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Africa in February

Gorilla trekking, migration safaris & Green Season prices – find out where to go in Africa in February with the experts.

February in Africa and the short drier season is holding true across much of East Africa. Summer here is usually wet but the first two months of the year offer some respite from the rain and it’s a great time for two of Africa’s biggest wildlife experiences: gorilla trekking in the forests of Uganda and Rwanda, and the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti.

Other classic safari destinations are putting on a dramatic show – Victoria Falls is almost in full flood in February and Ngorongoro is in calving season – and although you can probably expect a bit of rain on your safari, there is still good wildlife viewing in places from Botswana to the Masai Mara. You’ll also be able to take advantage of shoulder-season rates for accommodation as well as pay-stay deals where, for example, you pay for five nights but stay for seven.

And to compensate for the possibility of rain on safari, it pays to add on a beach holiday. Zanzibar is nice and hot at this time of year but if you’d prefer things as dry as possible then Cape Town is lying under sweltering blue skies in February – and with no big holiday crowds around, it’s a great time to visit.

Serengeti NP | Gorilla Trekking | Zanzibar | Ngorongoro | Cape Town/Garden Route | Victoria Falls | Masai Mara

 

1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

 

Wildebeest Calving Season in the Serengeti

Wildebeest herds cover the Serengeti savannah in February as the dramatic calving season peaks.


WHY GO?
The wildebeest calving season is at its peak & there’s great predator interaction – your chance to see the big cats in action.

WEATHER?
It can be warm: the average maximum is 29°C (84°F) and there is a chance of afternoon rain. You'll have about eight hours of sunshine a day.

COMBINATIONS?
Easy to combine with next-door Ngorongoro Crater & Tarangire but also Masai Mara. Hop on a flight to Zanzibar for a ‘beach & bush’ combo.

With up to 8000 births a day, the wildebeest calving season in February is at its peak. By the end of it, some half a million baby antelope will have been born and that is irresistible news for Africa’s predators. Hunters and scavengers big and small descend on the southern Serengeti and the result is some of the most primal nature viewing you are likely to see. There’s also plenty of resident wildlife – elephants, giraffe and buffalo – and the landscape is healthy and green – great for photography.

Choose between established lodges in the area and ‘migration camps’ – semi-permanent tented camps that are set up on the migration routes themselves, thus ensuring amazing game viewing even from camp.

INSIDER TIP: “Get the most out of your shoulder-season safari with long-stay specials – ask us about the current best deals.”

Other Great months for Serengeti: October through January; March through August

2. Gorilla Trekking, Uganda & Rwanda

 

Gorilla Trekking in Volcanoes National Park Rwanda

February offers some of the year’s driest conditions – it makes a gorilla trek so much easier.


WHY GO?
February is one of the driest months of the year: enjoy easier trekking, better photographic conditions & better gorilla sightings.

WEATHER?
The last month before the rains begin. It’s cool at night and daytime temperatures are fairly constant all year round (average maximum is 27°C / 84°F).

COMBINATIONS?
Enjoy your gorilla trek & then fly to Kenya's Masai Mara or Tanzania for a classic ‘Northern Safari’ which includes the Serengeti.

You’ll need to make a choice between gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda; both have the same success rate at finding gorillas on a daily basis (90%) so the decision is largely down to budget and time. Uganda tends to be the more affordable of the two, for example, whereas Rwanda offers a quicker all-round gorilla experience.

You’ll need to be prepared for some rain on your gorilla trek – this is not the mid-year dry season – but in general the weather is much better than the coming few months.

INSIDER TIP: “Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is generally easier than in Uganda: travel time to the rainforest is shorter & the trekking is easier which makes it popular with older or less fit travellers.”

Other Great months for Gorilla Trekking: December & January; June through September.

3. Zanzibar, Tanzania

 

Typical fishing boat in Zanzibar Tanzania

Settle down onto your beach lounger & watch the Zanzibar landscape pass slowly by.


WHY GO?
Its golden beaches basking in summer sunshine, Zanzibar makes a great destination after Tanzania safari whether for a family, couple or group of friends.

WEATHER?
It’s hot and there is some rain – usually a big afternoon downpour – but the Indian Ocean temperature is 28°C (83°F) and rain is unlikely to spoil the day.

COMBINATIONS?
Make it easy & stay in Tanzania: good wildlife viewing in the northern safari destinations, especially in the Serengeti with the wildebeest calving season.

Lying off the coast of Tanzania, the island of Zanzibar makes the ideal combination with a safari. It’s a destination that built its reputation as a trading post between civilisations and you’ll see that reflected in the architecture and culture, especially if you wander around the streets of historic Stone Town.

Zanzibar is popular with families – there are child-friendly resorts – as well as with couples and honeymooners, and its accommodation ranges from beach lodges and private villas to boutique hotels and guesthouses with views over Stone Town. And if you are a diver, then February is one of the best months to get underwater, not least because it’s when whale sharks are migrating along the coast.

INSIDER TIP: “There’s more to Zanzibar than its beaches: include history & cultural tours in your itinerary to get the most out of the Spice Island.”

Other Great months for Zanzibar: June through September (mild & dry); December & January (hot & mostly dry).

4. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

 

Wildlife during game drive on Ngorongoro Crater

February sees fewer other visitors to the crater but the wildlife remains as prolific as ever.


WHY GO?
Excellent Big 5 viewing in the crater all year round but February is peak calving season for many of its animals which means plenty of predators in action.

WEATHER?
Mild nights & warm to hot during the day with occasional rain. Maximum average temperatures hover between 26C° and 29°C (79°F – 84°F).

