South Africa Safari in October and Why It's the Best Time to Visit

October in South Africa
The averages daily temperatures ranges from 10 degrees to 24 degrees in October

Planning on visiting South Africa soon? How about an October visit? Considered a shoulder season- as it falls between the peak season and the dry season- October is one of the best times to visit South Africa.

During this time, weather conditions are ideal for safaris, and safari rates are quite reasonable, being that October is outside all school holidays. Still not influenced? Read on to see more reasons why an October safari in South Africa is a great idea.

But First… 

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October Weather in South Africa is Ideal for Safaris

safari in October
Good weather is important when it comes to creating good safaris

Good weather is key when it comes to creating good safaris and October has yet to disappoint. During this time, October, the country experiences warm temperatures and minimal rainfall, weather conditions which are especially perfect for game drives.

Besides the favorable weather, South Africa October also brings an array of events and festivities, such as the Cape Town International Kite Festival and Oktoberfest in Port Elizabeth, adding an extra layer of excitement to your visit.

October in South Africa: Better Rates

The shoulder season in October bridges the gap between the high and low seasons, resulting in fewer crowds and more competitive prices for accommodations and activities.

Things to Do in South Africa in October

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best things to do and places to visit during your South African October safari.

Visit the Western Cape

The Western Cape region enjoys a mild to warm climate with limited precipitation during October. This weather is perfect for exploring the many attractions that it has to offer.

One such attraction is Cape Town, a beautiful city best known for housing beauties like Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Park, and the Robben Island Museum.

Johannesburg and Kruger National Park

safari in October
Kruger National Park is one of the best national parks in South Afric

Johannesburg and Kruger National Park experience hot temperatures in October, with average temperatures estimated to be 77°F (25°C) and 86°F (30°C) respectively. Despite the rise in rainfall, it doesn’t diminish the exceptional wildlife sightings on offer in Kruger. In fact, animals tend to congregate around watering holes, making it easier for visitors to spot them.

Some of the primary wildlife attractions in Johannesburg include the Johannesburg Zoo, Lion Park, and the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve. In Kruger National Park, October marks the end of the dry season, providing visitors with the chance to see a wide array of animals such as elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and buffalo.

After a day of wildlife viewing while visiting South Africa, you can relax and enjoy all the frothy beer South Africa has to offer. Just remember to take appropriate precautions against mosquitoes during your visit to ensure a safe and enjoyable African safari experience.

Wildlife Viewing Opportunities in October

South Africa safari in October
In the dry season, grasses in the park are short and dry making wildlife spotting easier

October presents distinctive wildlife sighting experiences in South Africa and its surrounding countries. This is the time when animals congregate near water sources, and newborns make their appearance, providing remarkable opportunities for visitors to witness the wonders of nature. For example, in South Luangwa National Park, huge herds of buffalo and elephants can be easily spotted due to their need for water. The wildlife viewing is equally impressive in Lower Zambezi National Park, as well as Namaqua National Park in South Africa, which is known for its spectacular wildflower displays during spring.

Here are other Southern Africa national parks you can visit in October.

  • Kruger National Park

In Kruger, visitors can arrange a walking safari or take a hot air balloon ride to observe the park’s grasslands, gallery forests, and river systems.

P.S: Although the optimal period for wildlife viewing at Kruger is during the dry season-May to September- the wet season also makes for an equally enthralling experience.

  • Chobe National Park in Botswana
  • Victoria Falls National Reserve in Botswana

Combining Safari with Other Activities

October presents an excellent opportunity to pair a safari with other pursuits in South Africa. Here’s a detailed list.

Cape Town Attractions

South Africa safari in October
Cape Town’s Table Mountain is South Africa’s most photographed landmark

Cape Town, a bustling city, has a variety of attractions for visitors to experience during their October South African safari. One of the city’s most iconic landmarks is Table Mountain, which provides breathtaking views of Cape Town and its surroundings. The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway offers a convenient and picturesque way to reach the summit, ensuring a memorable experience.

