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Wildlife

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.

The meeting point is outside of Oudtshoorn very early in the morning before sunrise. The starting time mentioned on the website is estimated. It also depends on the weather conditions. You need to contact them the day before to confirm the accurate time for the next early morning. In winter it's chilly early morning. Make sure you take warm clothes and a binocular.

Weather

In general, less precipitation in Oudtshoorn but it occurs throughout the year with peaks in March/April and August/September. Driest and coldest months are June and July, single-digit temps in the night from May to September. Sometimes it snows in the mountains. Hottest season from November until March.with day temps around 30 degrees and more. Expect plenty of sunshine, but thunderstorms can occur.

Crowds

Due to their professionalism, it's not a question how many people take part. Less busy during the winter months; Mai/June until August.

(updated by whentobewhere)

ZA South Africa

The Isalo National Park is accessible throughout the year due to its dry tropical climate. However, the winter time from December to February experiences most of the annual precipitation. The tourist season starts in April, the peak season is during summer in July and August and the best months are September and October. At these months, the end of the dry season, there are only a few mosquitos around, and you may spot newborn baby lemurs.

Baby catta in Isalo - Madagascar

Compared to other parks wildlife is not as numerous due to the higher temperature. However, Isalo is an outstanding park to spot the awesome Verreaux’s Sifakas along the streams in the canyons.

Verreaux Sifaka in Isalo - Madagascar

Another highlight is the elephant’s foot plant (Pachypodium rosulatum) which is in bloom from August to early October.

Elephant's Foot in bloom in Isalo

The most popular spot in Isalo is the "Piscine Naturelle" therefore it can get pretty busy especially during midday to escape the heat.

Weather

The dry season lasts from April to late October, but there is not much precipitation in the south west of Madagascar. Pleasant day temps from April to September ranging between 23°C and 28°C / 74°F and 82°F though nights are chilly between 10°C to 15°C / 50°F - 59°F. The rest of the year temps are around 30°C / 86°F. Inside the canyons, it's cooler while hiking through the savanna without any shelter is pretty hot and strenuous. The hottest months with higher humidity are November to March.


Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for MDG at location (-22.5,45.41) from 1991-2015; source. worldbank.org

The Best Hotels Close to Isalo

Hotel close to Isalo

Some of the best lodges of Madagascar are located next to the Isalo National Park entrance. Usually, the available hotels have a lower standard and rating. Advanced booking is recommended to ensure having an excellent stay.

  • The Isalo Rock Lodge has truly a spectacular location; embedded into the rocky landscape. The staff is super professional and the management perfect; that is rare to experience in Madagascar.
  • Le Jardin du Roy is also excellently located surrounded by huge rocks. It's an incredible view from the terrace or balcony. It's a high standard hotel with a gorgeous restaurant. Take your breakfast outside and enjoy the scenery.
MG Madagascar

You may have the best game viewing experiences in September and October before the rainy season starts. These months are the hottest with day temps around 34°C to 38°C. More pleasant temps in the peak season from June to August, but nights are pretty chilly with one digit temps. Continue reading to get all information for each season. 

Giraffes in the Chobe National Park in Botsuana

May - June (sweet spot months)

Lower prices and fewer tourists than in high season. Cold nights. Especially in May, the landscape is still green with thicker bushes. Thus animal sightings are a little harder than during the dry season. However, sightings are often good already. If you like more privacy during the safaris, these months could be for you.

July - October (Dry Season)

High season with increasing prices. Mornings can still be chilly in July and August. Fewer mosquito. Highest animal concentration along the riverfront and waterholes. This is the best game viewing time. Particularly in the hottest and driest months of September and October the sightings are sensational. However, it can be crowded: You’ll see many other jeeps at hot spots like Chobe’s riverfront.

November - March/April (Wet Season)

Lower prices, fewer tourists. Higher humidity, more mosquito. Rain sometimes starts in November. The wet season is incredible for bird watching. Game viewing is still possible but not as stunning as in the peak months. The worst weather usually occurs in January / February with a possibility of rain for days and thunderstorms. 

Temperature and monthly rainfall overview.

