Travelling in Zambia Rainy Season: What to Expect in March

Carina Hibbitt

04 Mar 2015

carina explains all about the zambia rainy season

Africa Destination Specialist Carina Hibbitt, discusses travelling in the Zambia rainy season and reveals why, despite needing your waterproofs, Zambia is worth a visit in March.

The seasonal spectacle plays out in many parts of Africa, but in Zambia it does so with an intensity that is hard to describe. No matter how good a photograph or documentary, nothing can compare to the 360 degree sensory of being utterly immersed in the bush. 

You have to experience it yourself.

If you don’t mind the rain, then some people believe March is one of the best months to visit Zambia. Low season also means lower rates. Some camps in South Luangwa stay open, offer boat trips and are more flexible about bringing children.

The South Luangwa National Park is the most popular of Zambia’s parks and has year-round access. It is an wonderful ecologically unspoilt wilderness areas and is over 9,000 square km and home to over 420 species of birds and over 60 species of mammals. The park is renowned for its population of leopards which are commonly seen on night drives, large herds of elephant as well as great numbers of hippo and crocodile in the river. Lions are frequently seen and it is the only place in the world where the large prides, often numbering up to 20 animals, are known to kill hippos. The Thornicroft giraffe and the Cookson’s wildebeest are native to the park.

The rains from December to March bring a period of abundance, food and water is plentiful. The Luangwa River is in full flow and all the pools and lagoons are filled with water. While spotting game is harder, and some areas are inaccessible, this is more than made up for by the lush green abundance, flowers, lots of baby animals – including birthing hippos - and it’s the best time for bird watching. The scenery is incredible and towering clouds (each estimated to weigh more than 100, 000 elephants) provide a dramatic backdrop. The rains are mostly short showers, often in late afternoon and rarely constant. The night sky can be interrupted by lightening and roaring thunder among the sounds of the flora and fauna, but as the sun comes up, the clouds disperse and behold, a crystal clear day! 

The clarity to the air is a photographers dream.

where to stay

At this time of year the traditional walking safaris that Zambia are famed for are replaced by a unique concept: boating from camp to camp. From the luxurious and intimate Luangwa River Camp journey up the swollen river to Nsefu Camp, which at this time of year is accessible only by boat. From here game viewing takes you through the ebony groves, flooded lagoons and channels, so you will be literally boating over the land which is the driving area in the dry season. The boat then takes you downstream to Nkwali, located in an area with year round accessibility so traditional game drives and walks are a great ending to this alternative Zambia safari in the green season.

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Comments

Kate

11/5/2015 9:30 AM

I love the photos on this blog post, can't wait for my own visit.

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