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Herd of elephants grazing near the bushes.

Safari in November

The natural excitement of observing creatures that are strolling a mere few meters away from you is a humbling experience which brings joy to your soul, tears to your eyes and paints a shining smile on your face. We try to bring this dream to reality and narrow down the best safari destinations in November and discover the very best sites of Africa in November.

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Best safaris in November 2020

    Africa in November: What to expect

    • Small herd of elephants standing by a river at dusk.

      Weather & climate

      Although the wet season hasn't officially arrived, November acts as a shoulder season bringing light rainfall and warm 19°C (66°F) days. The puffy clouded skies provide relief from the dry season by shading the plains and releasing refreshing showers. Although daytime temperatures are pleasant, nighttime temperatures can drop so be sure to pack a jumper just in case.

      However, in Ethiopia, the dry season is in full-swing bringing azure-blue skies and beaming sunshine.

      Dry season: Ethiopia
      Wet season (short rains): Serengeti (Tanzania), Botswana, Zambia, South Africa
    • Adult zebra drinking from a lake, birds standing on its back.

      Wildlife

      When scattered showers arrive, Botswana evolves as the finest place in Africa to view the Big Five. The arrival of the Great Migration in Zambia attracts mass concentrations of predators on the open plains for a breathtaking spectacle.

      Watch as the emerald-green colours emerge in South Africa alluring an abundance of unmatched birdlife, or embark on a bucket-list experience and swim with the whale sharks in the Philippines.

      Big Five: Botswana
      Great Migration: Serengeti (Tanzania), Zambia
      Whale sharks: Philippines 
      Birdwatching: South Africa
    • Safari jeeps parked under a big acacia tree.

      Peak season

      Throughout most of South-Eastern Africa, November marks the end of the dry season meaning rates become lower as the rains arrive. The low rates of Serengeti, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa reflect the few crowds which set the scene for that remote African wilderness we have all dreamt of.

      Meanwhile, it is peak season in Ethiopia, as conditions are optimal for trekking mountains and delving into cultural traditions with the locals.

      Peak season: Ethiopia
      Low season: Serengeti, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa

    Where to go on a safari in November

    It's hard not to be captivated by Africa and the predators that parade around the vast wilderness. Tracking down the right safari may seem as tough as spotting a leopard lounging, but our safari guide pushes back the branches and focuses your lens on the best places to see wildlife in November.  

    Our top picks:

    1. Serengeti (Tanzania)
    2. Zambia
    3. South Africa
    4. Botswana
    5. Ethiopia
    6. Philippines

    Do the endless plains of the Serengeti or the hidden waterways of the Okavango Delta suit your style, or would you rather enjoy the spectacle of wildebeest herds during the Great Migration? Maybe the thrill of photographing the Big Five in South Africa is on your bucket list, or gazing into the eyes of zebras in Namibia? The best places to visit Africa in November purely depend on your safari style and what animals you wish to see.

    With a number of national parks, it may seem natural to throw a dart at a map of Africa. But a closer look reveals that there are many countries rich with unique wildlife. The Philippines is home to an unmatched abundance of marine life where whale sharks glide and reefs are scattered with colourful fish. Whilst each destination has incredible wildlife and a multitude of things to do in November, the grandeur of the tropical islands or the African savannahs are bound to create unbeatable memories.

    Best safari destinations in November

    Herd of elephants grazing in a rich grassland.

    Serengeti (Tanzania)

    Serengeti is the reserve you have always dreamt of, an untouched landscape of swaying grasslands, sprinkled with acacia trees and great herds. The remarkable predator sightings make this place an ideal destination perfect for first-time safari-goers.

    Why in November?
    Although all year round this enchanting reserve promises spectacular sightings, this month the wildebeest venture from the plains of the Masai Mara to the grounds of Northern Serengeti. This spectacle is Serengeti's most famous highlight and promises abundant wildlife and sightings that will take your breath away!

    What to see?
    The Great Migration takes to the stage on a performance on the plains! You can expect to see the circle of life in action, as the Big Five make a feast of the migrating mammals. Regal lions scan the herd for tired prey and elephants trumpet alongside galloping zebras. This grand extravaganza is not to be missed!

    Pro tip:
    Combine your African safari with a visit to a local tribe. Gain a unique perspective on what life is like on these arid grounds and spend time with the locals who call the Serengeti home. Due to their location, the Maasai people are the most well-known and offer visitors a chance to participate in their fascinating cultural traditions.
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    A couple of giraffes walking through the arid African land.

    Zambia

    Thanks to a remarkable wonder of the world, Zambia is a favourited hotspot for nature lovers. The gushing Victoria Falls accompanied by the lush vegetation, mighty Zambezi River, wildlife-rich national parks and welcoming locals make this one of the most enchanting countries in Africa.

    Why in November?
    With sporadic showers and azure blue skies, November brings sparks of much-needed hydration to Zambia's succulent vegetation. Although the rains are minimal they don't affect wildlife sightings as the incredible bat and wildebeest migrations are in full swing.

