Why you should travel to Africa in low season

Africa in Low Season

When planning a holiday, people always talk about ‘the best time to go’ – one can become quite obsessed with being in a place when the weather is at its all time best. Here at Imagine, we believe there is a lot to be said for travelling to Africa in low season. Escape the crowds, benefit from discounted rates, and experience unique happenings that don’t take place during high season. We bring you the lowdown on Africa outside of peak season, and tell you why you should consider travelling in the quieter months…

Africa isn’t all about peak season. If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track experience and don’t like sharing paradise with a gaggle of other tourists, get in touch with our specialists to start planning your trip. Give us a call on 020 3141 2810 .

Know where or when you want to travel? Jump straight to the most relevant destination, where our specialists give you a quick insight into the perks of low season travel:

Kenya – low season is March to June, November and the start of December
Tanzania – low season is March to June, November and the start of December
Zanzibar – low season is March and June
Uganda – low season is April and May
Rwanda – low season is April, May and November
Ethiopia – low season is June to October
South Africa – low season is May to October
Mozambique – low season is March to June
Namibia – December to March, May and part of June (excluding Christmas and New Year)
Zambia – low season is May, June and November
Malawi – low season is January to the end of April
Zimbabwe – low season is November to March (excluding Christmas and New Year)
Botswana – low season is November to April (excluding Christmas and New Year)
Mauritius – low season is May to September
Seychelles – low season is May to July

The view from Saruni Samburu

The view from Saruni Samburu

Destination: Kenya

When is their general low season?
March to June, November and the start of December.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“Low season in Kenya means better offers and cheaper rates – including discounted international air fares. In March, June and the start of December, the weather is still pretty much perfect, and the scenery has a lush green colour that Sub-Saharan Africa is not known for! You can bask under the hot African sun, while at the same time the vegetation that surrounds you looks like the heavens have kept it well watered. Low season Kenya really is quite special.” Bjorn Behlert, Kenya specialist

If Bjorn has got you dreaming of a trip to Kenya, check out our Luxury Kenya Safari and Beach itinerary. From world-class game viewing in the Samburu region and the Masai Mara, to the unrivalled luxury of Kenya’s picture perfect coastline – this trip has it all. Prices in low season can drop as low as £3,300 per person for 13 nights, excluding international flights.

Sundowners at Azura Selous

Sundowners at Azura Selous

Destination: Tanzania

When is their general low season?
March to June, November and the start of December.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“Low season in Tanzania means there are much fewer people around so you don’t get vehicles crowding around a sighting. It’s the ‘Baby Bonanza’ too, so you get lots of cute lion cubs and other baby animals, as they coincide their birthing period with the rains. Plus the landscape is lovely and green – this combined with the clear blue skies makes for excellent photography! More arid parks such as Ruaha are exceptionally picturesque at this time, as the bush turns a lush green and the Ruaha River runs through in full flow.” Pierre Burden, Tanzania specialist

Fancy exploring low season Tanzania? Take a look at our Selous Game Reserve and Zanzibar holiday idea. Get off the beaten track and experience an unforgettable safari in the Selous Game Reserve, where it is rare to see another safari vehicle (and almost unheard of in low season!). Finish off your trip with seven nights on the pristine beaches of Zanzibar. This itinerary is ideal for travel in June, November or December and prices at this time of year start from £2,277 per person for 11 nights (excluding international flights). If you want to travel between March and May get in touch and we can give you ideas.

Fundu Lagoon at dusk

Fundu Lagoon at dusk, surrounded by luscious greenery

Destination: Zanzibar

When is their general low season?
March to June, November and the start of December.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“During low season, Zanzibar is really beautiful with its luscious green scenery in full bloom. It’s a gorgeous contrast with the white sand beaches, which, incidentally, you’ll have almost to yourselves! In June, November and the start of December the weather is flawless. November is clove harvesting season on Pemba Island, making the whole island smell divine!” Emily Knight, Zanzibar specialist

Want to experience low season Zanzibar’s gorgeous scenery first hand? Check out our Luxury Selous and Pemba Island itinerary, where you would begin your trip with three nights on an ultimate safari in the remote, rugged and wildlife rich Selous Game Reserve. Once you’ve had your safari fill, head to the stunning Pemba Island to hide away at the tranquil Fundu Lagoon – a chic beach lodge. Low season prices start from £2,460 per person for 12 nights, excluding international flights.

