Best Time to Visit Sabi Sand
Best weather, game viewing & birding
The best time to visit the Sabi Sand may depend on your expectations and interests.
Such is the quality and dependability of game viewing in the Sabi Sand that it is considered a year-round destination. There are however two distinct seasons and the best time to visit the Sabi Sand may depend on your expectations and interests.
The winter season runs from May to October. It’s the coolest and driest period – especially May through July – and the most comfortable time to go on safari. The risk of malaria, slight as it is, is at its lowest in winter. Early morning temperatures dip below freezing in mid-winter but days are mild and sunny. The late winter months of September and October are often very warm with scattered rainfall.
The summer season begins with the onset of heavier rain in November. Increasing in volume and regularity, rainfall peaks in January – sometimes settling in for days at a time – and drops rapidly in March. Temperatures are hotter too, rising to a season average of 30°C/86°F; days over 40°C/104°F are not uncommon in mid-summer. Note that summer is considered the highest risk for malaria in the Sabi Sand. If you’re planning to visit at this time of year, consult a medical practitioner for advice before you travel.
Best Time to Visit Sabi Sand for Game Viewing
The May – October dry season is generally regarded as the best time for game viewing: the vegetation is thin and trampled which makes animals easier to see – especially since wildlife is often concentrated around waterholes and rivers. Waterhole game viewing is very rewarding in late winter – even from the comfort of your lodge.
But summer rains transform the Sabi Sand. Thick rivers now flow through a lush and flowering landscape full of birds and new-born animals. Antelope herds with young become targets for big cats and wild dogs, making the summer green season a great time of year to witness predator/prey interaction.
Best Time to Visit Sabi Sand for Bird Watching
Visitors to Sabi Sand in the May to October dry season enjoy plenty of bird watching. Most lodges have specialist bird guides and with 250 resident species, it’s a great birding destination during its coolest and driest time. But the summer rains attract a similar number of migratory species – brightly coloured rollers and bee-eaters, storks and eagles among them. Birders prepared to risk a bit of rain will find the November to March summer months the best time for bird watching. Wetlands and rivers teem with birdlife, and rainstorms often trigger termite swarms which attract huge numbers of raptors.