9 reasons to go on safari

I don’t like to make a habit of setting my alarm at 5am, but I can make an exception on safari. In fact, on a recent trip to Greater Kruger in South Africa, I found myself bounding out of bed as soon as I heard the guide’s gentle knock at the door. A far cry from burying my head in a pillow like I normally do. It was the thought of seeing lions in the wild that made me, but there are many other reasons to go on safari besides that!

If you’re unsure whether a holiday spent spotting wildlife is the one for you, I’ve rounded up my top 9 reasons to go on safari. I’m sure there are millions more, but these are the ones that made me fulfil a lifelong dream and book one. 

Reasons to go on safari

Reasons to go on safari

1. See animals in their natural habitat

This reason should be enough, in my opinion. Where better to see wild animals than in their own environment? Granted, a safari still seems to be a bit of an invasion of their privacy but if they don’t like the look of you, they can run away. And anyway, it’s miles better than locking them away in a cage in a country that their bodies just aren’t made for. Do a solid and go to them instead. 

Reasons to go on safari

2. Learn more about animals from the people that really know them

All of the guides I have had the pleasure of meeting have been fantastic. At Africa on Foot, the trackers had all grown up in the bush and the guides dreamed of protecting animals from a very young age. This gave them a passion for their job that you just don’t see with other professions. You could ask them a question about anything and they would tell you the answer with a big smile on their face. 

Africa on Foot: Staff

3. Support conservation 

All safari lodges in designated national parks charge park fees at the end of your stay. Instead of an annoying tax, this fee directly contributes to the animals’ welfare through park maintenance and anti-poaching tactics. As you settle in to your game drives, you can be safe in the knowledge that you’re helping to protect the wonderful animals you’ve come to see. 

Reasons to go on safari

4. Support local communities 

The majority of staff at safari lodges are local to the area. In fact, five of the seven staff we met at my lodge in South Africa were born within a twenty minute drive of the park gates. By going on safari, you can help these communities by funding staff wages, buying local crafts in the souvenir shops and eating and drinking local produce. 

Africa on Foot: Staff

5. Relax

When you’re not out on a game drive, a safari lodge is a great place to relax. Most lodges have communal areas where you can read a book, have a coffee or watch the wildlife go by from the verandah. All are a great way to recuperate after early mornings and too much pinotage the night before. 

Africa on Foot: Drinks around the campfire

6. Make new friends

Safaris really are for everyone, meaning you’re likely to meet a very diverse group of people at your lodge. And they always have one thing in common – a love of animals. On our three nights at Africa on Foot, our fellow guests came from Australia, USA, Germany and France and we all had a great time drinking around the campfire, reminiscing about what we had seen during our day’s activities. 

Africa on Foot: Staff

7. Unique experience

The beauty of nature is that every safari is different. You’ll never see the same thing twice, making it an incredible experience each time you go. I know I’d much rather go on safari every year than stay at the same beach resort for a second time! 

Elephant in Yala National Park

8. Good photography opportunity 

Animals make fantastic photographs. If photography is your thing, you’ll be snap happy on a safari. Plus, the landscapes in national parks are just beautiful. Even if you don’t see any animals worth capturing, you’re sure to find incredible mountain scenery, lush forests and never ending plains through your viewfinder. Depending on where you visit, of course! 

Reasons to go on safari

9. Explore more than just Africa 

Remember that safaris shouldn’t just be reserved for Africa. I’ve had fantastic trips to see tigers and elephants in Indialeopards and deer in Sri Lanka, as well as lions and giraffe in South Africa. With a safari holiday, you’re spoilt for choice as to where you go. Try them all to see which type you prefer! 

Tiger in Ranthambore National Park, India

If my reasons to go on safari have convinced you it should be your next holiday, check out my review of Africa on Foot – a boutique safari lodge in South Africa – to start planning!

Have you ever been on safari? If not, do you think you’d enjoy it? If you have, where did you go and what made you book it in the first place? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below!

Pin for later >>>

Reasons to go on safari

Africa on Foot: a boutique safari lodge in review

Back home, I’m used to waking up to find my cat using me as a mattress. But, as I stirred from my bed deep in the South African wilderness, I was pleased to find the local big cats hadn’t had the same idea. I had just begun a three night stay at Africa on Foot, and I wasn’t ready to be eaten just yet.

