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Best Time to Go to Zambia

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Zambia is situated in the tropics and receives good rainfall. A true dry and wet season exist, and while travel to the country is possible year-round, there are certain advantages and disadvantages to travel within each of these season. The wet season causes the closure of most dirt roads and therefore many safari camps do not operate in the wet season.  Only Zambia’s premier park (South Luangwa) remains open year-round, and this only in the Mfuwe region of the park. Central and Southern Zambia are located at higher elevations, thus certain destinations such as Kafue National Park and Lusaka offer a more temperate climate and cooler weather in general. The lower-lying parks of South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi reach hotter temperatures (an average of 88 F reaching up into the 100s at times) with increased humidity which creates uncomfortable conditions for travelers on game drives. Choose the best season for your interest when planning your Zambia safari tour.

Dry Season – May through October

Best time for game viewing is in the dry season which generally runs from May to October, this is when wildlife can predictably be found near the rivers and few remaining permanent water holes. During the dry season there is virtually no rain and fewer mosquitoes. Most parks are not terribly crowded (with the exception of Victoria Falls). The temperature and humidity starts to increase in October, particularly in the parks at lower elevation such as South Luangwa National Park and Lower Zambezi. Victoria Falls is best viewed from June to August, when the flow is high, but not at its peak when the spray is so strong it can block the views. One packing tip: morning game drives can be chilly in the cooler and drier winter months of June through August, so packing warmer clothing is advised. 

Wet Season – November through April

During wet season which runs from November through April the scenery is a bit greener and while wildlife may not be as easy to find, travelers do have the chance at seeing newborn wildlife. Dirt roads make travel difficult and most camps and parks close down, but those safari camps that remain open tend to charge lower rates and some offer more flexibility with their child policies. The rain itself is usually only a short downpour in the afternoon, leaving the rest of the day free to wander. This is also the best time for spotting migratory birds. Victoria Falls does reduce down to a small stream between October and December.  December to March is the wettest time out of the wet season. Short afternoon rains persist through April.

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Aerial view of Victoria Falls
A cheetah scouts for prey

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