What Happens When It Rains On An African Safari? 10 Tips To Survive & Thrive!

Let’s set the scene…your dream safari trip is booked and around the corner, but its forecasted to rain every day. What happens?? Well, I am here to tell you that this exact scenario happened to to me last year thanks to some crazy, unseasonable rainstorms that came out of nowhere the day before we left. We still went forward with the safari and had an absolutely amazing time. So nope, rain will not ruin or cancel your safari, and you should certainly still go! That being said, here are some things you can do to prepare if rain is in your safari forecast based on my personal experience!

1.   First up, if it rains on your safari, you will mostly likely still go forward with the safari drives, with or without a top on the safari vehicle.  So, don’t worry, the safari will not be cancelled! Cancellation is the absolute last thing safari lodges want to do.

Our safari vehicle. It rained later on this safari drive.

2.   Most safari lodges/companies provide heavy duty ponchos in rain. I would confirm this if you are expecting rain or are worried, but it’s pretty common. If ponchos are not provided, Amazon Prime the most heavy duty poncho you can find before leaving, preferably with a hood. You want a big, durable one, so that it covers you and all of your belongings.

Dan in a rain poncho provided by Vuyani

3.  Rain makes a safari (where you are sitting in open hour for hours) much colder. Bring layers and dress warmer than you would normally if rain is in the forecast. Also, ensure you have extras of dry clothes to change into after the safer, including things such as socks! You may be very, very damp.

Look at those layers we are all wearing! And the lion in the grass!!

4.  Yes, you can see a lot of animals in the rain. We saw all of the Big 5 in the rain. Per our guides, rain can actually make sightings better, as animals congregate to the road ways used by safari vehicles because it’s not as muddy as the bush.

It’s raining lions!

5.  Rain can dampen some of your “extras” on safari, such as amenities. For example, we could not use the pool comfortably and some excursions from our safari lodge were cancelled due to weather. Be prepared with a back-up plan if expecting rain.

Missed out on using the in-room plunge pool due to rain. Still got to use the outdoor shower!

6.  Bring appropriate coverings for your cameras, etc. The rain is unforgiving and can ruin fancy equipment. While it may not need to be said, there is no where to buy such coverings in most safari areas.

Dan camering in the rain. You can see how wet it is. A more expensive camera could be problematic without appropriate coverings.

7.  Don’t skip the safari drives due to rain, especially if you only have a few opportunities to go on safari during your trip. We don’t regret a second.

We would have missed this guy otherwise.

8.  Sunglasses can help keep the rain out of your eyes when driving in the safari vehicle. Believe it or not, sometimes the safari vehicles move at a speedy pace when trying to get to a different location where animals are located. Wearing sunglasses in the rain protects your eyes from the rain during the drive (but you’ll then need to clean the lenses before use to see properly after).

No rain here, but I wore these sunglasses everyday, no matter the weather. Bring lens cleaners!

9.  If you go out of safari in the rain, or it starts raining, the safari will almost certainly finish, but maybe a few minutes early. The driver will most likely NOT call off the safari due to rain unless it’s truly dangerous. Be prepared if rain is in the forecast at all so that you are not sitting in rain for a couple hours.

Our trusty guides very prepared for the rain. Side note, they were out looking for lions…

10.  You drink/snack stop may be cancelled if there is rain. Its unfortunate, but its no fun having a drink and snack in the rain. Bring your own water, etc. if you will absolutely need something to drink something during a rainy safari. I would always ask the guide before brining food on a safari due to concerns with animals.

A sundowner in the rain, kind of. Anymore rain and we couldn’t have done it.

Leave a Reply