Best Time To Hunt ?

Michael Dean

AH enthusiast
Dec 26, 2015
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WHat's the best time of the year to hunt South Africa?
That depends upon a lot of variables. Best prices normally are for hunts in Oct./Nov. but the weather will be HOT. If you want a Kudu it's best to hunt during the rut which is usually late May early June. July to early August is normally the coolest. The best time will vary depending on what animals you want to hunt.
Yes it depends on what you want to hunt but if you don’t mind some heat late Year can be great. My first hunt was in March and there were no problems.
Been there April lot of greenery still May, June, good hunting ,September good as well.

Talk to your outfitter they know best season for what your after.
May has been good to me the last 2 years. I'm a few years from my next trip but I'll likely try for September. I dont think there is a bad time of year to hunt Africa. I think for bowhunters july and august are optimal due to decreased water in the bush though.
Late in the year it's hot. As the new year turns you starting moving into their Autumn and the weather cools off. But you risk rain. That risk remains until the end of May when rainfall diminishes greatly. June and July will be coldest, but that's when hunting is supposed to be done in my book. Foliage will be thinner for certain allowing you to see game better, but that also means it can see you better.

So for weather conditions I personally prefer June. And as mentioned in early June you'll still have rutting activity.

One thing I can say for October is that's calving season. It's a treat to see all the new babies running around.
Its definitely a melting pot if variables and depends a lot in the species you are after and what area you will be hunting
Because of the diversity of species in south africa there is basically a species calving almost every month
So decide what species you after, what area you are keen to hunt and then ask your outfitter what he thinks
Most hunting is done from march through to september

Been there in late May, late June and early September. They’re all great! I like hunting night critters as part of my hunt, so May and September were a bit more comfortable at night. There definitely are fewer leaves in September to look through.
The different months all have good reasons for hunting them. I personally am a fan of hunting during the dark phase of the moon no matter what month it is. JMO
No straight forward answer to this one.

South Africa has a lot of diverse terrain and habitat and hunting areas can vary considerably.

What are your primary species? This answer will determine not only the best time to hunt but also the best place to hunt.

Discuss with whomever you will be hunting your species and they will sure be able to help you make the best decision.

Use a reputable outfit, as some characters may well tell you what you want to hear just to book the hunt.
That depends upon a lot of variables. Best prices normally are for hunts in Oct./Nov. but the weather will be HOT. If you want a Kudu it's best to hunt during the rut which is usually late May early June. July to early August is normally the coolest. The best time will vary depending on what animals you want to hunt.

Quick question: I was thought the Kudu rut was from the end of April to the beginning of May down in South Africa? Is it such a large place that it has different parts in different rut times?
I've hunted June , Jul, Aug, Sept. and Oct in SA and I am leaning towards Sept. and being best in the northern part of the country, I am sick of the infamous Aug. winds that seem to start in mid July thru Aug. The days are a little longer and it's a bit warmer.
As the popular say goes, everyday in the hunting fields is a good day, but there are indeed a couple objective criteria to integrate in the decision making process.

South Africa is essentially 6 months apart from the US when it comes to seasons. We are high in the northern hemisphere, they are low in the southern hemisphere. Our coldest months are their hottest months, and vice-versa. What this means in practical terms is that if you are familiar with the American West (Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, etc.) you will find a lot of similarities with South Africa ... offset by 6 months.
June/July/August in Eastern Cape will be very similar, for example, to December/January/February in Arizona, Nevada, etc. - excluding the highest elevations which South Africa generally does not have, compared to the US: I am talking about thousands of square miles above 10,000 ft for example. You will have occasional white frost at night in middle elevations with shirt-sleeve weather during sunny days, and fleece or puffer vest appreciated on cool mornings and evenings.
Conversely, December/January/February in southern Africa can be painfully hot (and wet) and game activity may be reduced to early and late hours only, with game (and hunters) panting in the shade during the middle of the day, which reduces the hunting opportunities.

