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.
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
Some people think the best time to visit Zambia is during these months – 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.
The wet season is a great time to see herbivores as the scenery is incredible, the animals appear very healthy and many give birth to their young at this time. However, if this is your first safari, you might want to consider visiting in the dry season when the animals are known to congregate around watering holes. Bird watching can be excellent during the rainy season.
Zambia enjoys public and private festivals year-round but they tend not to be attended by tourists so we recommend attending with our local experts should the opportunity arise. The most famous is Kuomboka, around Easter in the western province, which symbolises the retreat of the people to higher grounds during the flood waters.
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