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.
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.
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 traveling to this part of South Africa is the dry and mild winter from May to September. During December to February, thunderstorms and showers can occur.
The best time for hippo and wildlife spotting is in southern winter from May to September. In winter the day temperature is pleasant and not too hot. The reason hippos feed not only at night like in summer at day time as well. The game is more active at this time of the year.
Guided tours are offered to see Loggerhead and Leatherback turtles in the night from November to March and hatchlings emerge after about 70 days from January to March. More information and booking
Crowds and Weather
Southern winter (May to September) is the best time for wildlife, and it's likewise the low season with fewer tourists, except for school holiday. It’s the dry season: Days are sunny with low humidity and nights are cold. Fewer mosquito occur.
The busiest months with most tourists are in 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. Cape Vidal is incredibly popular the reason that vehicle access is limited to 120 vehicles per day. Either you enter the gate early in the day, or you already made a booking for a stay. Evenings are tranquil, and beaches are peaceful.
April-September: mostly 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. October-March: mostly 5 or 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. depending on the park
Our favorite month is September: still dry, even more game to spot and temperatures rise.
Migration time is from mid-July to mid-October. However, due to varying rainfall patterns, the exact timing varies each year. The highest chances to watch the dramatic river crossings in Masai Mara is in AUGUST and SEPTEMBER.
All this happens during the dry season (June to October) with great weather. There is little to no rainfall.
July to October is also busiest time at Masai Mara with higher prices and loads of tourists in jeeps during the peak months in Aug/Sept. This is a downside but it's worth it. You may book a private concession to stay away from the crowds in the main reserve.
There are 6 great months in which to view bears in Hallo Bay. So let the activity you want to see determine your trip dates. Hallo Bay does not just depend on an intensive two week period of salmon like other areas. This fertile region provides abundant food for the bears when they need it.
Mid-May - Mid-July: Mother bears with their cubs – Great time to visit.
The breeding season is drawing to a close and the males having some respite from their aggressive battles for dominance. The salmon runs will happen next month. But time spent studying the bears this month will be rewarded. The spring meadows of Hallo Bay are now lush with sedge grass and the tidal flats full of clams. The omnivorous nature of the bears is well suited to the changing seasons. You will see bears munching blades of grass, grubbing for roots and vigorously extracting clams from the mud at low tide. This is the season to see mother bears with their new cubs, and the first signs of bears rubbing, so their fur is still in good condition.
Mid-July - Mid-August: Salmon runs - Excellent time to visit.
The beautiful coastal blooms and the fireweed flowers are at their most prolific now. The bears are starting to move inland to the rivers. The nutrients from vegetation and clams are no longer sufficient now that the plump chum and pink salmon are starting their runs. The most dominant bears command the best fishing sites with their subordinates having to make do with the less productive spots up or downstream from them. The bears exhibit their strength and agility in catching the salmon as they cross the shallow gravel beds. There are no natural traps in the Hallo Bay rivers like the local Brooks and McNeil Falls to help the bears. This display of raw power represents bear viewing at its most spectacular. The bears are now losing their old fur by rubbing more energetically in preparation for their new winter coats. You may also be fortunate enough to see wolves!
Mid-August - Mid-September: Salmon runs continue - Excellent time to visit.
In late August, as the days are drawing in and the bears are displaying the start of their new winter fur. The Coho salmon are just starting their spawning runs. The chum and pink are completing theirs. The bears seem to prefer the Coho because they are heavier and fatter. The Coho run is also the largest on this coast and may continue until October. The bears are now back to their mixed diet of fish, mushrooms and mixed berries, preparing for the cold winter ahead.
Mid-September - Mid-October: Bears easily to view along rivers and beaches - Good time to visit.
As the Fall colors provide a beautiful backdrop and the days draw in, the bears spend much of their time resting along the rivers and beaches. The agreeable weather is now interrupted by sudden bursts of rapid storms. You may see the bears, resplendent in their winter fur, feeding on the old salmon that have finished their life cycle after spawning, but new Coho may still be making their way upstream. Berries are also an important part of the bear's’ diet at this time
November - December: Bears preparing to hibernate – Not a good time.
A more unhurried pace in Hallo Bay as the large winter storms (often lasting for days) now become common. This determines the time for the bears to prepare and den for the winter months.
January - February: Bears hibernate - Not a good time. Bears hibernating.
Mother bears give birth at this time
April- Early May: Males exhibiting acts of dominance – Visiting possible but not recommended.
This is a post-denning time and bear movement may be seen close to their dens on the snow-covered upper slopes. On the coastline, it is too early for sedge grass and goose tongue so the bear movement is less predictable at this time as they grub for roots. The large males are starting a new breeding season by displaying acts of dominance. April to early May is not a good time to view bears in easy to access areas.
Seasonal Bear Activity Overview:
Mother and Cubs – Mid-May to mid-July
Salmon Runs – Mid-July to mid-September
Bears Resting – Mid-September to mid-October
Bears Hibernation – January and February
Bear fighting – April to Early May (higher slopes)