Mist over Kibale Forest

Mist over Kibale Forest

Destination: Uganda

When is their general low season?
April and May.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“Uganda in low season is well worth a visit – there are very few tourists around so you can really lose yourself in the vast forestry, and the birding is great. Uganda has a lot of lowland – parks, cities, lakes and rivers – unlike mountainous areas, these are not affected so much by the rain and cold. Gorilla permits are cheaper in low season too, and easier to obtain. As with all wildlife, the gorillas respond more warmly to you when there are less humans around; they don’t feel outnumbered!” Pierre Burden, Uganda expert

If Pierre has convinced you to visit Uganda in low season, check out our Uganda Highlights itinerary, with prices at this time of year starting from £3595 per person for 11 nights, excluding international flights. Spectacular wildlife, stunning landscapes and fascinating culture make this Uganda Highlights journey an unforgettable and exhilarating experience. Packed with adventure and excitement, this tour gives you an in-depth insight into this beautiful country.

A lone gorilla in Volcanoes National Park

A lone gorilla in Volcanoes National Park

Destination: Rwanda

When is their general low season?
April, May and November.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“Rwanda in low season is a thrilling and very different experience to Rwanda during high season. It is wetter, so you have to be prepared for that, but if you can bear a bit of rain there are a lot of pros! I would argue there is no better weather to be in the rainforest in than rain, it’s so atmospheric and gorillas look awesome when they’re wet! You will experience some epic storms, with the luxury of cosying up in your lodge at the end of the day and dissecting your adventures with other guests. Plus gorillas tend to be lower down the mountains at this time of year, so low season offers potentially easier trekking.” Matt Gammon, Rwanda expert

Get inspired by browsing our 4 Day Gorilla Safari itinerary, with prices starting from £1,535 per person in low season, excluding international flights. Journey into the heart of Kinigi Volcanoes National Park on this four day trip and encounter numerous gorilla families. Stunning surroundings, spectacular views and rare wildlife make this experience truly memorable.

The Simien Mountains, photo by Anna Mackenzie

The Simien Mountains, photo by Anna Mackenzie

Destination: Ethiopia

When is their general low season?
June to October.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“During the low season the National Parks in Ethiopia have really beautiful scenery, with a huge diversity of wild flowers in bloom. There are also a couple of festivals that are celebrated in September, which are immensely colourful occasions! Meskel is really impressive, a festival which is marked by dancing, feasting and lighting a massive bonfire. Ethiopian New Year falls in September too, which is another occasion full of song and dance.” Emily Knight, Ethiopia expert

Feeling tempted? Take a look at our Discover Ethiopia itinerary, with low season prices starting from £1,805 per person for 9 nights, excluding international flights. Get under the surface of this diverse and wonderful country as you explore Ethiopia’s highlights. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and enjoy the amazing wildlife, stunning scenery and fascinating history.

Cape Floral Kingdom in full bloom

Cape Floral Kingdom in full bloom

Destination: South Africa

When is their general low season?
May to October.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“Low season in South Africa has some fantastic benefits, with things you simply can’t experience at other times of year. The whale watching season runs from June to December so it is predominantly a low season activity. Plus in August you can see the beautiful spring flowers in Cederberg and on the west coast, creating some great scenery.” Pierre Burden, South Africa specialist

If Pierre’s got you convinced that South Africa in low season is well worth a visit, have a look at our Cape Floral Kingdom itinerary to get the ball rolling on a trip of your own. This self-drive South Africa itinerary allows you to explore captivating Cape Town and the unique Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest of all plant kingdoms and yet with the highest concentration of species in the world. Prices in low season start from £1,320 per person for 10 nights.

Children on Ilha Moçambique

Children on Ilha Moçambique

Destination: Mozambique

When is their general low season?
December and March to June.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“People go to Mozambique to get away from the crowds and avoid big resort type beach properties. Going in low season really is the epitome of this – with tourists in their lowest numbers at this time of year, you really get a sense of the remoteness. Mozambique offers great diving, snorkelling and fishing all year round, the only things you miss out on in low season are the whales and whale sharks.” Emily Knight, Mozambique specialist

If low season Mozambique takes your fancy, take a look at our Luxury Kruger and Mozambique itinerary, with prices at this time of year starting from £2,979 per person for 15 nights, excluding international flights. An unforgettable holiday, combining a stay in two of Imagine Africa’s favourite lodges as you enjoy a safari in the world famous Kruger National Park, before hopping over to the pure white sands of northern Mozambique to recline and indulge.

Hot air balloon over the Namibian desert

Hot air balloon over the Namibian desert

Destination: Namibia

When is their general low season?
December to March, May and part of June (excluding Christmas and New Year).

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“Namibia is basically a year-round destination, so going in the ‘low season’ when you get great value for money and no crowds is a no brainer really! Plus the air is clearer in low season, so it’s a photographer’s paradise, especially for vibrant shots of the sand dunes in clear skies.” Matt Gammon, Namibia expert

Interested? Have a look at our Great Value Namibia itinerary for inspiration, which takes in many of Namibia’s main attractions, including fantastic desert and dune scenery in Sossusvlei, adrenaline-fueled adventure in Swakopmund, and authentic bush experiences in Damaraland. In low season prices start from £1,150 per person for 11 nights, excluding international flights.

