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Where to Go in Africa in March

March is not a relaxing month.The poet Ogden Nash described it as that month of 'wind and taxes', but March in Africa is an interesting ‘shoulder month’ between high summer and the start of autumn.

It’s a month of mixed weather but some destinations really come into their own: March’s wildlife highlights range from the wildebeest migration and Big 5 game viewing to nesting turtles and bird watching. Throw in pleasant temperatures, low visitor numbers and off-peak deals for accommodation and there’s a tick in every box. Here’s our pick of where to go in Africa in March.

Where to Go in Africa in March - serengeti
The Great Migration of millions of wildebeest starts picking up in March.

Vamizi Island – Quirimbas Archipelago

I grew up in the northern hemisphere. March was supposed to be the end of winter and the beginning of spring but all I remember is gloomy rain and the faint echo of the long-gone festive season. If your post-Christmas blues have extended into the drizzle of the year’s third month then perhaps it’s time for a serious boost on a private Indian Ocean island.

Vamizi Island is medicine for body, mind and soul. Part of Mozambique’s idyllic Quirimbas Archipelago, Vamizi Island is 12 kilometres of pristine private beach with a forested interior that is home to monkeys, birds and crabs with pincers so powerful they can break open coconuts. It’s the perfect place to flop into a hammock when you're done with the superb snorkelling and scuba diving, and March has a trump card up its sleeve: it is the best time to see green turtles nesting.

How to do it: the no-nonsense Quirimbas Castaway Dream flies you straight into Vamizi via Johannesburg and Pemba but why not combine Vamizi with a safari for the ultimate blues-busting package? The Big Five Porini Camps Safari showcases two of Kenya’s best reserves and you can take advantage of the Nairobi – Pemba flight to hit the hammock as soon as is humanly possible.

Where to Go in Africa in March - small turtle
March is the best time to see nesting turtles on Vamizi Island.
Where to Go in Africa in March - vamizi
Swop the north's late winter gloom for the south's balmy summer days.

Sabi Sands – Kruger Park, South Africa

In terms of temperatures, March is Goldilocks Season in the Kruger National Park: it’s not too hot and it’s not too cold, it's just right! Summer’s afternoon thunderstorms are on the wane and the early morning chill of winter is months away. The Kruger in March is lush and green, full of colourful birds and contented animals. We recommend heading straight for the iconic Sabi Sands Private Reserve.

Hugging the Kruger’s unfenced western border, Sabi Sands is home to exceptional wildlife and superb luxury lodges. Exclusivity is the byword here, and you’ll have access to activities that are not permitted in parks and reserves. Spot-lit night drives, off-road expeditions and guided nature walks enrich the feast of morning and afternoon game drives, delivering a more interesting and diverse experience.

How to do it: March is shoulder season for the Kruger and is the perfect time to expand your safari to include a blissful beach holiday. The made-for-romance Kruger Safari and Quirimbas Private Island Escape combines one of Sabi’s best lodges with one of our favourite places to go in March.

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The Sabi is lush, green and temperate after the summer rains.
Where to Go in Africa in March - bird
Birding is simply superb in March.

KwaZulu-Natal Midlands – South Africa

Sleek horses nodding contentedly under oak trees, winding country lanes and the pleasant hum of bees – England in high summer? No, the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in March.

Home to historic battlefields, game reserves and a long, sun-drenched coastline, KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s most diverse province with a charming heart called the Midlands. Grand country houses and spa resorts are tucked away in the green folds of its rolling hills alongside some of the country’s finest cuisine, and all these charms set against the backdrop of the Drakensberg Mountains.  

It’s an ideal place to explore from the back of a horse or with a pack on your back. There’s golf and fly-fishing, hot-air ballooning and bird watching too. Go in March for warm, pleasant weather without the humidity and blanketing cloud cover of a KwaZulu-Natal summer. If you want to super-size the experience, then simply add on a safari in one of the KwaZulu-Natal game reserves or build in a tour of the historic Battlefields region.

How to do it: easy to get there and easy to drive yourself around, making the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands a perfect self-drive holiday. Collect your rental car in Durban and head inland to places like Hartford House, Fourdon Spa and Cleopatra Farmhouse or put them all on a single itinerary with the week-long South African Midlands Spa and Scenery

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The Midlands are a pastoral paradise.
Where to Go in Africa in March - midlands 3
Superb restaurants in stately country settings are the order of the day.
Where to Go in Africa in March - midlands
Horseback is an excellent way to explore KZN's rolling grasslands.

Southern Serengeti - Tanzania

By March the grazing is well and truly down to stubble across the southern Serengeti, and the vast herds must begin their journey west and north in search of new pastures. Accompanied by thousands of month-old calves, wildebeest raise great columns of dust as they move stoically across the dry land. Stragglers that fall behind the great herds soon fall prey to watchful lions, cheetahs and spotted hyenas.

This is a great time to experience the migration, and you won’t have a struggle for availability. This is low season, which means crowd-free game viewing and pocket-friendly costs. It's a great time to combine the Serengeti with the legendary Ngorongoro Crater. March is one of the quietest months for this Big 5 hot-spot and a blend of the two destinations delivers an unbeatable wildlife experience.

How to do it:

The eight-night Luxury Migration, Lake and Crater Safari kicks off with Kenya’s legendary Masai Mara and takes in beautiful Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater before finishing off - Hemingway-style - in the southern Serengeti.

Where to Go in Africa in March - Serengeti
There's plenty of predator action as the great herds head to fresh pastures.
Where to Go in Africa in March - Serengeti 2
March is the season for adorable babies of all species.

March is an in-between month, not quite summer, not quite autumn and still a long way from winter. It's a bit like Wednesday - not as much fun as Friday but far enough from Monday! It's also strategically placed between Christmas and Easter, making it an ideal off-season month to travel. Big cats are still stalking the Serengeti’s wildebeest, turtles are nesting on tropical islands by moonlight, and the weather is mild – in fact, Africa in March is as wild and beautiful as it crowd-free.

Written by Dominic Chadbon. Connect with him on Google+.

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