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When to Go
The African cruise season lasts from September to May. Typically, cruises run 12 to 24 nights. However, shorter cruises are available, including those lasting three or six days. These shorter outings are ideal for people who want to pair an African sea adventure with a wildlife safari.
As for weather, it runs the gamut, depending on the location. For most of Africa, temperatures run high throughout the year. But they may be more moderate than expected in mountainous areas. The climates, just to name a few, range from Mediterranean to desert to humid. Within a country climate can vary. For example, the eastern Madagascar coast has a hot, tropical rain forest climate, but the far south can be very dry and might require a light jacket at night.
South Africa is cradled by oceans, accounting for its warm, temperate conditions. Its coastal regions are the warmest in winter, but there can be a striking contrast between the east and west coasts. While warm currents sweep across Agulhas in the east, Benguela shivers with cold in the west.
Keep in mind, too, that most of Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere. Seasons in these southern parts are the opposite of Europe’s and North America’s. So Mauritius’ residents, along with those in South Africa, get to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve sunbathing on the beach.
So when is the best time to travel to Africa? That depends on what you want to do and where. Whale-watching off the coast of South Africa is best starting in mid-June, for example, and October is good for bird-watching.