I had dreamed of going on safari for years. My rose-tinted glasses conjured up visions of me staying in a comfy room, meeting friendly staff and encountering wildlife galore (only not in my bed). With such high expectations, whichever lodge we chose would have a lot to live up to. Luckily, this little gem in the heart of Klaserie Private Nature Reserve came up trumps on all counts. Read on to find out why.

Warning: This post contains a pretty graphic image from a game drive. Don’t look if you’re at all squeamish or an impala-lover.

Bush Walks

Of course, the main reason most people stay in a safari lodge is to spot wildlife. The opportunities to do this at Africa on Foot are second to none. As well as the traditional game drives that all safari lodges offer, Africa on Foot does what it says on the tin. The guides are trained to take you on bush walks, giving you a completely unique and close-up perspective on the wildlife.

Africa on Foot: Bush Walks

On our first bush walk, we learnt how to tell the difference between animal tracks, and all about the plants and trees around us. But of course, it was the animals themselves that we were desperate to see.

A close encounter

After about half an hour of walking through makeshift pathways and around stale elephant dung, we spotted three silhouettes moving in the distance. As we drew nearer, our tracker ducked down behind a tree and, in complete silence, encouraged us to do the same. We peered through gaps in the leaves, all vying to catch a glimpse.

And then the silhouettes came towards us.

Two young white rhino and one very pregnant mother crept up on us as silently as we had stumbled across them. We knew their eyesight was poor, but their strong sense of smell alerted them that there was something (us) hiding behind that tree. And they were determined to find out what it was.

So they came closer still.

Africa on Foot: Safari

My heart was beating faster than a cheetah can run, and I was ready to launch myself in the opposite direction. Only I couldn’t. Our group was completely surrounded by the three rhino, and there was no escape, even if I wanted to.

So I gave up worrying and decided to watch as the magnificent beasts sniffed and plodded along around us. They still didn’t know what we were, so our guides clicked their fingers to give them a clue. Yet, this seemed to intrigue them more than anything, so they took another couple of steps closer. Our guides had grown wary of how close they were, so they tapped their rifles to make an unfamiliar metallic sound.

And then they ran away.

Game Drives

That same day, we had another unforgettable experience on a game drive. Our guides had tracked a pack of wild dogs close to our camp. We followed them as the pack reunited and set off on the hunt for food. They were too fast for us to keep up, but the vultures circling overhead told us the dogs’ efforts were successful.

We caught up with them as they dragged their meal to a clearing and then let the vultures take over. Even for a vegetarian, that was a pretty special moment and one I’ll never forget.

Africa on Foot: Safari

Thanks to the abundance of wildlife in Klaserie Private Nature reserve, we managed to see all but one of the Big 5. It was only the elusive leopard that kept us guessing. That said, I know that lots of lucky Africa on Foot guests have seen one since.

Africa on Foot: Safari

Africa on Foot: Safari

Africa on Foot: safari
Africa on Foot: safari

Africa on Foot Staff

They say it’s the people that make a place, and the staff at Africa of Foot certainly made us feel welcome.

We got to know our tracker, Enoch, and guides, Luane and Chade, pretty well throughout our stay. They knew absolutely everything about the bush and the animals that called it home. Their ability to drive and spot wildlife in the distance, all while answering our questions and listening out for signals over the radio is incredible.

Africa on Foot: Staff

Unlike many other safari guides, they wanted us to have the best experience possible. They preferred quality sightings over quantity. This all helped us to see some truly incredible things rather than ticking all animals off our list. Each sighting was accompanied with an in-depth description of the animal – what they eat, how they live and how to tell the difference between male and female. I’m positively an expert now!

Africa on Foot: Staff
Africa on Foot: Staff

One of my favourite moments in the camp was when the guides joined us for dinner. They kept us entertained with their stories around the campfire. I could have listened to them for hours!

Africa on Foot: Drinks around the campfire

JD and three lovely ladies took care of everything back at the lodge. They greeted us with hot face towels and aperitifs after a chilly winter game drive. It was this attention to detail that we loved most.

