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Zambia Travel Guide Zambia

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​Best Time To Visit – Zambia

Philip Briggs

Philip has traveled through Zambia several times and is the author of more than 20 guidebooks to various African destinations.

Philip is the Zambia expert for SafariBookings and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

Philip is our Zambia expert and author of more than 20 guidebooks to Africa.

You’ll see lots of wildlife in Zambia during the middle and end of the Dry season (May to October). This will fit in nicely with a visit to Victoria Falls, which is at its best from June to August. A Wet season safari (November to April) is much more challenging, as most parks and camps shut down because of heavy rain. The exception is the Mfuwe section of South Luangwa National Park, which has a small circuit of all-weather roads.

May to October – Dry Season – Winter

  • Animals are easier to spot
  • There’s hardly any rain, and there are fewer mosquitoes
  • June through August is the best time to see Victoria Falls
  • October gets very hot, especially in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi
  • Morning game drives in winter are chilly, so bring warm clothing

Wildlife Photos

when is best time to visit zambia

November to April – Wet Season – Summer

  • The landscape is green
  • January and February are good months to see Victoria Falls
  • You can see newborn animals
  • This is the best time for birding, with migrants present
  • The rain mostly falls as short showers in the late afternoon
  • It’s low season, which means lower rates
  • Most parks and camps close down – but South Luangwa remains open
  • Animals are harder to find because they no longer rely on rivers and waterholes to drink
  • From October to December, Victoria Falls might just be a trickle on the Zambian side

Male lion

Best Time To Go by Major Park

For the best wildlife viewing in the main parks (South Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi), visit in the dry winter months (July to October). This coincides with the best opportunities for great photos of Victoria Falls – from June to August. Most camps close in the rainy season and washed-out roads make travel difficult. However, the landscape is beautiful and bird watching is superb at this time.

  • Kafue National Park Kafue National Park Poor "> Jan J Poor "> Feb F Poor "> Mar M Fair "> Apr A Good "> May M Good "> Jun J Excellent "> Jul J Excellent "> Aug A Excellent "> Sep S Excellent "> Oct O Good "> Nov N Poor "> Dec D
  • Lower Zambezi NP Lower Zambezi National Park Poor "> Jan J Poor "> Feb F Poor "> Mar M Fair "> Apr A Good "> May M Good "> Jun J Excellent "> Jul J Excellent "> Aug A Excellent "> Sep S Excellent "> Oct O Good "> Nov N Poor "> Dec D
  • South Luangwa NP South Luangwa National Park Poor "> Jan J Poor "> Feb F Poor "> Mar M Fair "> Apr A Good "> May M Good "> Jun J Excellent "> Jul J Excellent "> Aug A Excellent "> Sep S Good "> Oct O Good "> Nov N Poor "> Dec D

Want To Visit Zambia?

163 Zambia Safaris

  • Zambia Budget Safaris
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Safari Tours to Zambia

when is best time to visit zambia

10-Day Romantic Zambia Honeymoon Safari

$7,338 to $7,970 pp (USD)

Zambia: Private tour Luxury Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Lusaka (Start) , South Luangwa NP, Victoria Falls, Livingstone (End)

Wayfairer Travel

4.8 /5  –  152 Reviews

when is best time to visit zambia

21-Day Ngonye Liuwa Plain, Kafue, South Luangwa Tour

$14,410 to $14,630 pp (USD)

Zambia: Private tour Mid-range Camping & Lodge

You Visit: Livingstone (Start) , Mosi-oa-Tunya NP, Victoria Falls, Ngonye Falls (Highlight) , Liuwa Plain NP, Barotse Floodplain, Kafue NP, Lochinvar NP, Lusaka (City) , South Luangwa NP, Luambe NP, North Luangwa NP, Mutinondo Wilderness, Bangweulu Wetlands, Kasanka NP, Kundalila Falls (Highlight) , Lusaka (End)

Kubwa Five Safaris

5.0 /5  –  129 Reviews

when is best time to visit zambia

4-Day Affordable South Luangwa Safari

$1,890 to $2,220 pp (USD)

Zambia: Private tour Mid-range Lodge

You Visit: Lusaka (Start) , South Luangwa NP, Lusaka Airport (End)

Discover Africa Safaris

5.0 /5  –  436 Reviews

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when is best time to visit zambia

A Monthly Guide

A month by month guide to zambia.

Zambia remains arguably Africa’s most underrated safari destination, home to a wide range of incredible landscapes and abundant wildlife within its vast National Parks. From the open savannah, forests and floodplains of the South Luangwa to the vast Kafue National Park and the breathtaking Lower Zambezi, dominated by the eponymous river, it really does offer something for everyone. More experienced safari goers will revel in the chance to visit more off the beaten track parks such as North Luangwa, Luambe and Liuwa Plain – home to amazing wildlife and just a tiny handful of places to stay. Of course, no visit to Zambia would be complete without a few days at the iconic Victoria Falls and whilst water levels and the range of activities fluctuates throughout the year, it remains a wonderful place to spend a few days and round off a doubtless memorable safari through this hidden gem of a destination.

Many of the principal parks are almost entirely closed at this time owing to the high levels of rainfall received and associated challenges with accessing camps.

A handful of camps in the South Luangwa remain open, focusing on river journeys along the swollen channels of the Luangwa River. Known as Emerald Season, this is an amazing time of year for birders to spot the 400 and more species that are found here. Game viewing can be challenging, but the abundance of lion and elephant means that they are often still spotted.

The Liuwa Plain National Park in the west is open with visitors able to see huge herds of zebra as well as their attendant predators, roaming the plains.

Water levels at Victoria Falls are rising rapidly but a wide range of activities remains available before they reach their peak.

Emerald season remains in full swing with hot, wet days experienced across much of the country.

Water levels at Victoria Falls continue to rise and some of the activities which rely on lower water levels, including rafting, cease to operate. Walking tours can see visitors get very wet but they remain an attractive option.

Further afield the migration season in Liuwa Plain continues to thrill visitors who make the journey to this remote corner of the country and hardy travellers who head down to the Lower Zambezi can enjoy some superb fishing as well as marvel at the stunning landscapes. The opportunity to enjoy river journeys through the South Luangwa continues although this is the hottest and wettest time of year to be there.

The hot and wet summer continues to exert its grip on Zambia, although there is a noticeable easing in the rain and temperatures start to drop, with nighttimes especially becoming more bearable.

Many camps remain closed across the main National Parks, but river journeys are still offered in the South Luangwa, albeit with their scope a little more limited as water levels recede. Eagle-eyed visitors will notice more activity around the parks as operators are rebuilding and restocking their lodges for the upcoming safari season.

Water levels at Victoria Falls reach their peak as the floods from the summer rains reach the Upper Zambezi in earnest, sending up to 9,000 cubic metres of water crashing over the precipice every second. The spray can be seen from many miles away and is an especially spectacular sight for guests flying in to Livingstone.

Change is in the air across Zambia as National Parks and camps all prepare for a full scale opening, whilst Victoria Falls remains a spectacular sight as the peak flow continues down the Zambezi River.

The temperatures start to drop noticeably and rainfall eases as well, but many camps still remain closed across the main parks, albeit with them getting ready to go in May and June.

From the camps that are open in the South Luangwa guests can enjoy some hugely exciting wildlife sightings, with the herds of plains game starting to bring their young in to the more open areas which naturally brings the predators of the valley – most notably lion, leopard and wild dog – to the fore.

Equally some hugely exciting wildlife encounters can be enjoyed from the camps open in the Lower Zambezi National Park, especially right along the banks of the river where elephant come to drink and feed. Low season prices still apply across most safari camps so it is a superb time of year to travel.

Safari season starts to move into full swing now, with almost all camps open across the 3 major National Parks; South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue .

Walking safaris start to become a possibility as the bush thins out and underfoot conditions become much drier, so visitors are able to enjoy one of Zambia’s signature activities and get really up close and personal with some of the smaller inhabitants of the bush.

General game viewing is rapidly improving as well, with consistently good big cat sightings across the parks and larger herds of elephant starting to be seen as surface water sources start to become more scarce across the parks.

At Victoria Falls water levels remain high, albeit they are past the peak and will start to drop rapidly as the dry season commences in earnest.

Most camps still offer lower pricing and plenty of special offers, so it remains an excellent time of year from a value perspective.

More adventurous and in-the-know safari goers will be thrilled that the Busanga Plains, a mystical area in the far north of the Kafue National Park have now seen water levels drop sufficiently to allow the handful of camps that operate there to open come June. Home to large herds of red lechwe, lion and leopard amongst others, this is a truly magical part of Zambia and one not to be missed.

Game viewing continues to improve rapidly across the rest of Kafue, as well in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi, with elephant and wild dog sightings becoming especially good.

At Victoria Falls the drop in water levels becomes more noticeable and the walking tours improve as there is less spray on the walkways.

Prices remain on the low side for the quality of the game viewing experience, so it remains an excellent time of year to be here from a value perspective.

The first month of Zambia’s peak safari season, July brings in cool, clear days that are perfect for game viewing. It is the first month where you really notice the green landscapes, a legacy of the long summer rains, turning to yellow and brown and game viewing across the country continues to improve as the bush thins out.

Elephant sightings in particular become very good as the large breeding herds for which Zambia is renowned move to the riverside areas in search of reliable water sources. Big cat sightings remain superb across the main parks, especially in the South Luangwa which is renowned as one of the best places in Africa to see leopard.

The final piece of the safari puzzle that is Zambia fits in to places as the North Luangwa National Park camps open their doors for visitors allowing for a very wild safari experience. A handful of camps retain their lower season pricing so there are still some bargains to be had if you plan carefully.

Safari season is very much here in Zambia now, with camps often full and visitors able to enjoy amazing wildlife viewing wherever they go.

Whether you are exploring by vehicle, on foot or out on the Zambezi and Kafue river in boats and canoes, this is a superb time of year to be here with animals wherever you look. As water sources continue to become more scarce, wildlife congregates in huge numbers by the rivers and it is a time of year where you can see some amazing interactions – lion trying to hunt hippo in the South Luangwa amongst them.

Water levels going over the Zambian side of Victoria Falls have fallen to virtually zero, although the deeper channels on the Zimbabwean side do still have water going over them. The end of August tends to be when Livingstone Island trips offer the chance to swim in The Devil’s Pool – an instagram-worthy moment where you bathe on the very edge of Victoria Falls.

Much like August, September is an outstanding time to be on safari in Zambia, with the days at their coolest and the threat of rain virtually non-existent.

With wildlife staying out in the open much longer it is perfect for either full day game drives to take advantage of the conditions, or an afternoon spent in one of the specially sited wildlife photography hides which are becoming a more prominent offering at many lodges.

Equally, it is a great time of year to head out on dedicated walking trails safaris within the South Luangwa, where you will spend 3-5 days exploring on foot and camping overnight in the bush. Kafue is at its absolute best come September, with especially strong lion sightings on the Busanga Plains a huge draw.

