If the wintery weather in the Northern hemisphere isn’t quite your cup of tea, then maybe it’s time to start thinking a little further afield – you know what we’re going to say here! Africa in December is beautiful; summer’s in full swing and many places are at their blissful best. Handily, this dreamy weather corresponds nicely with the festive holidays, so whether you’re looking for an African Christmas safari to remember, or just want to escape the cold for a dose of Vitamin D, we’ve got the best of December lined up below.
Kenya in December is dreamy, and there are several options on the table for a fabulous holiday. In the Masai Mara, the plains are green and grassy and jewelled with bushes, babies and plenty of birds. The short, summer rain showers clear the air for the most dazzling views of Kilimanjaro in Amboseli, complete with iconic elephant ambling across the foreground. And Laikipia has some fantastic private houses on offer (as well as some excellent animal action) if you’re thinking of taking the family on an African Christmas safari. Top it all off with some winter sun at Diani Beach and you’ve got yourself one of the best Decembers we could dream of.
Trip idea: Samburu, Mara and the Sea
Namibia is a classic, year-round destination with less extreme weather patterns than much of the continent, making it a big hit for an African Christmas safari. In December, northern Namibia would be our area of choice. Head straight up to Serra Cafema in Kaokoland and boat along the Kunene River (a surreal experience in the heart of the dry, wind-blown landscape), before seeking out desert-adapted elephant in the hills around Hoanib Valley Camp. End your trip with the ultimate flying safari along the eerily beautiful Skeleton Coast – at this time of year, the rain chases away the morning fog that drapes itself across the coastline making the views from your Cessna even more phenomenal.
Trip idea: The wildlife of Namibia
It might not be an African Christmas safari that’s brimming with wildlife, but there’s plenty to keep your mind off the plummeting temperatures at home in Cape Town and along the Garden Route. Start your December feasting with a few days in the Mother City, munching your way through some of the best restaurants in the world, and then walk it off with a hike up the iconic Table Mountain. Then it’s time for a Garden Route road trip – expect glorious landscapes and hidden beaches, bustling towns and quirky boutiques, and some seriously soul-warming weather.
Trip idea: Hit the road
December in Rwanda sees a break in the rain clouds and a whole lot of sunshine, making for pretty perfect gorilla trekking conditions. It’s not too humid, the temperatures hover around the mid 20s, the ground isn’t as mushy (that’s a technical term!) as it sometimes is earlier in the year. Take advantage of the blissful temperatures and explore the local villages, hike to the golden monkeys and visit Dian Fossey’s grave, then complete your trip with an African Christmas safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara or Tanzania’s Serengeti. Truly, a Christmas to remember.
Trip idea: The Big Six
Swap your Christmas tree for wiggling palm fronds, and mulled-wine under the mistletoe for cocktails by the ocean in Mauritius. Temperatures are at their hottest in November and December and there’s an almost guaranteed 6 – 8 hours of sunshine a day, so it’s the perfect time of year for some serious beach-lounging. But, if you’d rather spend Christmas at the top of a jungle-clad mountain or under the ocean, surrounded by Finding Nemo-esque schools of marine life, that can be arranged too.
Trip idea: Mauritius & Reunion In Style
Ignore the nay-sayers who say that Zimbabwe isn’t a great choice for an African Christmas safari; they’re wrong! The green season is in full swing and you may encounter a few thunderstorms along the way (they shouldn’t disturb your game viewing however), but the result is spectacular sunsets and shiny, fresh landscapes dotted with tiny babies and multi-coloured birds. And if everyone else listens to the rumours, you’ll have the parks and reserves all to yourself. Ideal.
Trip idea: Zimbabwe on a shoestring
Tanzania in December is the gift that keeps on giving! One of the best places to be for an African Christmas safari is the Serengeti; the wildebeest will be amassed in the south ready to give birth to their young, and the spectacle of a thousand tiny beasties stuttering around the plains is quite something. Combine this with a jaunt to the northern plains of the Serengeti (they don’t call it connoisseur’s season for nothing), for big cat viewing amongst the glossy-green bushes, and then over to Zanzibar for yuletide drinks on a snowy-white beach.
Trip idea: Animals & Islands