Africa is a land of amazing wonder. It’s the second largest continent and home to over 50 countries. Most people associate it with hot climates, deserts, and the savannah, but because the land stretches across the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, this means there are a wide array of geographies and climates. And that means you can book a trip to Africa no matter the time of year. You just need to know where to go.
Take a Beach Holiday
Cape Town is located in South Africa, and that means that their seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere. So, if you’re dying to have some fun in the sun, the country can make for a great escape from a harsh winter. The best time to visit is between December and March, their summer season. However, if you don’t want to limit your African beach trip to the winter, head to countries farther north like Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Mauritius, Malawi, and Mozambique that provide year-round beach opportunities.
For a truly unique experience, Malawi’s Lake Malawi is a massive freshwater lake that is bordered by Mozambique and Tanzania with miles of white sandy beaches and blue-green water where you can see straight down to the sandy bottom. Lie out in the sun or enjoy the water excursions like snorkeling and scuba diving.
Go on Safari
Of course, Africa has become synonymous with safaris — opportunities for wildlife lovers to get up close and personal with animals in their natural habitats. If this is you, you’ll be happy to know that there are countless places to take in a safari across the continent. For the best experience, you should consider what type of animals you’re hoping to encounter and then do your research. Keep in mind that regions have different rainy seasons, which can make for a poor experience. And likewise, many animals have distinctive migratory patterns.
The most popular safari options tend to be in east and southern Africa across countries such as Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, and Malawi. Southern countries are best visited between May and October while countries in the east can provide year-round options depending on the type of game you want to see.
Scale Mount Kilimanjaro
Affectionately known as “Kili” by locals, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. At just over 19,000 feet, many people are surprised to find that you don’t need to be a mountain climbing pro to conquer it. The mountain is actually comprised of three peaks, and special gear beyond camping equipment isn’t needed. However, altitude sickness can be a real concern, so pace yourself and give your body time to acclimate to the changing elevation as you reach the summit.
Climbing snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro isn’t a solo activity. The nation requires that you hire a guide, who will help you secure your camping gear and guide you on the trails to help you reach the top. While you can climb the mountain year-round, it’s best to avoid the rainy seasons of April to June and November through December. For the best experience, aim for January and February when the weather is drier and warmer.
Escape to South Africa’s Wine Country
Most people tend to focus solely on nature trips when they think of Africa, but many of the nations are home to exquisite, bustling metropolises as well as other attractions that don’t involve safaris. For example, South Africa is world renowned for its wines. So, maybe plan a lazy holiday where you get to explore their wine country and sample what they have to offer. A wine tour through South Africa takes a bit of planning but is well worth it.
Start from Cape Town as a base and know that you may need to call ahead to confirm a tasting as many wineries accept only reservations. February is considered the best time to go as that’s harvest season for the 500 wineries in the region. The best part is, car-sharing services like Uber and Bolt means that none of your travel companions has to be the designated driver.