Many of Africa’s iconic experiences are seasonal in nature so take the guesswork out of planning your safari with our Travel Calendar: simply search by month or experience & find out the best time to travel to Africa for your requirements.
Africa in November
Africa in November: find out where to go for the wildebeest migration, beach holidays & shoulder-season safari rates.
November marks a distinct change across Africa. Rain has begun to fall across the major safari destinations, opening up a new chapter for Africa’s wildlife. In East Africa, the rains prompt the movement of huge wildebeest herds – and their predators – into the Serengeti, making it one of the most exciting times to go on a migration safari.
In Southern Africa, the rain means the end of the huge concentrations of animals at water but there’s still plenty of wildlife to see and other natural events are beginning such as Botswana’s zebra migration and the impala birthing season. You’ll also enjoy the advantage of cheaper shoulder-season rates in November, which means top safari destinations like Botswana, Namibia and the Kruger Park’s private Sabi Reserves are now a lot more affordable than they were a month ago.
Down in South Africa’s Cape region, November heralds the start of a long, largely dry summer and Cape Town makes a great base from which to explore the Winelands and Whale Coast. And if you’re in the mood to discover a bit more, head further along the Cape coast and into the Garden Route (ideal for a self-drive) or turn up the temperature and discover sub-tropical KwaZulu Natal and its unique beach-and-bush appeal.
1. Serengeti, Tanzania
It’s true that you may get rain in the Serengeti in November but without it, there is no migration. The rains break the dry season and trigger the growth of fresh greenery across the savannah and the hungry wildebeest, joined by zebras and antelope, trek in vast numbers to reach it. It’s the perfect time to see the great milling herds on the move, preyed on by lions, hyenas and cheetahs, and set against a backdrop of the other large animals of the Serengeti – giraffe, elephant and buffalo.
There are established lodges in this area as well as ‘migration camps’, mobile tented camps which position themselves along the path of the migration.
INSIDER TIP: “Ask us about low season rates plus honeymoon & long-stay specials.”
Other Great months for Serengeti: December through August.
2. Cape Town & Garden Route, South Africa
November in Cape Town sees the last of the winter rains and the promise of the long warm and dry summer. There’s always lots to do in and around Cape Town – it’s a great place for hiking and nature-related tours as well as wine tasting and fine dining – and if you are lucky there may still be a few whales around in Hermanus.
The Garden Route is a natural combination with Cape Town and can be easily enjoyed on a self-drive holiday. A series of sandy beaches against a mountainous backdrop, it’s an area of great scenic beauty with as much to please families with children as honeymooners seeking privacy and indulgence. Choose your accommodation from a range that includes luxury boutiques and family villas, and if you are interested in a Big 5 safari, then the malaria-free reserves of the Eastern Cape lie at the end of the Garden Route.
INSIDER TIP: “Cape Town gets all the attention but the Garden Route is less windy, has a much warmer ocean & enjoys long days of sunshine; enjoy it in November before the busy December holidays.”
Other Great months for Cape Town & the Garden Route: September & October, December through May.
3. Chobe River & Savuti, Botswana
November sees the beginning of Botswana’s rainy season but that’s no reason to avoid going on safari. Green grass is erupting everywhere and big herds of animals such as elephants, buffalo and zebra are moving to new pastures. The antelope birthing season is starting and migrant birds are arriving, waterholes are filling up and thorn trees are covered in green leaves. The best itinerary would be one that takes in both the Chobe River with its excellent resident wildlife and the Savuti region, famed for its predators. This way you can enjoy boat cruises as well as game drives, and if you stay in a private concession – night drives and walks as well.
Victoria Falls is little more than an hour or two from the Chobe River and a natural combination with a Botswana safari although in November the Zambezi River is at its very lowest level. The result is not much water going over but spectacular views of the rock formation itself; it’s also one of the best months for a Livingstone Island adventure, featuring – for the fearless – a dip in Devil’s Pool, set on the very edge of the precipice.
INSIDER TIP: “Shoulder-season rates apply for first two weeks in November but it’s very popular – book well ahead for the best deals.”
Other Great months for Chobe: July, August, September & October.
4. Sossusvlei & Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Much of Namibia is a busy, premium travel destination in the May to October dry season and so the month of November offers the chance to enjoy the same destinations but at cheaper rates and with far few other visitors. Head for the magnificent sand dunes of Sossusvlei for iconic imagery and the wildlife secrets of the desert plus some of the most romantic, star-filled accommodation in Africa.
Even more remote than Sossusvlei are the wildlands of the Skeleton Coast, mostly inaccessible 20 years ago but now home to tucked-away safari camps and open to travellers looking for adventure, remarkable wildlife and cultural insights.
INSIDER TIP: “Travelling as a group or family? There are excellent package deals available for groups of four travellers or more.”
Other Great months for Namibia: June through October.
5. Kruger Park & Sabi Sands, South Africa
The beginning of the rainy season in Southern Africa is often overlooked as a time to travel for a safari. True, it’s hot and there may also not be huge concentrations of animals at water but a safari to the Kruger National Park – and more specifically to its private Sabi Sands Reserves – is still very rewarding in November.
Wildlife is not yet hidden by the deep green of summer, and waterholes are still filling up. Migrant birds are arriving and antelope are getting ready to give birth en masse. It’s a great opportunity to see the famous Big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo) at non-peak season rates and with an average of nine days of rain in the month, it’s drier than other summer months too.
INSIDER TIP: “On honeymoon? Ask us about lodges where one of you receives 50% off the accommodation cost!”
Other Great months for Kruger Park: May through October.
6. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
Peak season may be over but the rains generally don’t impact on a holiday to Mozambique’s Bazaruto islands in November. It’s warm and sunny, the humidity level is high but the Indian Ocean temperature is pleasant and November records on average only six days of rain – far less than other summer months.
Bazaruto is a destination well suited for any kind of traveller: there are family resorts, honeymoon chalets and exclusive villas while activities on offer range from private picnics, spa treatments and sailing cruises to scuba diving, snorkelling and horse rides on the beach.
INSIDER TIP: “Try & go in the first two weeks of the month when there is less chance of heavy rain.”
Other Great months for Bazaruto & Quirimbas: June through October.
7. Kwazulu Natal, South Africa
Lying under a sub-tropical climate, Kwazulu Natal is the home of the Zulu nation as well as some of the country’s best wildlife reserves and its warmest ocean beaches.
The rains have begun in November, it is warm and humid but you’ll have the advantage of fewer other visitors as well as competitive prices for accommodation and tours. Safari lodges in KwaZulu Natal are generally less expensive than those at the Kruger/Sabi Sands, the birdwatching ranks among the best in the country and, if you are a qualified diver, there are scuba-diving itineraries available too.
INSIDER TIP: “KwaZulu Natal reserves are famous for their guided walking safaris – ask us for more information.”
Other Great months for Kruger Park: May through October; there is usually heavy rain from December to March.