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.
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
Bontebok is a year-round destination. Weather is more predictable with little rainfall from October until March. The chance of increasing precipitation starts in May and lasts until September. Nights can be very cold in winter. In summer canoeing or a refreshing bath in the Breede River is another highlight.
In the dry season from June to September: Great for wildlife watching and photography but more crowds then.
Dry season December until April, Semi-Dry Season June, July and August
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.
Crowds and Climate
Southern winter, the dry season (May to September) is the best time for wildlife spotting. Days are sunny with low humidity and nights are cold. Fewer mosquito. It's also the low season with viewer crowds, except for school holiday: It’s less busy in camps and on the roads.
The busiest months with most tourists in the main camps are in the southern summer (November to March). 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. Wildlife game viewing is not as good as in southern winter, but birding is excellent. Our favorite month is September: still dry, even more game to spot and temperatures rise.
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.
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.