February is in the middle of Southern Africa’s (Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia) wet season. Despite the huge storms and heavy afternoon downpours, the bonus of travelling at this time of year is the stunning, lush green landscapes, spectacular sunsets and quieter lodges and camps.
For a drier safari experience, Kenya and Tanzania are excellent destinations. February is when the Great Wildebeest and Zebra Migration’s calving season is in full swing and all the cats are at their most active as they hunt among the large herds. It is also a good time to go Gorilla trekking in Rwanda and Uganda.
Tanzania’s Northern Circuit (Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation area) is an excellent destination in February. With the wildebeest and zebra migration in full swing, he Serengeti is full of wildlife throughout January, February and March, with February being calving month.
The area to be is in the Southern Serengeti, where the chance of witnessing wildebeest giving birth is very good. Predator activity and interaction are also very likely, as lion, leopard and cheetah move into the area to prey on young and vulnerable calves.
In Kenya, February is a hot and dry time of the year, and excellent for wildlife watching. As water sources dry up animals congregate around remaining available watering holes making game viewing much easier than in the wet season. Whilst the wildebeest and zebra migration has headed south back into Tanzania, there is still plenty of resident wildlife calving, and all the predators are extremely active taking the opportunity for easy prey.
A safari on a private wildlife conservancy in Kenya will keep you away from the hordes of vehicles in the national parks and game reserves. Private conservancies are unique because you have the opportunity to go off-road and experience the wildlife up close and personal, without hordes of other tourists. Unlike national parks and game reserves, the number of vehicles at a sighting on a private wildlife conservancy is strictly limited, you are able to drive off-road and participate in nature walks and night game-drives.
Although February is the rainy season in Botswana, the best places to visit at this time of year are Makgadikgadi Pans National Park and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The wet season is the time of year these areas come alive, with wildlife returning due to ample water and green grass. Makgadikgadi salt pans are a magnet for flamingos and other birds, plus migrating zebra, which come for the lush seasonal grazing. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve see an influx of Springbok and Oryx.
Having a coastline of more than 2,500 kilometres, South Africa is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the Indian Ocean on the east. This means South Africa’s weather differs greatly between the south and north of the country. In February, the Western Cape area is a great destination, particularly down in Cape Town and along the famous Garden Route. Combining Cape Town with a safari to Kruger National Park and/or surrounding private game reserves is a great idea, however important know the weather on the North-eastern side of the country is much wetter during Summer.
RWANDA AND UGANDA
February is a popular time to visit Rwanda and Uganda due to warm, sunny weather and mostly dry days. Being mountainous countries with lowland rainforest, both Rwanda and Uganda receive rain year-round, however, January is typically a time of year that receives the least amount of rain making for much more pleasant conditions when trekking the endangered mountain gorilla.