BW Botswana

Tangkoko National Park is a year-round destination: Temperatures are usually constant during the year, ranging from 72° to 88°F each month. However, we have some tips for you regarding the best time:

Weather and Tourists

The wet season is usually from October to April/May. The recommended dry season is from June to September. These are also the busiest months with a peak in July / August: Prices are higher and you usually need to book tours in advance. The best combination of dry climate and a little fewer tourists are JUNE and SEPTEMBER. 

Birding and Wildlife

Book an early morning birding and wildlife tour. Most birds and a lot of mammals are more active in the morning! They lose energy by noon and are getting active again in the afternoon. However, the mornings seem to be more fascinating here.

ID Indonesia

Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most beautiful places on earth for wildlife viewing. You can spot wildlife throughout the year. Because of its unique ecosystem, the animals don't leave the crater. If you want to combine Ngorongoro with other major National Parks in Tanzania and the Serengeti, June through September/October may be the best choice. However, every season is slightly different:

June - October: Dry season. The best months for game viewing / to spot wildlife. Animals gather around water holes. Fewer mosquitoes. Downside: Most crowds, highest rates, very busy. Jeeps and spots need to be shared with many others.

November - May: Wet season. Lush and green scenery. Not as good as the dry season for wildlife but still great. Special months within the wet season are January and February: You might see baby zebra, baby wildebeest and other newborn. Bird watching is also fantastic in January and February. In general, rain is limited and usually not that bad during the wet season. Except for March and April, where heavier rainfall can occur.


Avoiding Crowds 

Go in March or April. Highest possibility of rain but least visitors and lower rates. Sometimes it can get difficult to use the roads during or after heavy rain. In other seasons you should definitely start your safari tour early in the morning and leave around 6:00 AM. Use the earliest safari possible. You'll avoid heavy crowds by being the first on the floor.

TZ Tanzania

Yala is a must if traveling to Sri Lanka. The National Park is popular for the biggest leopards, lots of wildlife and it's birders paradise. Of course, everybody wants to see a leopard at Yala, but to increase the chance of a sighting stay at least two nights! What is the best time to spot them? Read on for our detailed tips:

Big Leopard in Yala, Sri Lanka

Leopards

Yala has the highest density of leopards. The best chance to spot them is around new moon combined with a safari/tour in the afternoon when it’s also less busy. They are more active around dusk during new moon days. 

Jeep congestion while watching a leopard in Yala National Park

Crowds

It’s often very busy with many jeeps. It's super crazy if a leopard got spotted. Avoid weekends and public holidays. The morning safaris are the busiest. You can't enter the park immediately; first, your driver has to queue to get the ticket. Many tourists stay just for one night and leave at midday. The afternoon is much quieter. 

Elephants taking a bath in Yala, Sri Lanka

Wildlife

The best time to spot leopards, as well as other wildlife such as elephants and wild boar, is from May to August. More animals gather around the waterholes during the drier months. From October to December it’s more likely to spot deer, crocodiles, and birds. The park is often closed in September until October (too aggressive animals after a heavy drought). The best time of the day to spot wildlife is either early morning or from afternoon till evening. From late morning until afternoon they usually hide under thick foliage.

Opening Hours and 3 Gates at Yala

The park is open from 6 to 6. Yala is divided into five blocks. Block 4 is not open for safaris. Most visited are Block 1 and 2 with two entrances. Hundreds of jeeps seek for a leopard in Block 1.

  1. Palatupana: Main entrance for Block 1 and 2 is the busiest - waiting time up to one hour in the morning.
  2. Katagamuwa: This entrance to Block 1 and 2 is far less crowded.
  3. Galge: Entrance for Block 3 and 5 and less known. Therefore, you do not need to queue at the Galge entrances.
Our driver was checking the depth of a waterhole
Our driver Amare was checking the depth of a waterhole. 
Weather

In general, you can visit Yala year-round. It's never really bad. The dry season runs from May to September. Increasing precipitation in October. The ‘mild’ rainy season runs from November to January and some more rainfall again in April.

Weather Yala from 1991-2015
Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall for Yala from 1991-2015

Top Tips Where to Stay

First of all stay at least two or three nights to increase the chance of spotting a leopard. Choose an accommodation which is nearby. Pro; you can go on safari in the morning and afternoon and spend the lunch break at your hotel. 

LK Sri Lanka