After the peak in summer temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere and with kids back at school, September is the perfect time to enjoy lovely weather without the peak season crowds and prices. Europe is great to visit with warm, dry days while pretty much the whole of Africa is primed for safari adventures. The monsoon rains are still affecting much of Southeast Asia but there's autumn festivals to tempt you for a visit. It's also a great time to visit the Middle East as temperatures dip to a more bearable number.
Whether you're a nature lover or sun worshipper, there's plenty of choice when it comes to destinations in September. To help you plan your September 2017 holiday we've put together our recommended destinations and experiences as well as our choice of beaches and wildlife hot spots that are perfect at this time of year.
Every month of the year holds its own unique offering of special events and festivals. In the Northern Hemisphere many cultures celebrate the harvest with autumn festivals while in the south people gather to celebrate the local wildlife.
When? 4th October 2017*
September is when the Chinese celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with lanterns, shrine worship and plenty of delicious treats. The most popular treat is a mooncake, round pastries with sweet red bean paste inside that are gifted to family and friends. The festival is held on the full moon on the 15th day of the 8th month of China’s lunar calendar each year, which falls somewhere between late September and early October.
* The festival mostly occurs in September
When? 20th Sep - 4th Oct
Nepal's longest and most notable festival is a 15-day long event that celebrates the victory of Ramayan and goddess Durga over the evil demon-king, Ravana. The celebration is rooted in Hindu mythology and Nepalese mark the occasion with kite flying and colourful temple processions. It's a time for house cleaning and for friends & family to come together, play games, visit village fairs and share the spoils of the recent harvest.
Where? Hermanus, South Africa
When? 29th September 2017
Every year the coastal town of Hermanus in South Africa pays homage to the southern right whale with three days of ocean-themed activities and exhibitions. People gather to watch the migrating sea beasts and learn more about them. The event started life in 1991 and it's still the only eco-marine festival in the country. Visitors can also enjoy music, markets, good food and a Whales ‘n’ Wheels classic car show.
The Mediterranean is still good in September with temperatures starting to drop but still warm enough for sailing and beach breaks. It's still lovely along the eastern coast of Africa with plenty of destinations to choose from. The monsoon rains are drawing to a close across Southeast Asia but it's better to wait a few months more for the best weather in this region, while in Central America it's hurricane season so best avoided at this time.
The southwest monsoon that affects the Maldives between July and August has now moved on so the weather improves with clearer skies and less rainfall. As it's not the driest season of the year, prices will be reasonable and availability better. It's a good time for surfing and diving is also good on the Western sides of an atoll (coral island) with more plankton and greater chances of encountering dolphins and mantas after the heavier rains.
Croatia's peak holiday season is now over as children across Europe return to school yet the Mediterranean weather is still balmy with pleasant temperatures, warm waters and minimal rainfall. Prices drop a little at this time of year so you can still enjoy a sailing trip without breaking the bank with plenty of opportunities to relax on sandy beaches and explore historic cities along the coast. There's also the added bonus of much thinner crowds across the country.
Spanning a distance of 1,200 miles from the Mediterranean in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, Morocco has plenty of coastline to plan the perfect beach break. From Tangier to Agadir, there are plenty of accommodation options and September is the perfect time to visit with hot but bearable temperatures and little rainfall. The more popular resorts are also well-connected with international airports and there are many historic cities to explore.
Sri Lanka's pristine coast on the northeast side of the island is experiencing its last good month of weather in September before the monsoon hits the region. Now's the time to plan a visit to Arugam Bay and the coastline north of Trincomalee with warm weather and little rainfall. It's still wet on the other side of the island but it's still possible to visit Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle and its many ancient marvels as well as the national parks.
The dry season continues across Africa with minimal rainfall and hot temperatures. It's been a few months since the last rains so the foliage is sparse, making it the perfect time to visit for a wildlife safari and you can take your pick as it's the same story from Kenya down to South Africa. Elsewhere it's a great time for jungle treks and fishing in the Amazon with low water levels, while Sri Lanka's famous elephant gathering is taking place in Minneriya National Park.
The annual migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle is a year-long journey with September one of the busiest months as thousands of beast cross from the northern Serengeti in Tanzania to the adjacent Masai Mara in Kenya. It's a journey fraught with danger, from the sheer drop at the river banks to the hungry crocodiles that stalk the waters of the Mara River. It's one of the best months to visit East Africa to witness the brutal spectacle.
Game viewing is at its best in Southern Africa as wildlife congregate around the few remaining watering holes after months of dry, warm weather conditions. It's a great time to visit South Africa with southern right and humpback whales breeding in the warm waters off the coast while herds of elephants start to come together in Botswana. Namibia's national parks are also ideal at this time of year before the temperatures soar.
Between June and November the Galapagos Islands experience a cool and dry season with rougher seas and this is the perfect time for diving as plankton and nutrients are scattered far and wide attracting larger fish and sea birds such as albatross and penguins. In September sea lions are also at their most active as the females come into season and the males begin their battle to win over a partner.
Madagascar becomes a bird watcher's dream in September with the start of the breeding season and arrival of many migratory species. In preparation for finding a mate, birds will become much more vocal, filling the forests with song, and begin to display their most impressive moves and breeding regalia. If bird watching is what you're after, book in advance as lodges in prime birding locations tend to be small and book up quickly.
Here's a selection of our tours that perfectly suit travel in September from lantern celebrations in Vietnam to unique mountain treks in Morocco.
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 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.
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.