Water levels at Victoria Falls are at their lowest by now and will remain so until towards the end of the year, so thrill seekers can enjoy all manner of activities and the white water rafting is especially good at this time.

Change starts to come about in October, with days getting noticeably hotter and rain storms can happen towards the end of the month.

For many camps this is their last full month of being open, so a final chance to enjoy areas such as the Busanga Plains, the North Luangwa and Luambe National Parks. The main camp in the Liuwa Plain National Park reopens after closing for the dry season when the game disperses, so keen safari-goers can get back to search for lion and the unusually large clans of hyena which are such a feature of the park.

The Lower Zambezi must get a mention as being outstanding for safaris in October with huge volumes of herbivores and predators found around the Zambezi River, as well as the tributaries that run in there from the surrounding escarpment.

Victoria Falls remains a delight as well, with the low water levels in the river allowing for sandbar picnics and sundowner drinks from the lodges further upstream.

There is a distinct winding down of operations across many of the lodges across the start of November as the pack-up for the rainy summer season.

A small handful of lodges around the more accessible Mfuwe area of the South Luangwa remain open, continuing to offer game drives before the rains arrive in earnest, after which they will revert to the boat safaris that they offer at the start of the year. The Liuwa Plain National Park remains a more than viable option for experienced safari-goers who want to experience something very different and whilst the game viewing here can be challenging on occasion, it is a remarkable spot to spend a few days.

The perennial favourite that is Victoria Falls continues to offer an amazing array of activities as well as a superb spot to relax for a few days after a busy safari.

As another year in the bush draws to a close, temperatures continue to soar and rainfall becomes an almost daily occurrence, rapidly filling the vast rivers which are such a feature of the Zambian National Parks.

For the few lodges that remain open the focus shifts almost entirely to river activities and guests can enjoy exploring the lush green landscapes that offer superb birding as well as surprisingly good predator sightings.

Further afield Liuwa Plain remains a great choice for visitors looking for a very alternative safari experience and the low water levels at Victoria Falls still allow for a huge array of activities as well as some time to relax in the sunshine.

As you will be able to see, Zambia is without doubt one of the more seasonal safari destinations within Africa, with large parts of the country inaccessible during the summer rains, although some camps do remain open. The “shoulder” seasons of April-June and November offer some of the best value safaris anywhere in Africa with amazing wildlife sightings on offer, whilst the peak season is as good as anywhere that the continent has to offer. Zambia may not have the reputation of its more illustrious neighbours Botswana and Tanzania, or indeed Kenya, but it is a worthy candidate for being the most underrated safari destination in Africa and it remains hard to beat from a value perspective. A genuine True Travel favourite, please speak to one of our team of Africa Travel Designers to plan your trip in more detail.

Zambia with True Travel

when is best time to visit zambia

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when is best time to visit zambia

Weather & climate

Zambia: Weather & climate

The best time to visit zambia, weather in other african countries.

when is best time to visit zambia

January : the peak of the wet season; it’s the wettest month of the year.

February : the rainfall is still comparatively high.

March : the last month of the rainy season.

April : the rain subsides gradually; most camps open again.

May : Most of the rain has faded away leaving the landscape beautifully green.

June : the rainfall has mostly stopped, the days are clear and warm.

July : the coolest month of the year so perfect for walking safaris; nights can be cold.

August : no rainfall at all whilst the temperature starts to rise.

September : a lovely and dry month with balmy evenings.

October : the hottest month of the year and the rainfall increases slowly.

November : an unpredictable month during the transition from dry to rainy season.

December : a wet, humid month as the rainy season has started; most camps close.

Our top picks for holidays to Zambia

We'll always tailor-make your safari for you. Here are some of our favourites to inspire you.

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Puku Safari

11 days • 3 locations LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Discover South Luangwa’s prolific wildlife before exploring the wildly remote pans of Liuwa Plain National Park and relaxing in one of the Livingstone area’s most romantic and exclusive hideaways. A safari of luxury, style and impressive diversity.

US$13,200 - US$18,440 per person

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Perekani Walking Trail

10 days • 5 locations LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Five smart but rustic bushcamps are the comfortable staging posts for this walking safari in South Luangwa. The route offers outstanding seclusion and rich wildlife with top-quality guiding throughout.

US$9,250 - US$11,500 per person

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Crawshay's Zebra Safari

10 days • 4 locations LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This superb safari combines two of Zambia’s best national parks, the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The camps are small and high quality with excellent safari guides.

US$9,760 - US$13,820 per person

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Duiker Safari

10 days • 3 locations LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Three luxurious bushcamps in stunning riverside locations, split between the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks, offer a wide variety of expert-guided safari activities in stunning game-rich environments.

US$8,060 - US$10,020 per person

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Hippo Safari

9 days • 4 locations LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Combining excellent game with aspects of remoter safari in South Luangwa, as well as the cultural delights of Livingstone, this trip also makes use of long-stay discounts, making it an excellent-value and well-rounded adventure.

US$7,480 - US$8,820 per person

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Giraffe Safari

9 days • 3 locations LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

A safari to the remotest parts of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. Perfect for experienced safari goers and first-time Africa adventurers. Explore with expert guides whilst staying at small bushcamps.

US$8,390 - US$9,740 per person

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Defassa Waterbuck Safari

Stay in three intimate, owner-run camps during this exploration of Kafue National Park. Remote locations, true wilderness and a range of activities make for a real adventure off the beaten track.

US$8,240 - US$8,670 per person

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Civet Safari

9 days • 4 locations LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Combining three intimate bushcamps in the quieter south of the South Luangwa, this safari will appeal to those looking for an interesting mix of walking and vehicle safari.

US$7,480 - US$9,230 per person

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Purple Roller Safari

8 days • 2 locations LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Explore the varied habitats and terrain of Kafue National Park with stays in two wonderfully remote bushcamps: sister camps that offer access to both the centre of the park and the wildlife-rich Busanga Plains.

US$8,790 - US$9,320 per person

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Greater Bushbaby Safari

The perfect safari for a family or group of friends during which to create everlasting memories. Visit Zambia’s two most productive wildlife parks staying in four-bedroom houses, designed in a unique and fun way.

US$9,400 - US$12,260 per person

View all holidays in Zambia

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Best Time To Visit Zambia

Kafue Flats lechwe (Kobus leche kafuensis) running in the water on the plains, Zambia, Africa

An overview of Zambia’s seasons

Zambia country has a sub-tropical climate with pleasant temperatures due to its high altitude. The temperatures average around 68°F in the highlands and around 75°F in the valleys. The cool, dry season, from May to August, is considered the best time to visit Zambia.

Best Time To Visit

We recommend.

  • The water flow over the Victoria Falls is high around this time – head here to marvel at the thundering waterfall with spray that can be seen from miles away!
  • The wet or green season is an excellent time for birdwatching, so depending on which parks are open during this time, you could head for a spot of birdwatching
  • If you are planning to visit Victoria Falls around this time, spend time in the charming city of Livingstone
  • View the magnificent Victoria Falls on a helicopter ride!
  • This is the start of the fishing season in Zambia, so why not try your hand at catching some fish?
  • Head to the remote Luambe National Park, which is rich in biodiversity
  • This is the ideal time to visit Bangweulu to try and spot the rare shoebill stork
  • Explore the wilderness that is South Luangwa National Park on a walking safaris
  • Relax with a river cruise on the Zambezi followed by a luxurious stay on a private island on the river
  • Explore the extensive landscapes, and encounter wildlife during your safari in Kafue National Park
  • With the flow of the Zambezi river decreasing, August is a good month to go white-water rafting on the Zambezi!
  • Embark on a walking safari in the remote North Luangwa
  • Marvel at the colorful southern-carmine bee-eaters that swarm Luangwa River at this time
  • Experience exciting wildlife safaris in the Lower Zambezi National Park
  • Hike or go horseback riding in Shiwa Ngandu, a beautiful lake surrounded by a hilly countryside
  • Head to nearby Chusa Falls for rafting and birdwatching
  • December is excellent for birdwatching as the migratory birds return around this time!

Best time to visit Zambia by season

The cool, dry season, from May to August, is considered to be the best travel time for Zambia when temperatures are around 73°F. At night it gets relatively fresh, falling to about 42°F. The rivers and waterholes are filled by the rainy season and attract numerous wild animals. Particularly great animal observations are possible in June and August. Many roads to remote regions are only passable during the cool dry season. During the hot dry season, especially from October, the temperatures and also the humidity increase noticeably.

In mid-November, the rainy season begins, which is also called the Emerald Season or Green Season. During these hot, humid months, the country shines in green. Many remote areas can no longer be visited and some camps close. Nevertheless, this season has its own charm – and is wonderfully suited for bird watching.

The climate in Zambia is determined by three seasons.

Cool drying time:  May – August

Hot dry season:  September – November

Rainy season:  December – April (South) / October – April (North)

Things to do in Africa

What to Pack for Zambia

The season you travel to Zambia will determine what you need to pack. Based on the time you choose, here is a list of things you should ideally carry: Rain gear including waterproof jacket and shoes, mosquito repellent especially during the rainy season, light clothes for day time and a jacket for cooler evenings, layers of clothing including warm jacket / fleece or jumper, gloves, socks and a scarf, light cotton or linen clothing with natural colors, light shoes and sandals, sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, swimsuit, light jumper for cooler evenings, long sleeved shirts and long trousers are useful for protection from the sun during the day and mosquitoes at night.

Best time to Visit Zambia

Popular Trips to Zambia

Best time to Visit Zambia

Tanzania, Botswana & Zambia: From Kilimanjaro to the Falls

This is the quintessential African safari vacation. The 15-day tour takes you across some of the continent’s best game reserves in Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia. Buckle up as you set out on the safari journey of your dreams, with stops at Arusha, Ngorongoro Plains, Northern Serengeti, Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta and more. Bask in…

Best time to Visit Zambia

Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia: Safari and Waterfalls

Few things are as awe-inspiring as gazing at the majestic Victoria Falls or witnessing nocturnal life in the Masai Mara. You can experience all that and more on this 12-day tour of Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia. From natural wonders to diverse wildlife and rich culture, this all-encompassing vacation is sure to leave you spellbound. Watch…

Victoria Falls tour

Botswana: Spectacular Water Worlds

This Zambia and Botswana trip takes you to the most spectacular water worlds in Africa. Start with Victoria Falls, which plummet for over a kilometer. Admire the falls from multiple viewpoints and then take a walking or biking tour to a nearby village. Continue on to Chobe National Park, where you can go on boat…

Giraffe in South Luangwa, Sambia

Zambia: Victoria Falls and Safari Highlights

Discover an untamed wilderness in Africa’a adventure capital! Enjoy exhilarating adventure sports in Victoria Falls and a variety of aquatic and overland activities amid the floodplains, grasslands and forests of Lower Zambezi National Park. The highlight of your trip is your scintillating walking safaris in South Luangwa – armed with fantastic guides and scouts, experience the…

Best Places To Visit

Best time to Visit Zambia

Kafue National Park is a magical wilderness offering excellent game viewing, bird watching and fishing opportunities.

