What to pack for an African safari holiday
6th May 2023
What kind of winter sun-seeker are you? Maybe a cultural tour under the blue skies and mild sunshine of Oman or Morocco would suit? Perhaps you are on the hunt for exotic bird life, in which case Costa Rica or Senegal are ideal. Beach holiday fans should take a closer look at Southeast Asian destinations like the Philippines and Vietnam, or make a beeline for Cuba, Brazil or Sri Lanka. Each of the following destinations offers a great climate during the northern hemisphere winter – November to March – as well as plenty of great activities to make your holiday extra special. All you need to do is decide where to go!
Central America’s dry season runs from December to March, when the weather is at its best. Enjoy the myriad attractions of this pint-sized nation – whether you are looking for adrenaline sports, beaches, wildlife, volcanoes or abundant natural beauty, you’ll find it here. The manageable distances in Costa Rica mean you can fit a lot in – even if you are limited to a short trip – and really mix it up in terms of activities.
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The south and west of the island enjoys its best weather between December and April, and many of the key sights are located in this region so you can enjoy them under sunny skies. Discover Galle’s colonial charm or go on safari in Yala National Park where there is a higher density of leopards than anywhere else on earth. Enjoy the beaches and coves of the south coast, or visit the cultural triangle and hike in the hills surrounding the highland city of Kandy.
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Settled weather nationwide is elusive in Vietnam as it stretches through various regional microclimates, but for the best weather everywhere travel between November and March. It can be cooler at the start and end of the day in the far north, but much of the nation is warm and dry. From the rice terraces in the north via hectic Hanoi and enchanting Hoi An to the charm of the southern Mekong delta villages and the buzz of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is perfect for winter sun.
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Turn your winter from an endurance test into a riot of colour and vivacious festivities when you visit Brazil in Carnival season. Dates differ annually – 2020 dates are 21st to 26th February. Much of Brazil enjoys mainly hot and sunny weather from November to March, though the Amazon and Pantanal is at its wettest. For beach weather the northeastern coast is your best bet, whereas sightseeing in the cities will be hot and occasionally showery.
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Surfers, birders and world music fans will love Senegal, a country with a distinct French influence mixed in with its African roots. Visit Dakar for great seafood, an upbeat population and an unswerving dedication to music. Keen birdwatchers should prioritise the Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary and the Sine Saloum Delta while surfers and beachcombers will delight in the laid back beach scene. The best months weather wise are November to May, when it is dry and not too hot.
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The best time to visit Cambodia coincides nicely with the northern hemisphere’s winter months of November to February, when you can swap grey skies for hot sun in Cambodia. Discover the stilted villages of Tonle Sap Lake, uncover the culture of Phnom Penh and explore the wondrous temples at Angkor. And when you have finished sightseeing, head for the southern beaches where warm seas and white sands await.
Check out our trusted local expert’s Cambodia itineraries for trip inspiration.
The best time to visit Cuba is during the balmy dry season which begins in November and runs through to April. Step back in time when you stroll the historic streets of old Havana, looking out for impromptu jamming sessions spilling onto the streets while vintage cars cruise by. Take some time out to enjoy one of Cuba’s stunning beaches, or strike out into the countryside to find colonial towns, verdant valleys and rustic tobacco farms.
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Winter in Morocco is often warm and sunny, especially in the south. A prevalence of blue skies makes sightseeing a pleasure, and its often warm enough to dine al fresco in the evenings. Lose yourself in the atmospheric medinas of Fez and Marrakech, little changed in centuries, and haggle for beautiful artisan souvenirs in the souks. Mild days and chilly nights are perfect for hikes in the Atlas mountains, while Essaouira’s beach and pretty old town are perfect for some winter sun.
Meander through Morocco’s medinas or relax on the golden sands of its charming coast with one of our trusted local expert’s itineraries.
Banish the winter chill from your bones when you visit the Philippines, home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and sensational marine life to explore. December ushers in the dry season which holds until March – these are the best months for perfect beach weather, though there’s more to the Philippines than beaches. Explore the rice terraces around Banaue, or hike a volcanic peak.
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Plan to visit between November and March to get the best of the southern hemisphere summer weather. Soak up some culture, cuisine and tango moves in Buenos Aires, see the wonder of Iguazu or tour the winelands around Mendoza. Patagonia is at its best at this time as travel logistics allow easy access, and all facilities are open and busy. The far south will still see changeable weather, even at the height of Argentinian summer.
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Warm, dry weather rules in South Africa during the southern hemisphere summer – November to February. Cape Town, the Winelands and the Garden Route all enjoy good weather for touring, though it can get hot if you venture away from the sea breezes of the coast. Wildlife viewing in Kruger is not quite as easy as in the dry season due to the lush vegetation, but will still be rewarding, particularly for birders.
Take a look at our trusted local expert’s South Africa itineraries for trip inspiration.
The scenic surroundings and harbourside bustle of Muscat are tempting for culture seekers, while Nizwa is a venerable old inland town with plenty of charm and an interesting history. The Hajar mountains are perfect for hiking, biking and wadi-hunting, and the castles and mud brick villages of the interior are classic Arabia. Many winter sun-seekers are here for the lovely beaches, which enjoy temperatures in the mid-twenties from November to March.
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Make it happen
Swap grey skies for blue with a blast of sun to brighten up your winter. TravelLocal has so many great destinations for winter sun, and you can find out more about each of these by clicking on the links above. Our local experts are the best people to help you plan your trip as they are based in their destination so know it inside out. When you contact them with an outline of your plans, they will design a bespoke itinerary based around your preferences. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office please call +44 (0)117 325 7898.