Weather & Climate – South Luangwa NP
South Luangwa’s climate is hot, and it has a Dry and Wet season. The average temperature remains reasonably uniform all year. Nights are much cooler though in the Dry season, and daytime temperatures do rise before the rains commence, peaking in October.
Inside the park, variations in climate are present due to the changing altitudes (from 482 to 1,687m/1,581 to 5,535ft). As altitude increases, temperatures fall by about 6.5°C for every 1,000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft).
Climate Chart South Luangwa National Park – 482-1,687m / 1,581-5,535ft
© chart & park data: SafariBookings. © climate grid data: WorldClim project. All rights reserved.
Dry season –May to October
There is literally no rain at all in the Dry season. It’s hot during the day, but it’s cool at night. The bush becomes drier and drier as the season advances. Animals gather around remaining sources of water. This is the best time for wildlife watching.
- May – While the bush may be lush, and there’s water everywhere, rain has slowed to a trickle. This is the beginning of the Dry season.
- June & July – Now the rain stops completely, and the bush dries out. June and July are the coolest months – daytime temperatures are about 28°C/82°F. Cold nights have average temperatures of around 11°C/52°F. Warm clothing for morning game drives is advisable.
- August & September – The bush is starting to look parched – there’s no rainfall at this time of year. Temperatures are on the rise and September days average 33°C/91°F. Mornings are warming up too.
- October – The first rain usually falls in October cooling things off. Until the rains begin, temperatures keep increasing and average 36°C/97°F. It can peak higher with the heat becoming excruciating during the day. Mornings are lovely with temperatures of 20°C/68°F.
Wet season –November to April
Some remote areas are difficult to reach as roads deteriorate, and many camps are closed during the warm Wet season. There are normally afternoon showers and impressive thunderstorms. It doesn’t often interfere with activities though. The park’s vegetation is lush.
- November – The average temperature during the day is a very hot 35°C/95°F. The rain is a relief because the bush is extremely dry and the sky has a hazy, gray color. Rain mostly falls in afternoon thunderstorms, and it doesn’t rain every day.
- December, January, February & March – Daytime temperatures reach 31°C/89°F, while warm nights average 20°C/68°F. These are the wettest months with rain falling most days, although it rarely continues for the whole day.
- April – A great month in the park, the rain is easing, and the landscape is many shades of green.