Our Recommendations for the Best Holiday Destinations in July
Countries to visit in July: Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Zambia
The dry month of July is mid-winter in Southern and Eastern Africa, with warm, bright, sunny days, cool (sometimes cold) nights and very little chance of rain in most places. It’s a great time for game viewing – there’s a higher chance of seeing wildlife during this dry winter month as the vegetation is sparse and water holes are drying up so animals congregate around the more permanent water sources. Many of the safari destinations have a wide range of wildlife and diverse bird species to seek out during July.
During July in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park head to the northern Serengeti where the herds of the annual Great Migration are getting ready to cross the Grumeti and Mara Rivers, as they head into Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. At this time thousands of wildebeest can be seen crossing the rivers, where the crocodiles lie in wait – a dramatic spectacle to witness!
Meanwhile, for large herds of elephants, head to Tarangire National Park where the Tarangire River is the primary water source during the dry months (June to October). Elephants can be seen along the river, digging up the dry banks to find underground water streams.
July is a good time to explore the less visited, and therefore less crowded, parks of the south, such as Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park, which offer an off-the-beaten track safari experience. These parks are excellent places to see predators; there are more wild dogs in the southern parks than in the north.
- 4-Day Serengeti Migration & Ngorongoro Crater Safari
- 4 Days Selous Game Reserve Safari
- 3-Days Ruaha National Park Safari
Towards the end of July, the Great Migration continues its journey northwards, heading for the plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. This is the time to witness the herds as they face one of their greatest hurdles, crossing the Mara River, which is infested with hungry crocodiles, some of which may not have eaten for a year. The only defence is the sheer numbers of animals crossing and the confusion that it creates. After crossing the river, the herd spreads out into the Maasai Mara, enjoying the green pastures. July to October is peak safari season in Kenya, coinciding with the wildebeest migration, so plan ahead and book early.
Combine the spectacle of the Great Migration with one of Kenya’s hidden treasures, such as Samburu National Park, Laikipia National Park or Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Alternatively, head to the coast and relax on the beaches of beautiful spots such as Watamu, Malindi, Diani and Lamu, enjoying the cooler, dry weather of July.
- 3-Day Masai Mara Big-Game Safari
- 3 Days Kenya Lodge Safari Samburu National Reserve
- The Best of Kenya
In the winter month of July, visit South Africa’s northern reserves for great game viewing, which include Madikwe Game Reserve and Kruger National Park. Both are home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the big five, endangered African wild dogs and over 300 bird species. While the northern region of South Africa experiences a dry season in July, mid winter in Cape Town in the south west is wet (the wettest month is June) and cold (the coldest month is July).
Winter in Cape Town is the ideal time for a foodie safari, cosying up in restaurants with roaring fires and wine tasting in the Cape Winelands, while along the coastline migratory southern right whales arrive in July and stay until September; head to the small seaside of Hermanus, where you can spot whales from land and sea.
- Guided Big 5 Kruger National Park
- Cape Town Whales & Garden Route
- 4-Day Kruger Park Fly and Drive Safari
By July, the waters of Botswana’s spectacular Okavango Delta have risen with the arrival of the floodwaters from Angola, attracting animals from far and wide and making it the very best time to explore the beautiful waterways by boat and mokoro. Mokoros are traditional dugout canoes, propelled through the water by a local guide known as a poler, offering a peaceful and unobtrusive way to experience the Okavango Delta, getting up close to the flora and fauna of this watery wilderness.
In other Botswana national parks, game viewing concentrates around waterholes, lagoons and rivers in July, as animals congregate at these remaining water sources during the dry winter months, such as Chobe River in Chobe National Park, Xakanaka Lagoon in Moremi Game Reserve and Boteti River in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
July is the driest month in Uganda and therefore the best month to go trekking to find the endangered mountain gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park and chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, with hiking conditions at their best. The weather is warm with very little chance of rain meaning that all hiking routes are accessible, lodges are open and all activities are available. As such July is the most popular time to visit Uganda meaning it’s also the most expensive, but it’s well worth visiting at this optimal time.
Head to Murchison Falls National Park to seek out the big five, Queen Elizabeth National Park for a boat cruise on Kazinga channel and Lake Mburo National Park where the wildlife gathers around the lake during the dry season.
Recommended Safari: 3-Day Gorilla Trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
In July there’s a wide range of activities on offer in Zimbabwe: set off on game drives in Hwange National Park to see large herds of elephants or hunker down in a wildlife hide for a different view; paddle out in a canoe on the beautiful Zambezi River in Mana Pools National Park; stride out on a walking safari in Chizarira National Park for breathtaking valley views.
Zimbabwe is also home to Victoria Falls, one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world. Located on the Zambezi River, between Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its incredible power and beauty. July is the perfect time to see Victoria Falls as there is less spray and better visibility due to slightly lower water levels – see it from various vantage points or on a scenic helicopter flight.
- 5 Days Best of Victoria Falls and Chobe Safari
- 1-Day Hwange National Park Safari
- 8-Day Lower Zambezi and Mana Pools National Parks Safari
July is the most popular time for gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, home to half of the world’s mountain gorillas. A gorilla trek involves hiking through the rainforest in search of a habituated group of gorillas. The dry month of July provides the best conditions for this adventure – the chance of heavy rain is unlikely and gorillas have less need to shelter so are often found in more open areas. As this is the best time of year, however, it also means that gorilla permits must be booked well in advance as well as lodges, hotels and other activities. Combine gorilla trekking with a visit to Akagera National Park for golden monkey tracking, bird watching and wildlife viewing.
This is a good time of year for visitors to Rwanda to experience the country’s diverse landscapes, ranging from rolling hills and lush forests to volcanoes and lakes, and learn about the country’s history and traditions through interactions with local communities.
Recommended Safari: Rwanda Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience
Zambia is the home of walking safaris with the dry winter month of July being one of the best times to experience this thrilling activity in South Luangwa National Park. The weather is the most comfortable for walking with warm temperatures and very little chance of rain.
On game drives, it’s the best time to see big cats and other predators, as the pleasant daytime temperatures mean they don’t retreat into the shade, while on the Zambezi River in Lower Zambezi National Park it’s a wonderful time to do boat and canoe trips to see elephants and other wildlife coming down to the river to drink. Despite July being peak season in Zambia, the safari destinations rarely feel crowded and it’s a great time to visit.
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