The month of August is peak holiday season with much of the Northern Hemisphere enjoying their summer holidays. If you're looking for good weather and plenty of history then Europe is a brilliant option, whether it's the castles and historic towns of Eastern Europe or the gorgeous beaches and islands of Croatia and Turkey. You're pretty much guaranteed superb safari opportunities across Africa with gorilla trekking in Uganda still ideal. The Amazon can be visited at any time of year but in August you'll find hiking and fishing best with clear jungle trails and low waters.
If natural wonders are more your thing then you'll find clear views of Victoria Falls after months of little rain and the same at Iguazu Falls where the waters are not at their fullest but the skies are clear and blue. It's scorching across the Middle East and North Africa with heavy rains across Southeast Asia and Central America so you may prefer to leave these destinations until the weather improves. To help you plan your August 2017 holiday we've put together our recommended destinations and experiences as well as our choice of beach break and wildlife hot spots.
Every month of the year holds its own unique offering of special events and festivals. August is no exception with music festivals popping up left, right and centre. If you're after something a little more exotic, consider one of these.
Where? Kandy, Sri Lanka
When? 29th July - 8th August 2017
The Esala Perahera Buddhist festival is one of the oldest and most impressive celebrated in Sri Lanka today. Commemorating the first teaching given by Buddha after attaining enlightenment, the festival is a spectacle of light and colour with parades of well-dressed elephants, musicians, dancers, singers and acrobats through the streets of Kandy. The sacred tooth relic, rarely seen outside the temple, is also carried through the streets
Where? Buenos Aires, Argentina
When? 10th-23rd August 2017
The seductive capital of Argentina plays host to the biggest tango festival in the world every August. That should come as little surprise considering Buenos Aires gave birth to the highly sensual dance that captivates audiences all over the world. Over the course of two weeks various performances and competitions are held in venues across the city, and there are also plenty of opportunities for beginners to have a go in class.
When? 11th-20th August 2017
The Buddhist-Confucian festival of Obon is a time for Japanese families to pay their respect to their ancestors. The graves and tombs of deceased relatives are cleaned and food offerings are made. In order to guide spirits on their journeys, lanterns are hung outside of homes and floated down rivers. For visitors a highlight of the festival is the colourful dances and parades held in cities and towns across Japan. It falls in mid-August.
Every seven years the people of the highlands in Madagascar honour their ancestors with a unique funerary tradition known as Famadihana, which translates as turning of the bones. As the name might suggest, families gather at the tombs of their ancestors to exhume the bodies, re-wrap them in silk scarves and dance with the skeletons to a cacophony of music. After the party, the bodies are returned to their graves and left in peace.
It's still summer and still peak holiday season in the Northern Hemisphere with much of Europe blessed with good weather and schools on holiday. This means the Mediterranean is still the best choice of beach destination. Southeast Asia is still caught in the wet season with rainfall and winds picking up across Central America, specifically the Caribbean coast. Temperatures are unbearable across the Middle East and north Africa but countries along the equator are still a good bet with a climate that varies little during the year.
Zanzibar's proximity to the equator means it experiences a largely consistent climate throughout the year with short wet periods. It's nice and dry in August, however, with fine days of clear blue skies perfect for the beach. This is a particularly good time for scuba diving in the waters surrounding Zanzibar, especially off the north coast.
August is peak season in Borneo and for a few good reasons. Firstly, this month brings the ideal weather conditions for a beach holiday at Sipadan, Lankayan and Selingan with dry, sunny days. Secondly, it's the season for turtle hatching so you can combine your downtime with a spot of wildlife watching. Book early to nab your choice of accommodation.
It's the height of the holiday season in Turkey and the beach resorts are incredibly popular. Temperatures are peaking at this time of year and it's a good time to simply relax along the coast with something of a breeze. With so many fascinating ancient ruins, Turkey's beaches can easily be combined with a little culture and ancient ruins.
Whether you prefer to stick to the coast along the mainland or take to the seas for the chance to explore a number of different islands, Croatia is a brilliant beach destination in August. Like Turkey, it's prime holiday season so prices are at their highest and availability at its lowest so get in early and secure your island-hopping August holiday in Croatia.
