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Where to go on safari in January

Some great suggestions where to have the best safari experiences in January



Operations & Marketing Development
Published on

02 Oct 2020

Updated on

29 Jan 2021

Sunset Over Table Mountain

We’re often asked when is the best time of year to go on safari and where, and in all honesty there is no right or wrong answer – it all depends on what you wish to see and your individual tastes.

Below is an overview of the highlights of the wildlife and nature safari calendar in January, showing you where to go and be best placed to see some of the remarkable highlights of the natural world, giving you an idea of the perfect season for you to go on safari and what you can expect to see.

January is predominantly when most of Africa is entering its ‘green season’ when it comes to safari experiences in Africa. The bush is alive with the sounds of insects and wildflowers are abundant. Throughout eastern and southern Africa there is also great birding as the summer migratory visitors are prevalent.

South Africa

Cape Town. This is probably one of the best time of year to visit as it’s during the height of the Cape and surrounding regions summer, meaning warm temperatures and a great time to visit the winelands of the region.

Kwa Zulu Natal. Along the eastern coast and Indian Ocean seaboard, you have a great chance of witnessing the hatching of endangered turtle species throughout the region. (January – March)

A safari experience in South Africa is great at this time of year as there are an abundance of young antelope bounding around and playing.


The Great Wildebeest Migration is gathering and concentrated in the southern regions of the Serengeti amongst short grassy plains and also the Ngorogoro Conservation Area. This is the beginning of the calving season where thousands of wildebeest and zebra are being born each day, which attracts big cats and other predators. It’s also a less busy time of year in comparison to the more famous river crossing season of the migration.

Take a look at our guide of where, when and how to see the Wildebeest Migration.


Far from the busy and crowded river crossing season, the Masai Mara in January is fantastic. A ‘quiet day’ in the Mara can surpass a busy day of wildlife viewing in a vast array of other safari destinations. The resident wildlife is abundant, the grasses are short yet there are few visitors – you’ll feel as though you have the entire Masai Mara for safari all to yourself.

Amboseli, which is further south is probably the pinnacle destination when it comes to African elephants. January’s clear skies combined with the ultimate ‘African backdrop’ of Kilimanjaro looming in the background make for the quintessential African photography opportunities with the large herds and large tusked males which roam this corner of Kenya.

Penguins Cape Town
cape town has resident colonies of penguins
Cheetah Serengeti
cheetah thrive in the serengeti
Serian Ballooning
in January the masai mara is amazingly tranquel


It’s green season which is considered to be one of the best times of year to visit Botswana for game viewing in the Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. It plays host to the second largest movement of zebra after the Great Migration in Tanzania and Kenya and also one of the largest migrations of flamingos in Africa. It’s a photographer’s dream, landscapes are filled with brilliant green foliage, impressively dramatic skies and with an abundance of plains game having their young, predators are looming not far behind.

Uganda and Rwanda

January is predominantly dry with minimal rainfall in the gorgeous national parks in Uganda and Rwanda. Temperatures can get quite high, reaching 40c with warm evenings and nights. This is a great time of year for chimpanzee and mountain gorilla trekking as the ground is more solid and visibility is clearer. It is also brilliant for keen birders as there can be over 1,000 different species found in Uganda alone.

Makgadikgadi Pans In Botswana
Makgadikgadi salt pans in Botswana
Gorilla Tracking
gorilla trekking in rwanda and uganda

For more inspiration, take a look at our 26 favourite safari holidays, our best African honeymoon ideas or our top family safari holidays.

Planning a safari holiday? Give our friendly experts a call on 01768 603 715 or fill in our enquiry form.

Speak with our safari experts today

  • Alistair


    Africa Specialist

  • Ben


    Africa Specialist

  • Ali


    Africa Specialist

Call an expert on

01768 603 715

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