Travel Tips

5 min read

December Delights: Top African Destinations for Festive Vibes & Sunshine

December's here, and you're probably thinking, "Where should I go?" Well, Africa's got some cool spots that are perfect this time of year. It's warm, welcoming, and packed with places you've gotta see.

Tobi Miles
April 4, 2024
December Delights: Top African Destinations for Festive Vibes & Sunshine

From sandy beaches to wild safaris, Africa in December is like a treasure chest waiting to be opened. Imagine chilling on a beach one day and meeting elephants the next. Sounds fun, right? Let's dive into the best places to make your December unforgettable.

Key Takeaways

  • Warm and welcoming destinations across Africa make December an ideal time for beach holidays, with top choices including Zanzibar, Seychelles, Cape Town, and Mauritius, each offering unique activities like snorkeling, diving, and cultural tours.
  • December is a prime month for wildlife safaris in Africa, with less crowded options like South Luangwa in Zambia, and the chance to witness phenomena such as the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
  • Cultural festivities abound in Africa during December, from the Marrakech International Film Festival in Morocco to the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival in South Africa, offering travelers a rich tapestry of music, dance, and local traditions.
  • Thrill-seekers have myriad adventure activities to select from, including sandboarding in Namibia, kayaking through Madagascar's waters, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and mokoro trips in Botswana's Okavango Delta.
  • Festive celebrations and local traditions in December provide deep insights into African cultures, with countries like Ghana celebrating the end of harvest and South Africa transforming into a festive wonderland with markets and the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival.

1. Breathtaking Beach Destinations

When December rolls around, Africa lights up with some of the best places to visit for sun, sand, and sea. With warm weather beckoning, it's time to explore the continent's coastline. Here's the scoop on where to go for the best beach holidays in December.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Imagine white sands and clear blue waters—that's Zanzibar for you. It's a hotspot, but you can avoid crowds by hitting up the lesser-known beaches like Paje or Nungwi. December is warm and just right, not too hot, not too cold. You'll find good deals on places to stay, making it kind on your wallet too.

  • Best Weather: Warm with gentle breezes
  • Fun Activities: Snorkeling, diving, and spice tours


If you're looking for paradise, Seychelles is it. With 115 islands, you've got options. December marks the start of warm, sunny days here. Perfect for beach lounging and sea activities. Seychelles can be pricey, but if you book in advance, you might snag lower prices.

  • Best Weather: Sunny with some rainy spells
  • Fun Activities: Island hopping, sailing

Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town in December is bustling with energy. The weather is fantastic for hitting up the beaches like Clifton or Camps Bay. Yes, it might get a bit crowded, but the vibe is infectious. Early mornings or late afternoons are your best bet to avoid crowds. Plus, there are lots of fun activities around, from hiking Table Mountain to exploring local markets.

  • Best Weather: Warm and windier in the afternoon
  • Fun Activities: Hiking, beach volleyball, surfing


This island is a December dream. Great best weather, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery. Mauritius offers a peaceful retreat from busy life. You'll find both luxury and budget-friendly options here, making it great for everyone. And, the island's mix of cultures means you'll enjoy amazing food and festivities.

  • Best Weather: Warm with little rain
  • Fun Activities: Dolphin watching, snorkeling, cultural tours

2. Exciting Wildlife Safaris

When December rolls around, it's the perfect time to pack your bags for Africa. But, if you're aiming for an adventure that's all about roaring lions, towering giraffes, and speedy cheetahs, you've got to plan your trip right. You'll find that certain spots are just magical for wildlife safaris during this time.

First off, let's talk about avoiding the crowds. Nobody wants to spend their safari stuck in a line of jeeps, all trying to catch a glimpse of the same elephant. To dodge the rush, consider visiting some of the less famous parks. Places like South Luangwa in Zambia still offer fantastic wildlife sightings but with fewer visitors. It's a simple trick to make your experience a lot more personal.