Kafue National Park

Best time to Visit Zambia

Lower Zambezi National Park lies across the Zambezi River from the historically better known Mana Pools in Zimbabwe.

Lower Zambezi

Best time to Visit Zambia

Experience wild walks! South Luangwa National Park is tropical, wild, beautiful and one of the most stunning national parks in Africa.

South Luangwa

Best time to Visit Zambia

Embrace the remoteness! North Luangwa is a wonderful option for outdoorsy guests who really appreciate the genuine sense of intimacy of the bush experience.

North Luangwa

Best time to Visit Zambia

Smoke that thunders! That is what the Kolobo tribe who lived by the Victoria Falls two centuries ago once called this seventh wonder of the world.

Victoria Falls

Best time to Visit Zambia

Lusaka is one of the fastest-growing cities in central Africa, with a sprawling downtown area, high-walled suburbs, busy shanty towns, bustling markets and large industrial areas, bringing together people of many nationalities and making it a bustling center for economic, political and cultural activities.

Things To Do

From the stunning Victoria Falls to scintillating wildlife safaris and incredible river cruises – Zambia is waiting to be discovered! Follow to this link for an overview on the top ten attractions, activities and highlights in Zambia.

Travel Guide

Zambia is a relatively non-commercial safari destination, where you can experience intimate little camps in beautiful and remote reserves. Before you travel, discover all essential details, from visas and currency to health information.

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Best Time to Visit Zambia | Weather, Temperatures & More

Matt Davison

Want to know when is the best time to visit Zambia? Use this helpful guide to plan your trip.

Zambia is a beautiful East African country home to a wide variety of fascinating wildlife. Tourists flock yearly to see the thunderous waters of the Victoria Falls or cruise down the Zambezi river.

Although the weather in Zambia is delightful year-round, there are some months when it’s preferable to plan your vacation. This is especially true for certain activities.

Here is a detailed guide on the best time to visit Zambia.

The Best Times in Zambia for a Vacation

The climate of Zambia is divided into two seasons: the wet season, during the summer, and the dry season, or winter. Each season has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s our breakdown of the weather in Zambia.

The dry season in Zambia is between May and October and, as expected, is also the high tourist season.

During these months, you will likely spot more animals such as lions, elephants, and zebras. With the dry season, the skies are clear, and there’s less risk of being bitten by pesky mosquitoes.

Quick tip: This is Zambia’s winter, and morning game drives are cold. Make sure you pack warm clothing.

Zebra's spotted on safari in Zambia

Despite the high season, the parks are not too crowded except for Victoria Falls. July is when visitor numbers are at their peak and prices for accommodation hike up.

June is perfect if you want to avoid the crowds or score good deals on hotels or camps. The ground dries up, and temperatures are pleasant.

August is the perfect month to combine a game trip with a visit to Victoria Falls. You can enjoy a walking safari as the bush is easy to navigate. This is also around the time when the temperatures start to rise.

September and October are the best months to go if you want to spot animals. This is when temperatures rise, and animals flock to the rivers for a drink of water. In September, you can expect to see the dazzling colors of the carmine bee-eaters as they head to the riverbanks to build their nests.

In late October, Victoria Falls may not be as spectacular as you expect on the Zambian side. However, you can cross over the Zimbabwean side to see the main falls in all their glory. This is also a fantastic time to dip in the Devil’s Pool on the edge of the falls.

A hippo in the Zambezi river

Zambia’s summer and the wet season are from November to April. This is when the landscape is greener and rainfall increases.

Between December and April, Zambia’s parks are a luscious green colour, and the air isn’t dry, which means there’s not much dust. In short, this season is a photographer’s dream.

If you are interested in viewing birdlife, this is the perfect time to visit Zambia. There are also opportunities to catch a glimpse of newborn animals. This is when many herbivores give birth to their young, as it is Zambia’s calving season.

Although this is Zambia’s wet season, the rain mainly falls as short showers in the late afternoon. This means you can enjoy a morning or early afternoon excursion without worrying about getting wet.

Cranes on the plains of Zambia

Since this is Zambia’s low season, you may find it challenging to find things to do. Zambia’s most popular park, South Luangwa , remains open, but most other parks and bush camps close.

If you want to boat in South Luangwa, you should time your visit for February or March. This is when the bush camps, which are only accessible by water, reopen. Victoria Falls is also in full flow and at its most spectacular during this time.

Warning: The increased water levels during this time means that this is not a good time for white-water rafting.

Another drawback is that animals may be more difficult to find as they no longer need to rely on the big rivers and watering holes for water.

If you’re going to Zambia for the Falls, check out this guide on the best time to visit Victoria Falls .

A person on a canoe on the Zambezi

Average Temperatures in Zambia by Season

The weather in Zambia and Africa is generally pleasant year-round, but some months are better for a vacation, especially if you want to view animals or revel in the beauty of Victoria Falls.

In Zambia’s winter, there’s not much rain, and the humidity is low. This is when animals usually head to the rivers to drink.

  • May: This marks the end of summer, and temperatures are cool. They average at 12°C (52°F) in the morning and 25°C (77°F) in the afternoon.
  • June, July, and August: Mornings are pretty chilly at 10°C (50°F), with afternoon temperatures reaching 23°C (73°F). Make sure you pack warm clothing for the morning game drives.
  • September and October: These months are when the temperatures begin to rise. Daytime in October, the hottest month, reaches temperatures of 31°C (88°F). In the lower-lying parks, the temperatures peak at 40°C (104°F).

Sunset over the Zambezi river

During these summer months, Zambia experiences most of its rainfall, and road conditions can get bad.

  • November: In this unpredictable month, temperatures average between 18°C (64°F) and 29°C (84°F) throughout the day.
  • December, January, February, and March: These are the wettest months in Zambia. You can expect torrential rains in the afternoon with temperatures around 26°C (78°F). The humidity is also high.
  • April: The rains begin to ease, and the humidity decreases as summer ends. Daytime temperatures average between 16°C (61°F) and 20°C (86°F).

A goose on the banks of the Zambezi river

A Footnote on the Best Time to Visit Zambia

If you are visiting Zambia, time your stay for when it will suit your needs. Some months are better for visiting the Victoria Falls, whereas others are better for game viewing.

The summers can also get quite hot, so that is something to keep in mind when planning your trip. All in all, there isn’t a right or wrong time to visit Zambia. You just need to know what you want out of the vacation. So, book your trip to Zambia today, and prepare for a wild adventure.

Check out this list of Zambia safari lodges to find the perfect place to stay on your trip.

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When is the best time to visit Zambia?

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May to October is the dry season, and overall is the best time to visit Zambia.

The weather is dry and cooler, making it more comfortable for wildlife safaris and outdoor activities.

Wildlife viewing is excellent during the dry season, as animals congregate around water sources, and the vegetation is less dense, improving visibility.

The famous Victoria Falls is at its fullest and most impressive from April to June, making this period an excellent time to visit this natural wonder.

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Month-by-month guide for traveling in zambia.

Best time to visit Zambia

Visiting Zambia in January - March

Visiting Zambia from January to March falls during the wet season, which is characterized by heavy rainfall and lush green landscapes. While this time of year may not be the most popular for tourism due to the rain, it still offers unique experiences and advantages:

Rainfall and Green Scenery : Zambia experiences heavy rainfall during these months, resulting in lush, green landscapes and full rivers and waterfalls. The vegetation is vibrant, and many animals give birth during this period, making it a great time for birdwatching and observing newborn wildlife.

Fewer Tourists : The wet season in Zambia sees fewer tourists, so you can enjoy a quieter and more intimate safari experience. Accommodations and tours may offer lower rates during this time.

Birdwatching : Zambia is a paradise for birdwatchers, and the wet season is an excellent time to spot various migratory bird species that visit the country during this period.

Events & Festivals

While there are no major national festivals specific to this time frame in Zambia, you may come across local events, religious celebrations, or cultural festivals in various regions. These can provide unique insights into the local culture and traditions.

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Visiting zambia in april - june.

Visiting Zambia from April to June falls during the transition from the wet season to the dry season. Here’s what you can expect during this time:

April marks the end of the rainy season, so you can expect decreasing rainfall and a gradual transition to drier conditions.

May and June are generally considered the start of the dry season. During these months, the weather becomes increasingly dry and cooler.

Landscape :

The rains of the wet season (November to March) leave Zambia lush and green during April, especially in the national parks and countryside.

The landscapes are vibrant, and this is a great time for photography and enjoying the lush scenery.

Wildlife Viewing :

Wildlife is still active in April and May, making it a good time for safaris. Animals are easier to spot against the lush, green backdrop.

In June, as the dry season progresses, wildlife viewing becomes even better as water sources become scarcer, leading animals to gather around remaining waterholes.

Victoria Falls :

April is an excellent time to visit Victoria Falls, as the waterfall is at its fullest due to the rains from the wet season. The spray and mist can be quite impressive.

As May and June progress, the water levels at Victoria Falls start to recede, offering a different but still captivating view.

Zambia doesn’t have major national festivals during this period, but you may come across local events and cultural celebrations, especially in smaller towns and villages. These can provide unique insights into the local culture and traditions.

Visiting Zambia in July - September

Visiting Zambia from July to September falls during the dry season, which is considered one of the best times to go to Zambia, especially for wildlife enthusiasts. Here’s what you can expect during this period:

Dry and Pleasant Weather : Zambia experiences dry and cooler weather during these months, making it an ideal time for outdoor activities, including safaris and wildlife viewing. Daytime temperatures are generally comfortable, with daytime highs ranging from 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F).

Prime Wildlife Viewing : July to September is the peak of the dry season, and it’s the best time for wildlife safaris. With water sources becoming scarce, animals congregate around rivers and watering holes, providing excellent opportunities for game viewing. You can witness large herds of elephants, buffaloes, and other wildlife during this time. Predators are also more active as they hunt for prey.

Victoria Falls : If you plan to visit Victoria Falls, this is an excellent time to do so. The falls are at their fullest and most impressive from April to June, and the water levels remain relatively high through July and August. You can enjoy spectacular views of this natural wonder and partake in various activities, such as guided tours, helicopter rides, and even swimming in the Devil’s Pool (conditions permitting).

Lower Risk of Malaria : While Zambia is a malaria-endemic country, the dry season sees a reduction in the prevalence of mosquitoes, which lowers the risk of contracting malaria. However, it’s still advisable to take necessary precautions, such as using mosquito repellent and taking antimalarial medication.

