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Where to go for an African safari holiday in January

January is a month that sees the majority of ‘Safari Africa’ entering its rainy ‘Green Season’. Animals move with the start of the rains, dispersing over huge areas in search of fresh grazing, knowing that waterholes will be everywhere.

1. Our recommended safari holidays for January

For travellers whose priority is big game viewing, the best destinations are therefore Tanzania and Kenya, which are still in their dry seasons and superb at this time of year. If you are hoping to view gorillas in Rwanda, this country will be in its dry season too, as with the rest of East Africa. Many visitors also look to South Africa in January, as the Cape and Garden Route are at their best and the safari is still extremely good despite the fact that it is the rainy season there.

2. Tanzania holidays

Tanzania is a great destination in January, the Northern Circuit especially – the Serengeti is outrageously good throughout January, February, and March. The first Great Migration herds have reached the Ndutu plains just south of the Serengeti itself and are starting to get ready for the calving weeks in February.

It is at this time of year that the Serengeti becomes the finest place in Africa to view cheetah, and the sheer concentrations of predators on open plains is astonishing. We use a couple of camps down here that also offer some of the finest cultural interactions and walking operations we know of in Africa. Designing a holiday around the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater makes for a superb safari for January.

3. South Africa holidays

South Africa is absolutely beautiful at this time of year. The weather is perfect and driving holidays up and down the famous Garden Route are never better. The negative to travelling at this time of year, however, is that combining the fabulous Cape Town and Winelands with high-quality wilderness safari is hard – Botswana is entering its rainy season and the vast majority of Zambia is closed due to rain and floods. Nevertheless, South Africa’s own safari, specifically Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands, is still superb (though there is a chance of rain) – and this is the area we would combine with Cape Town for a short add-on holiday safari.

4. Kenya holidays

January is a lovely time to visit Kenya. With clear hot days and little rain, game viewing in areas such as the Maasai Mara is at its peak and the month also heralds the start of the calving season. All this means that the country is a popular safari holiday destination in January. Some areas can get extremely busy, so it's important to design an itinerary that keeps you away from any overcrowding.

5. Rwanda holidays

January is a popular time to visit Rwanda, due to warm, sunny weather and largely dry days. This weather makes for pleasant gorilla-trekking conditions, offered by the well-located Wilderness Sabyinyo and Wilderness Bisate. January is not completely rain free, however, and the unpredictable weather patterns around Volcanoes National Park mean that a downpour could happen at any time.

Great Destinations in January

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Great Trips in January

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