Our Top Picks for December

Whether you are planning to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration in East Africa, experience a Big 5 safari in the Kruger National Park or spend your honeymoon in the Seychelles, timing is important. Our guidelines are based on our expert, on-the-ground knowledge of Africa’s travel seasons.

Kalahari Desert - Botswana

SeasonSummer Average Temperature for December 26 Celsius 79 Fahrenheit

What

The sight of thousands of zebra arriving to feast on the fresh grass as well as hundreds of wobbly newborn springbok, impala, wildebeest and buffalo. Naturally, predators are always around to pick off the proverbial runts of the litter. Photographers and birders have a field day.

Why

Yes, the Kalahari is a desert but the Green Season rains temporary transform it into a veritable Garden of Eden. Waterholes are full and grazing is lush. Coupled with low visitor numbers, you may feel like you have a paradise all to yourself.

When to book

Green Season is always less busy than peak season so you needn’t plan too far in advance. Don’t leave popular holidays like Christmas and New Year’s to the very last minute though – some lodges may close altogether and others will be full, leaving you at a loss for your first choice of accommodation.

Good to know

Twenty-four amazing things to experience in Botswana.
Read about a camping adventure in Nxai Pan.

KwaZulu-Natal - South Africa

SeasonSummer Average Temperature for December 26 Celsius 79 Fahrenheit

What

Big 5 game viewing in beautiful private reserves like Phinda and pristine national parks like Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, coupled with good reef diving.

Why

KwaZulu-Natal has a sub-tropical climate that is very different to that of the rest of the country. Returning safari goers will enjoy seeing different terrain and families will welcome being able to combine a Big 5 safari with an affordable beach holiday.

When to book

If your plan is to visit KZN from about mid-December to after New Year’s, then get in touch at least six or more months in advance as the area is very popular during South Africa’s annual school holidays that fall at this time.

Good to know

KZN is a multi-faceted destination – learn more about its ‘berg, bush and battlefields’ activities.

Mahale Mountains - Tanzania

SeasonSummer Average Temperature for December 20 Celsius 68 Fahrenheit

What

Trekking habituated chimpanzee families in the Mahale rainforest. Chimps are highly endangered because of poaching and habitat destruction but, like gorillas in central Africa, responsible travel is helping to save these extraordinary primates.

Why

The earlier rains bring allow the chimps’ favourite fruits, seeds and nuts to grow, bringing them down from the treetops to forage. Chimp trekking is both fun and memorable as they tend to be very active and expressive.

When to book

Both accommodation and trekking permits are very limited in the Mahale region so don’t leave this one until the last minute. You also need to give yourself a few months to get ‘walking fit’ – the chimps can move quickly and you’ll need to keep pace in dense rainforest at high temperatures and humidity. You’re chances of seeing them are not unlimited so you don’t want to waste your visit by not being able to keep up.

Good to know

How Tanzania is a world in one country and the Mahale Mountains are just a small part of this fascinating place.