Why February Is The Best Time To Visit East Africa : Top 8 Reasons : It really depends on what you want to see, do, and experience that determines the best time of year to visit East Africa. Traveling between March and May (the first rainy season of the year) means you’ll have to search a little harder for wildlife because the dense bushland makes it easier for animals to hide, but the landscapes will be vibrant green. This is a lovely time to visit if you don’t mind a few showers each day (and the occasional torrential downpour).
The Great Migration, during which tens of thousands of wildebeest travel through East Africa from the Serengeti to the Maasai Mara National Reserve in search of food and water, takes place from April to September. The busiest season is from June to October, which is typically dry and cool. The second wet season begins in late October and lasts through December. The area experiences its first dry spell of the year in January after the rains stop. So when is our preferred season for travel? February.
- It’s the driest time of the year.
Therefore, it’s among the best seasons of the year to see wildlife. The animals must travel further in search of water, and the sparser undergrowth makes it harder for them to blend in. A safari through the savanna will reward you with sightings of giraffes, elephants, and gazelles, while a trek through the jungle will provide an unforgettable encounter with mountain gorillas.
- It’s the off-season.
The cost of travel is lower, and you won’t have to pay more for lodging or activities (plus, most places have finished their school breaks, so there won’t be as many people around). Without the crowds, it’s much nicer to watch animal antics on the Serengeti, visit an elephant sanctuary in Kenya, or spend the night with a Maasai warrior clan.
- It’s hot during the day.
The weather is ideal for taking advantage of the swimming pools at hotels and guesthouses as well as the top-notch beaches, with temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius. Play around in the Indian Ocean’s shallows in Zanzibar or take a dip in Djibouti after a day of exploring. Oh, and returning to winter in the Northern Hemisphere with a tan is also not a bad idea.
- Pleasant at night
There is fantastic outdoor nightlife in many East African cities; consider rooftop bars, beer gardens, and outdoor dining options. Together with some mandazi (a deep-fried ‘donut’ that is sweet and mildly spicy), order a Tusker beer, and settle in for an evening of travel tales with your fellow intrepid travelers.
- You can spot a different Great Migration
While the ‘official’ Great Migration begins in April, when herds of wildebeest and zebras travel across the Serengeti, you can spot migrating whale sharks in February along the coasts of Tanzania and Kenya (in Djibouti, you can even go snorkeling with them!).
- It’s also a fantastic time to go bird-watching.
In East Africa, there is ALWAYS a good time of year to observe birds, but from September to April, migratory birds from Europe and North Africa travel south to breed and take advantage of the warm (and dry) climate. Expect to see willow warblers, northern wheatears, and barn swallows in addition to spectacular local birds like lilac-breasted rollers, white-headed vultures, flamingos, and ostriches.
- Calving season starts
A trip to the Serengeti National Park during the calving season is an amazing adventure. Every year, tens of thousands of zebras and gazelles give birth in February, along with thousands of pregnant wildebeest (it is estimated that 8,000 baby wildebeest are born every day throughout the month). In addition to getting to see lots of adorable young animals, you’ll also get to see the circle of life in action as hungry predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas pounce on prey that will make for simple meals.
- Into hiking? Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (minus the crowds).
Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa at 5985 meters, is a well-liked destination for ardent hikers. When you climb in February, the slopes are dry, and it’s much less crowded than during the busiest months of June to October. Additionally, it is cooler than in the summer, and the higher you go, the more likely it is that you will run into snow.