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.
Vamizi Island – Quirimbas Archipelago
Vamizi Island is medicine for body, mind and soul. Part of Mozambique’s idyllic Quirimbas Archipelago, Vamizi Island has miles 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 Private Island Retreat flies you straight into Vamizi via Johannesburg and Pemba but why not combine Vamizi with a safari for the ultimate blues-busting package? The Mozambique islands combine very well with both South Africa (like the Kruger National Park) and East Africa.
Sabi Sands – Kruger National 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 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 & Quirimbas Private Island combines one of Sabi’s best lodges with one of our favourite places to go in March.
Why not combine your Kruger safari with a few days in Cape Town? The Western Cape has some of the best weather at this time of the year - and that includes the Cape Winelands too!
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 Self-drive South Africa's kwaZulu-Natal.
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 soon fall prey to watchful lions, cheetahs and spotted hyenas.
This is a great time to experience the Migration, and you'll still have your pick of accommodation. 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 8-night East Africa's Mara, Crater & Serengeti Migration 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.
If you're looking for an adventurous safari and beach holiday for the family, then look no further than the Family Masai Mara, Serengeti & Zanzibar - 14 days of action-packed game viewing, incredible safari experiences and a relaxed beach getaway.
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 relaxing 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.