Delicious Food

The food was just too enticing for me to take any photos. You’ll have to imagine the tasty, home cooked meals all served up from a tiny kitchen hut. The food is different every day, and the cooks will start the meal by explaining the menu first.

Africa on Foot: Food

After the morning bush walks, the lodge serves up cereals, fruit and yogurt, before a hot breakfast if you can manage! At about 2pm, the cooks provide a buffet lunch with salads and a yummy dessert. For dinner, there is a three course meal on offer every day at about 8pm. How they managed to find enough food to cater for a pescatarian, two vegans and a coeliac in the middle of the bush is beyond me.

Rooms & Accommodation

The majority of rooms at Africa on Foot sleep two people in rondevels: traditional African huts with thatched roofs. Only they’re a little more luxurious than that, with four poster beds, mosquito nets and little wardrobes.

I adored our room, Tjankbos. At first, I dreaded the outdoor shower, but this became its charm. We could watch the world go by while washing our armpits, and the beating sun made up for the shower’s very occasional lapse in heat.

Luckily, however, the toilet was indoors.

Africa on Foot: Accommodation

Africa on Foot: Accommodation

Each night, the lodge staff would make the bed and hide hot water bottles under the covers. They would also leave traditional African fairytales on the pillows to make going to bed even more enticing. The little touches were just adorable.

Lodge Facilities

Beyond the safari, there is plenty to keep you entertained in the lodge itself. Guests can swim in the pool (not recommended in winter!), drink at the bar or read books in the lounge. You can even head up to the treehouse for unrivalled views across the national park.

If you’re brave enough, you can even spend the night in the treehouse. Other guests raved about their experience up there. They were able to hear the animal calls throughout the night and sleeping under the stars.

Africa on Foot: Treehouse

Africa on Foot: Treehouse

Overall, our stay at Africa on Foot was the best three days of any holiday I’ve ever been on. People often ask me where I’d most like to go back to. I can hand on heart say this is it. And no, they haven’t paid me to say this. Africa on Foot is an incredible place to stay, and I’m delighted to be able to recommend it.

