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Ethiopia

October to December are excellent times to visit Ethiopia as the countryside is very green and pretty after all the rain, there lots of sunny days and the historical sites and monuments and are not too busy with visitors.

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Kenya

The rains usually finish by mid-month and landscapes often look their best, under clear blue skies

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Tanzania

December has the ‘short rains’ and temperatures are high except in the highlands in southern and northeastern Tanzania where it is relatively cool and pleasant. The migration is in Ndutu – southeastern Serengeti plains. December is one of the best times of the year for game viewing in the whole of Tanzania with the second half of December being very busy over the festive period. All the game parks offer excellent birding of resident species and Eurasian migrants. At the coast you may experience the ‘short rains’ but it is generally sunny with occasional showers September to March is excellent for big game fishing (marlin, barracuda, sailfish, tuna) off the islands of Mafia, Zanzibar and Pemba

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Mafia Island

November and December is the peak whale shark season. With diving options all available it can be a busy month in Mafia. Divers outside the bay may see dolphin, reef sharks or guitar shark.

Weather is warm, and short rains raise humidity slightly. Sometime Mafia can get very windy. Beautiful sunrise and sunsets. It may be necessary to sleep with a fan. Can sometimes be too windy for sandbank picnics

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Zanzibar

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Kilimanjaro & Mt Kenya

The short rain period extending to December often has thunderstorms that pass over the mountain dropping rain as they go. Typically the clouds disappear in evening leaving the nights and mornings clear with excellent visibility. December is a relatively good time for climbing.

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Rwanda

By December Rwanda’s short rains have finished and everywhere is wonderfully lush and green with wonderful green vistas when gorilla and chimpanzee trekking. There are plenty of activities along Lake Kivu and in Kibuye – December is a good time to hike or bike the Congo Nile Trail.

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Uganda

December is the start of the dry season in Uganda and is good for Rwenzori Mountain hiking, bird and wildlife sightings and rafting. Visitor numbers start to increase during December.

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South Africa

Head to: The Beaches are what makes South Africa so popular at this time of year. Just book your accommodation well in advance, especially if you want to spend Christmas and New Year in South Africa. The same goes for well know restaurants and local attractions. The key here is to good planning.

Avoid: If you don’t like crowds and queues, avoid the main cities (for example Cape Town city) and rather opt for staying outside the city, in one of the smaller quaint villages.

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Botswana

With the start of low season, comes fantastic green season specials in Botswana, making this a much more affordable destination for those on a tighter budget.

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Madagascar

December is the rainy season in Madagascar with late afternoon or ealy evening rain and a few roads are closed. Enjoy hot, sunny days with less visitors on the island during the first two weeks of December. Rice fields and vegetation are very green and scenery stunning with trees, plants and orchids all flowering and lovely colourful skies.

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Malawi

In December, crocodile hatchlings can be seen and heard. The high-pitched chirping sounds that they make alert their mother, that the incubation period is over. She then breaks open the sand-covered chamber and assists the hatchlings out of their shells by rolling the eggs between her tongue and palate. The mother crocodile then delicately transports the hatchlings in her mouth to the water’s edge and continues guarding them for two weeks.

The weather in December starts to cool down again and the occasional shower may occur in the run-up to the rainy season.

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Mozambique

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Namibia

During the rainy season large herds of plains game can be seen west of Okaukuejo

Rainy season is lambing and calving season in Etosha

Migratory water birds and waders appear at Fischer’s Pan

10 species of migratory raptors spend their summers in Etosha, including Bateleur and Tawny Eagles

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Zambia

The wild dogare seen more regularly again and the bush literally bursts into green overnight.

The skies are amazingly clear as the rain clears away the dust and fabulous light for photography.

Excellent cross over month where there are still plenty of predators, but the bush also looks alive and lush.

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Zimbabwe

Game reserves are quieter and prices offer good value!

The grasses and bush becomes greener and as the rains increase, there is a massive spawning of amphibians coming out of hibernation providing food for birds such as storks and reptiles such as the big banded cobras. The succulent grasses attract wildebeest and zebra who return in large numbers followed by predators taking advantage of calving herds. Haemanthus fireball lilies are dotted on the landscape.