Visiting Zambia in October - December

Visiting Zambia from October to December can be a rewarding experience, as it partially falls during the dry season, which is considered one of the best times to go to Zambia. Here’s what you can expect during this period:

Dry and Warm Weather : The weather during this time is typically dry and warm, with daytime temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F). The weather conditions are quite comfortable for outdoor activities and wildlife safaris.

Wildlife Viewing : October and November are excellent months for wildlife viewing, as the vegetation is still relatively low, and animals gather around water sources. You can witness a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, and various bird species.

Victoria Falls : If you plan to visit Victoria Falls, this is a great time to do so. While the water flow may decrease compared to the peak rainy season, the falls are still impressive, and you can enjoy clear views of the cascades and the surrounding scenery.

Lower Crowds : While this is the best time to visit Zambia due to the favorable weather, it tends to be less crowded than the peak tourist season, which is from May to August. You can enjoy wildlife encounters and other attractions with relatively fewer tourists.

Zambia hosts a few cultural festivals throughout the year, although they may not be as prominent as some festivals in other countries. It’s a good idea to check local event calendars and with tour operators to see if there are any festivals or cultural events taking place during your visit.

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The best time to visit Zambia

We know the importance of weather when it comes to a safari, be it game driving in the South Luangwa , chilling out on the river in the Lower Zambezi , or streaking above Vic Falls in a chopper. Zambia has very distinct weather patterns that make defining safari seasons in the different parks quite easy. But, as ever, global warming seems determined to wreak havoc with the climate so there is an element of unpredictability. Read on for our general guide to the best time to visit Zambia, weather patterns and all (and if you’re still struggling to find the time to suit you, take a look at our comprehensive when to go guide for a month-by-month deep dive).

Best time to visit Zambia

December to April: The green season

It might seem strange to start at the end of the year, but December actually marks the true beginning of Zambia’s green season that carries on through to March and April. It may be a little wetter than normal but this is one of the best times to visit Zambia. The parks are luscious and green, the light is phenomenal and there’s not a bit of dust in sight – a photographer’s dream. Many of the remote bush camps in places like the South Luangwa , Luambe and the North Luangwa will be closed but there are still a good number of lodges open, and at very competitive prices. For boating in the South Luangwa , time your visit for February or March; several of the bush camps re-open ( Time and Tide Kakuli Bush Camp  and Nsefu bush camps spring to mind) and are accessible only by water, making for a wonderful experience. Take a look at this green season itinerary if that sounds like your cup of tea. Down at Victoria Falls , the waterfall is in full flow and possibly at its most spectacular, but the high levels of water aren’t so good for white-water rafting.

when is best time to visit zambia

April & May: the shoulder season

April and May (and November) are the ‘shoulder season’ months in Zambia . The rains are pretty much over – although anything could happen and it would be wise to prepare for a shower here and there – and the game viewing heats up as the grass recedes. It truly is a lovely time to travel and if you’re looking to save a few pennies, this is the best time of year to seek out excellent deals. Remember that lots of the remote bush camps in the South Luangwa , Lower Zambezi and Kafue are closed and walking isn’t at its best, but you’ll still have a good selection of accommodation to choose from. Victoria Falls are still a spectacular sight at this time of year with the water level of the Zambezi peaking, showcasing the falls in all her glory.

when is best time to visit zambia

June to October: The peak season

The peak safari season, and traditionally the best time to visit Zambia , is from June to October. It’s actually winter, but perhaps not the same winter we northern hemisphere dwellers are used to! We’re talking clear blue skies, sunshine (and lots of it) and rarely a drop of rain. The coldest months are June and July, and mornings and evenings can be chilly but nothing a good jacket can’t solve. As the season progresses, it steadily heats up and becomes drier and October is hot, hot, hot – think an average of 36 degrees. But, if you can stand the heat, the game viewing is phenomenal across the main parks with animals congregating at the main water sources and predators taking full advantage of the mobile buffet.

If you choose to travel now, you’ll have the pick of the camps in the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi , and by mid-June, even the most far-flung bush camps will be open. If you’ve got your eye on the Kafue , get there earlier rather than later for the chance to boat around the Busanga Plains . For the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa, walking safaris get better toward the end of June as the tall grass recedes.

At Livingstone and Victoria Falls , the water level actually goes down as the season progresses. From May to July/August, the water is pumping, throwing spray hundreds of metres into the air, just like the postcards. After August, the water level recedes making it the best time to visit for the Devil’s Pool and ‘low water’ white-water rafting, undoubtedly the most exhilarating! Contrary to some news reports, the Falls never dry up and even if you’re visiting towards the end of the season, they are still a sight to behold.

when is best time to visit zambia

November: the Shoulder Season

November is rather like April and May. The chance of rain is quite high and the first storms of the season are dramatic and incredible to witness. The bush camps start to close and accommodation choices are fewer in many areas, but what that does mean is that you’ll have the parks (and the wildlife sightings) pretty much all to yourself. If you choose to travel now, you certainly won’t be disappointed.

And for the exception that proves the rule: Liuwa Plain . Unlike the rest of the country, the best time to visit Liuwa is in late November to December for the astonishing wildebeest migration (the second largest on the continent), or April, May and early June when the rains are over. Flights to Kalabo are seasonal, and there’s very limited accommodation in the park (the only permanent lodge at the time of writing is King Lewanika ), both of which dictate when you can and can’t travel, but if it fits into your plans – go, go go!

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Aerial view of Victoria Falls Bridge at Victoria Falls, Livingstone with helicopter

When is the Best Time to Visit Zambia?

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Published on: July 25th, 2017

Last modified: June 10th, 2024

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.

Zambia lion

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.

Drinks on the river Zambia

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.

Men jumping Zambia

Best time to...

Victoria Falls Zambia

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.

when is best time to visit zambia

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.

Zambia_Luangwa_elephants_sunset

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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Best Time To Visit Zambia

Month by month guide of when to go.

Zambia’s weather has two distinct seasons, a hot and rainy summer, usually starting in mid-November and lasting until the end of March. From April through to September is remains dry and much cooler, before temperatures start to rise in October and there is a chance of rain, especially in the afternoons and early evenings.

When to visit very much depends on what you are looking to do as the best time varies for safari, birding and visiting Victoria Falls.

Below is a short summary of the best times to visit or scroll to the bottom for a full month by month guide.

Safaris in Zambia are generally seasonal, with most lodges opening between April and May as the temperatures cool and rainfall drops, remaining open through the dry winter months until the middle of November when the rains arrive and they close for the summer.

The dry period between April to September is especially good for safaris, and if you can brave the heat of October, you will be rewarded with fantastic game viewing as animals cluster around limited water sources and the short grasses make them easy to spot.

Best for safari: June to September - brilliant game viewing, dry and cooler.

Best for birders: November to May (green season)

Bat Migration: November

Peak season: July and August

Where you can go and what you can do in Zambia is very much dictated by the rains, as some parks and lodges are rendered completely inaccessible in rainy weather (mid-Nov - March).

Certain parks, namely the North Luangwa and Luambe National Parks don’t even open during the rainy season owing to the challenges of access and getting around once you are there, and the style of accommodation in Zambia, with many camps being rustic “bushcamps” or tented camps makes operating during the rainy season more challenging.

That said, a number of lodges in parks such as the South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue remain open throughout the year, taking advantage of their locations next to the Luangwa, Zambezi and Kafue rivers to offer both access to the lodges via water taxi and game viewing options by boat, as well as fishing. Visiting during this time will ensure you avoid the crowds, offers brilliant value with fantastic birding and walking opportunities.

Visitors with specific interests in birding will delight in being able to visit the more northerly Kasanka National Park and Bangwelu Wetlands throughout the year.

Low season: November to April (many camps close during this time).

  • Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls is accessible throughout the year with the weather following a similar pattern to the rest of the country, but with water levels varying greatly from month to month. Broadly speaking water levels start to rise in December, peaking in March or April when the plume of spray from The Falls can be seen from miles away as you fly in. From May the water levels drop rapidly until there is no water at all flowing over the Zambian side come September or October. Local rains arrive in the latter part of October and continue into November which does start to fill the river

Peak water level: March or April (depending on the rains) - this is when they are at their most impressive!

Best for activities: July and August - lower water levels mean you can do white water rafting and swim in Devil's Pool. This is the peak time to visit the falls.

Best avoided: October - November - the water levels can dry up completely on the Zambia side at this time of year.

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The peak of Zambia’s summer rainy season, January is often ignored as a time to go on safari in Zambia, but those who do venture here, especially to the South Luangwa National Park are rewarded with some spectacular experiences. The handful of camps that open at this time focus on river journeys, with guests able to explore the swollen Luangwa River in flat-bottomed boats with their guides. Huge herds of buffalo roam the floodplains, hippo frolic in the shallows and crocodile laze high on the banks of this immense river. It is an incredible time of year for birding and the lush green bush is a spectacular backdrop for photographs. The Victoria Falls are starting to fill up thanks to localised rains as well as those thousands of miles upstream.

Image: Elephants crossing Luangwa River

Luangwa River Camp Water Taxi

The rains are starting to subside across the country, but access means most camps remain closed, although the camps easily accessed by river in the South Luangwa National Park offer amazing game viewing and breathtaking landscapes to enjoy. It is also a great month for fishing, on a catch and release basis, in the Lower Zambezi National Park, so keen anglers will want to consider an extended stay in this beautiful part of the country. More adventurous travellers can cast their eyes west to the mighty Kafue National Park which offers excellent game viewing in the region around the Kafue River. Water levels at Victoria Falls are starting to rise towards their peak.

Image: Luangwa River Water Taxi

Victoria  Falls

March sees water levels at Victoria Falls reach their zenith, with 500 million litres of water crashing over the precipice every minute, making it a truly incredible spectacle to witness. Of course, there is plenty more to enjoy in the area, including canoeing, fishing trips, sundowner boat cruises, helicopter and microlight flights as well as game drives in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Water levels on the floodplains of the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks are starting to drop with the activity of opening camps for the new season starting in earnest. Out in the west of the country, it is a great time for canoe safaris in the Liuwa Plain National Park as the water levels continue to drop.

Image: Victoria Falls

King Lewanika Lozi Tribe

As the weather starts to cool across Zambia, safari conditions improve with more and more camps opening their doors for the season, notably in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks. Visitors to Liuwa Plain may have the chance to witness the fabled Kuomboka Ceremony as the local Lozi people move their king from his summer to winter home in a series of elegant boats. Victoria Falls continues to run at its peak, with the plume of spray that is thrown up seen from miles around and remains an especially dramatic sight to witness from above. Keen birders can also take advantage of the subsiding water levels by getting off the beaten track in the Kasanka National Park and Bangwelu Wetlands.

Image: King Lewanika from the Lozi Tribe

The Mighty Zambezi River

The start of May really sees Zambia’s safari season kick into gear as the majority of the camps in the Lower Zambezi start to welcome doors and all but the most remote camps in South Luangwa do the same. Likewise, the more eastern camps in Kafue open with access to superb game viewing around the Kafue River and the cooling temperatures mean it is a great time to visit Liuwa Plains. There is a noticeable drop off in the water levels at Victoria Falls, but it is still a superb time to visit either before or after a safari, with the cooler temperatures making it ideal for longer days out on the river, including fishing and canoeing trips.