Hippos in South Luangwa

Hippos in South Luangwa

Destination: Zambia

When is their general low season?
May, June and November.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“There are some great reasons to travel to Zambia in low season. November offers the chance to witness unique experiences, such as elephants walking through Mfuwe Lodge, the wildebeest migration in Liuwa and the Kasanka bat migration. In May and June Victoria Falls are in full swing – these are hands down the best months of the year to visit  this incredible natural wonder.” Bjorn Behlert, Zambia specialist

If this takes your fancy, take a look at our Zambia and Malawi Adventure for inspiration. The combination of the South Luangwa National Park and Lake Malawi is a great alternative to the classic East African safari and beach itineraries, and offers a more authentic and off-the-beaten-track experience. Low season prices start from £2,990 per person for 11 nights, excluding international flights.

Kayaking on Lake Malawi

Kayaking on Lake Malawi

Destination: Malawi

When is their general low season?
January to the end of April.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“I love Malawi at this time of year – it is hot, sunny and there are very few tourists. You can feel like you have the lake to yourself…!” Pierre Burden, Malawi specialist

Take a look at our Pure Malawi itinerary for inspiration. This is the ultimate itinerary for a trip to Malawi, taking in all the must-see places and including the perfect combination of culture, safari and ‘beach’. Prices at this time of year can drop as low as £2,995 per person for 15 nights, excluding international flights.

Zebra and foal at Camelthorn Lodge

Zebra and foal at Camelthorn Lodge

Destination: Zimbabwe

When is their general low season?
November to March (excluding Christmas and New Year).

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“The low season is the best period for birding in Zimbabwe for sure – particularly in Hwange National Park from January to March. This is when the migratory birds are present and all species are in full breeding plumage so they are extra colourful. At this time of year you get more than 75 extra bird species visiting Hwange, as they go there to nest. The park has over 420 species recorded and it is in low season that the numbers are most phenomenal!” Emily Knight, Zimbabwe specialist

If you fancy a low season getaway to Zimbabwe, take a look at our Hwange and Victoria Falls itinerary. Spend a few days in the adventure hub of Victoria Falls, before heading into Hwange National Park for a unique safari experience. Splitting your time between Northern and Southern Hwange, you experience the best of this fantastic National Park. In low season prices start from £2,300 per person, excluding international flights.

A lion surveying its territory in Kalahari

A lion surveying its territory in Kalahari

Destination: Botswana

When is their general low season?
November to April (excluding Christmas and New Year), with January to March being the ‘super low season’.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“The Kalahari Desert offers fantastic game viewing during low season and even the Zebra Migration! In other areas wildlife becomes a little harder to spot at this time of year, not because there is any less of it, but because the herds can afford to spread further from the rivers which they gathered at in the drier months. I love the increased level of pursuit required with the thicker vegetation, it means you savour your sightings that little bit more and deeply cherish every moment you spend in the presence of Botswana’s magical beasts!” Jo Hudson, Botswana specialist

Inspired to visit Botswana at its most affordable? Check out our Bushmen, Desert and Delta itinerary to whet your appetite. Known as ‘The Pride Of Africa’, Botswana offers a genuine Bushman experience. Its dynamic and unspoilt environments provide a habitat for an abundance of wildlife, making Botswana one of the best safari destinations in the world. Prices in low season start from £2,650 per person for 7 nights, excluding international flights.

Diving at Lux Grande Gaube

Diving at Lux Grande Gaube

Destination: Mauritius

When is their general low season?
May to September.

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“Head to Mauritius in low season to benefit from low rates and excellent honeymoon deals. What’s more, it’s the best time for surfing too!” Bjorn Behlert, Mauritius expert

Take a look at our Discover Mauritius holiday idea for inspiration. Lose yourself in luxury on this indulgent itinerary, relaxing in this beautiful and secluded bay of the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. In low season prices start from £872 per person for 10 nights, excluding international flights.

The lush greenery of Mahe Island

The lush greenery of Mahe Island

Destination: Seychelles

When is their general low season?
May to July (outside of school holidays).

Why would you go during this period, what are the benefits?
“The weather in the Seychelles in low season is still good and it’s a great time of year for bird watching, surfing and windsurfing too.” Bjorn Behlert, Seychelles specialist

Inspired? Take a look at our South Africa Safari and the Seychelles itinerary, with low season prices starting from £1,732 per person for 11 nights, excluding international flights. Experience an exhilarating Madikwe Big 5 Safari, staying under canvas at Thakadu River Camp, before heading to the idyllic island of Mahe in the Seychelles for some relaxation, sun and stunning Indian Ocean beaches.

If we have convinced you that sometimes the benefits of low season can outweigh the cons, get in touch with our specialists to start planning your trip. Give us a call on 020 3141 2810.

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