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 best time for wildlife viewing is in southern winter from May to September. The game concentration at waterholes is high, vegetation is low, and animals are easier to spot. Hyenas are night active, and we were lucky to spot two of them close to our camp by night.
Crowds and Weather
Southern winter; the dry season (May to September) is not only the best time for wildlife but also low season with fewer tourists, except for school holiday: It’s less busy in camps and on the roads. Days are sunny with low humidity and nights are cold. Fewer mosquito and a very low risk for malaria.
The busiest months in the main camps are in southern summer (November to March) if possible avoid the Christmas school holidays. The rain starts end of October. The scenery gets lush and green, but during summer it’s also hot and humid and heavy rainfalls occur. If rivers get flooded, you can't pass bridges. Wildlife game viewing is not as good as in southern winter.Our favorite month is September: still dry, even more, game to spot and temps rise.
Best time to visit Rinca (Komodo National Park) is during dry season.
During the wet season from January to March the paths are really muddy and difficult to walk.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds: :
Crowded in July and August and less busy from September to November.
Brown bears are in the area from mid-spring until October. Usually, the salmon run takes place from mid latest end of June until the end of July but can be August as well. The salmon run is not predictable. The sockeye salmon is swimming and jumping upstream to spawn before they die. Brown bear viewing is best between July and September. During the salmon run, you can spot the highest concentration of bears hunting for red salmon along the Brooks River and Falls. You may spot 20 to 50 bears along the falls. Usually, in June and August is less food is available. Anyhow, you always may spot bears just fewer.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
In July expect crowded conditions at the viewing platforms. There is a limit of 40 people watching the bears for maximum one hour controlled by rangers. September is much better with fewer tourists.
Visit in September when it's less crowded. Time of day suggestion: Stay overnight at the lodge or the campground. Then you can get to the platforms between 5 and 7 PM when the day visitors already left. Livecam: Brooks Falls Bears Livecam
In late spring, summer and early fall it's often rainy, overcast. Especially in the summer months, the weather is unpredictable. Summer temperatures range from 30˚ to 80˚ Fahrenheit (-1˚ to 27˚ Celsius). Winters are drier and colder.
Seasonal Bear Activity Overview
- Mother and Cubs and mating season – Mid-May to mid-July
- Salmon Runs – July to mid-September
- Bears Resting – Mid-September to mid-October
- Bears digging a den before November
- Bears Hibernation – November until March
- Up to four cubs are born in mid-winter
- Bear fighting – April to Early May (higher slopes)
Best month for the crab migration is April but you may see them until June.
Great experience and wild life viewing in Winter.
Waterton is great at any time and open throughout the year. However, from May - September is probably the best time with the most wildlife being about and more pleasant temperatures. Check out our place Glacier National Park for weather details, since both are close and experience the same climate.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds
Although it's tiny compared to Banff and less touristy, Waterton became much busier in the recent years. Especially during the peak months of July and August. If you go during the summer: Avoid weekends and arrive early in the morning. In summer, the visitor center opens at 8 AM. Later in the day, there can be 40-50 cars waiting at the gate. Be there right at 8 AM and start your hike before the crowds arrive. Another way to avoid tourist crowds is visiting in the spring (May - mid-June) or in September after Labor Day Weekend until October.
Season Overview: Activites by Season | Waterton Lakes NP
Opening Hours: Hours - Facilities - Operation | Waterton Lakes NP