March is what we call ‘shoulder season’ as it lies between Summer and the start of Autumn. Hence, March can be a month of mixed weather however some destinations, such as Tanzania, really come into their own.
The end of March marks the start of the long rainy season in East Africa. Many mobile and eco-camps in Tanzania and Kenya close during the long rains of April and May so if you want to enjoy a tented experience, your time is now as lodges and permanent tented camps stay open throughout these months.
In the southern Serengeti in Tanzania, the wildebeest are starting to gather along with their calves, preparing for their great journey north in April and May. Herds of wildebeest and zebra are starting to move northwards once their calves are strong enough for the journey. There are plenty of predators in residence, taking full advantage of the easy pickings.
Whilst the Great Wildebeest and Zebra migration is in Tanzania, not all of these animals migrate. There are plenty of ‘residents’ that remain in Kenya round. Add to this Kenya’s amazing private conservancies. A safari on a conservancy in Kenya is 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.
In Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, March is hot, humid, and wet, with frequent afternoon thundershowers. It’s not an ideal time to see wildlife because of the thick foliage and abundant water for animals to drink, but it is a good month for birdwatching, as many migratory species are present in the country. Victoria Falls is at its most stunning when the Zambezi River is in full flow, albeit there is a lot of spray that can make visibility difficult.
In Southern Africa, the Summer rains start to ease off, and it is still very hot. If you are a birder, then you will be in your element if you head to Botswana, as this is one of the months when birding is at its best. A safari to the Kalahari Desert and Makgadikgadi Pans National Park is worth mentioning, as massive herds of zebra migrate between Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pan area. This migration, considered the longest terrestrial wildlife migration in Africa, has only been discovered in recent years because most of the areas it goes through are mostly inaccessible.
Having a coastline of more than 2,500 km, 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 southern and northern ends 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 to know the weather on the North-eastern side of the country is much wetter during Summer.
The weather in Kruger National Park is starting to cool down, with daily temperatures in the late 20’s, although evening temperatures can drop as low as 15 degrees centigrade. You may also encounter thunderstorms, which can be rather spectacular in the wilderness. Wildlife is abundant during this time of year, with many newborn animals, however the heavy foliage might make viewing more difficult.