October is a great time for a safari on the African continent. The dry months are on the verge of ending as the first signs of rain start across the continent. The warm dusty plains of Africa are ready to burst into life and the smell of fresh rain lingers in the air. There are still fantastic game viewing opportunities and Africa’s numerous national parks are a superb place to visit in October. There will still be a higher concentration of animals around watering holes and rivers making them ideal places to focus your efforts. Here are some of the best holiday destinations in October to head to in Africa.
Visitor numbers have reduced by October, and with the high number of animals still congregating at water sources, this makes Tanzania one of the best places to go on safari in October. As the short rains start, the great herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle have started to migrate south from the Masai Mara, crossing the Mara River on their way back to Serengeti National Park. Tarangire National Park’s reputation for its large elephant numbers holds true and in October its herds of these giants are at their largest. Meanwhile, the remote Ruaha National Park and Katavi National Park are two of Tanzania’s hidden gems and in October have low visitor numbers but superb numbers of animals.
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Kruger National Park is a premier attraction for safari enthusiasts during October. The dry season in Kruger is from May to October and the rains have yet to come. It is an ideal time for game viewing and walking safaris because the bush is sparse, making animals easier to track and spot through the vegetation. In addition, during the dry season, the permanent water sources never disappoint. Along the western side of Kruger, there are numerous private wildlife reserves such as Timbavati, Sabi Sands, Amakhala, Shamwari and Kariega, spectacular reserves which are home to rich wildlife including the big five, i.e lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and rhinos, as well as luxurious camps.
The Garden Route, which stretches from Mossel Bay to Storms River in the Western Cape, is at peak season in October, with mild weather and clear skies. A major attraction along the coast is whale watching; southern right whales are on their migration from Antarctica to calve in the warm waters off South Africa.
Botswana is home to a number of first class national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and is a perfect choice for a warm holiday destination in October. The temperature in Botswana at this time of year will be pretty high, but if you can handle the heat during October then it’s a great time for a safari. The dry hot conditions force the animals towards the water sources and this concentration of animals attracts predators. There is good wildlife action in Chobe National Park and the Linyanti Reserve where vast herds of elephants congregate as well as across the stunning Okavango Delta where buffalos and lions do battle to survive.
Zambia in October is hot and dry but very rewarding if you can handle the high temperatures, which are rising before the rains arrive. Kafue National Park, Lower Zambezi National Park and South Luangwa National Park, with their high concentration of lions and leopards prowling the remaining water resources, provide some of the best wildlife experiences in October. The elephant and buffalo herds in the Luangwa Valley, and the elephants in the Zambezi Valley and Kafue National Park, are peak attractions in the months of October. Zambia is famous for its walking safaris and visitors can enjoy this thrilling style of safari, along with the more traditional game drives.
The month of October in Kenya marks the end of the dry season, but it’s just before the main rains are yet to arrive, which means that game viewing is really rewarding. Even though the great migration herds have left the Masai Mara National Reserve on their return journey south back to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, there are still plenty of resident herds and other wildlife. The prices decline in October as the visitor numbers drop.
Samburu National Reserve, in the north of Kenya is a rewarding, off the beaten path wildlife destination. The arid, dry region, bisected by the perennial Ngiro River is a rugged paradise and a great option for last minute safaris in Kenya.
The dry season in October is an excellent time to visit Zimbabwe, especially Hwange National Park, Chizarira National Park and Gonarezhou National Park. Visitors during this time can see a large variety of wildlife, including lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, antelopes and buffalos.
In October, the Victoria Falls (which straddles Zimbabwe and Zambia) are at their lowest flow, giving visitors a unique view of the 100 meter deep gorge. For thrill seekers, the nearby town of Victoria Falls offers numerous activities such as bungee jumping, white-water rafting and helicopter flights, while the natural beauty of the Zambezi River and surrounding area, and resident wildlife, make for a memorable trip.
October marks the height of the dry season in Namibia and is one of the hottest months of the year. Despite the dry hot climate, October is a great time to be on a Namibian safari – it’s all about the water. Animals will congregate around the major water sources, watering holes, river beds and dams, making game viewing slightly more predictable. Visitors can experience rare sightings of black rhinos and cheetahs in Etosha National Park while on the barren and dramatic Skeleton Coast see the huge seal colony at Cape Cross and in Damaraland look out for the elusive desert-adapted lions and elephants.
October is one of the driest months in Mozambique with high daytime temperatures and mild evenings. Mozambique is a great safari destination for combining game viewing in Gorongosa National Park and marine safaris on the Indian Ocean. Gorongosa National Park is a conservation success story and has populations of hippos, lions, zebras and buffalos along with giraffes and wild dogs. Niassa Nature Reserve, one of Africa’s largest and wildest protected areas, is a good spot for lions, hyenas, wild dogs and endemic species like Boehm’s zebra, Johnston’s impala and Niassa wildebeest. After your inland safari, head to the Mozambique coast to see magnificent migrating whale sharks off the coast. These huge marine animals journey north from September through to February.
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