• Lion, Zambia

The best time to visit to Zambia

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.

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When to go

This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters and overall weather. Please remember that where in the country will vary depending on month of travel.

When to go by Season

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.

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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.

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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.

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Lion cubs, Zambia
Zambia safari; sundowners

when to go to zambia if you want to see..

Bat Migration: November to December sees up to ten million fruit bats descend upon Kasanka National Park.

Herds of Wildebeest: During November large herds of wildebeest gather in Liuwa Plains to make the most of the fresh grazing.

Hippos: Year-round – but towards the end of the dry season see large pods congregating in the remaining pools in the drying river bed of the Luangwa river.

Migratory Birds: From March onwards the migratory birds arrive in their droves, a bird watchers dream.

Predators: July to October provides the best conditions for spotting the big cats and other predators.

Shoebills: May to June is the best time to see the African Shoebill in the Banweulu swamps.

Canoeing, Zambia

When to go by Experience

Wildlife

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.

Festivals

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.

Kayaking Safaris

June to September is the best time to glide gently down the Zambezi river passing herds of elephant.

Victoria Falls

From February pt May you will see the full might of the Zambezi as it thunders over the falls from your birds-eye view

Walking Safaris

July to October – the dry season in Zambia and the most comfortable time to be walking temperature-wise.

Tree climbing lion, Zambia

Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on travelling to Zambia.