Zambia in December

December is the start of Zambia’s rainy season – generally cooler than the previous few months, but nevertheless still hot and humid. Expect daytime averages of roughly 30°C and nights down to only around 20°C. Rainstorms can be fierce, with heavy downpours rapidly turning the dirt roads to mud. Camps and lodges without fly-in access close completely and many close anyway due to flooding. Few safari operators continue through the wet season, but those that do stay open usually offer lower rates. It can still be a rewarding time to visit, especially for bird lovers, as the migrant species return in full force and the breeding season begins in earnest across the dambos and swamps.

Lake Bangweulu is a haven for birdlife, credit: Wikipedia

Besides the excellent birdlife, December is a great month for grazers and their new-borns. The resurgent grasses provide much needed sustenance and the rapidly greening plains are covered with antelope. Elephant and buffalo, however, are harder to see as they disperse from the rivers into the scrubland and forest.

There’s a ban on all river fishing in Zambia from December to March, but this doesn’t apply on Lake Tanganyika or Lake Kariba where you can fish year-round. It can be a spectacular time to rent a houseboat on Lake Kariba – the still lake waters reflecting towering thunderheads while lighting flashes and the hippos grumble and moan.

In Victoria Falls, December is still great for white-water rafting as the water levels are low enough to run the full rapids from below the falls. The falls themselves, however, are at their lowest flow, and there may be no water at all on the Zambian side. Guided tours to Livingstone Island and the Devil’s Pool are open in December, but make sure you plan a trip across to Zimbabwe where there’s always some water cascading into the gorge.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

day 1 to 2

Welcome to the paradise of Botswana

day 3 to 4

Enjoy the panoramic views over the Chobe River

day 5 to 6

day 7

We hope to welcome you back to Africa real soon

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Zambia in June

June marks the start of Zambia’s prime safari season, but many lodges still offer reduced ‘shoulder season’ rates so it’s one of the best months to visit. Later in the season conditions can get very hot, but June is cool and pleasant, with daytime highs not much over 25°C and nightly lows around 10°C. Pack thick socks and a warm jacket for early morning walks and game drives.…

Zambia vs Botswana

So, should you go to Zambia or Botswana? The choice depends entirely on the type of holiday you prefer. Both countries are extremely safe and have excellent wildlife and national parks, but each is suited to a slightly different type of traveller. Botswana is perhaps the best self-drive safari destination in Southern Africa, with good connecting roads, abundant wildlife, plenty of…

Zambia in May

May is arguably Zambia’s most beautiful month, with the vegetation at its lush best and Victoria Falls in full flow. By May, all of Zambia’s southern camps and lodges have reopened after the rains and across the south the dirt roads are drying, allowing self-drivers back into the parks. May is not yet prime time for wildlife viewing – the thick vegetation makes animals harder to…

Vaccinations for Zambia

The most common vaccinations for Zambia are against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), tetanus, diphtheria, polio, typhoid and hepatitis A. Check the latest regarding the yellow fever vaccine and, if it’s required, don’t lose the little yellow booklet that comes with it. Regulations have relaxed recently, but that yellow booklet has been something of a passport in the region. Not…

Zambia in July

July to October is peak season in Zambia, when game-viewing is at its finest, but lodges and camps also charge their highest rates. This is this the best time to go on safari, with the thinning vegetation making wildlife easier to spot. It’s also the coldest month to visit Zambia, with daytime temperatures around 25°C in the south. Hot days can still reach 30°C, especially in the…

Kasanka National Park

Kasanka National Park is Zambia’s only privately managed park, run by the Kasanka Trust charity in partnership with the local community. At slightly less than 400km2, it’s also one of Zambia’s smallest, lying just south of the Bangweulu Wetlands near the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With its wonderful papyrus marshes, swamp forests and miombo woodland it’s one…

Popular Zambia Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Boat at sunset | Zambian Odyssey

Zambian Odyssey - Safari to Three National Parks

One week safari to three Zambian national parks, including the flagship South Luangwa, and end in style with a visit to the remarkable Victoria Falls...

Boating on the Chobe River | Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park...

Victoria Falls | Best of Zambia Luxury Safari (SA 9 days)

Best of Zambia Luxury Safari

Combine water and wildlife in a journey that takes you from the Victoria Falls to Kafue and South Luangwa national parks – Zambia at its best...

 | Luxury Victoria Falls, Hwange & Mana Pools

Affordable Vic Falls, Hwange and Mana Pools

Fall under the spell of three prime attractions in Zimbabwe and Zambia – Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park and the Mana Pools ...

 | 10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

10-day wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Experience the best of the migration and wildlife in Kenya, then travel to Zambia to witness Victoria Falls, ending your adventure at Hwange National Park....

Camp fire | Safari in Vic Falls, Chobe & Okavango Delta

Safari in Vic Falls, Chobe & Okavango Delta

This three-in-one journey will show you the majestic Victoria Falls, the massive elephant bulls of Chobe and the natural wonder that is the Okavango Delta...

 | Southern Africa safari adventure

Southern Africa safari adventure

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

 | Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Experience the paradise of Botswana and enjoy game viewing as well as exciting activities in Zambia ...

 | South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

South Africa and Zambia honeymoon

Explore the romantic Atlantic Ocean with it's multi-cultural heritage and a Big Five safari in the Sabi Sands, finally ending off at Victoria Falls from the Zambian side...

 | Best of Zambia Safari

Best of Zambia Safari

With some of the wildest and most remote game areas on the continent, and a remarkably low population in a massive country, Zambia has an aura of mystery waiting to be uncovered....