Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Regional Forums > sub-Saharan Africa

sub-Saharan Africa Topics specific to sub-Saharan Africa. (Includes all countries South of 17 degrees latitude)
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 2 Mar 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 47
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?
Reply With Quote
Old 3 Mar 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 17
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).

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 4 Mar 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 47
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.
Reply With Quote
Old 5 Mar 2010
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Windhoek - Namibia
Posts: 27
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.
Reply With Quote
Old 8 Mar 2010
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Posts: 17
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.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
What bike to buy in Dakar for novice planning trip in West Africa Zander Which Bike? 3 5 Nov 2008 20:58
Southern Africa Trip Renato Braz sub-Saharan Africa 7 16 Oct 2006 10:38
trip planning from south africa to Uganda canuck Route Planning 0 23 Oct 2004 11:30
Planning a trip to south africa overland and back kiwijim 4WD Overland TRAVEL 9 26 Feb 2004 17:11
Africa trip planning arvo+beers,London(richmond river) 2PM Galloping Gazza Route Planning 4 4 May 2003 03:24


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events


HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Scottoiler automatic chain oilers. The most important accessory for your next motorcycle adventure!

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 06:21.