This visit was just the start of my 2 weeks in South Africa. Read my recommended itinerary to find out what else I got up to!

~~~

Now tell me, what’s the one place in the world you wish you could go back to? What made it so special for you? Let me know in the comments!

Pin this for later >>>

Africa on Foot - a boutique safari lodge in review

2 weeks in South Africa

“Two weeks? You’re only spending 2 weeks in South Africa?” My mum’s face was a picture when I told her my summer holiday plans. I understood her concern. With a history spanning 100,000 years, and beautiful scenery taking up 120,000 square miles, South Africa is a whole lot of country to squeeze into a short space of time. 

But, as a part-time traveller, I don’t have the luxury of unlimited travel, so I was damn well going to spend my two weeks wisely. 

Below, I’ve outlined the itinerary I followed for two weeks in South Africa, so you can do it too.

Day 1 – Fly into Johannesburg 

Try to get a flight that arrives in Johannesburg in the morning. That way, you can try to sleep off your jet lag or head out on a tour of Johannesburg for the afternoon. 

Stay: Safari Club, Johannesburg for a cosy garden room with super friendly staff and free 15 minute airport transfer. 

Day 2 – Safari in a private nature reserve 

A safari is a must in South Africa, so head to a private lodge or camp in Greater Kruger to spot incredible wildlife for a few days. The transfer can take up to 7 hours by road, so pack entertainment and snacks to keep you going. The scenery is pretty spectacular so don’t waste too much time sleeping!

When you arrive at your lodge, head out on your first game drive in the afternoon and keep your eyes peeled for the Big 5. You’ll have time for a sundowner before you drive back to the lodge on the lookout for nocturnal animals with the help of your guide’s spotlight. 

2 weeks in South Africa: Africa on Foot

2 weeks in South Africa: Africa on Foot

Have dinner in the main camp with the other guests and enjoy drinks around the campfire before bed. 

Transfer: Ashtons for a professional shared minibus service to a number of stops in Kruger National Park. Make sure you allow enough time, though. Our first driver managed to add two hours to our journey as he kept taking wrong turnings and ignoring his sat nav! 

Stay: Africa on Foot for the most incredible guides, beautiful accommodation and access to a private nature reserve. I have genuinely never recommended anything more. I fell in love with the lodge as soon as I stepped foot in it, and never wanted to leave. 

Days 3-4 – Two full days of safari

Spend two full days at your safari lodge, waking up early for a morning bush walk as the sun rises, and taking afternoon game drives as the sun goes down. When not out on safari, your lodge is the perfect place to relax and look out for wildlife that could stroll through the camp at any moment. After a cosy night sleep in your camp, you’ll be ready to do it all again the next day! 

2 weeks in South Africa: Africa on Foot

2 weeks in South Africa: Africa on Foot

Stay: Another two nights at Africa on Foot for delicious food and evening drinks around the campfire. 

Day 5 – Transfer back to Johannesburg 

You won’t want to leave your safari lodge, I can almost guarantee that. But, sadly, it’ll be time to go after your final game drive in the morning. Say goodbye to your guides and the wildlife as you see what else this beautiful country has got to offer. 

2 weeks in South Africa: Africa on Foot

The Ashtons transfer back to Johannesburg should take 5-6 hours so I recommend another night in the city before flying south to the coast. Upon arrival into Johannesburg, check into your hotel and relax…

Stay: Safari Club, Johannesburg for one more night. 

Day 6 – Fly to Port Elizabeth

The flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth takes just over an hour, but it’s chockablock with spectacular scenery and one of my favourite approaches ever. Coming into land at PE, you fly out over the sea and then gently descend over the lovely little town. If the flight is empty, you may even be offered a jammy upgrade like we were for just £25! 

If you arrive before 2pm, you could transfer to Addo Elephant National Park with enough time for an afternoon game drive. The park is home to hundreds of elephants, a pride of lions and the world’s last remaining flightless dung beetle. You could drive yourself around, or book one of the shared jeeps driven by an experienced tracker and guide. 

2 weeks in South Africa: Addo Elephant Park

2 weeks in South Africa: Addo Elephant Park

Stay: Addo Elephant Rest Camp for a bungalow right on the edge of the national park. 

Day 7 – Start the Garden Route 

After a final game drive in the morning, it’s time to make your way to the Garden Route. The Garden Route is a beautiful stretch of countryside, lush forests and rocky coastline in the south of the country. It runs for 300km so you’ll want to spend a few days on it. The journeys always take longer than you think. Every two minutes you’ll want to stop to take photos of the scenery. 

2 weeks in South Africa: The Garden Route

The Garden Route officially starts at Tsitsikamma National Park, so that’s where you’ll head first. It is THE place to be for adventurers and thrill-seekers. Along the trail to the park, you can leap off the highest bridge bungee in the world, but it was too windy for us to jump. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