Image: The mighty Zambezi river

Lion In The South Luangwa

Days start to become noticeably cooler and rainfall drops to zero which means it is a superb time of year to be on safari, even before peak season kicks in next month. Predator sightings become more common as the cooling temperatures in the South Luangwa mean they spend more time out in the open whilst the dropping levels of the Luangwa River mean pods of hippos in the pools become much larger. Visitors to the Kafue National Park will delight in the fact that the more northerly Busanga Plains have now drained of summer rainfall sufficiently to allow camps operating in this wildlife wonderful to open up to gusts bringing in a whole new range of experiences.

Image: Lion in South Luangwa

Zambia Hero Image

This is when the safari season really kicks in as the temperatures drop to their winter lows and rainfall remains non-existent, meaning all animals stay out in the open much longer and the lack of water means wildlife congregates around the river areas. This is the last month until October when the Liuwa Plain National Park remains open as the wildlife moves further north away from the camp. Kafue remains a superb spot for wildlife viewing and the camps can still offer boat safaris on the Kafue River. The North Luangwa National Park becomes a viable option in July, so great for those really looking to escape the crowds.

Image: Leopard relaxing in the trees

Devils Pool

Water levels at Victoria Falls really drop, meaning Livingstone, that delightful picnic spot on the edge of The Falls, and the Devil’s Pool are fully open offering an increased range of unique experiences that visitors to the area enjoy. The game viewing remains outstanding in the South Luangwa, with the dry underfoot conditions making it perfect for walks from the more remote bush camps in the north and east of the park. It is also a superb time to head up to the North Luangwa, especially for visiting the rhino sanctuary found there. The Lower Zambezi is a delight at this time of year with a huge range of activities on offer for visitors to enjoy.

Image: Relaxing at Devil's Pool

Luangwa Bush Camping Walking Safari

Visitors to the Kafue National Park can enjoy hot air balloon flights from selected camps in the Busanga Plains region in September – a truly unique experience and one certainly not to be missed in the area. The Victoria Falls remain almost dry – certainly not a reason to avoid visiting in September, but one to bear in mind as it does change the activities on offer. It remains a great time to be in the more traditional areas of the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa, with the sleepout safaris offered from a number of South Luangwa camps especially popular on these cool, dry nights.

Image: Luangwa Bush Camping Walking Safari

Zma16  South  Luangwa Lion

A definite change of seasons is in the area as October arrives, with days and nights becoming noticeably warmer and the threat of heavy rain hanging in the air some days. Despite the sometimes oppressive heat, especially in the Zambezi Valley, it is regarded by guides as the very best time for game viewing, especially for predators who revel in the easy hunting conditions. The more remote bush camps in the core parks, as well as those in remote areas such as North Luangwa and Kafue are starting to wind down their operations with a viewing to closing for the summer. Water levels remain low at Victoria Falls so a huge range of activities are still on offer.

Image: Lion in Luangwa

Wild Western Zambia Hero

Summer, with its associated hot days and heavy rainfall, is very much upon Zambia come November, with many camps closing by the middle of the month, although more accessible camps in South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue usually remain open until the middle of the month and beyond. Ardent safari-goers can still enjoy Zambia as the Liuwa Plain National Park becomes a viable option once again as the summer rains attract huge herds of wildebeest down on to the plains. Victoria Falls remains an excellent destination, with water levels just starting to creep up but a full range of activities remains on offer. Visitors to the Kasanka National Park will also be able to witness up to 10 million straw-coloured fruit bats who migrate to the park each year.

Image: Wildebeest in Liuwa Plain National Park

Victoria Falls Helicopter Flights

As summer reaches its peak the options for safaris in Zambia do become somewhat limited, but it remains as popular a time as ever to visit the iconic Victoria Falls. The South Luangwa has a number of camps, mainly those close to the river or in better-draining areas that stay open and guests keen on fishing can spend time in the Lower Zambezi National Park. Eastern Kafue remains a possibility for those who don’t mind the heat and visitors to Liuwa Plain can enjoy the excellent predator sightings that stem from the herds of wildebeest giving birth to their young. Of course, Christmas is celebrated with a great deal of enthusiasm in those camps that remain open.

Image: Helicopter over Victoria Falls

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Crowned cranes in South Luangwa National Park

When is the best time to visit Zambia?

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The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry season between June and November. The skies are cobalt blue, the days are hot, and the nights are cool. Temperatures can sit anywhere from 23°C to 36°C across the country. Wildlife-spotting opportunities are plentiful during this time too.

Victoria Falls makes a great option to combine with a safari, but can be visited on its own when the camps are closed briefly in the wet season between January and February. This is when the ‘smoke that thunders’ lives up to its name. This name was coined by the Kalolo-Lozi people, who could see the enormous clouds of mist and spray from a distance.

Rain does fall outside of the wettest months, but this is compensated for by minimal crowds and top-quality birdwatching, plus temperatures remain warm.

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Month-by-month guide for travelling in Zambia

The Victoria Falls, Zambia

Visiting Zambia in January

January is a good time to see Victoria Falls, but is very wet elsewhere and most camps are closed.

Events & Festivals

  • Green Season: this is a great time for birdwatchers and walkers, offering beautiful scenery, flocks of migratory birds and hardly any people, as well as amazing value for money. Read more about Zambia's Green Season.

White-fronted bee eaters, Lower Zambezi National Park

Visiting Zambia in February

It remains wet throughout February, so it's a good time to see Victoria Falls, but only a few camps stay open for boating and walking. It's also a good time for birdwatching.

Brown hooded kingfisher, Kafue National Park

Visiting Zambia in March

Victoria Falls is at its fullest, sending huge amounts of spray into the air and often obscuring the view of the falls themselves. Some camps are open for boating, and birdwatching is excellent. This time of year offers fantastic value for money and camps are really quiet so there are no crowds.

Hippos, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Visiting Zambia in April

The weather starts to dry up a bit, but rain remains a significant feature of April.

Walking Safari in North Luangwa

Visiting Zambia in May

A few more camps open up as the rain stops. However, this isn't the best time to embark on a safari as the ground is still sodden, which makes access difficult.

Walking safari from Musekese Bush Camp,Kafue National Park

Visiting Zambia in June

The ground starts to dry out after the rains, making June a lovely time to visit. The rivers are still full and the bush is colourful. The camps have opened and are offering excellent deals, while there are few other visitors to compete for space with.

Leopard preparing for an evening hunt in South Luangwa

Visiting Zambia in July

Once July hits, Zambia kicks into high gear. Temperatures are rising but it stays chilly in the mornings and evenings. All camps are open in all the national parks, with the South Luangwa the best option for game, the Lower Zambezi for river cruises and fishing, and the Kafue for remote wilderness. Victoria Falls is spectacular, without being overly wet.

Elephant in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

Visiting Zambia in August

The hotter weather and drier bush means walking safaris are excellent across the country. This is the prime time of year to combine game viewing and Victoria Falls.

Carmine bee-eaters, South Luangwa National Park

Visiting Zambia in September

September is a superb time to be on safari. Temperatures in the high 20°Cs make the days pleasant, and the water sources are drying up so animals congregate by the rivers and waterholes. Victoria Falls is not as dramatic as earlier months but is still impressive. Meanwhile, carmine bee-eaters arrive in their thousands to nest in the river banks.

  • Carmine bee-eaters arrive: This month sees the carmine bee-eaters arrive, with flocks of hundreds nesting in river banks, providing a thrilling spectacle of colour and sound in South Luangwa National Park

Rhino, Mosi Ao Tunya National Park, Livingstone

Visiting Zambia in October

The heat increases through October and game viewing is best done early and late in the day to escape the midday temperatures.

Lion,  Lower Zambezi National Park

Visiting Zambia in November

The rains arrive in the latter half of the month, but as they are not regular they are not too disruptive and the bonus is seeing dramatic skies with storm clouds building. Temperatures are high and it can be muggy. Some camps close but lots stay open and are great value. You may also be able to see lots of young animals being born.

  • Great bat migration: Experience the world's largest mammalian migration as millions of bats fill the skies in a remote part of Zambia.

Walking Safari in North Luangwa

Visiting Zambia in December

Rains fall regularly, the rivers rise and the bush gets thicker and more colourful. This is an excellent value time to travel.

Zambia Climate Guide

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Best Time to Visit Zambia

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  • Best time to visit Zambia for a Safari

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  • Lauren Coetzee
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  • May 12, 2023

Zambia is an untapped safari treasure, and Victoria Falls, in all its majesty, is on many people’s bucket lists, but when is the best time to visit Zambia for a safari? Zambia is home to some of Africa’s most pristine and unspoiled wildlife reserves. South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi, and Kafue National Parks, among others, are just waiting to be explored on wildlife drives, as well as expertly led walking, boat, and canoe safaris.

Here’s our guide to the best time to visit Zambia for a safari. 

Wildlife: Best time to visit Zambia for a safari

Best time to visit Zamibia for a Safari

The best time to visit Zambia for a safari is between the middle of June and the middle of October when most of the parks are at their driest and the days are bright and sunny. During these months, game-watching by vehicle and foot is the most reliable because the animals congregate around the rivers for their primary water source. Because the grass and bushes thin out during the dry season, it is easier to spot wildlife. Outside of these months, the wet season makes particular portions of the parks exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to reach. 

Overall, the months of June to September are ideal for a safari in Zambia, with pleasant weather, good road conditions, and a wide selection of camps and walking safaris accessible.

Birding: Best time to visit Zambia for a safari

Best time to visit Zamibia for a Safari

Many bird species are unique to Zambia, and others travel here in the winter to feast on the copious seeds, fruits, and insects brought by the periodic rains. The wet season in the South Luangwa Valley region lasts until the end of March, and migrating birds arrive in large numbers.

The Valley is ideal for birdwatching. Hundreds of huge waterbirds can be observed wading through the shallows near the end of the dry season when the river and oxbow lagoons begin to recede. Around the same time, shortly before the rains come in November, Palearctic migrants from Northern Europe and intra-African migrants arrive to take advantage of the feeding opportunities provided by the mild rainy season. Red-chested Cuckoos, White Storks, and European Swallows are among them. 

The hundreds of brightly coloured Carmine Bee-eaters nesting in the river’s steep sandy banks are a sight to behold. With around 400 of Zambia’s 732 bird species occurring in the Valley, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migrant species, there is much for the birdwatcher to see at any time of year.

Best time to visit Victoria Falls

when is best time to visit zambia

It makes sense that you would want to visit at the ideal time of year as Victoria Falls is one of the main reasons tourists pick Zambia as a vacation destination. Victoria Falls and the surrounding area offer a wide variety of activities that will keep you busy for days, from the adrenaline-pumping gorge swing to something a little peaceful like a close-up game-viewing experience. Additionally, Victoria Falls is just the ticket for serious photographers, birders, and those looking for a completely different encounter. 

