Best Time to Visit – Zambia

Alan Murphy
Expert
By Alan Murphy

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Zambia.

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and has authored many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Zambia.

Alan is a renowned Africa expert and authored the Lonely Planet guidebook to Zambia.

Alan has authored the Lonely Planet guide to Zambia.

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The best time for wildlife viewing in Zambia is during the Dry season, May to October, when animals congregate around the rivers and waterholes. During the Wet season, from November to April, dirt roads in the parks can become impassable, and most parks and camps close down. The Mfuwe sector of South Luangwa NP has sandy soil and all-weather roads, making it accessible year-round. The best time to see Victoria Falls is from June through September.

Best Time May to September (All parks)
High Season July to October (Won't feel crowded; only Victoria Falls gets busy)
Low Season November to April (The parks will be very quiet, many camps close down)
Best Weather April, May and September (Pleasant temperatures; the short afternoon rains of April rarely compromise your safari)
Worst Weather October (Very hot in low altitude parks) and December to March (The wettest months)

May to October Dry Season – Winter

  • Wildlife viewing is at its best because there is less vegetation – animals gather around waterholes and rivers, making them easier to spot
  • There is virtually no rain; the skies are clear and there are fewer mosquitoes
  • Although it is high season, most of the parks won’t be crowded except for Victoria Falls
  • June through September is the best time to see Victoria Falls – the water is mid-to-low, and the spray doesn't block the view to the falls
  • October can get very hot in the lower altitude parks, such as South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi
  • Mornings game drives will be cold, so pack warm winter clothing during June, July and August

November to April Wet Season – Summer

  • The scenery is greener, and it’s low season meaning lower rates
  • You can see newborn animals
  • This is the best time for bird watching, and migratory birds are present
  • Rains are mostly short showers late in the afternoon and are seldom continuous for days
  • Some camps in South Luangwa stay open; they offer boat trips and are more flexible about bringing children
  • Wildlife is more difficult to see since the vegetation is thicker and animals no longer rely on predictable water sources
  • Dirt roads become impassable, most parks and camps close down; Zambia's premier park – South Luangwa – remains open
  • From October to December, Victoria Falls might just be a small stream on the Zambia side

Wildlife Photos

Best Time to Go to Zambia by Major Park

All parks offer the best wildlife viewing in the dry winter months, from May to October. Photo opportunities of Victoria Falls on the Zambia side are best between May and August. From September to December the waterfall is not very impressive from the Zambia side, but you can cross to Zimbabwe for a better view. The rainy season is a beautiful time in Zambia, excellent for bird watching, but the roads in many parks become problematic, and many camps close. Some camps in South Luangwa stay open and offer boat safaris.

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