2 weeks in South Africa: Tsitsikamma National Park

So, instead we stopped off to visit a 2,000 year old tree. Much safer!

Stay: Tsitsikamma Village Inn in the heart of nearby Storms Village. The hotel rooms are set in original cottages and buildings, laid out around a central courtyard and garden. 

Restaurant recommendation: Tsitrus Cafe in Storms Village for a cosy meal of homemade pizzas, local beer and cider. 

Day 8 – Explore Tsitsikamma National Park

Head to the National Park for the day to take your pick of wonderful activities. You could take a walk along the beach, hike up a mountain, go snorkelling, kayak, or head to the open fronted restaurant overlooking the sea and spot dolphins while devouring seafood. Guess which one we did…? 

2 weeks in South Africa: Tsitsikamma National Park

2 weeks in South Africa: Tsitsikamma National Park

2 weeks in South Africa: Tsitsikamma National Park

Back in Storm Village, you’ll be equally spoilt for choice for the afternoon. Go for walks in the woods, zip line through the forest, taste beer at the microbrewery, eat ice cream sundaes in the village diner and make friends with the local cats. Whatever takes your fancy. 

Stay: One more night at Tsitsikamma Village Inn to sleep off your adventures.

Restaurant recommendation: Rafters in Storms Village for a romantic meal on the patio. 

Day 9 – Oudtshoorn

Today, continue along the Garden Route to Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. You could stop off at a farm for a tour to learn more about the animals and visit incubation sites. However, if you pull over next to an ostrich field, you’ll get hundreds of the things wandering over to say hello! Save those pennies!

2 weeks in South Africa: Oudtshoorn Ostriches

In the afternoon, visit Cango Caves: a cavernous complex of tunnels and chambers filled with stalagmites, stalagtites and questionable formations. You can only go in with a guide to find out about the history and discovery of the caves. Apparently a farmer noticed his cattle were disappearing, and he tracked them down a massive drop into the caves! It was a pretty awesome moment when the lights went out to show how dark it would have been when he first arrived. You couldn’t see a thing!

After your tour, head back to Oudtshoorn to relax and wander around the sleepy town before dinner. 

Stay: Turnberry Boutique Hotel for large, comfortable rooms and a good, central location. 

Restaurant recommendation: The Black Swan in Oudtshoorn for tasty wine, delicious food and a wonderfully classy atmosphere. 

Day 10 – Stellenbosch & the wine region 

Get a good breakfast this morning – you’ll need it. There’s lots of wine coming your way today!

It’s quite a long drive from Oudtshoorn to the main wine estates, so sit back and enjoy the spectacular scenery. You could stop off at Ronnie’s Sex Shop – a little building in the middle of nowhere. The story goes that Ronnie sold jams and marmalades before his friends vandalised the sign. It’s now world famous but still has nothing to do with sex!

2 weeks in South Africa: Ronnie's Sex Shop

Have lunch at Rooiberg Wine Cellars where you can enjoy a glass of wine with your meal for absolute pennies. And it’s good stuff too! I could have stayed here all day, looking around the cellar shop and admiring the view from our al fresco lunch spot. Yet our day of wine had only just begun! 

2 weeks in South Africa: Rooiberg Wine Estate

Next, head to Simonsig – one of the more traditional wine estates in the Stellenbosch region – for a wine tasting. To celebrate my birthday, we were treated to a premium tasting of seven delicious wines. This included a sparkling wine that Tim opened by sword! The whole tasting was pretty special and something I would urge any visitor to South Africa to try!

2 weeks in South Africa: Simonsig Vineyard

When you’re satisfyingly sozzled, it’s time to head to Cape Town to round off your amazing two weeks in South Africa. You should arrive in time for dinner, and there’s an incredible amount of choice in the city. Find out where to eat in a Cape Town in my blog post, coming soon! 

Stay: Townhouse Hotel in Cape Town for a little bit of luxury in the centre of the city. 

Restaurant recommendation: Kloof Street House for a pretty spectacular meal in a beautifully romantic setting. Booking is highly recommended as we had to sit in the lounge for our meal, rather than the restaurant itself!

Days 11-13 – Cape Town

Spend another 3 nights in the Mother City checking out all it has to offer. Hint: it’s a lot! 

You could take the cable car up to Table Mountain, catch a ferry over to Robben Island for a guided tour, explore the colourful neighbourhood of Bo Kaap, drive to the most South-westerly point of Africa at Cape Point and while away the hours souvenir shopping, wine drinking and seafood eating at the V&A waterfront. 

2 weeks in South Africa: Cape Town

2 weeks in South Africa: Boulders Beach

My complete guide to Cape Town is coming soon, so keep checking back!

Day 14 – Fly home 🙁

Sorry guys, but your trip has to end eventually! Today, take a transfer to Cape Town airport ready for your flight back home. 

