When is a great time to spot wildlife? Wild animals can be found in ecosystems like deserts, forests, rain forests, plains or grasslands. Often wildlife is hidden and difficult to spot. Here you will find the right time and areas where the chance for a wildlife sighting is much higher.
Winter is a great season to visit this place but if you aren't bothered by a few hours of afternoon rains then August-September is also a great time to go as there will be less tourists at this time of the year.
Jigokudani (means Hell Valley in Japanese) Monkey Park is open all year round, but its particularly photogenic when the area is covered in snow. So it's important to know when does it start snowing in the Snow Monkey Park?
The first snowfall cannot be predicted exactly but usually, it occurs by mid to late November. Although the first snowfall can be quite heavy, it will melt quickly due to the mild daytime temperatures.
Starting mid-December until February you can expect that the park is covered in snow and the monkeys live up to their name. The snow also hides a lot of the man-made pipes and other structures. Best conditions for plenty of snow on the ground are January and February, but you need to may check the live webcam for the actual conditions.
The Park is open daily from 8:30 to 17:00 (April to October) and in Winter 9:00 to 16:00 (November to March). Entrance fee is 800 yen ( 6 €) for adults and 400 yen for children in 2017. You can purchase an annual pass or if you are in a large group (more than 20) a group ticket.
You can expect crowds all year around, and it can become very busy. Most people gather at the upper man-made pool where you can find the monkeys (Japanese Macaque) playing in hot water. To make the upper pool more attractive to the monkeys, the park wardens sometimes throw food into it. There are fewer people at the lower pool but also fewer monkeys. You pass it anyway; therefore, you should spend some time there as well.
Tips for Photographers
You can photograph the most natural looking pictures from the staircase at the upper pool, but it is challenging to take pictures without any other visitor on it. At the lower pool, the angle is different, but there is no higher position for an excellent shot.
Where to Stay
If you want to stay close to the park we recommend the SENJUKAKU Hotel. The elegant property is well rated and perfectly located, surrounded by Japanese gardens with green pine forests, cherry trees, and Japanese maples. It is only a 15-minute drive away from the Park entrance, located in Kanbayashi Onsen, gateway to the Snow Monkey Park. It offers Japanese style rooms with a choice of bed or futon. Transfer and pick-up shuttles from Yudanaka Station is offered.
As an alternative, you may choose the JINPYOKAKU Hotel. It is also close by and located just 2 km from the Snow Monkey Park. Although it offers only a view Japanese style rooms, the atmosphere is exclusive and complemented with a luxurious Japanese-style hot springs experience. Here you can enjoy an exquisite Japanese cuisine with fresh local ingredients. The hotel is one of the best-rated locations in Yamanouchi.
Bear Watching Season
Starting in April, black and grizzly bears begin emerging from hibernation and head to Glendale Cove to feed on the succulent new spring growth. Glendale Cove is home to one of the largest concentrations of grizzly (brown) bears in British Columbia. Tours for Grizzlies start mid-May until end of September. Best time to see grizzly bears is June. At this time the berries are not yet ripe, and the bears are seeking for other food close to the water. They will collect eels, crabs, and isopods at the beach by rolling rocks.
Although August and September are mostly the months to see Grizzlies hunt for Salmon, it is not predictable. The salmon run, the time when the salmon will swim up the rivers and inlets to spawn, usually start after heavy rain falls. You need the luck to choose the right time for your trip. Planning a trip at this time requires pre-booking due to limited availability.
During our visit in early September 2017, not much Salmon had been seen compared to last year's early run in July. Peak season and tours should be booked in advance from mid-August to mid-September. It's a spectacle when the bears hunt the salmon, but this year they are feeding on a high protein grass. Grizzlies are hungry in the morning and come out of the higher vegetation to the shoreline. Therefore, the trip starts before 7:00 am because the travel time from Telegraph Cove to Knight Inlet is about 2 hours. In September the start time for the trip needs to be synchronized with the tides.
The summer climate at Telegraph Cove and the Johnstone Strait is characterized by still, cool mornings with not much wind and usually some fog. As the day progresses the fog lifts, sometimes slowly and shows the spectacular views to the area. In the late afternoon, winds can fresh up but drop for early evening to yield marvelous sunsets. In summer storms with rain are not very common, but it can occur when the wind changes to the South East. Usually, the wind blows from the North West. From July to August the precipitation is low compared to October until January, but you will always get some days with rainfall each month throughout the year.
Best time is early morning and late afternoon when the ring-tailed lemurs are most active. Although it is worth to stop by all year round, the dry season in July/August is the best time for a visit. Another reason to start early is the length of the long hike because you should avoid the hot mid-day temperatures.