    What to see?
    Home to the second largest wildebeest migration in Africa, Liuwa Plain National Park is abundant as 40,000 wildebeest fight for survival as they scavenge for fresh vegetation. Look up in Kasanka National Park as thousands of fruit bats soar through the peachy sunset skies. Pure bliss!

    Pro tip:
    Due to November's unpredictable weather, roads can become slippery and sometimes even blocked. Therefore, we recommend opting for a guided tour. Being accompanied by someone who knows the land can be a great asset in these conditions, as well as increasing your chances of face-to-face wildlife encounters!
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    Lioness with two cubs sitting by the bush in Kruger National Park.

    South Africa

    There's so much to discover in South Africa, from the wildlife-rich plains of Kruger National Park and the historic battlefields of Zululand to the striking Drakensberg Mountains and vineyards of the Garden Route. Full of that quintessential African beauty, South Africa offers an incredible insight into life on this remarkable continent.

    Why in November?
    From impalas to tortoises, November brings the arrival of many baby animals. South Africa transforms into a photographer's paradise as succulent emerald-green vegetation and flowers bloom. The rains and afternoon thunderstorms bring relief to the rising summer temperatures.

    What to see?
    Without a doubt, South Africa's defining characteristic is its breathtaking wildlife diversity. The Big Fiveroam the plains of Kruger National Park fulfilling the bucket lists of avid safari enthusiasts, the migrating whales off Hermanus are a remarkable sight and the penguins waddling at Boulder's Beach pull at the heartstrings.

    Pro tip:
    Head to the beaches of KwaZulu-Natal. With less rainfall on the coast and soaring temperatures, there's no better place to take a swim in the aquamarine waters. With sensational sunrises and tortoises emerging from their hibernation with newborn babies, the KwaZulu-Natal beaches are the place to be.
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    Torso of a great kudu antelope among lush greenery.

    Botswana

    Exploring Botswana is an adventure, from flying over the Okavango Delta and gliding on a mekoro through the reeds, to floating on the Chobe River and weaving between elephant trunks. Botswana offers unique safari experiences like nowhere else in Africa.

    Why in November?
    As Botswana's shoulder season, November brings blazing summer temperatures and cool refreshing rains. The start of the month remains bone-dry though with animals flocking to water sources. The rates are lower and the wildlife is thriving as the plains start to become dotted with succulent greenery and blooming florals. 

    What to see?
    There's no better time for a cruise on the Chobe River than in early November. With wildlife soaking up the last of the dry season, the banks are fuller than ever. In late November, the Central Kalahari is the place to be, as enormous herds of springbok attempt to protect their newborns from prowling predators.

    Pro tip:
    Don't let the arrival of rains deter you from this beautiful country! The water levels in the Okavango Delta will still be low, exposing the short grass plains which are excellent for game viewing. Why not consider an overland journey instead of an open-top jeep for that extra shelter.
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    A crocodile cooling down by the river with its mouth open.

    Ethiopia

    Full of experiences that enthrall visitors with new adventures, people and landscapes, Ethiopia is a unique country uncomparable to any other. With multiple world heritage sites, strong coffee aromas and wide smiles from the locals, this diverse and desert country will leave you planning your return.

    Why in November?
    Unlike Southern Africa, November is in Ethiopia's dry season and brings bright warm days and cool nights. With little rainfall, it is considered peak season and presents pristine conditions at every corner of the country, from the Semien Mountains to the Great Rift Valley.

    What to see?
    Aside from the unique wildlife, Ethiopia's diverse landscapes hold so much treasure to discover. From the captivating pools of the Danakil Depression and the ancient traditions of the Omo Valley to the breathtaking gorges of the Semien Mountains and the pulsing heart of Addis Ababa.

    Pro tip:
    Although Ethiopia typically experiences pleasant 23°C (73°F) days, due to the high altitude at which most of the country sits at it can get very cold in the evenings. Packing several pairs of long trousers, as well as sweaters, scarfs and some thick socks is a great idea!
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    Torso of a turquoise feathered bird in a jungle.

    Philippines

    From the white-sandy beaches of Boracay to the striking seaside cliffs of Palawan, this humble country has over 7,640 islands that have everything you’ll ever want. It's unique wildlife, rice terraces, aquamarine waters and world-class diving and surfing spots will secure a special place in your heart.

    Why in November?
    As an equatorial country, weather can be unpredictable, however, November marks the start of the dry season with showers becoming less frequent. With lower rates and fewer crowds, the picture-perfect islands are more remote and transform into that secluded beach paradise we all dream of.
    ​​​​​
    What to see?
    All over the world, the Philippines has some of the best scuba diving spots especially since it lies within the Coral Triangle. The whale sharks migrate this month and scuba diving here will blow your mind. The country boasts of 2800 species of fish, 5000 species of molluscs and many more!

    Pro tip:
    Head on over to Boracay Island! Lined with long stretches of white sand and beach bars scattered along the shore, it is that quintessential paradise that's perfect for relaxing all day and partying all night. Aside from partying, there are also plenty of adventurous things to do here that should not be missed.
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