COMBINATIONS?
The Serengeti is very accessible from Ngorongoro & is easily combined with Tarangire & Lake Manyara to make the classic ‘Northern Safari Circuit’.

A sunken volcanic crater packed with wildlife, Ngorongoro is a popular destination at most times of the year but February offers an equitable balance between weather and visitor numbers. There may be some rain and cloud but it’s not nearly as busy as later in the year and so now is the time to look for accommodation deals.

You can choose between staying in the area or at lodges set right on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater itself where the views are sensational. Activities are restricted to game drives in the crater but with all the heavyweight wildlife round, you’ll be glad to be inside a vehicle. This is Big 5 country (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard) and the resident wildebeest are in their calving season – it’s all action in the crater.

INSIDER TIP: “February is shoulder season & a good time for deals: ask us about ‘pay-5, stay-7 night’ packages or similar options.”

Other Great months for Ngorongoro Crater: December & January (some rain); June through September for the dry season.

5. Cape Town & Garden Route, South Africa

 

Mountain bike at De Hoop Nature Reserve

Warm sunny weather means it’s a great time to explore the Cape in any way you choose.


WHY GO?
Hot, dry & sunny: it’s lovely weather & the best time to be outdoors & enjoying Cape Town & the Winelands as well as magical De Hoop & the Garden Route.

WEATHER?
It doesn’t get much drier than February in Cape Town. It’s late summer, generally hot and sunny and often windy; the best beach season.

COMBINATIONS?
Enjoy a Green Season safari: Victoria Falls is in thundering full-flow while Botswana’s Savuti and Central Kalahari destinations are full of summer wildlife.

The holiday crowds have long returned home. All the top destinations – Boulders Beach, Camps Bay, Cape Point, Table Mountain – are a lot easier and more pleasant to visit and the local roads are much quieter too – good news if you are planning a self-drive holiday.

There’s lots to do in and around Cape Town and the nearby Winelands but this is a great time of year to travel along the Garden Route and see for yourself why the region is so popular. Make sure you stop in at De Hoop for a couple of nights: the Cape’s best-kept secret is about to get out of the bag – see it before it does.

INSIDER TIP: “Take advantage of Green Season rates & travel to Botswana’s classic destinations such as Chobe & the Kalahari; there’s great wildlife viewing & birding, excellent predators plus a zebra migration.”

Other Great months for Cape Town & Garden Route: December, January & March for the dry summer; April & May for milder weather; August, September & October for whale watching & flowers.

6. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia

 

Aerial View of Victoria Falls

The Zambezi River is almost in full flow: Victoria Falls is thundering & is best seen from the air!


WHY GO?
Victoria Falls is approaching full flow & its thunder can be heard from a mile away – it’s one of Africa’s highlights & combines easily with a safari.

WEATHER?
Victoria Falls is at its fullest & most impressive. But note that this is the late rainy season, when the malaria risk is highest and rain the heaviest.

COMBINATIONS?
Add on a safari to next-door Botswana & take advantage of Green Season prices: Chobe’s Savuti region & the Kalahari are especially good in February.

Prepare to get wet. Not so much from rain – although there is a bit around – but Victoria Falls is almost in full flow and the result is a billowing cloud of mist and spray that soaks all onlookers. Victoria Falls in February gives you the chance to experience the sounds and sights that a mile of water makes as it thunders into a deep abyss – perhaps best appreciated from the air on a helicopter or fixed-wing scenic flight.

After you’ve had your fill of the waterfall, you can then look forward to a range of other activities in the area ranging from rhino tracking and elephant-back safaris to canoe trips and game drives. You’ll need to choose between staying in Zimbabwe or Zambia but both sides of the river have a wide range of accommodation and it’s easy to cross the border if you need to.

INSIDER TIP: “There are plenty of Green Season deals around on both sides of the river – ask us about special packages & pay-stay offers.”

Other Great months for Victoria Falls: March & April for the most water going over; June through October for the dry season – best time for safaris & white-water rafting.

7. Masai Mara, Kenya

 

Lions in Kenya Masai Mara

Deep into the birthing season, February is a great month for young animals in the Masai Mara.


WHY GO?
It’s a drier window at a rainy time of year: there’s no wildebeest migration yet but there is plenty of resident wildlife including all the big predators.

WEATHER?
The Masai Mara is lush and green and the resident wildlife is abundant, gathering at water and making for great sightings and easy photography.

COMBINATIONS?
Stay local with a safari to Amboseli for big game & views of Mount Kilimanjaro before hopping over to the Kenyan coast for an Indian Ocean holiday.

Land of the famous red-robed Maasai people, the Masai Mara Reserve is most famous for the wildebeest migration but with the herds currently in Tanzania’s southern Serengeti, you may be wondering why February is a good time to come here. The answer will be apparent once you are there: many antelope are giving birth while the big animals – elephant, buffalo, giraffe and zebra – are concentrating on fresh grazing – all of which is good news for the Masai Mara’s predators – lion, spotted hyena, cheetah and leopard.

Choose your accommodation from lodges in the reserve itself and smaller camps set in private concessions where you’ll also have the chance to go on guided walks and night drives too.

INSIDER TIP: “Ask us for mid-season accommodation rates & special packages for safaris that include the Masai Mara.”

Other Great months for Masai Mara: December, January & March for general wildlife; June through October for the wildebeest migration.

January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September| October| November| December

 

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Reviews

Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

Roger (UK)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Neena
Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Professional, quick and top of the edge service!!!

From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

Lukas (Germany)
Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

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