The experience at Victoria Falls varies greatly throughout the year, but the best time to go relies heavily on your preferences for leisure activities and personal interests. The Wet Season rains often start in December and last until around March. By April, May, and June the falls should be roaring into the gorge at the entire width of the Zambezi River as the volume of the falls gradually increases. The falls progressively diminish and split into various separate cascades between June and November.

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The best time to visit Zambia...

Zambia Lion

Although the temperature in Zambia stays relatively consistent and warm throughout the year, the best time to visit is in the dry season between July and October. This is, in the main, due to the famous 'black cotton' soil that renders many areas of the country impassable once wet. That being said, there are particular months and areas that go hand in hand, offering exceptional safari and game viewing experiences.

Best time to visit the South and North Luangwa National Park

The best time to go to South Luangwa National Park is the period between middle of June and October when the park is at its driest and the days are warm with plenty of sun. The game viewing by vehicle and foot, is the most reliable during these months as the animals concentrate around the rivers for their primary water source. The drier the season, the easier it is to spot the wildlife as the vegetation and bushes are grazed down. The wet season outside these months make certain areas of the park extremely difficult, or impossible to access. This is because Luangwa’s infamous black cotton soil becomes extremely sticky and wet, making the roads simply impassable, even for safari 4x4’s! Some camps open during the ‘emerald’ season, which lights up the park with vibrant green tones and it is a particularly good time to visit for those interested in birdlife as the park is filled with a beautiful blend of endemic and migratory birds.

Best time to visit the Lower Zambezi National Park

Similar to other areas in Zambia, the best time to visit the Lower Zambezi National Park is in the dry season between June to October. This is when the bush is thinner, the park is drier and the wildlife congregates around the river. During these months, all of the activities are offered including river cruises, canoe trips, fishing and night and day game drives.

The period outside of this window ( November to March ), is the rainy season. The weather during this time is very hot and humid and as the bush is greener and fresher, mosquitos’ numbers are much higher. The roads become bad and sometimes impassable so the scheduled flights into the park stop operating, and the majority of the camps close during this period. That said, this period, also referred to as the ‘emerald season’ has much fewer visitors and for camps that remain open, the rates are usually very low.

Best time to visit Kafue National Park

The best time to visit Kafue is the July to October window which is the height of the dry season. The game viewing is at its best, and most reliable during this time as the animals gather around the remaining water sources. The Busanga Plains, in the northwest area of the park are best visited in the dry season also, perhaps between the months of August and October. The Busanga Plains become completely inaccessible during the wet season.

Best time to visit Liuwa Plain National Park

The period between November to Decembe r is the wet season but this is the regarded the best season to travel as the animal’s migration to the plain during this time (the opposite to the wildlife pattern in most other parks). Many of the animals give birth during this time so there are plenty of newborns and the birding is exquisite. The plains are inaccessible between January and April and game drives are not permitted, so this is a time to avoid. The period from May to October is good as the plains begin to dry up and the conditions for wildlife are good. That said, October can be very hot!

Best time to visit the Victoria Falls

The mighty Victoria Falls marks the boundary between Botswana (just), Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is the place where the waters of the Zambezi River cascade over 100 meters into the “boiling pot” below. A visit to the falls is really a fantastic adventure and something really worth making the effort to do. Again, as with many of the more famous sites in Africa, there is a strong argument to say that you should think of staying away from the busiest areas and benefit from the peace and tranquillity of being further upstream. There is no doubt that a visit to the mighty Victoria Falls at any time of the year will blow you away – the noise, the heat, the moisture, the splash and the overall unique display - but it is worth noting the difference in water volume throughout the months so that you can plan your visit based on the experience it offers.

December to March - The summer period and the height of the rainy season. The weather is hot and as the humidity builds up, thunderstorms often arrive in the afternoon. The Victoria Falls water levels are high and slowly increasing, so activities such as white-water rafting and visiting Livingstone Island Devil’s Pool are usually closed due to safety.

April to June - Many would say that the best time to visit the Falls is the period between April and June which is directly after the area’s summer rains. As a result, the falls have the greatest volume at this time so the amount of water flowing down is simply breath-taking! Visibility from some lookouts can be limited by the abundance of spray and mist so the local name ‘The Smoke That Thunders’ is definitely recognised during this time! Because of high water levels, it is worth noting that white water rafting and Livingstone Island/ Devil’s Pool are closed during these months. A visit to the falls during these months will guarantee to get you soaked… so a poncho or waterproof is a must!

July to August - The water levels of Victoria Falls are lower during these months and as such, the spray is not as intense which gives you greater visibility of the actual falls. At this time, Livingstone Island and the rafting season begins to open as soon as the water drops to a safe level. The only thing to bear in mind is that July and August are peak seasons at Victoria Falls (and Africa in general) due to the summer holidays across the UK and Europe, so be prepared for crowds and high visitor numbers.

September to November - This period is the end of the dry season when the falls water level is at the lowest. On the Zambian side, the falls may almost completely dry up so whilst the visibility is excellent, the experience will definitively be less intense and you certainly will not be wet! From an activity point of view, this period is a great time to visit as white-water rafting is at its peak and Livingstone Island and Devil’s Pool at the edge of the falls are open.

Best time to visit Zambia:

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Where to go in Zambia:

Victoria Falls - Zambia

Victoria Falls

Lusaka - Latitude 15 Hotel

Liuwa Plain National Park

Kafue National Park

Kafue National Park

Leopard in South Luangwa

South Luangwa National Park

North Luangwa National Park

North Luangwa National Park

Lower Zambezi National Park

Lower Zambezi National Park

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When to visit Zambia

The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry dry season between August and November. Zambia is a relatively temperate country, although the climate can range from 21°C or 70°F to 31°C or 88°F depending on the altitude, which generally varies between 1,000 and 1,600 metres - largely dictated by the valleys of the Zambezi, Kafue and Luangwa Rivers. The recognised best times to visit Zambia are during the dry season, and unlike other busier destinations in East and Southern Africa the numbers of visitors are small, so this need not be a major consideration when planning your journey as it never feels busy and the scenery is spectacular at any time of year. From day to night, the temperatures can drop quite dramatically, no matter what time of the year you are travelling, but especially in the months of June and July.

The famous Victoria Falls is one of Zambia's treasures, and the dry season from August to November is the finest time to experience its majestic magnificence. The Zambezi River's water levels are lower during these months, providing breathtaking vistas of the falls and typically permitting activities like swimming at Devil's Pool. The dry season allows for exciting excursions like walking along the Knife-Edge Bridge and gives a clearer perspective of the geological wonder. Victoria Falls can be visited at any time of year, but the dry season offers the best chance to appreciate this natural wonder. Zambia is always beautiful.

Ga Zambia Liuwa Plains Mana Meadows African Parks

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The best time to visit zambia.

The rainy season in Zambia lasts from November to April, with January falling squarely in the middle of it. Typical daytime temperatures fall between 70°F and 88°F (21°C to 31°C). It rains frequently during this season, which is warm and humid.

July - October

The traditional dry season in Zambia, this is the most comfortable time temperature wise, and also the most popular. The temperatures gradually build as you move into September and October, with some areas such as Luangwa Valley and Lower Zambezi in particular feeling the heat, but with animals seeking water along the river banks the game viewing can be phenomenal.

November - April - June

These ‘shoulder’ months are still great times to visit, as they can be less busy and between seasons which can mean pleasant weather. November is a hard month to predict and you might have a completely dry month or see the first rains fall heading into the wet season. April to June is a verdant landscape and most of the rain will have stopped, especially so in May/June. This is also an ideal time to visit Victoria Falls.

December - March

The wet season, when the scenery is stunning and prices of accommodation are generally much lower. However, it is not ideal for everybody as weather can vary hugely within the same day. Waterproofs are required, but the rains are short lived, meaning that it does not prevent you from enjoying activities over long periods, except perhaps for some travel on minor roads. Generally the rain arrives quicker and subsides later the further north you are, and the east experiences more rainfall than the west. Some camps are known to close so consult us if you are unsure.

Zambia Planning

Ga Zambia Liuwa Plains Mana Meadows African Parks

Zambia Walking Safari

A fantastic 11 day Zambia walking safari through the beautiful South Luangwa Valley National Park. Get up close to the wildlife and gain an understanding of the smaller parts of the African bush with some of the best guides in the industry. A truly eye opening experience as you explore the South Luangwa Valley National Park on foot with some of the best guides in Africa. Topped and tailed by the lovely Nkwali Lodge and Tena Tena Camp, this safari is perfectly balanced to provide you with a unique experience at the same time as the creature comforts that one requires.

Norman Carr Safaris Liuwa Plain Heinrich Van Den Berg

Classic Zambia Safari

The entirety of this 10-day safari will be spent in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in this rich wildlife destination. From your secluded lodges and camps you'll be able to head into the bush and search for giraffes, hippos, zebra, thousands of elephants and a prodigious predator population, including lions, leopards, painted dogs and more.

Norman Carr Safaris Liuwa Plaincopyright Will Burrard Lucas

Photographic Safari: In Search Of Painted Wolves

Visit Lower Zambezi National Park and Kafue National Park in Zambia with acclaimed wildlife photographer Nick Dyer in search of wild dogs. At Natural World Safaris we firmly believe in right time, right place, and Zambia is the perfect destination to take advantage of good sightings of a large pack of wild dogs.

Things to do in Zambia

If you want to see the bat migration , travel to Zambia in November to December sees up to ten million fruit bats descend upon Kasanka National Park.

If you want to see herds of wildebeest , travel to Zambia during November when the large herds gather in the Liuwa Plains to make the most of the fresh grazing.

Travel to Zambia from July to October for the best conditions to spot big cats and other predators .

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Discover the Entebbe Botanical Gardens, which are home to a variety of plants and birds and are located on the banks of Lake Victoria.

Kafue River

Take advantage of the Kafue River's famed tiger fish and wildlife by fishing and birdwatching there.

Kasanka National Park

Visit Kasanka National Park to witness the annual bat migration, when millions of fruit bats congregate in a stunning natural spectacle.

Livingstone Island

Get an opportunity to swim in the Devil's Pool, a natural infinity pool on the edge of Victoria Falls, by taking a guided tour to Livingstone Island.

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Zambia Climate

when is best time to visit zambia

Please note these numbers will generally represent the capital city's average rainfall and temperature. For a more nuanced countrywide analysis, see below.

Best time to visit

Home / Destinations / Zambia / Zambia Climate

Journeys by Design designs itineraries that include Kafue National Park , Lusaka , Kasanka National Park , Lower Zambezi , North and South Luangwa National Parks and Victoria Falls .

