Is it just coincidence that August is the month when many people go on holiday and Africa becomes the perfect place to visit? In fact, there’s so much happening across the continent that travellers really are spoilt for choice: safari destinations feature the best game-viewing conditions, while the beaches and tropical islands bask beneath warm, dry skies.
Travellers planning to visit Africa in August are spoilt for choice. Every safari destination – from South Africa’s Kruger National Park to Tanzania’s Serengeti – is settling into peak game-viewing season. Photographers enjoy luminous early-morning light and red dusty sunsets. Thirsty animals concentrate around water, trampling and stripping vegetation, making them easier to see – for you and predators.
Since 1998, we’ve been planning unforgettable African holidays in August for thousands of travellers from across the globe. Here are our best recommendations on where to go in August 2023…
The great thing about Namibia is that it allows you to take your African adventure into your own hands. Set off on a self-drive safari to explore the wonders this country has to offer at your own pace. There’s no better way to explore desert landscapes and mountains, and experience unique outdoor activities, making Namibia the best place to travel in August for self-drivers.
August marks the ideal time to visit two key areas in Namibia: Sossusvlei and Damaraland. As the end of the southern hemisphere’s winter draws near at this time, the region is in its dry season and Namibia’s usual scalding daytime temperatures come down to a pleasant 25°C (77°F). Rain is non-existent, clouds are few and the sun is always shining.
Sossusvlei is famous for its picturesque sand dunes, particularly the much-photographed and often-climbed Big Daddy and Dune 45. Neighbouring Deadvlei, on the other hand, is renowned for its hauntingly beautiful dry clay pan. Photographers are in for a treat with this landscape, where you do little more than push a button to capture an award-winning shot. More active travellers can kick off their shoes and hike the massive dunes, rewarded with the most stunning views from the top.
A drive further north reveals the breath-taking mountains of Damaraland, a hidden haven of prehistoric water streams with wide-open plains and grassland, granite hills and deep gorges. Damaraland is home to unique animals that have adapted their lifestyles to survive in one of our planet’s harshest environments. Small populations of desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, giraffe, ostrich, oryx and springbok (gazelle) can be seen here.
2. South Africa
Cape Whale Coast
The bitter cold and rainy weather are all but gone during August in gorgeous South Africa. Winter coats are put away in favour of a light jacket, a welcome nod to the nearing Springtime. It’s the start of whale-watching season in the country’s western region, where southern right whales slowly make their way back from the Antarctic to breed in the warmer waters of the Atlantic.
Walker Bay is the best place to travel in August because you can see these aquatic mammals; the waters bordering the charming seaside town of Hermanus are a favourite mating and breeding ground. View whales on land at one of the many points along the magnificent coastline, by boat, kayak or helicopter. To top it off, foot traffic in August is low, which means you’ll miss the crowds before things begin to pick up in November.
Kruger National Park
You’d be remiss to visit South Africa and not stop by one of the most popular safari destinations in the world. The Kruger National Park is a Big 5 haven that boasts incredible wildlife viewing year-round and is suited for every type of traveller – from first-timers to wheelchair- and halal-friendly safaris. The Kruger is one of the best places to visit in August, as the tail-end of winter and humble beginnings of spring create a comfortable temperature that is neither too hot nor cold.
Falling in the region’s dry season, the permanent water sources draw large concentrations of wildlife that is easily spotted due to the low and sparse vegetation, making for excellent game viewing. The added benefit of this cooler and drier weather is that the malaria risk in Kruger is much lower in August.
While your mind might immediately go to thoughts of game drives in 4x4 vehicles when you think about safaris, there’s more than this one way to experience Africa’s untamed wilderness. Explore nature from a different perspective with a walking safari, shifting you from being a passive observer to an active participant on your African safari in August. Game drives might cover a lot of ground but traversing the wild plains on foot allows you unrestricted access to any part of the wilderness.
South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park is the birthplace of walking safaris, and it’s where to visit in August for the best and safest experience of tracking game on foot. The cool and drier weather of August provides the perfect conditions for a day of trekking in South Luangwa. And game viewing is at its peak during this time of the year, so you stand a good chance of successfully tracking an apex predator.
Be greeted by the crisp, fresh air at dawn before embarking on your journey with an armed scout leading the way. Meander down the Luangwa River as you spot herds of elephant and buffalo quenching their thirst, while Nile crocodiles tan on the sunny riverbanks and big cats skulk through the surrounding woodlands.
The 'Adventure Capital of Africa' offers incomparable experiences of all kinds, from game drives through the Victoria Falls National Park to water sports on the Zambezi River.
August is one of the best months to visit the world-famous waterfall. Dry season is in full effect and with sparse vegetation, wildlife is drawn en masse to permanent water sources, like the Zambezi River, making it easy to spot big game. Expect clear views of the waterfall, with healthy water levels and a little mist on the Zimbabwe side.
More adventurous travellers will delight in white-water rafting on the river, as Vic Falls is the best place to travel in August for this adrenaline-filled activity – the water levels and flow are perfect at this time of year. And if you need any more reason as to why August is a great time to visit Zimbabwe, the famed Devil’s Pool that sits on the very edge of the falls opens around the middle of the month.
