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sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
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  #1  
Old 2 Mar 2010
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Season planning Southern Africa trip

Hi all,

i'm planning a trip of 5 months to tour around Southern Africa on a bike.

Looking at several weather charts about the temperature en perspiration I'm trying to plan my trip around the best time. In my opinion that is the dry season, because roads can get very bad. Dry season is usually hotter, i know. I like heat better then rain...

Planning to start in South Africa in april 2011, buying/preparing a bike and starting my way up:
may Mozambique & Malawi
June Tanzania & Rwanda
july Tanzania, zambia, botswana
august Namibia, south africa

hows that for the weather in your opinion?
And timeframe?
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  #2  
Old 3 Mar 2010
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Location: Cape Town, South Africa
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Quote:
Dry season is usually hotter, i know. I like heat better then rain...
The months you are proposing are the winter months and it can get below freezing at night in parts of Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. But it is the dry season, except for the Western Cape Province of South Africa, where it's the wet season (but then all of the main roads in the Cape are tarred).


Quote:
hows that for the weather in your opinion?
If you're on a bike, then those are definitely the best months for travel in terms of rain.

Here's a general rule of thumb guide to the rainy seasons that I compiled some time ago, bearing in mind that you can get unseasonal rain at any time:

Wet season travel is not a major problem in southern Africa, with a few exceptions: Northern Namibia, especially the Kaokoveld, Damaraland and the Caprivi, can experience flash floods, turning dry river beds into deadly torrents. Dirt roads in Zimbabwe are generally well surfaced, but the mountain roads in Inyanga can get very slippery. Some game parks are closed. Dry pans in Botswana become sticky vehicle traps after rain. It is a different story in central, east and west Africa. Short rainy seasons refer not so much to the duration as to the severity of the downpours. Travel is sometimes restricted in the short rains, but nowhere near the extent of the long rains. It is important to remember that these months are guidelines only: Rainy seasons can be early, late, shorter, longer, or fail altogether.

· NAMIBIA, ZIMBABWE and BOTSWANA: Rainy season late October to early April.
· MALAWI, ZAMBIA and TANZANIA: Long rains, November to April.
· KENYA: Long rains, March to May. Short rains, November and December.
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Old 4 Mar 2010
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Thanks for your reply.

Didnt know about the low night temperatures, that you dont see in the charts...
Thats why i considered to pack light and leave anything warm behind.
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Old 5 Mar 2010
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Here in Namibia in June-July it can easily go below zero during the night!

Also consider that this months are high tourism season.
You will get a lot of 4x4 on the gravel roads = danger and dust

For Namibia I can suggest September to November and March to May.

Let me know when you are in windhoek.
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  #5  
Old 8 Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkhelmet View Post
Thanks for your reply.

Didnt know about the low night temperatures, that you dont see in the charts...
Thats why i considered to pack light and leave anything warm behind.
Yup, it can get as cold as minus 10 Celsius in parts of South Africa, although I think the coldest ever recorded was minus 15 in Buffelsfontein. Around Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and the other "Highveld" (high bush plateau) areas, night time temps are regularly below zero in the winter months, but the days are lovely and warm. I have measured minus two camped on a dambo (seasonal wetland) in Zambia's Kafue National Park in June, and as Fela says, Namibia often has temps of below zero.

On the up side, you can buy excellent technical clothing (fleeces etc) in SA - look out for CapeStorm or First Ascent brands. They help equip our Antarctic teams.
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