Next on your checklist should be best weather. December is a bit of a mixed bag across Africa; while Southern Africa is getting into its wet season, East Africa often enjoys a break in the rains, making it a sweet spot for safari goers. Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is a gem during December. Not too hot, not too cold, and just right for those long drives through the savannah.

Speaking of fun, what's a trip without some fun activities, right? Well, in December, you can add a few unique ones to your list. How about witnessing the incredible Great Migration river crossings? Or maybe spending a night in a luxury camp under the African stars? Many parks and reserves offer night drives and walking safaris during December, letting you see a whole different side of the wildlife.

But hey, what about festivals? Africa’s cultural vibrancy shines in December. If you're in East Africa, you might stumble upon colorful local celebrations that welcome the rains, a key period for the communities here. These festivals can offer a heartfelt look into the local way of life.

Let's talk cost of travel. December is peak season for many safari destinations, which means prices can go up. But don't let that scare you off. With a bit of research, you can find deals on accommodations and safari packages, especially if you book well in advance. Plus, the experience of seeing Africa’s wildlife in its natural habitat? That's priceless.

3. Cultural Festivals to Experience

December isn't just about fantastic weather and avoiding the big crowds; it's also a chance to dive headfirst into some of Africa's most vibrant cultural festivals. You're in for a treat with a mix of music, dance, and local traditions that you can't find anywhere else. Let's look at some of the best places to visit in December for a taste of Africa's rich cultural tapestry.

Heading to Africa in December, you've got the perfect timing to catch some unforgettable festivals. These aren't just fun activities; they're windows into the heart and soul of the places you're visiting.

First up, Morocco's Marrakech International Film Festival is a must-see. Imagine this: a crisp December evening filled with the stars of international cinema, right at your doorstep. It's a fantastic way to mingle with locals and celebrities alike, all while enjoying some top-notch film screenings. Plus, Marrakech's December weather is pretty much perfect - not too hot, not too cold.

Then, there's South Africa's Cape Town Minstrel Carnival. Picture thousands of people dancing in the streets, dressed in bright, eye-catching costumes, and singing at the top of their lungs. This festival kicks off in the new year but, the preparations and smaller events start in December. You'll be swept up in the excitement, trust us.

But, maybe you're looking to avoid crowds. In that case, smaller local festivals are your best bet. Many communities across Africa have their unique celebrations in December, where you can experience traditions that have been passed down for generations. These aren't always advertised, so ask around once you get there. You'll get the lowdown on the best spots to join in without the hassle of elbowing your way through a crowd.

Cost-wise, traveling in December can be a bit of a mixed bag. Yeah, it's peak season in many places, which means prices can spike. But, there are ways to keep your wallet happy. Look for deals on accommodations that offer festival packages. These can include tickets to events, guided tours, and even some meals. It's a great way to save money and see the best of what the festival has to offer.

4. Adventure Activities for Thrill Seekers

Hey there! If you're all about chasing thrills and experiencing the pulse of adventure, December in Africa is calling your name. There's no shortage of exhilarating activities to dive into. And the best part? You'll get to enjoy some of the best weather, avoid the worst of the crowds, and maybe even snag some of the lowest prices of the season. Let's dive right in and explore what adventures await you.

First up, ever thought about sandboarding down the massive dunes in Namibia? It's like snowboarding but on sand, and it's a total blast. Namibia is home to some of the tallest dunes in the world, offering you an unparalleled sandboarding experience. December brings the perfect weather for it—warm but not too hot, thanks to the Atlantic breeze.

If water's more your style, how about kayaking through Madagascar's clear blue waters? Paddle around Nosy Be to spot turtles and a colorful array of fish. Since it's not peak tourist season yet, you'll have lots of space to explore without bumping into other kayaks every five minutes. Plus, locals might even share secret spots that aren’t crowded.

