A very special time to be in Africa
September is deemed one of the best months to be in Africa - anywhere! You have thousands and thousands of wildebeest in both the Masai Mara and the northern Serengeti Plains, you have whales in the bay in Hermanus, you have amazing game viewing in the Okavango Delta and along the Chobe Riverfront, birders can flock to Zambia to catch the return of the beautiful carmine bee-eaters - and for beach lovers, this is a lovely time to head to Mauritius.
Quick 'At a Glance' Summary
- Whale watching in Hermanus
- Witnessing the Great Migration
- Zambia and Zimbabwe safari circuits continue to delight visitors
- One of the best times to visit Mauritius
Hermanus is amongst the world's leading destinations for both land-based and boat-based whale watching and the peak time, when daily sightings are virtually guaranteed, is during September and October. Whales can usually be seen as close as 20m from the shore.
The daytime and night-time temperatures on safari are getting warmer, making this a lovely time to be on safari.
Namaqualand, one of the 6 floral kingdoms of the world, come to life and the plains burst into life and a plethora of wild flowers everywhere creates a breath-taking carpet of brilliant colours.
September is an ideal month for game viewing in the Etosha National Park, as the skies are clear blue and there is very little rain, so the wildlife are highly dependent on the waterholes in the Park. Because there is no cloud, the star gazing in Sossusvlei or in the Kalahari desert areas is just superb.
In the north, you will still see many wildebeest, as not all of the herds have made the journey further north to Kenya’s Masai Mara. What you will not see is many vehicles, however, as these very far northern plains of the Serengeti during September are visited normally only on fly-in safaris by people looking to get away from the masses.
Ruaha and Selous continue to attract tourists as this is one of the best times to visit these Parks in the Southern Circuit.
With the drama of the river crossings largely over, this is the time to travel to the Masai Mara if you want to see the vast plains literally dotted with black as far as the eye can see, as the huge herds of wildebeest now graze contentedly on the fresh grasses here, spread out over the savannah and plains. In attendance are the famous Mara big cats, always on the lookout for an easy meal.
September in Samburu and Amboseli is warm and sunny, and the game viewing remains consistently good.
The beaches along the coast continue to attract visitors, and it is a pleasant time to be here to enjoy a typical beach holiday.
This is a great month to visit for a safari. Daily temperatures are pleasantly warm, making it an enjoyable time for a longer walking safari or being out on an open game viewing vehicle. The ground surface water is drying up and the wildlife congregates around the permanent rivers and waterholes in search of a drink, so you can expect to see large herds of antelope, zebra and elephants gathering along the water's edge, under the ever-watchful eye of lion and leopard.
For birders, one of the highlights of the birding calendar year is the arrival of the stunningly beautiful carmine bee-eaters, who arrive in their thousands in a blaze of colour and noise, and build their nests into the riverbank walls.
September is the dry season in Hwangwe and Mana Pools and one of the best times for wildlife sightings in both Parks. The many waterholes in Hwangwe become a magnet for the wildlife, and it is not uncommon to see huge herds of elephants drinking together. In Mana Pools, the areas around the Zambezi River have high concentration of game.
September sees the temperatures continue to climb, and generally the days are very sunny and warm, and the evenings/nights are less cold. There is excellent game viewing as the vegetation is now quite thin and dry, and in the Delta, the wildlife are flocking to the channels to drink. Along the Chobe Riverfront, huge herds of elephants gather in the late afternoon. September falls within the peak period in terms of rates, and early bookings are advised as the camps and lodges, especially those with just a few rooms, do get booked up very early in the season.
Temperatures are increasing nicely, and this coupled with lower rainfall makes September a very pleasant month to travel to this tropical Indian Ocean island. You can normally expect around 12 hours of daylight, so plenty of time not only to relax on the beach, but also to explore some of the inland highlights as well.