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5 African Destinations to Visit in January 2021

As the cold weather starts to set in and with the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine, travel is starting to look more appealing than ever. We are all familiar with the post-Christmas blues and have often taken to dreaming of exciting adventures in new places. Now, after a year of no travel, it feels like the right time to turn these dreams into a reality.

We’ve compiled a list of our favourite African destinations to visit in January to inspire you!


Season: Summer

Average Temperature: 27oC / 80F

If the wintery, grey skies are starting to take their toll, then planning a dreamy beach getaway will probably do a lot to lift the spirits!

Zanzibar is in its summer season in January and averages only five days of rain – the perfect remedy to rain-soaked winter! If you like diving and snorkelling, you’re in for a treat – the outlying islands of Mnemba, Mafia and Pemba make for fantastic diving this time of year.

You will also be treated to sunset boat cruises, fresh seafood, lazy naps on the beach and visits to old Portuguese villas and World Heritage Site, Stone Town.

When to book

It’s best to book as soon as possible because sought-after spots, like Pemba and Mafia Island, will have limited accommodation that gets snatched up quickly.

The Kalahari Desert

Season: Summer

Average Temperature: 28oC / 82F

January is typically the rainy season in Botswana, which is not ideal for wildlife viewing. However, because the Kalahari is in the south and because it is a desert, it does not receive the same levels of rain. And it’s not even that wet! On average, the rain falls over a period of nine days.  The rain works to your advantage here, as it transforms the dry, red sand into a green wonderland of life. You’ll see grazing wildlife and their predators in hot pursuit. Flamingos flood to shallow lakes and the air is filled with birds in flight.

Photographers will be delighted to discover the summer zebra migration – the Kalahari’s best-kept secret and a photography dream.

When to book

The Kalahari does not receive as many visitors as the other Botswana safari superstars destinations such as the Okavango Delta and Chobe. This means you should be able to get good accommodation at good rates without having to book as far in advance.

Southern Serengeti

Season: Summer

Average Temperature: 17oC / 63F

In January, in the Southern Serengeti, about 8,000 baby wildebeest are born each day! If the rains produced good grazing, these animals, in their spectacular numbers, will feed here until the next stage of the Great Migration. With the wildebeest, come their predators – lions, jackals, wild dog and hyena all add to the drama that is the Great Migration.

When to book

January in the Southern Serengeti is considered low-season. As a result, you do not need to book too far in advance.



Season: High Summer

Average Temperature: 24oC / 75F

In Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, January offers a respite from the rains with a short, dry spell. This makes it the perfect time to embark one of safari’s top bucket list items – a gorilla trek.

It doesn’t guarantee bone-dry weather because of the tropical conditions and the equatorial location. However, it be less rainy and make the trek much easier. The scenery is also spectacular!

When to book

All gorilla-trekking destinations issue a limited number of permits per day. There is also limited accommodation available. It’s best to book as soon as you make the decision to go gorilla trekking to avoid disappointment!

South Africa

Season: Summer

Average Temperature: 21oC / 70F

Cape Town, Cape Winelands and the Garden Route make for great South African summer destinations. The weather is as close to perfect as you’ll get making it ideal for spending days outdoors. Enjoy open summer concerts in Kirstenbosch Gardens, picnic lunches nestled in the Winelands, drives along the scenic Garden Route and swims in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

When to book

If you want to travel in the first half of January, it’s vital to book as far in advance as possible. This time coincides with school holidays so many local families will be out and about on holiday. The second half of January is slightly less busy.

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