Weather & Climate – Zambia

Alan Murphy
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.

Climate Chart Zambia

Climate Chart Lusaka – 1,300m / 4,265ft

© chart: SafariBookings. All rights reserved / source data: Wikipedia

Zambia is situated in the tropics and receives good rainfall. It has a Dry season from May to the end of October, and a Wet season from November to April. At this time, many areas become inaccessible, and most camps in Kafue, Lower Zambezi and more remote parks close down. The Mfuwe sector of South Luangwa is accessible year-round. The further north, the earlier the rains arrive, and the later they leave. Eastern and higher areas generally receive more rain than western and lowland areas. The Dry season is divided into the cool, Dry season (May to August); and the hot, Dry season (September and October).

Lusaka's climate compared to Zambia's parks

Lusaka’s temperate climate is representative of the climate found in the higher areas of central and southern Zambia, including Kafue NP. South Luangwa NP and Lower Zambezi NP are located in lower-lying valleys and follow the same pattern, but are considerably hotter. Temperatures increase by about 6°C for every 1,000m you descend (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft).

Dry season May to October – Winter

There is little to no rainfall during the entire winter and humidity is very low. Wildlife will congregate around waterholes when other water sources become scarce.

  • May – This is the end of summer. Temperatures are relatively cool, typically 12°C/52°F in the morning and 25°C/77°F in the afternoon. The nighttime temperatures start to drop. The rain is almost gone.
  • June, July & August – The average morning temperature is 10°C/50°F. So it is advisable to bring warm winter clothing for the cold, morning game drives in open vehicles. Afternoons will be more pleasant with temperatures around 23°C/73°F. South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and other parks at lower altitude will be hotter.
  • September & October – The heat gradually builds, and the first rains bring relief from very dry conditions. Daytime temperatures will be around 29°C/84°F in September and 31°C/88°F in October, which is the hottest month. In the lower-lying parks, temperatures often peak at over 40°C/104°F, and the rising humidity can make it uncomfortably hot.

Wet season November to April – Summer

  • November – This month is unpredictable, and it starts raining some afternoons. Temperatures average between 18°C/64°F in the morning and 29°C/84°F in the afternoon.
  • December, January, February & March – These are the wettest months, characterized by torrential downpours in the afternoon. Afternoon temperatures are around 26°C/78°F, and the humidity is high.

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