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Where are the best places to travel on vacation in January?

Nicola Shepherd By Nicola Shepherd
18 Jan 2022
Rwanda Gorilla trekking - Dennis Stogsdill.jpg

If you know the 'when' but not the 'where' yet, this expert's guide is for you! I am delighted to share with you my top recommendations for luxury holiday locations and experiences in January, whether that be in Africa, Asia or Latin America!

The following is simply a guide and I would urge you to contact me to discuss in detail the months in which you intend to travel, as well as where to because each country and in turn, each area, comes into its own at certain times of the year.


Africa's best countries and safari experiences for January

  • Game viewing in East Africa is wonderful all year except for May.
  • Game viewing in South Africa is good in the Cape in January.
  • Bird watching is excellent in Africa from September through to end of March. Migrant species return in November.
  • In Rwanda, the Republic of Congo and Uganda, gorilla safaris can be taken throughout the year, except for April/May and mid-October to November, due to the rains.
  • Mountain-climbing: January/February and August/September are excellent times to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Meru and Mount Kenya.


South Africa: Maputaland nesting turtles

See the nesting leatherback and loggerhead turtles on the beaches from December to February.

South Africa's Cape Winelands and coast

Perfect time to visit the Winelands and the coastline, as well as go on a wildlife safari.

Tanzania: Wildebeest Migration, Serengeti

Witness the Great Migration of wildebeest in the Serengeti from January to March, the calving season.

Botswana: flamingos in the Kalahari Desert

See the flamingos that flock to the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans after the rains from January through to March.

Rwanda, Congo and Uganda: gorilla tracking

Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking is wonderful from January through to end March.

Ethiopia: Festival of Timkat, Gondar

January is the best month to witness the festival of Timkat, Ethiopian Orthodox Epiphany, which is best in Gondar.

Kenya: wildlife, birdlife and marine wonders

This the perfect time to game view and spot birdlife in National Parks as wildlife gathers around water sources in stunning densities. Finish at a sublime beach banda and swim amongst dolphins in Lamu.

Asia's best countries and experiences for January

  • South of the Himalayas, Sri Lanka, Maldives: October-late April (certain areas affected by winter monsoon).
  • Game-viewing is best from November to June. Central Indian forests are relatively open after the monsoon.
  • Bird-watchingis amazing from October to April. Across plains and peninsular India, the post-monsoon period sees the influx of migrants which remain until April or a bit later.


The Maldives

Optimal conditions for diving, snorkeling, and the ultimate ‘sun, sea and sand’ experience in the Maldives

India: Jaipur Literature Festival, Rajasthan

Late January is an excellent time to immerse yourself into Rajasthan’s regal splendour and incredibly vibrant culture.

Sri Lanka: wildlife and culture

January is one of the best times to visit Sri Lanka, especially for whale-watching, birding, wildlife safaris, awe-inspiring monuments and lush tea plantations.

India: Andaman Islands

Indulge in world-class snorkeling, scuba diving and deep sea fishing around the remote Andaman Islands

Laos and the majestic Mekong

One of Southeast Asia’s finest hidden gems, Laos epitomises the beauty of ‘slow travel’.

Vietnam: North and South Vietnam

January is wonderful in Vietnam, especially for a river cruise on the Mekong between the Mekong Delta and Phnom Penh.  

Thailand: historic monuments and lush scenery

River cruises between the Golden Triangle region in Thailand and Luang Prabang in Laos are perfect in January.

India: Kerala and South India

January is a wonderful time to explore Kerala’s pristine backwaters and coastline, and Tamil Nadu and Karnataka’s astounding monuments.

India: International Kite Festival, Gujarat

The world’s finest kite flying festival on 14th January in Ahmedabad, Western India. Also perfect for seeing flamingos in Kutch and Asiatic Lions in Gir.

India: Kolkata’s cultural heritage and Darjeeling’s tea estates

For the history buffs: discover West Bengal’s rich colonial charm and enjoy a ride on Darjeeling’s heritage mountain train.

China: Harbin Ice Festival

China's Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival officially opens on the 5th January each year. 

Latin America's best countries and experiences for January

Latin America is wonderful in Janaury, with high summer in South and Central America and a dry season in the Central Highlands. 

  • South and Central America (with the exception of Peru and Bolivia) experience High Summer.
  • The far south is also at its most temperate so Patagonia is beautiful to visit at this time of year.
  • The Highlands of Central America are at their driest so hiking is perfect, as well as visiting Mayan sites.


Patagonia: high summer

The warmest time in the far south so perfect for horse riding or trekking in Patagonia.

Colombia: The Hay Festival

The beautiful colonial walled city of Cartagena on the Caribbean coast of Colombia plays host to the largest literary festival on the continent.

Galápagos Islands: sailing and on land

The warmest time, between 25-30˚C, perfect for hiking and wildlife-spotting. The sea is calmest this time of year so perfect for yacht holidays.


If you would like any more information about any of these locations in Africa, Asia or Latin America, you can get in touch with me at [email protected] . Alternatively, if you would just like to dream for now, you can do so at our Video Library.


Top image (gorilla) by kind courtesy of Dennis Stogsdill.