Landlocked and bordered in the north by the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania , to the east by Malawi , in the south by Mozambique , Zimbabwe , Botswana and Namibia , and to the west by Angola, Zambia is located between southern and equatorial Africa, and as such is something of both.

Consisting largely of the same plateau that runs south-north up the spine of much of southern Africa, Zambia is marked by mean elevation of 1,200mm, and rarely achieves altitudes over 2000m. Drained by the Zambezi and its main tributaries, the Kafue and the Luangwe, and by the Chambeshi and Luapula, the plateau is characterised vast river valleys and by flat bottomed drainage valleys known as dambos. The dominant form of vegetation is miombo woodland and grasslands.

Walking across the Mupamadzi

The climate in Zambia is decided by the oscillations of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the converging of – and interaction between – the zonal Congo air mass and the meridional south-eastern trade winds and monsoonal north-eastern winds. Providing the country with a bimodal seasonal pattern, the ITCZ moves over Zambia late in the year, bringing rain to the north as of October and reaching the south in the last week of November, where it is at its southern most limits. The ITCZ begins to journey back north in March, through northern Zambia in April / May, leaving the country relatively cool and dry until the end of August, when there is a sharp upturn in temperature and levels of humidity, which is why while – strictly speaking – the country experiences a dry season and a wet season, Zambia is regarded as having three seasons: wet, cool dry and hot dry.

Average levels of precipitation increase northwards, being 450mm to 700mm per annum in the south, 800mm to 1000mm in central regions, and 1000mm to 1500mm in the north. Experiencing, therefore, a dry-wet tropical climate, Zambia is largely a semi-arid to semi-humid to humid country. Given the difference in temperament of its dry season, and the fact of the moderating effects of altitude, temperatures fluctuate across the year. The cool dry season experiences a mean daytime range of between 15°C and 27°C (6°C – 10°C in the evenings), figures that jump to 27°C – 35°C in the hot dry and wet seasons, with the Zambezi and Luangwe valleys occasionally reaching into the early forties.

Journeys by Design’s destinations are situated in either the central western areas of Zambia (North and South Luangwe and Kasanka), the central south (Kafue, Lusaka and Lower Zambezi) or the south (Victoria Falls). As such, the best time for viewing wildlife is between May and November, when it is dry, when the cover is greatly reduced, when seasonal water sources are either drying or entirely dried up and when the game masses along riverfronts, lakesides and waterholes.

The two dry seasons are roughly further divided as follows: May is still reasonably green, the game still reasonably dispersed. June sees a drying up of the dambos and the land turns brown and yellow, a classic savannah landscape stretching well into the end of August. Cool, dry, it is a great time for walking, a Zambian speciality. September signals the start of the heat, an indication – perversely – of the rains. As the temperature cranks up, so the new woodland tree growth cycle begins, and signs of pre-spring are gradually apparent, not least in the scent and sight of flowering Brachystrigia (miombo), whose red petals are a startling contrast to the otherwise pale, sandy colours of much of the environment. Even so, it is still the dry season. The game is now heavily massed about the only remaining water supplies, and October and November are fantastic months for lion, hyena and other predators.

Once the rains arrive, many of the parks’ dirt roads become impassable and all but South Luangwe close for the off season. This said, a good many private camps remain open, offering a different kind of safari. Some specialise in wet safaris, others emphasise the advantages of visiting in the summer months, when the game is in better shape, when many species calve and when behaviour changes, allowing for specialist interest. Also, it is the time for watching birds.

Nevertheless, for those reasonably new to Africa, and for those interested primarily in big game, the dry season is undoubtedly the best time to visit Zambia.

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When Is The Best Time To Visit Zambia?

Posted by Bhargavi Akurathi | Jul 12, 2022 |

When Is The Best Time To Visit Zambia?

Zambia is a beautiful country with lots to see and do. The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry season, from October to March when the weather is coolest and the crowds are smallest.

There are also many festivals and events during the dry season, so it’s a great time to get out and explore. Zambia is a magnificent country with a lot to offer visitors. The best time to visit Zambia is with little chance of rain, making it easier to see the big game in the bush.

Here is the List of Best times to go to Visit Zambia

There are many best reasons to visit Zambia. The country is located in Southern Africa, making it a gateway to the continent. Zambia is also home to diverse wildlife and stunning mountain ranges.

  • Best season to go to Visit Zambia
  • Best Months to go to Visit Zambia
  • Best time to go to Visit Zambia
  • List of occasions to go to Visit Zambia
  • List of Festivals or any other important things

The weather is temperate throughout the year, with average temperatures ranging from 23 degrees Celsius during the winter to 28 degrees Celsius during the summer. With its diverse cultures and natural wonders, Zambia is a perfect destination for tourists of all interests.

Best Season to Visit Zambia

Then Zambia is a landlocked country located in southern Africa. It has a population of around 12 million and is covered in stunning landscapes.  This is when the country is at its quietest and the weather is the coolest. The rainy season can be quite wet and muddy, making it difficult to enjoy the scenery.

During the dry season, Zambia is a beautiful country to visit. The temperatures are comfortable, and there isn’t as much humidity, The dry season is the best time to visit Zambia, which means the air is much more refreshing. There are also fewer tourists during the dry season, so you’ll have more privacy.

Best Month to Visit Zambia

Zambia is a stunning destination for anyone looking for a safari-style adventure. Still, it’s also a great place to relax and enjoy the country’s natural beauty any month. January is the best time to visit Zambia because the country is relatively dry and has mild temperatures. The landscape is colourful, and there are few tourists.

January Month

January is a great month to visit Zambia because the weather is warm and sunny, and the country is quiet. There are few tourists. The best time to travel to Zambia in January is when the country is least busy, and the prices are lower.

Best Time to Visit Zambia

Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa with a population of around 16 million. It’s a great place to visit all year round, but the best time to visit is morning, afternoon, evening or night. The weather is warm all year round, and the landscape is beautiful. The people are friendly, and there are plenty of things to do.

Morning Time

The morning hours are the best time to visit Zambia because the temperatures are cooler and there is less humidity. The sun is also shining, making it brighter and more. Enjoyable day. Additionally, the wildlife is most active in the morning, so visitors can see more wildlife during this time.

Best Occasion to Visit Zambia

Zambia is a country in Southern Africa with many amazing places to visit. Here are some of the best occasions to visit: 

Christmas: Zambia has a festive atmosphere, and Christmas is a great time to see the snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro. 

New Year’s Eve: In Zambia is well known for its New Year’s Eve celebrations, which are quite spectacular.

New Year Occasion is the Best Occasion to Visit Zambia

The New Year’s occasion is the best opportunity to visit Zambia. It offers a great opportunity to witness the many cultural celebrations throughout the country. Zambia is a safe destination, with very friendly people and stunning landscapes. The weather is warm all year round, making it an ideal destination for tourists of all ages.

Best Festival to Visit Zambia

The best festivals to visit in Zambia are definitely the Copper belt FESTIVALS. This annual event takes place in the Copper belt province. It features traditional music, dance, and storytelling from across the region. The Okavango Delta FESTIVAL is another great choice for travellers interested in experiencing Zambia’s cultural diversity. Held in the beautiful Okavango Delta each year, this festival celebrates traditional music and dance from all over southern Africa.

Copper Belt Festival

Copper Belt Festival is the best festival to visit Zambia because it is a fun and exciting event with many different activities. The festival is held in the Copper belt region of Zambia, and it is one of the most popular festivals in Zambia. Many events are to attend, including music concerts, cultural activities, arts and crafts exhibitions, and thrilling adventures like rafting Zambezi River .

In conclusion, Zambia is a beautiful country with much to offer visitors. The best time to visit Zambia depends on what you want to do, but the country is enjoyable year-round. I highly recommend visiting Zambia and experiencing all that it has to offer. Thanks for reading, and visit again here Journey Index .

About The Author

Bhargavi Akurathi

Bhargavi Akurathi

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Plan your visit to Ecuador with this seasonal guide

Mayra Peralta

Jun 6, 2024 • 6 min read

when is best time to visit zambia

There are just two major seasons in Ecuador: wet and dry. But which one is right for the things you want to do? © Westend61 / Getty Images

Ecuador perfectly illustrates South America’s geographic and atmospheric diversity.

With its varied ecosystems, Ecuador experiences only two major seasons: wet season running from October to May and dry season, which takes place between June and September. This means it enjoys relatively steady and moderate weather (22 Celsius) throughout the year, and deciding when to visit will mostly depend on what it is you want to do while you're there.

Nevertheless, Ecuador’s contrasting regions (Serranía, Coast, Amazon rainforest and the Galápagos archipelago) do experience some ebb and flow of seasonal change and climate zones. After all, the country sits right on the equator, leaving half its territory in the northern hemisphere and the other half in the south.

Here’s our guide for the best times to visit Ecuador . 

Ready to travel to Ecuador? Here are the things you should know before you go

Diver viewing a green sea turtle, Galapagos Islands.

December to February is the best time for coastal fun

From December to February, days on the Pacific Coast and the Galápagos Islands are generally warm, with occasional but tame rain and the best underwater visibility for those booking snorkeling or scuba diving trips. 

This time of the year is also ideal for wildlife enthusiasts hoping to spot courtship rituals and newborns, as the hatching, breeding and nesting season of species such as giant tortoises, birds and sea lions take place in the Galápagos.

On the Pacific shoreline, daring wave riders benefit from winter storms in the North and the west swells making their way south, bringing optimal surfing conditions.

Meanwhile, the weather varies from chill to moderately cold in the Andean region, and the Oriente experiences relative dryness. Though rain is constant all year round in the Amazon rainforest, during this time of the year visitors are less likely to get soaked under pouring rain and will find it easier to explore the trails. 

In recent years, however, due to changing climate conditions, the lack of rain has started to disrupt water transportation, which is the only means available to reach many reserves and communities. 

With festivities like Christmas, New Year and Carnaval as well as school breaks taking place on the Ecuadorian coast, December, January and February are high tourist months. 

Prices are slightly higher and accommodation is hard to secure on major holidays, so planning ahead of time is recommended if you want to visit at this time. But don’t fret. The difference between other seasons is not too substantial and won’t dramatically affect your budget. 

Planning to travel around Ecuador? Here's our guide to transportation

March to May is ideal for a rainy Amazon getaway

During March to May, good conditions continue on the Coast and the Galápagos archipelago for surfing and underwater activities. On the islands, spotting albatrosses, iguanas, tortoises and blue-footed boobies will be an everyday occurrence as they arrive for hatching season. Keep your eyes peeled for the blue-footed boobies’ mating dance, which occurs in May. 

Rain takes over the highlands as early as the last days of February until early May. Ecuadorians live by the Spanish saying "Abril aguas mil" (in April, thousand waters) during April, which is the rainiest month of the year and generally coincides with Holy Week celebrations — though the rain never stops devotion, and religious demonstrations will take place regardless. 