Location / elevation
South Africa is again similar to the Western US: many of the best hunting locations are located at fairly high elevation in high plateaus or mountains. The Waterberg Mountains of Limpopo Province in the North, for example, have an average elevation of 2,000 ft and go as high as 6,500 ft; the Stormberg Mountains culminate at over 11,000 ft in the Eastern Cape Province in the South; and the Free State, in between, is located on the Highveld plateau rising to elevations of 6,000 ft in the East and sloping to 4,000 ft in the West.
Each general area will have much diversity with warm valleys and cold mountains, so you really want to know exactly where you will go as, like in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, etc. 100 miles can make a dramatic difference in relief, elevation, vegetation, temperature, ecosystem, game species and density, etc.

Combined latitude (seasons) and altitude (elevation), as well as ocean proximity or lack thereof, drive the weather in South Africa.
I personally use to get a month by month Climate Summary, Average High and Low Temperature, Cloud cover, Precipitations, Humidity, Wind, etc. of the closest town to the concession I will be hunting. It has proved remarkably helpful in selecting when to go and what to bring. Here is an example for Queenstown, Eastern Cape:
November to March will typically be the rainy months, with daily chance of precipitations going as high as 40%
December to February will typically be the hottest month, with daily temperature approaching the low 90F.

Game rut season
Many species of antelopes are in rut in the April/May time frame, South Africa's fall. Like with deer or elk rut in the US, the dominant males are prominently active and this creates many stalking opportunities.

Peak season
Many folks decide to go in the March to June time frame, with April/May being often the peak season. These are great months in term of autumn weather (dry, although April can still be occasionally wet, and warm, but not too hot) and in term of game activity (rut).
Consequently, this is the busiest season and hunting camps and lodges may be crowded.
From a financial perspective, prices may be more attractive at the low season in the November to February time frame in places that are hunting all year long.

Best time to hunt?
It is all a matter of personal preference.
Some prefer the warm days of autumn (March/May) with rut activity, and they do not mind a higher hunting pressure.
Others prefer the cool days of winter (June/August) and lower hunting pressure.
Others yet prefer the heat of summer (December to February) and do not mind an occasional shower for a different African experience.
I personally prefer the African winter months (July and August), because they are more like late Autumn weather in America and Europe, crisp in the morning and gently warm during the day, not too hot for either human and animals, with reasonable game activity most of the day, lower hunting pressure, and fewer hunters in camp.

Bottom line
As many said, above here, discuss with your outfitter and state candidly your likes and dislikes and the ranking of your priorities. There are many options...

I hope this helps in giving you the reasons behind the choices :)
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Pretty sure April/May is not peak season in SA. Went mid may the past 2 years and was the first hunter of the season at each place. June through early August is what I'd consider peak season.
Hunted Zim the first two weeks of September in 2013. The first week had highs in the low 80’s F. Second week was in the high 80’s to low 90’s F. Mornings were in the 50’s.
Hunted Namibia last year, the first two weeks of July. Days ranged from 50’s to 70 F. Mornings from high 20’s F to 40’s.
However, prioritize what animals you want and ask the outfitter when would be the best time to hunt these animals.
The main thing... Just go and have fun on the hunt of a lifetime!
Depending upon quarry.... personally I like May & September, dark moon.
Depending upon quarry.... personally I like May & September, dark moon.

BWH, I’m inclined to agree with you. There may be a day or two of rain in May, but the days are a bit longer in May and September.
I prefer September, flights are not as full, and much cheaper.

Weather ? who knows, I´ve had warmth one year and cold the next, in the same area, even some rain. But who cares, it won´t be extreme temps.

It is also the end of the season, and your friendly outfitter may have some special offers :whistle:
I've hunted the Eastern Cape the last two years in mid April and the weather was just about perfect. Short sleeves and shorts if you like. Most days were in the 60 to 70 F range. I talked with my outfitter yesterday about my mid April hunt and he said that's the start of the rut and the hunting will be very good. I live in NV and our April is their October. Cool nights and mornings and nice days. It can get windy in the open country where we chase springbok and I've had to pass on some shots. But any way you look at it a day of hunting is a good day.

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