Destinations for an African safari in September include Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia. It’s the end of the dry season, and wildlife viewing in East and Southern Africa is generally excellent. Temperatures steadily rise in September, and many safari destinations across the continent approach their peak season during this time. Between June and October, wherever you go in Africa, you’ll be rewarded with spectacular game viewing.
South Africa Safari in September
The Garden Route is famous for its stunning beaches, indigenous forests, and charming seaside villages. Private game reserves in the Eastern Cape are teeming with elephants, lions, and kudu amid fields of spring flowers and mountainous backdrops. The Eastern Cape is malaria-free and a fantastic option for a September family safari. Between July and October, southern right whales breed in the waters of South Africa’s southern Cape. The best time to see them is from August to September in Hermanus. The ‘whale-crier’ wanders along the town’s waterfront during this time to announce their comings and goings. The number of whales seen at close quarters from the cliff paths is astounding. Safari-goers can plan their trip to coincide with the annual whale festival to take part in the week-long celebration of these incredible creatures.
After several months of drought, the Katuma River in Tanzania is reduced to a narrow stream, and wildlife, which is normally dispersed throughout the reserve, congregates on the floodplains, making September a special time to visit Katavi National Park. The number of hippos contending for space in the remaining pools is most impressive. The stagnant water is thick with mud, and bulls fight for their territories, resulting in dramatic interactions. Crocodiles crowd in with the hippos, but as the temperature rises, they dig caves on the riverbank to provide cool shelter.
The abundance of wildlife during the dry season is mirrored at Ruaha National Park, which has Tanzania’s largest elephant herds, all of the big cats, rare wild dogs, and nearly 500 recorded bird species. Selous Game Reserve is another excellent place to visit during a safari in September.
Kenya Safari in September
Depending on the rains, the Masai Mara in Kenya is the best place to see the world-famous wildebeest migration when on safari in September. Many of the large herds have crossed the Mara River, which separates the Serengeti and Masai Mara. A river crossing is still possible in September, but safari-goers are better off being on the Kenyan side during this period. It’s incredible to see thousands of wildebeest scrambling across a crocodile-infested river. Following the crossings, the wildebeest and their accompanying zebras and gazelles congregate to resume their journey north. Predators, predictably, follow suit — and this is where the action takes place.
The dry winter months of May to October are widely regarded as the best time to visit Namibia for game viewing, particularly in the country’s flagship Etosha National Park. The skies are clear, the risk of malaria is low, and massive herds of game gather around the season’s last remaining water sources.
Between May and October, floodwaters cause the Okavango Delta to swell to three times its usual size. Temperatures are mild, and there is an abundance of wildlife to be seen, including elephants, buffalo, cheetahs, leopards, white and black rhinos, African wild dogs, and lions. The Okavango Delta is regarded as Africa’s Eden and one of the continent’s last true wildernesses. A safari in September provides incredible game viewing in one of Mother Nature’s true masterpieces.