few months. As the migrating herds (wildebeests, zebras and gazelles) congregate, they attract lions which start to make appearance among grasses.

When is the Best Time to Go on Safari in East Africa?
Maasai Mara national reserve

In this period of the year, The Mara River is a hotspot for wildlife viewing from July through October, this period is the best time for a Kenya game viewing safari in Maasai Mara national reserve and best for a great migration safari.

As October comes about, the short rain season starts as remarkable rain clouds begin to roll in. Regardless of the rain, this is still a lovely time to spend your days in Africa. anticipating the oncoming rain, the herds begin winding their way south back to the Serengeti national park in Tanzania.

October can be one of the most surprising times of the year to set off on An African safari since the rains can bring parts of the herd to new areas seemingly overnight.

November Through December

In the month of November, short rains arrive which prompts the herd to head deeper into the southern region of the Serengeti, this month is particularly a great time for walking safaris in Serengeti as  the local scenery is incredible and during the experience you get a good mix of plains and woodlands. The plains are at their most lovely point in this time of the year, this time frame also offers genuinely great photography opportunities and wildlife encounters for tourists on a safari in Serengeti national park.

As December comes near, the herd is fully situated in the southern plains of the Serengeti again. The herds come in full circle since January and will remain for while as they feast on the bountiful short grasses present in the southern plains.

December is one of the best times of the year to encounter the large herds of wildebeest and zebras as they gather on the plains , again it is a great time to spot big cats as they follow the migrating herds.


In conclusion, East Africa is a great destination all year round. East Africa as a region is an excellent destination for travelers seeking for a safari adventure any time of the year. If  you are looking for an unrivaled vacation in East Africa’s destination, Focus East Africa offers excellent and carefully tailored safari packages to fit your desires.

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