For those who crave heights, Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro awaits. Climbing Kilimanjaro is no walk in the park, but doing it in December means you'll dodge the heaviest rains and enjoy clearer paths. It's a tough climb, but standing on the roof of Africa? Unbeatable. This time of year, you'll also find climb packages at some of their lowest prices, making it the perfect opportunity to check off this bucket list adventure.

If you're all about unique experiences, consider mokoro trips in Botswana's Okavango Delta. A mokoro is a traditional canoe, and gliding through the waterways, you'll get up close with hippos, elephants, and lots of birds. Since December falls just before the wet season, the delta is lush, but not yet flooded, offering a different kind of beauty and a more intimate experience with nature.

5. Festive Celebrations and Local Traditions

December in Africa is not just about the sun-soaked adventures you'd expect from such a diverse continent. It's also a time when many countries light up in celebration, offering you a unique chance to dive into the heart and soul of its various cultures. As you explore the best places to visit, don't miss out on the rich festive celebrations and local traditions that make December travel all the more special.

First off, you're in for a treat with the weather. December marks the beginning of summer in the southern parts of Africa, making it an ideal time for beach holidays and outdoor festivities. Countries like South Africa and Mozambique boast lovely warm days that are perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying the coastline without the high humidity of later months.

When it comes to avoiding crowds, timing is everything. Early December can be your best bet to experience the local life without the rush of holiday tourists. By planning your visit during the first two weeks, you'll snag some of the lowest prices on accommodation and activities before the peak season kicks in.

Speaking of fun activities, Africa in December is alive with cultural festivities. In Ghana, the Harmattan winds bring a slight chill to the air, making it a wonderful time for the lively street parties and colorful masquerades that mark the end of harvest season. Kenya celebrates Jamhuri Day on December 12th, a national holiday commemorating its independence with parades, dance, and music, providing a deep insight into Kenyan pride and heritage.

South Africa turns into a festive wonderland with decorations lining the streets and Christmas markets popping up in cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg. These markets are perfect for picking up unique gifts and trying out local delicacies. Plus, the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival on December 26th is an explosion of color, music, and dance that draws performers and spectators from across the globe.

If you're after something truly unique, consider Madagascar, where the locals celebrate the festive season with a tropical twist. Beaches become the backdrop for parties and traditional music, and it's not uncommon to see Santa hats paired with swimwear. Here, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: relaxing beach days and vibrant local traditions.


Exploring Africa in December offers a unique blend of festive joy, cultural richness, and scenic beauty. Whether you're soaking up the summer sun on a beach in Mozambique, dancing to traditional music in Madagascar, or immersing yourself in the vibrant street parties of Ghana, there's an unforgettable experience waiting for you. With the added benefit of lower prices and thinner crowds in early December, it's the perfect time to plan your African adventure. So pack your bags and get ready to celebrate the end of the year in some of the most enchanting destinations Africa has to offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time to visit Africa for a beach holiday?

Early December is the best time for a beach holiday in Africa, especially in southern Africa where the summer begins. This period offers lower prices and fewer crowds before the peak season starts.

Why is December special for travel in Africa?

December is special due to the festive celebrations and local traditions across the continent. It marks the beginning of summer in southern Africa, ideal for outdoor festivities and beach holidays, alongside cultural festivities in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

What unique experiences does Madagascar offer during the festive season?

Madagascar provides a unique tropical twist to the festive season with its beach parties and traditional music, offering a unique experience compared to the typical festive celebrations.

Can you experience cultural festivities in Africa during December?

Yes, December is a great time to experience cultural festivities in Africa, including street parties, national holidays, and Christmas markets in countries like Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa.

Is December a cost-effective time to travel to Africa?

Yes, early December is recommended as a cost-effective time to travel to Africa because it offers lower prices and fewer crowds just before the peak season begins.

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
April 4, 2024
A nomadic wordsmith savoring the world's flavors and penning stories that turn every journey into an epic.
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