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Republic of Congo

For reasons unclear to us elephants will often make a lot of noise at night in Lango. December is generally dry, but you never know what to expect in the rainforest. Gorilla treks during the dry season is easier on the body but challenging for photographers who often only has dull grey cloud cover to work with.

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Bhutan

Winter has fully set in and December marks the beginning of the ‘off peak’ season. The temperature will be around 19°C to -2.3°C. Days are shorter and high altitude trekking is again closed as passes become snow laden. Cultural tours are still possible.

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India

December is peak season and India’s parks are busy. Water has drained out of all tracks and it is the beginning of the winter months. The foliage is still thick. As the weather cools one starts to experience fog in open areas in mornings and evenings.

In the latter half of the month winter sets in with temperature ranges from 22°C to 8°C. Some days it can dip down to 1-2°C and wind chill factor kicks in. Days are shorter and winter safari timings kick in starting later in the morning, with a shorter break in the afternoon.

December is the beginning of the Snow Leopard Expeditions. Lodges and hotels will have blackout dates when (usually week starting Christmas to 5th January) prices will be at their highest.

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Nepal

December is second highest peak season – water has drained out of all tracks and it is the beginning of the winter months. The foliage is still thick and as the weather cools one starts to experience fog in open areas in mornings and evenings. In the latter half of the month winter sets in with temperature ranges from 18°C to 5°C. Wind chill factor kicks in and one has to be well clad for the drives. Days are shorter and winter safari timings start later in the morning with a shorter break in the afternoon.

December is one of the best months for photographers. Lodges and hotels will have blackout dates when (usually week starting Christmas to 5th January) prices will be at their highest.

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Sri Lanka

In December, elephant sightings at Udawalawe remain consistent. In the north-central province elephants begin to move from Kaudulla national park to Hurulu forest reserve, where encounter rates remain very good in the late afternoon. More elephants are also encountered in Yala and Kumana during the wet season.

Yala become busy and congested due to heavy tourist traffic in December. Villus will be overflowing in Wilpattu making sightings difficult. Yala may provide more sightings, best option would be to use accommodation from Katagamuwa entrance to avoid queues at the Palatupana gate.  Chance encounters are also possible at Kumana where there are hardly visitors, however wet conditions make it more difficult for watching leopards.

Sloth bear sightings can be very difficult during wet season however there may be chance encounters in the early mornings or late afternoons at Yala and Wilpattu. Encounters would probably be slightly better at Wilpattu on the main road. Yala is expected to be heavily congested due to tourist traffic.

Usually, a consistent month for sightings of blue whales off Mirissa. Trincomalee is off access due to north east monsoon. Chance encounters may be possible off Kalpitiya if heading further away from the dolphin line.

Kalpitiya would be the best location from December to mid-April for dolphin watching – large pods of spinner dolphins numbering 500+ individuals can be seen on most days. Encounters also occur on most mornings off Mirissa.

Mannar region is a very special avi-faunal region in Sri Lanka and a key entry point for the migratory birds that arrive through the eastern flyway. December is the best time to visit the island to watch and photograph the migratory birds in Mannar and Jaffna Peninsula and generally is a good time for wildlife viewing in Udawalawe, Yala, whales in Mirissa, scuba diving and Sinharaja rainforest for endemics.

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Seychelles

The temperature in December averages about 30 celsius. It is one of the wetter months in Seychelles and tropical showers are more common at this time. Howerver the seas are nice and calm making for great snorkling, diving, fishing and island hoping between the 115 islands.

Bird watchers can still catch the migration of numerous birds on route to their final destinations hundreds of miles away. The best place to see them is on Bird island. Whale Sharks can be found all year around the Islands, but peak sightings are October through January.

Hawksbill turtles are still laying. On some of the outer islands, laying between October and December increases daily until it is possible to record 4 – 5 new nests daily. Eggs laid in early October begin to hatch in early December.

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Maldives

Temperature between 27-31 degrees Celsius approximately

Calm winds, calmer waters with Lower chance of rain

Wildlife to be spotted: Turtles / Reef Sharks / Eagle-Sting Ray / Whale Sharks

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Mauritius

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