What an incredible trip! It was through doing this two week itinerary that I completely fell in love with South Africa. I found two weeks was the perfect amount of time to start exploring, but I’ve only scratched the surface. Now I have a much better idea of what South Africa has got to offer, I’ll certainly be going back!

Have you been to South Africa? Where would you suggest I go on my next visit? I’d love for you to tell me in the comments below! 

Pin this for later >>>

Would Be Traveller Pinterest Graphic

Where to eat in Marrakech

Marrakech is a bit of a foodie heaven. There’s something for everyone from traditional food stalls, romantic dinners for two or palatial feasts punctuated with the flick of a belly dancer’s hip. 

Yet, with so much on offer, it can be hellishly difficult to decide where to go. I’m pleased to say all of the places listed below come with personal recommendation from my friends and work colleagues and, now that I’ve been there and tried them out, my own personal recommendation too.

For those that want relaxed and authentic food

La Terrasse des Epices was recommended to me by a work colleague. As soon as we got there, we could see why. Shady tables were set all around the outside of a terrace overlooking the heart of the Medina. They even give out sunhats if you’ve been silly enough to take one of the tables in bright sunshine.

The food was typical of Moroccan dishes – a myriad of flavours and aromas, with a bit of French influence thrown in for good measure. It was our first taste of Morocco when we arrived, so we wanted to try something quite typical – stews cooked in tagines, served with cous cous. The fish version comes highly recommended! Everything was very reasonably priced and delicious too, so it’s definitely worth a visit (if not two!)

La Terrasse des Epices; 15 Souk Cherifia. Sidi Abdelaziz. Marrakech Medina; Website

Where to eat in Marrakech: Terrasse des Epices

For those that don’t want to leave

Thanks to the wonderful hospitality of Moroccan riads, you might not even need to leave your accommodation for dinner. 

For those that don’t know, a riad is a traditional Moroccan house that welcomes guests to stay. Nearly all of them offer breakfast, and I’d guess most offer dinner too. The one we stayed in, Riad Jnane D’Oh, was a beautiful example. With only four rooms the place was the perfect solitude we needed following hectic days getting lost in the souks and desperately trying to lose our tails (“you’re going the wrong way! It’s this way to my cousin’s rip off shop!”)

I’ll be honest, we only ate breakfast there but as there were more staff than guests, we were pretty much waited on with teas, omelettes, fresh fruit, traditional pastries, breads and porridge. To this day, it’s still the best breakfast I’ve ever had and it’s all because we didn’t want to leave.

Riad Jnane d’O; 28 Derb Arset Aouzal Marrackech Medina; Website (TripAdvisor)

Where to eat in Marrakech: Your riad!

For those that want to party

I was surprised to find there is quite a lot of nightlife in Marrakech. While some restaurants do not serve alcohol, others make it their selling point that they do. The Comptoir Darna is a huge restaurant designed for groups who want to eat good food in pretty spectacular surroundings.

I don’t remember the food that well, (and I’ve probably got the alcohol to thank for that), but the free cake and flowers from the staff to celebrate our anniversary was a special treat.

But to be honest, you don’t come here for the food. As soon as we had finished our main course, our table was completely cleared and a stream of barely dressed women descended the stairs to dance in on and around our table! Despite how crude that sounds, it was all done quite tastefully and we felt we had witnessed some culture there. Just be warned – the experience comes with some of the highest prices in the city.

Comptoir Darna; Avenue Golf, Hivernage, MarrakechWebsite

Where to eat in Marrakech: Comptoir Darna

For those with a stomach of steel

The Fna Square is an absolute riot of colour, smell and noise. You can’t miss it. And after being lost in the souks trying to find it, the wide open space is incredibly welcoming.

At night the square comes alive with food stalls serving fresh and tasty food with Moroccan roots. I’ll admit I didn’t get to eat anything from the market as my delicate stomach and vegetarian mind told me not to. But all around us, people were enjoying themselves sat up at the long picnic tables that separate the food from the snake charmers.

Jemaa El Fna, Derb Chtouka, Marrakech

For the romantics

Without doubt my favourite restaurant in Marrakech was in a hotel around the corner from our riad. La Maison Arabe is set in a beautiful courtyard overlooking a pool, with familiar Moroccan architecture, beautiful archways and exotic lanterns. It’s an incredibly romantic setting and that’s why I loved it. Tim and I had our anniversary while we were there, so it was the perfect place for a celebration. 

Of course, the food has to be good too, and La Maison Arabe certainly delivered on that front. The restaurant serves a mix of traditional Moroccan dishes and slightly fancier French plates if they take your fancy. We finished off with a yummy chocolate fondant that oozed as well as any other I’ve tried. Yum!

La Maison Arabe; 1 Derb Assehbe, Bab Doukkala, Marrakech; Website 

Where to eat in Marrakech: La Maison Arabe