The Amazon rainforest also experiences rain, bringing out a particularly luscious and verdant landscape, better navigation conditions and higher chances of spotting animals that thrive in rainy weather. 

This is the best time of the year to see flora and fauna, including some birds that hide during the dry season to avoid the heat. You will, however, need to pack sturdy rubber boots, a raincoat and insect repellent in your travel essentials.

Flight and accommodation prices will fluctuate during this period as important holidays unfold throughout April and May. Holy Week, Labor Day (May 1) and the anniversary of the Battle of Pichincha (May 24), which are observed nationwide, will encourage tourism, bringing prices up and making it hard to find accommodation. Book hotels in advance if you plan to stay in the Coastal region, where Ecuadorians flock during this season.

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Unveil the wonders of the highlands from June to September

Benefiting from sunny days and summer breaks in the Andean region, the Ecuadorian highlands thrive from June to September. Clear skies, good weather conditions and a slew of cultural activities make this period a favorite for national and foreign tourists. 

Though increased tourist activity naturally leads to higher prices, hiking trips to some of the most beautiful Andean mountains and colorful traditional festivals will justify the slightly higher prices. Make sure you book your tickets and plan well in advance if you aim to visit Ecuador at this time of the year.

In June, the central and northern highlands put their best foot forward for their traditional and religious festivals. Pujilí, a town in Chimborazo, celebrates Corpus Christi the first week of June with big parades, where the danzante (the dancer) — a traditional figure carrying a large, adorned headpiece — dances to the rhythm of the bombo (bass drum) and pingullo (a traditional Andean flute). 

Inti Raymi, celebrating the summer solstice, follows, with the most prominent fêtes taking place in Peguche, Otavalo and other towns in Imbabura. In August, Indigenous people in the northern highlands celebrate Fiesta del Yamor to express their gratefulness to Pachamama (Mother Earth) for the harvest season.

In September, places like Latacunga and Zámbiza, a rural community in Quito , honor the Virgin of Mercy and Saint Michael the Archangel, respectively, with gatherings that mix Indigenous culture and Catholic devotion.

But it's not only the highlands that teem with activity. Adventure-loving tourists can enjoy the arrival of humpback whales to the Ecuadorian coast starting June through September. Droves of these majestic animals arrive in the waters of Puerto López in Manabí every year for the breeding season. Whales stay as they give birth to their calves and mate again, guaranteeing their return for the next year.

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October and November are the best months for off-peak travel

Because of the transition between seasons, the Amazon region has a less predictable weather pattern in October and November. This is shoulder season and an ideal time for exploring the rainforest and avoiding heavier rain and flooding.

The Coast and Galápagos Islands might experience light morning mists and drizzle during this season, which signals the arrival of warmer days.

Temperatures start to drop in the highlands, bringing gentle rain and slighter chillier nights. In October, people in the region prepare for the Lash of St Francis (el Cordonazo de San Francisco) — northern winds expected to bring heavy squalls on Saint Francis Day (October 4).

Though precipitation might bring a few challenges, this is still a good time for hikers and tourists with an exploring agenda. It's a relatively low season compared to other times of the year. Flight tickets won’t be gasp-inducingly cheap, but prices will certainly reduce and accommodation will be easily available.

However, watch out for November, as Día de los Difuntos (Day of the Dead) on November 2 and Cuenca’s Independence celebrations on November 3 are commemorated with long weekend holidays that prompt travel throughout the country.

This article was first published Nov 26, 2021 and updated Jun 6, 2024.

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IMAGES

  1. When is the Best Time to Visit Zambia?

    when is best time to visit zambia

  2. The Best Time to Visit Zambia

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  3. The Best Time to Visit Zambia’s Victoria Falls

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  4. 10 Best Places To Visit in Zambia 2024

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  5. Best Time to Visit Zambia (High/Low Season, Weather & Activities)

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  6. The Best Time to Visit Zambia

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COMMENTS

  1. Best Time To Visit Zambia (Month by Month)

    Best Time To Go by Major Park. For the best wildlife viewing in the main parks (South Luangwa, Kafue and Lower Zambezi), visit in the dry winter months (July to October). This coincides with the best opportunities for great photos of Victoria Falls - from June to August. Most camps close in the rainy season and washed-out roads make travel ...

  2. The Best Time to Visit Zambia

    As you will be able to see, Zambia is without doubt one of the more seasonal safari destinations within Africa, with large parts of the country inaccessible during the summer rains, although some camps do remain open. The "shoulder" seasons of April-June and November offer some of the best value safaris anywhere in Africa with amazing ...

  3. The best time to go to Zambia

    The best time to visit Zambia We're often asked "When is the best time to go to Zambia?", and the answer is often complex. It will depend on many things including your interests, exactly where you want to visit and why you're travelling. One person's best time can be another's worst! However, often a concern about the weather underlies the ...

  4. Best Time to Visit Zambia

    Best time to visit. The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry season between June and November. The skies are cobalt blue, the days are hot, and the nights are cool. Temperatures can sit anywhere from 73°F to 97°F across the country. Wildlife-spotting opportunities are plentiful during this time too, as animals gather around the limited ...

  5. When is the Best Time to Visit Zambia?

    The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry season which runs from May to October. These months are perfect for wildlife viewing and offer pleasantly mild daytime temperatures - although September and October do get extremely hot. Zambia has a sub-tropical climate and has two very specific seasons, the dry months during winter and the ...

  6. Best Time to Visit Zambia

    Best time to visit Zambia by season. The cool, dry season, from May to August, is considered to be the best travel time for Zambia when temperatures are around 73°F. At night it gets relatively fresh, falling to about 42°F. The rivers and waterholes are filled by the rainy season and attract numerous wild animals.

  7. Best Time to Visit Zambia (Climate & Seasons)

    The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. This period typically features clear skies, mild to warm temperatures, and low humidity. This makes it ideal for wildlife viewing and exploring Zambia's stunning natural landscapes. Advantages of visiting Zambia in the dry season include:

  8. Best Time to Visit Zambia

    Here is a detailed guide on the best time to visit Zambia. The Best Times in Zambia for a Vacation. The climate of Zambia is divided into two seasons: the wet season, during the summer, and the dry season, or winter. Each season has its advantages and disadvantages. Here's our breakdown of the weather in Zambia.

  9. Best Time To Visit Zambia 2024

    May to October is the dry season, and overall is the best time to visit Zambia. The weather is dry and cooler, making it more comfortable for wildlife safaris and outdoor activities. Wildlife viewing is excellent during the dry season, as animals congregate around water sources, and the vegetation is less dense, improving visibility. ...

  10. Best Time To Visit Zambia On Safari [Examining All Seasons]

    BEST TIME. Whether you're looking for a single- or multi-country itinerary, it's hard to convincingly argue against June to October being the best time to visit Zambia on safari. Milder weather, greater accessibility and the increasingly concentrated game as the dry season progresses make winter the best time to visit Zambia (and bump up ...

  11. Our guide to the best time to visit Zambia

    June to October: The peak season. The peak safari season, and traditionally the best time to visit Zambia, is from June to October. It's actually winter, but perhaps not the same winter we northern hemisphere dwellers are used to! We're talking clear blue skies, sunshine (and lots of it) and rarely a drop of rain.

  12. When is the Best Time to Visit Zambia?

    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. Wet season. December - April.

  13. Best time to visit Zambia

    The best time to visit Zambia is between June and November, when the weather is dry and the wildlife watching is sensational, but our month by month climate guide highlights the benefits of travelling out of season, too. In May, you'll see the Victoria Falls at their most spectacular, when its tumbling torrent is spectacularly full but not ...

  14. Best Time To Visit Zambia 2023/24

    Best Time To Visit Zambia. Month by month guide of when to go. Zambia's weather has two distinct seasons, a hot and rainy summer, usually starting in mid-November and lasting until the end of March. From April through to September is remains dry and much cooler, before temperatures start to rise in October and there is a chance of rain ...

  15. Best Time to Visit Zambia

    Best time to visit. The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry season between June and November. The skies are cobalt blue, the days are hot, and the nights are cool. Temperatures can sit anywhere from 23°C to 36°C across the country. Wildlife-spotting opportunities are plentiful during this time too.

  16. Best Time To Visit in Zambia

    Read about the best time to visit Zambia. Understand when should you plan your trip to Zambia with details on weather, peak season, shoulder season and off-season. Know about the events and local festivals in Zambia

  17. The Best Time to Visit Zambia

    Zambia. The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry season between May and October. This is the optimal period for wildlife viewing as many of the water holes have dried up pushing the animals to congregate around large pools and lakes. However, be prepared for high temperatures over 40ºC if you are going towards the end of this period.

  18. Best Time to Visit Zambia (Climate Chart and Table)

    When's the best time to visit Zambia? Is there any rainy season? All holiday weather and climate information for Lusaka, Kasama, Mongu. Which months are best for travel? ... we analyzed all climate data and provide a recommendation about which months are best to visit Zambia for your holiday. Climate Overview. 6 °C to 34 °C. 0 - 11.06 in (0 ...

  19. Best time to visit Zambia for a Safari

    The best time to visit Zambia for a safari is between the middle of June and the middle of October when most of the parks are at their driest and the days are bright and sunny. During these months, game-watching by vehicle and foot is the most reliable because the animals congregate around the rivers for their primary water source. Because the ...

  20. Best time to visit Zambia

    Although the temperature in Zambia stays relatively consistent and warm throughout the year, the best time to visit is in the dry season between July and October. This is, in the main, due to the famous 'black cotton' soil that renders many areas of the country impassable once wet. That being said, there are particular months and areas that go hand in hand, offering exceptional safari and game ...

  21. When to visit Zambia

    The best time to visit Zambia is during the dry dry season between August and November. Zambia is a relatively temperate country, although the climate can range from 21°C or 70°F to 31°C or 88°F depending on the altitude, which generally varies between 1,000 and 1,600 metres - largely dictated by the valleys of the Zambezi, Kafue and Luangwa Rivers.

  22. When Is The Best Time To Visit Zambia: Zambian Climate

    June sees a drying up of the dambos and the land turns brown and yellow, a classic savannah landscape stretching well into the end of August. Cool, dry, it is a great time for walking, a Zambian speciality. September signals the start of the heat, an indication - perversely - of the rains. As the temperature cranks up, so the new woodland ...

  23. When Is The Best Time To Visit Zambia?

    The best time to travel to Zambia in January is when the country is least busy, and the prices are lower. Best Time to Visit Zambia. Zambia is a landlocked country in Southern Africa with a population of around 16 million. It's a great place to visit all year round, but the best time to visit is morning, afternoon, evening or night.

  24. The best time to visit Ecuador

    Make the most of your time in Ecuador with this guide to the best places to visit. October and November are the best months for off-peak travel. Because of the transition between seasons, the Amazon region has a less predictable weather pattern in October and November. This is shoulder season and an ideal time for exploring the rainforest and ...