It's winter in southern Africa which means it's dry and sunny - perfect for safari. The Great Wildebeest Migration is in full swing so East Africa is also a great option with a more consistent climate during the year typical of equatorial conditions. Here's our selection of some of the best wildlife destinations around the world in August.
At any time of year there's at least one species of turtle nesting on the shores of Costa Rica. In August you will find green, leatherback and hawksbill turtles nesting on the beaches of Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast. On the Pacific Coast there will also be Olive Ridley turtles nesting around the Nicoya Peninsula. It's the wet season though so expect daily rains.
By August the larger herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle have all reached the plains of the Masai Mara. This is one of the busiest months of activity at the Mara River where thousands of animals attempt to cross the waters, braving vertigo-inducing banks and ferocious crocodiles primed for their next meal. The Masai Mara and anywhere along the Mara River are the ideal spots to be and watch the spectacle.
August means the winter dry season in southern Africa, which makes it the optimum time to head to the national parks of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia on a safari adventure. Vegetation is sparse after months without rains making wildlife more easily seen and with more and more water sources drying up, animals congregate at the few remaining watering holes.
At the heart of the Minneriya National Park in northern Sri Lanka sits an ancient tank, which serves as an important water source for Sri Lanka's elephant population when the rest of the region dries up. Every year between July and October hundreds of elephants migrate here to feed on the lush grasses and drink from the reservoir, making August the perfect time to see them in the wild.
Here's a selection of our tours perfectly suited for travel in August from cosmic marvels in the desert to cultural cities and rural countryside.
Our Active range brings you thrilling trekking and cycling holidays to some of the world's most popular destinations. Whether it’s trekking to the Lost City of Petra in Jordan or cycling around the Angkor temples in Cambodia, you’ll get to explore more of your chosen destination than just the standard highlights, either by bike or on foot. There will still be lots of cultural experiences and even the occasional wildlife encounter along the way. You'll need a good level of fitness and an intrepid spirit.
Group sizes are small and average around eight travellers. The accommodation you’ll be staying in reflects the off-the-beaten track nature of these trips with simple hotels, wild & fixed camping, homestays and local guest houses for value and convenience.
Our Adventure range takes you overland to the true heart of adventurous destinations. Whether camping in the Okavango Delta, staying in rustic accommodation in the Peruvian Amazon or camping under the Saharan stars in Morocco, this range forsakes just a little bit of the comfort of our Signature range, ensuring we deliver you the best value possible for your holiday.
Adventure tours takes you straight into the centre of where it’s all at, typically using local transport or overland style vehicles and stay at simple, clean and locally-owned guest houses, haciendas, eco-lodges and simple hotels to maximize the opportunity to interact with the locals.
On The Go's Signature group tours place local interaction and authenticity at the heart of your cultural travel experience. Upping the comfort stakes, this range is a clear cut above our Adventure range.
Appealing to a wide age demographic from the 20s to 60+, we maximize your days with excitement and awe and then bring you home to a comfortable 4* hotel with western amenities, air-conditioning, WiFi and, where appropriate, a swimming pool. Hotels can sometimes be of 3 or 5 star standard too, ensuring you get the best value for your holiday.
Visiting all the main attractions you’ll be accompanied throughout by our highly qualified English-speaking local guides too. Group size is typically 18 with a maximum for 28, apart from festival tours, where group sizes can be larger due to the one-off nature of these events.
On this range you won’t be joining other travellers, but will be on your own private itinerary. Accommodation, pace of travel and the style of trip is tailored to your individual needs. From pre-priced packages available off the shelf to fully curated tailor-made holidays, this range also includes our selection of one-night stopovers, day-tours and short breaks.
The Independent range gives you all the great service aspects of our Signature range with the flexibility to create a truly unique and bespoke holiday or adventure to a variety of destinations around the world.
On our Handpicked range we bring you the most iconic experiences in destinations where you’ll join travellers from other travel brands on your tour, safari or sailing holiday. Collaborating with our carefully handpicked portfolio of local partners, these holidays represent exceptional value and there’ll be plenty of cultural experiences shared with other like-minded travellers.
Group sizes and accommodation standards vary by destination where typical group size is 18 travellers and hotels, boats and safari lodges are of a 3-4 star standard.