Zambia's weather is best split in two: wet from December to April, and dry from May to November.
The best time to visit Zambia for game viewing and wildlife photography is May to October. March to May is ideal for experiencing Victoria Falls at their fullest and most spectacular.
Aim for July if you fancy trying some water sports on the Zambezi, or a dip at the top of the falls.
What is Zambia like in the rainy season?
Also known as the green season, the rainy months are December to April. While the vegetation is at its lushest during this time, it can hamper game viewing. Some of the animals also move away from the water sources they rely on in the drier months. It’s good to bear in mind that some lodges are affected by flooding and may close over this period. Be aware that higher humidity means more mosquitos.
The weather in November is often hot and dry with the odd patch of rain as the season starts to change. The north of the country is the wettest, and there are often thunderstorms in the afternoon through these summer months. The further south you travel, the less rain you will experience. The rainy weather means that the parks are generally quieter and some of them offer lower rates.
If you happen to be in Zambia at the end of the rainy season in April, you may get to experience the traditional Kuomboka Festival with the Lozi people. Held around the time when the Zambezi floods the plains, the festival marks the move of the Lozi king from his compound on the floodplains to higher ground. The sound of the royal Maoma drums echoes through the area the day before the festival.
Best time to...
Visit the Victoria Falls
One of the main reasons people choose Zambia as a holiday destination is to see Victoria Falls, so it stands to reason you’d want to visit at the best time of year. Aim for the end of the country’s rainy season, from March to May. That’s when the Zambezi River is at its fullest and Vic Falls are simply breath-taking. Whether you’re just there for the view and to bask in the spray, or you’re in the mood for something a little more adventurous like gorge swings or thrilling game viewing, the area makes for a memorable holiday. From June to November the water volume decreases, and the powerful, wide waterfall splits into smaller ones.
Go on safari
The best time for game viewing is during the drier months. The less dense vegetation also makes for fantastic photographic opportunities. If you’re visiting South Luangwa, aim for between June and October to make the most of open-topped game drives and walking safaris. At the end of the dry season, September and October, you’ll get the best game experiences provided you’re prepared for temperatures that reach above 40°C. Likewise, June to October is the best time to visit the Lower Zambezi National Park.
What is Zambia like in the dry season?
Running from May to October, the dry season boasts pleasantly mild daytime temperatures, although September and October get a lot hotter. The dry season is the best time for game viewing, but keep in mind that there may be little to no water coming over the falls on the Zambian side. You might need to cross over to Zimbabwe. The upside to lower water levels is the opportunity to go white-water rafting, or pluck up the courage to wallow in Devil’s Pool at the edge of the falls from around July.
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