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With the European summer in full swing, August is naturally a popular time to visit the continent. Consider the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, where the long, bright August evenings will provide ample time for getting acquainted with their historic capitals. Further afield, August is a great time to explore the rainforests and tropical islands of Madagascar; mild temperatures and less rainfall make lemur-seeking jungle treks a pleasure. In South Africa, the dry season (June - October) makes for superb wildlife viewing, with the added advantage of fewer fellow travellers. Meanwhile, August sits between monsoons in Sri Lanka, making it ideal for exploring the island’s lush tea plantations, ancient architectural sites and unspoilt beaches.
The Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - have an undeniable winter charm, but for those looking to venture beyond the sauna, the region is arguably best enjoyed in summer months. With up to sixteen hours of sunshine, it’s pleasant to wander around the historical cities of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius in August. Alternatively, travel through the thriving countryside, exploring the lakes, castles, palaces and gardens that dot the landscape. A variety of cultural festivals take place in the region throughout the relatively short summer including the Birgitta Festival, within the ruins of a monastery in Tallinn; and both Balta Nakts (White Night) and the Riga City Festival in Latvia’s capital.
Mild temperatures and little rainfall mean that August is a great time to visit Madagascar’s tropical islands, Sainte Marie and Nosy Komba. Sightings of black lemurs are plentiful at this time of year and, as the rainy season ends in June, the vegetation is still lush and green. Meanwhile, it’s prime time to spot dolphins and humpback whales that come to give birth and nurture their calves off the east coast. As the weather is cool and crisp in August, rainforest and jungle treks are comfortable and huge downpours aren’t as common.
The winter coincides with the dry season in South Africa. Although temperatures can drop quite low at night and on early morning game drives, August affords some of the best wildlife viewing all year. Animals emerge to gather around waterholes and are easier to spot as there is less vegetation, raising your chances of seeing elephants, rhinos and lions. It is also low season in August, meaning it may feel as though you have parks all to yourself. This is also an excellent time for an ocean safari, particularly in Hermanus where whales can be spotted within three metres of the shoreline. Additionally, the west coast is transformed by spring flowers, which have just come into bloom, turning the area into a dazzling carpet of colour.
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With two separate monsoon seasons, there is always a side of the island that you can visit with good weather in August. Weather at this time of year can vary as its inter-monsoon and there can be the odd short shower. The yala – southwest monsoon – is wettest between April and June, and the maha – northeast monsoon – between November and March. Temperatures on the coast tend to be mid to high 20s, while in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya they tend to be lower, between 15 and 20°C. August is prime time to spot leopards in Yala National Park, where you can spend a night camping out under the stars. In Minneriya National Park, Asian elephants gather around water tanks, making them easier to spot.
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