Chobe National Park
While Botswana’s daytime temperatures are high during August, the game viewing in Chobe National Park is sensational. If you’re someone who can withstand a bit of heat, then Chobe is one of the best places to visit in August for sensational game viewing.
During the region’s dry season, hordes of elephant, buffalo and many other wildlife are concentrated around the Chobe and Serondela River, while the Savuti area offers spectacular viewing of the powerful pride of resident lions. Once again, game drives aren’t the only way to explore this wilderness. If you stay in the national park, you’ll be able to enjoy a Chobe River boat cruise to view the abundant wildlife drawn to the riverbanks.
After a week of action-packed game drives in the untamed African wilderness, it’ll do you well to recoup on a sunny beach with a cocktail in one hand and your favourite book in the other. It might be the end of Southern Africa’s winter, but the tropical islands that make up the Bazaruto Archipelago hits their stride during this time.
August falls right in the region’s dry season. Usually sweltering temperatures drop, and vegetation thins out, exposing the wildlife for easier viewing. And, of course, water-based activities are abundant, from scuba diving and snorkelling to fishing for big game, the impossibly blue waters have something for everyone. It’s also where to go in Africa in August for the possibility of spotting humpback whales as they migrate from icy Antarctica to the warmer waters of East Africa.
For an alternative take on a beach holiday, look no further than the indescribably beautiful shore of Lake Malawi. One of Africa’s undiscovered gems, Lake Malawi has sandy beaches and crystal-clear water without the worries that come with the ocean – you won’t find strong currents or shark warnings here!
Malawi sees clear skies with sunny days, no rain and balmy nights – the best place to travel in August for a coastal escape. Known as the ‘lake of stars’, the water entices hippos, warthogs and the occasional elephant to its shore. It’s a 'beach' getaway like no other at Lake Malawi, with days of kayaking, snorkelling, and diving in the pristine waters surrounded by African wildlife.
In the north-west corner of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, huge wildebeest herds push onwards, following the year-long migration route that has remained unchanged for thousands of years. Having survived the jaws of the Grumeti River crocodiles, they must now run a similar gauntlet to cross the Mara River, whose crocs gather in silent packs as the drum of approaching hooves signals the arrival of the great herds. The lush green grazing of Kenya’s Masai Mara lies just beyond the river, an irresistible incentive for the wildebeest, who pile across the waters in an awe-inspiring spectacle.
The south and central Serengeti are some of the best places to visit in August for game viewing that is just as intense as the Migration’s drama in the north, but without the high-season crowds. The Serengeti’s sprawling southern and central savannahs are full of resident wildlife, but in a setting that is far more private and exclusive. The south-central Serengeti experience is not limited to game viewing either. Several lodges lie in private concessions, which means a range of fantastic activities are offered, including visits to Maasai villages and walking safaris with local guides and trackers.
Nyerere National Park (previously Selous)
Part of the lesser-known Southern Tanzania safari region, Nyerere is beautifully wild, enormous in size, and filled to the brim with wildlife. It’s home to the greatest numbers of lion and buffalo in Africa! Nyerere has been a World Heritage Site for over 30 years, but most people have never heard of it – it only receives a mere one percent of Tanzania’s annual visitors. It is where to visit in August if you’re looking for sensational safari experiences far away from the crowds.
At its heart, the mighty Rufiji River meanders through Nyerere and offers boating safaris along its verdant channels, gliding past elephant and giraffe slaking their thirst at the water's edge. Back on land, you’ll track thriving lion prides and Africa’s largest wild dog population on 4x4 game drives.
Kenya’s flagship reserve’s wide-open plains provide a sanctuary for an abundance of animals like elephant, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, hyena and the Mara’s famous big cats: lion, leopard and cheetah. But if you want a good chance to witness the Wildebeest Migration’s dramatic river crossings from Tanzania into Kenya, the Masai Mara is the best place to travel in August.
To witness this spectacle, it’s vital to book your safari well in advance – it's prime time and the best views and beds are booked up to a year in advance! August is one of Africa's driest months and the temperature is a generous 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit), making it just about perfect safari weather.
Staying inside the national reserve means you’re a stone’s throw from the Migration’s action, but things can get rather busy. We recommend staying in the Mara’s private conservancies – you’re a little further away from the Migration hot spots which means you can easily get to all the action, but also retreat to tranquillity.
10. Uganda, Rwanda & Congo
Africa’s most superb wild encounters include meeting magnificent creatures close up. We swim with whale sharks, track breeding herds of elephant and sit with powerful silverback gorillas. These experiences are often life-changing – perhaps it’s the ultimate way for us to reconnect with the natural world.
Gorilla trekking often leaves travellers with a heightened sense of who we are – as members of the primate evolutionary branch – and that we are not alone in the many gestures and traits we consider quintessentially human, such as affection and humour.
Gorilla hotspots like Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, and the Congo’s Odzala National Park are the best places to visit in August for gorilla trekking safaris. The weather is cool and at its driest, making trekking easier and much more comfortable than other times of the year.
Ready to Plan Your Visit to Africa in August?
Get in touch with our team of Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make a trip that’s right for you: