When it comes to African experiences, a safari in January can be spectacular. January is a month that sees a lot of safari destinations entering the rainy ‘Green Season’. Animals disperse across vast distances in search of new grazing as the rains begin to fall, knowing that waterholes will be accessible everywhere.
In contrast, due to the comparatively dry weather in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, January is typically a fantastic time to go on safari in these countries. A good alternative is the Northern Circuit of Tanzania. During the dry months, animals tend to be less dispersed and easier to spot. Below, we’ve put together some of the best destinations for a safari in January.
January is in the green season, with an average of 14 days of rain per month. It’s one of the hottest months of the year, with daytime highs reaching 29 degrees Celsius. In January, when the herds have gathered on the lush green plains to graze and calve, the Southern Serengeti and Ndutu Region are the best places to be. During the Migration’s birthing season, over 8 000 wildebeest calves are born each day. Another bonus of travelling to the Serengeti in January is the chance to see numerous migratory bird species in the park.
January is a beautiful time to visit Kenya. With clear hot days and little rain, game viewing in places like the Maasai Mara is at its peak, and the month also marks the beginning of the calving season here too. As a result, the country is a popular destination for a safari in January. Some areas can become extremely crowded, so be sure to plan an itinerary that keeps you away from the hordes of tourists.
Because of the warm, sunny weather and mostly dry days, January is a popular time to visit Rwanda. This weather is ideal for gorilla trekking, which is provided by some of the top lodges in the country. However, a gorilla-trekking safari in January is not completely rain-free, and the volatile weather patterns around Volcanoes National Park mean that a downpour could occur at any time, so come prepared.
Volcanoes National Park is a well-protected reserve teeming with monkeys and forest birds. It also offers the most accessible gorilla trekking safaris in Africa. The long dry season in Rwanda begins in June and lasts until about September. The rainy season is from October to November, followed by a short dry season from December to February. Although it can be slightly more humid, Rwanda offers some of the best African gorilla trekking safaris in January due to fewer visitors than during the long dry season.
January is one of the best months to visit Uganda. Because Uganda is located on the equator, rain can be expected at any time of year. However, at this time of year, rainfall is sporadic and brief and daytime temperatures in the south can reach the 30s (°C). A Uganda safari in January is ideal for wildlife viewing because there is less vegetation to obstruct your view. The weather is ideal for gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park because, despite the high temperatures, the altitude cools you down.