~~~
Where are your favourite places to eat in Marrakech? Did you brave the markets?

Why September is the best month to travel

I used to hate September. When I was a schoolgirl, September saw me suffering from the back-to-school blues. When I started my job, September saw me suffering from the back-to-work blues. But now, I’ve been able to avoid the inevitable back-to-work blues by packing my bags and seeing where the wind takes me.

And that’s what makes September the best month of the year to travel.

Think about it.

The screaming kids are back at school, the tourist crowds have dissipated, and skyrocket prices have given way to last minute deals.

What’s more, September brings some wonderful conditions across the world that makes it even more irresistible…

South African safari

Perfect safari conditions in Southern Africa

South Africa’s dry season runs from May – September and is one of the best times to see wildlife in the national parks. Due to the lack of rain, the animals tend to congregate around watering holes and can’t hide from you behind bushy vegetation. This makes it much easier to spot some of the more illusive species that would otherwise flee at any sign of a tourist’s jeep. Plus with so many people back at work and school, the tracks are much emptier giving you the freedom to roam.

Marrakech in September

Falling temperatures in Northern Africa

Despite still being incredibly warm, Northern Africa sees a drop in temperature over the month of September. This makes countries such as Morocco or Egypt a great choice for travellers who aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. Also, if you’re visiting Muslim countries, September is the month of Ramadan meaning you’re more likely to get a table at the most popular restaurants as the locals abstain from food during the day.

Europe in September

Dry and mild weather in Europe

Europe is at its absolute best in September. It’s the month it’s least likely to rain, which if you’ve ever been caught in a Great British downpour or Croatian thunderstorm, you’ll know is a good thing. And with mild temperatures across a large part of the continent, you’ll still see the benefits of summer without the crowds or having to pay for them. Consider a long weekend in Spain, a few nights exploring the Italian riviera, or go crazy and do a full-on tour of the whole thing!

First chance to catch the Northern Lights in the Arctic Circle

Though not at their brightest, the Northern Lights will start to be seen in September. Plus, it won’t be cold enough for snow and temperatures can still achieve an almost tropical 8 degrees c! And while there’s only about 5 hours of sunshine a day, that still leaves 19 hours to see the aurora borealis. 

Asakusa Tokyo

End of the humidity in Asia

Although September can see some pretty hefty downpours in some parts of Asia (Thailand, I’m looking at you!), the last true summer month also sees the end of stifling humidity across much of the continent. Your best bets are China and Japan, where autumn sets in and you’re treated to bright red leaves in the trees and cooler air temperatures. Honourable mentions too go to India and Sri Lanka, where the monsoons are yet to start. Just be warned that Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is normally closed in September, so you might be better off waiting if you want to see the best of the country’s wildlife.

Spring in Australasia

While most of the world seems to be cooling down in September, Australia and New Zealand are just starting to warm up! Spring brings more sunshine, blossoming plants and flowers and outdoor festivals and events. It’s also a great time to go whale spotting as the beautiful animals migrate from the cold waters in Antarctica to the more temperate waters in Australia. Whale watching is great across most coastal areas of Australia in September, except Victoria!

Canada in September

Fall in Northern America

You’ll have seen photos of the orange leaves, crunchy twigs and malting trees in New England, well September is your chance to see them in real-life. It’s also a great time to visit the states you would otherwise avoid in the height of summer thanks to their blistering heat, as the temperature drops as much as the prices. The jewel in Northern America’s crown during September has to be Canada. The weather in comfortable and the autumnal scenery is even more spectacular than New England.

Machu Picchu

Shoulder season in South America

September is a month of balance in South America. The weather is typically dry and gradually milder, yet being such a vast continent, this can vary dramatically. The peak season for hiking the Inca Trail is over by the time September comes around, and most destinations experience falling prices as its visitors return home to work and school.

Hurricanes in Central America

Hmm.. maybe this is one to avoid.

~~~

Now all we need is for someone to invent a time machine so that we can be in all these places at once…

Where do you like to go in September? Have I missed any highlights?