Zambia in January

January is the height of Zambia’s summer rainy season and most guide books will tell you it’s the worst time to visit. By January, heavy downpours have turned Zambia’s dirt and gravel roads to an impassable mush, rivers break their banks, and many camps and lodges close completely, only reopening once the waters have subsided. Daytime temperatures average about 30°C, with nights around 20°C across most of the country.

Conditions on the ground are tough, especially if you’re driving, but not all safaris are confined to roads. Some operators in South Luangwa National Park offer fantastic boat safaris from late January to April, when the Luangwa River is high enough to explore into its flooded woodland groves. These exclusive, fly-in safaris are a fantastic way to experience Zambia’s ‘emerald season’ and South Luangwa also has a reasonable network of all-weather roads so some game driving is still possible. When the rain does fall, it tends to be brief and heavy and is more spectacular than disruptive. The dramatic skies and clear air make for excellent photographs and specialist photographic safaris are also available.

Although the rainy season is generally less productive for wildlife, that’s not to say you won’t see any. Most mammals give birth from December to March and it’s a great time to spot juveniles as they (rapidly) learn to fend for themselves. This is also by far the best period for birds across the region, but what’s food for the birds can be a nuisance for you. Be prepared for plenty of insects and don’t forget the bug spray.

By January, the Zambezi River is starting to rise rapidly and the flow over Victoria Falls becomes more and more dramatic, credit: Dave & Tanya's African Odyssey

By January, the Zambezi River is starting to rise rapidly and the flow over Victoria Falls becomes more and more dramatic. At the beginning of the month there may not yet be enough water to extend the full length of the falls and the Zambian side always has less flow than Zimbabwe. By the end of the month, however, the entire width should be covered, with good viewing from both sides, and from the air. The famous Devil’s Pool – where the brave can swim right up to the falls’ edge – is only accessible from the Zambian side and closes when the water level become too high. In very rainy years this could mean it’s closed by late January, only reopening in August.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 1

Cape Town welcomes you
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 2

Meet the locals
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 3

Penguins and flowers
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 4

Cheese and wine anyone?
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 5

Meet our wildlife
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 6

Spot the "Little Five"
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 7

Bush tails for your safari journal
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 8

River-edge romance
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 9

Bucket-list adventure
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

day 10

We're sorry to see you go
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)
  • Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

View Full Itinerary

Popular Zambia Safaris

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

Victoria Falls | Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

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...

Boat at sunset | Luxury Zambian Odyssey (7 days)

Luxury Zambian Odyssey (7 days)

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 Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

Quick Victoria Falls and Chobe Experience (5 days)

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...

 | Luxury Safari in Botswana and Victoria Falls (7 days)

Luxury Safari in Botswana and Victoria Falls (7 days)

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

 | City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

Romantic view | Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

Deluxe Honeymoon Safari in Cape Town, Kruger and Victoria Falls (10 days)

Combine three of Southern Africa's most loved destinations into one romantic getaway and you'll share the memories forever...

Camp fire | Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta and Chobe Safari (7 days)

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...

 | Wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe (10 days)

Wilderness safari in Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe (10 days)

Why not visit more than one exciting African destination? See the Great Migration, Victoria Falls and wildlife-rich Hwange National Park...

 | Best of Zambia Wilderness Safari (10 days)

Best of Zambia Wilderness Safari (10 days)

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....

 | Luxurious South Africa and Zambia Honeymoon Safari (10 days)

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...



You might also like

Zambia in October

October is peak safari season in Zambia – but it’s hot! Known locally as ‘suicide month’ the relentless heat hits the low-lying regions hardest, especially the Luangwa and Zambezi valleys where temperatures in the shade can reach well above 40°C. This includes Livingstone and Victoria Falls where white-water rafting is no longer just about the world-class rapids, for many it’s…

Walking safari in Zambia

For a more active holiday, try a walking safari. Zambia is arguably the best country in Africa for guided game walks and is widely recognised for its enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable field guides. Now widespread throughout Southern Africa’s major parks, the concept was first introduced in the Luangwa Valley, which remains the county’s top walking safari destination.…

Packing list for Zambia

The first thing to do when preparing for Zambia is to book an appointment with a local travel clinic and go and speak to a doctor. The internet is full of African health and safety horror stories, but for safari holidays the risks are generally very low and/or easily manageable. If you’re at all concerned, speak to a professional. They’re likely to advise you to get your immunisations…

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 August

Zambia’s peak season extends into August and the combination of cool, dry weather and increasingly thinning vegetation makes it one of the best months to go on safari. Across the country, surface water is rapidly drying and by the end of the month the animals begin to mass along the rivers, congregating near permanent water in ever increasing numbers. As pools dry, fish are trapped, and…

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…

Wildlife in Zambia

Technically Zambia has all the Big Five, but rhino are extremely rare and confined to the Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) and North Luangwa National Parks. Elephant, buffalo and lion are common across multiple parks however, and Kafue, South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi are all well-known for leopard. Look beyond the Big Five and you’ll find Zambia full of fascinating rare and…

Lower Zambezi National Park

Lower Zambezi National Park is one of Zambia’s premier wildlife destinations, certainly in the top three with South Luangwa and Kafue. Ravaged by poaching in the 1980s, the park has since recovered well, though tragically the rhino population was wiped out completely. Wildlife viewing is best along the rivers, which border the park on three sides. The Zambezi River itself is the…

Ready to start your adventure?

+27 (0)21 422 3498
   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    Mon - Fri: 8AM - 9PM GMT+2