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In northern Tanzania, July is when one of nature’s biggest and most sought-after spectacles plays out upon the plains of the Serengeti – the annual wildebeest migration. The dry season here is a prime time for viewing wildlife gathering around rivers and watering holes. The same goes for neighbouring Zambia, where leopards and hippos can be spotted in the country’s uncongested parks and reserves. In Central Asia, the summer months are ideal for discovering the unspoilt landscapes of Kyrgyzstan, where rolling pastures and snow-capped peaks are reminiscent of the Swiss Alps. For awe-inspiring scenery, the western provinces of Canada are difficult to match; July is a great month to visit, when whales and bears can be spotted in British Columbia, and Alberta’s iconic national parks are at their best.
Northern Kyrgyzstan is a summer destination, with July being the ideal time for touring the mountainous regions. Given the range of landscapes and altitude – from mountains to arid desert – the weather can be still variable. It will be cold at night in areas such as Ala Archa National Park, but snow should only be visible on the highest trails and the alpine scenery should be vibrant with low rainfall. At this time of year you can experience an overnight stay at a traditional yurt camp near Lake Issyk-Kul, or walk comfortably in the alpine meadows of the Chon Kemin valley. Although it’s the least humid month in Bishkek, expect the low lying capital to be very warm. In July, local people hold small festivals to celebrate Kyrgyzstan traditions.
Tanzania’s dry season runs from late June until October; during these months, the southern and western circuits are the best to visit. The Great Migration in the Serengeti is a dramatic spectacle best seen in June and July, as the wildebeest move north towards Kenya. Hundreds of wildebeest try to cross rivers where crocodiles await them. As the land becomes drier, it’s easier to spot wildlife as it clusters at watering holes and rivers. The temperature at night can drop, so morning drives can be cold and it’s advisable to take warm clothes. Zanzibar is a perfect add-on to any safari, with temperatures in the mid-20s. The Indian Ocean is also in the mid-20s, making for great water-based activities such as snorkelling around the coral reefs.
The dry season in July is the best time to visit Zambia, as wildlife often emerges looking for water. The temperature is warm, but not baking and drops at night. It is also the time of year that Livingstone Island opens for visitors; this is where David Livingstone first caught sight of ‘The Smoke That Thunders’, the powerful Victoria Falls. It’s a spectacular place to view the waterfall, where the rising mists do not block your view, and at a time when the water levels are still high enough to create a dramatic impact.
Summer in Western Canada is warm and dry, making July an ideal time to enjoy the country’s lakes and mountains. Explore vibrant Vancouver, which has many events in summer, with the option to visit Vancouver Island – particularly popular for bear and whale watchers (April – September). Nature lovers will also enjoy nearby Whistler, with the Peak 2 Peak gondola offering remarkable views. Further into the interior you can spot endemic wildlife in the national parks, including Banff, Yoho and Jasper. The Icefields Parkway between Banff and Jasper offers one of the most scenic drives on earth, with the option to tour the Athabasca glacier via the Skywalk or in an Ice Explorer vehicle. Recommended activities in July include kayaking on the calm waters of picture-postcard Lake Louise, exploring the national park walking trails and journeying on the iconic Rocky Mountaineer train. On 1 July, Canada Day is celebrated with parades, picnics and fireworks.