Best time to visit Zambia
Deciding when to visit Zambia depends on the reason you're coming. If you're visiting to see Victoria Falls you can come any month and not be disappointed. However for wildlife there are few months that are not so good, and other that are particularly excellent.
In essence, for wildlife viewing the very best time to come to Zambia is in the dry season between about June and October. However this doesn't mean that some other months aren't worth it. Read on to find out why...
Dry season in Zambia
(May to October)
These months are traditionally seen as the best months to come for wildlife, especially from June to October, as the land is drying out and grasses die down making it much easier to see game.
- Once the grasses have died down, from about June, this is the best time for walking safaris, for which South and North Luangwa are particularly famed.
- Carmine bee-eaters arrive in South Luangwa from about mid-August to roughly the end of the year. September and October are the best months for these gorgeous birds.
- June to August are the cooler months. Morning and evening game drives will be chilly.
- As October gets closer the temperatures soar and waterholes are dwindling rapidly causing problems for the wildlife but meaning generally superb game viewing.
- September and especially October are not a good time to come if you can't cope with heat.
- North Luangwa National Park opens from June to October.
- Wild dogs tend to den from about June to August/September so can be easier to find.
- Shoebill storks are best seen from about April to June in the Bangweulu Swamps.
- From August to about December Victoria Falls has quite low water levels, but it still impressive.
Green season in Zambia
(December to March)
The rains mostly come in December to March. April and May actually hardly get any rain, but the ground can still be wet in these months so some places are still closed. It rarely rains every day, and commonly the rains come as one downpour in the afternoons.
- This is a beautiful time in Zambia and it doesn't rain all the time. The grasses are lush and green, and newborns and young game are all around.
- This is an excellent time for birds as summer migrants are here.
- You can get some very good deals on any camps and lodges that are open in these months, though there are limited bushcamps open.
- As some roads will be impassable and road travel in general can be difficult in the parks particularly, wildlife viewing by boat is a lovely way to enjoy the wildlife.
- The bat migration in Kasanka starts in late October and but carries on into the green season in November and December.
- Wildlife is more difficult to see due to the long grasses, and plentiful water sources mean that the animals are more spread out.
- March to June is the time of highest waters tumbling over Victoria Falls.