The Anja Community reserve is one of the most visited community-managed sites in Madagascar. It is famous for the large groups of ring-tailed lemurs and the dry forest is located just beneath three large granite mountains. Like other community manages sites the Anja Community provides a protected area for the natural resources and enables the Malagasy inhabitants to benefit from ecotourism. Besides more than 300 cattas (ring-tailed lemurs), three different lizards (Chameleons), several snake species and many birds. The ring-tailed lemurs had been fed by humans in the past and lost their fear.
Seasons / Weather
The dry period lasts from April to December. However, there is not much precipitation year-round. Day temperatures reach 30°C and more.
In October the lemurs have their babies. That's why our preferred time is from mid-September throughout October.
The National Park is open year round although most hotels close during the monsoon season from late June to the end of September. Best time for a visit is the dry season and especially the end of the dry season when Bengal tigers, elephants and other wildlife gather around the waterholes.
The boiling hot season lasts from March/April to May with temps above 40°C which gets even worse due to the high humidity. Monsoons can occur from June to end of September which makes safaris in Chitwan almost impossible. Rivers are flooded. More stable weather during the winter months from October to March although showers can occur. Pleasant day temps and freezing cold nights from mid-October until February.
Highlights - Wildlife
Wildlife spotting is outstanding late January and February when the towering grass, several meters high gets annually cut by the villagers for their own use. October to December is also an excellent time because of the increased chance to spot tigers, elephants, and other wildlife as they gather around the waterholes. Sloth bears are rare to spot.
The Bengal Tigers population is increasing due to the enormous efforts of the rangers to prevent poaching. There are an estimated 235 tigers in entire Nepal nowadays.
Spotting One-Horned Rhino
Very popular is elephant riding which generally lasts 1 1/2 hours to spot rhinos. The best time for it is early morning, the second tour and late afternoon. The advantage of the second tour they already may know where they are grazing.
Best Time for Birding - Migration (almost 550 species of birds occur in Chitwan)
- September to November
- February to April
Kangaroo Island is a year-round destination, although the seasons are quite different. Summer is beautiful warm therefore, Kangaroo Island is pretty busy and high priced. It's vice versa in the winter. It frequently rains but the island is not overrun. Expect more precipitation from April to October. Continue reading to figure out which season you may prefer.
Weather and Crowds by Season
Spring ( September-November)
Goanna basking in the sun
Day temps in September are on average around 15°C. Rain decreases in October. Temps increase and reach 20°C in November. Camping is still chilly in the night with one digit temps. The wildflower season starts.
Summer (December-February) Peak Season
It's the most popular season with best weather conditions. The downside almost everything is fully booked and high priced. The temps are on average around 25°C at daytime and 12°C in the night. These are the warmest and riest months of the year.
The crowds thin out except for Easter. The island gets it tranquility back, and wildlife can be observed. The little penguins start nesting. Rain increases already around April, instead, less wind which causes a calm sea. Day temps in March and April are above 20°C and below in May. Nights are already cool around 10°C.
Winter (June-August) Low Season
Temps are pleasant for winter around 14°C at daytime and 7°C in the night. It frequently rains but on the other side clear and sunny days occur. It's the coldest and wettest time of the year. Echidnas may hibernate at this time of the year depending on the temps. In addition, those who are visiting KI to see wildlife, winter is the best choice. There is abundant food and the newborn kangaroos, koalas, and wallabies typically use this season to emerge from their mother's pouches. Whales can be spotted from the shore from May to September. Winter helps keep the sometimes-exorbitant prices of staying on the island much more manageable. Traveling in the off-peak season also leads to lower overall visitor numbers, which adds to the feeling of peace and solitude that can be had at any number of places on KI.
Quick Facts When to Spot Wildlife in Their Natural Habitat
- More active at dusk or they are nocturnal like the possums
- If it's hot koalas and kangaroos prefer to rest in the shade
- Koalas are more active during the breeding season from October to March
- Goannas may be spotted basking in the sun
Echidnas can be spotted throughout the year if it's not too cold during winter
How to Get to Kangaroo Island
You can get here either by plane with Qantas from Adelaide (in 2018 flights were offered from Melbourne during summer) or by ferry from Cape Jervis to Penneshaw in the north-east. The ferry ride takes roughly 45 minutes. If traveling by plane, we recommend renting a car to explore the island independently.
Top Tip and Accommodations on Kangaroo Island
Usually, Kangaroo Island is an expensive destination to visit, especially when adding the prices for transport to the island and back to the mainland plus your accommodation for your stay. Kangaroo Island is too huge and has too many attractions, hikes, and wildlife. Staying at least two, even three nights is highly recommended. We spent here almost a week. Important is the location. You can either camp in the National Park or stay close to the entrance and visitor center like at Western KI Caravan Park & Wildlife Reserve. Consider if you stay in Kingscote it's a 100 km drive one way. Another option next to the Flinders Chase National Park is the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat. One thing is for sure; you will experience wildlife in abundance in this remote accommodations on Kangaroo Island.