October marks the final month of the dry season in southern Africa and this is an awesome time to see huge herds of elephant, zebra, buffalo and other wildlife that gather around the diminishing water holes and trickling rivers. Vegetation is increasingly sparse which makes it much easier to spot wildlife. October is also the last month of the year to enjoy a walking safari in Zambia. And for those of us who find the Zambezi Valley pure magic, it’s the last chance to watch the brilliant red sun disappear from the sky into the mighty Zambezi River against the backdrop of the escarpment.
The migratory birds begin to make their way south, from the northern hemisphere, so it’s a fantastic time to be on safari if you are an avid twitcher. It’s nice and warm throughout Africa in October (in fact it can be very hot), so no need for hot-water bottles and down jackets for the game drive.
In Kenya’s Masai Mara the huge herds of migrating zebra and wildebeest begin to look towards the Serengeti border for greener pastures as they slowly filter back to Tanzania by the end of October. Book your safari in the right place this time of year and you get the migration all to yourself! On the East African coast, it’s turtle season, and Mnemba Island in particular is a gorgeous spot to enjoy this phenomenon from.
October Festivals and Events…
Early October — Hermanus Whale Festival is an annual event celebrating the sighting of the Southern Right Whales with fine food, crafts and good family fun.
Mid October — Felabration is a weeklong celebration of Afro-beat legend Fela Kuti which takes place in Lagos around his birthday on October 15th inclusive of concerts, exhibitions and plenty of good music.
Late October – Erfoud Date Festival in Morocco celebrates the harvest of more than a million date palms annually. Local tribesmen come together for a 3-day festival dedicated to the sticky and delicious date. Berber tents play host to traditional dancing, food and music. There’s also a dromedary race, which shouldn’t be missed.
3rd Week October — Abu Simbel Sun Festival, is believed to signify the birthday of Ramses II and the day he ascended to the throne. When the sun enters the temple at dawn, the rays illuminate the statues at the back wall only, except for Ptah, the god of the underworld.
Late October — Kreol Festival, Seychelles is the biggest festival of the year and celebrates Kreol culture, food and fun all around Mahe island.
October/November – Diwali, is one of the most important festivals in the Hindu Calendar. Hindu communities celebrate this festival of light throughout East and Southern Africa.
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