Another must-visit attraction in Cape Town is the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, where visitors can enjoy a tranquil picnic lunch, hike along scenic trails, and experience the Centenary Treetop Canopy Walk. For those looking to observe wildlife, a visit to Boulders Beach in False Bay offers the unique opportunity to see a colony of African penguins up close and personal.

Whale Watching on the Overberg Coast

South Africa safari in October
October is the best month to whale watch at the Overberg Cast

Whale watching is a popular activity in October along the Overberg Coast, with the town of Hermanus being one of the prime locations for spotting these magnificent creatures, including the southern right whales. Early October, right after the Hermanus Whale Festival, is considered the best time to observe newborn whales off the coast.

P.S. Visitors can choose from various accommodation options for whale watching off the West Coast Overberg Coast, such as clifftop hotels in Hermanus, the De Hoop Nature Reserve, or Plettenberg Bay.

October Events and Festivals in South Africa

Safari in October
The Kite festival is celebrated on the 29th of October

South Africa is home to several events and festivals in October, the most popular being the Cape Town International Kite Festival and Oktoberfest in Port Elizabeth.

Both events provide a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant culture of October South Africa while enjoying the thrilling experience of an African safari.

Cape Town International Kite Festival

The Cape Town International Kite Festival is a long-standing event organized by Cape Mental Health, South Africa’s oldest mental health organization. The festival features:

  • Kite masters who demonstrate their art of kite-making
  • Unique kite creations flown by the masters
  • All proceeds from the festival donated directly to Cape Mental Health

The event attracts over 20,000 visitors, including renowned kite flyers from South Africa and abroad, making it a must-visit festival during your October safari.

Oktoberfest in Port Elizabeth

Things to do in South Africa in October
Oktoberfest is a chance for you to sample some delicious German delicacies

Port Elizabeth’s Oktoberfest is Africa’s largest Oktoberfest, celebrating German culture and heritage with:

  • Traditional food
  • Beer
  • Music
  • Dancing

Held at the German Club in Lorraine, this annual event provides a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere and sample authentic German cuisine.

Sample Itineraries

In planning your South Africa safari in October, consider example itineraries such as a 9-day Classic South Africa journey or a 10-day Discover South Africa expedition. A Classic South Africa trip may include visits to Cape Town, a wine tour in the Cape Winelands, traversing the Atlantic Seaboard, and a safari in Kruger National Park. A Discover South Africa adventure could encompass various destinations, including Cape Town, the Garden Route, Kruger National Park, and Johannesburg, offering a combination of wildlife experiences, scenic drives, and cultural exploration.

By carefully planning your itinerary and considering factors such as weather, wildlife viewing opportunities, and events, you can ensure that your October safari in South Africa is a truly unforgettable experience. Why delay? Begin arranging your upcoming journey now and get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we answer your most frequently asked questions about South Africa safaris.

When Is the Best Time of the Year to Visit South Africa?

Generally speaking, the best time to visit South Africa is from May to September (the winter months). At this time of the year, the country records high temperatures during the day and very cold temperatures during the mornings.

Which Month is the Hottest in South Africa?

February is the hottest month in South Africa. The average temperature on any typical day during the month soars to mid-80s F, which is hot by any standards.

Which is better: Self-Drive or Guided Safari

Early October is a good time for a self-drive safari, as the weather is generally pleasant and the tourist crowds are fewer. The advantages of a self-drive safari include:

  • Affordability
  • Flexibility
  • Comfort and privacy
  • Better game viewing
  • Being in control

However, guided safaris offer expert knowledge and increased chances of spotting wildlife, as the safari guides are able to interpret animal footprints and signs, thus raising the probability of remarkable wildlife encounters.

The choice between a self-drive and guided safari ultimately depends on your personal preferences and budget. Both options offer unique experiences and opportunities to witness the breathtaking beauty of South Africa’s landscapes and wildlife. Whichever option you choose, be sure to plan your itinerary carefully to make the most of your October safari adventure.