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. And prepare yourself for one of Zambia’s best months for a walking safari.

The Luangwa Valley is Zambia’s walking safari mecca, although all the major parks offer guided walks as well. South Luangwa National Park is where it all began, however, and the region still boasts some of the most experienced walking guides in Africa. June in Zambia is cool with clear skies, and after a month or two without rain the vegetation is thinning, but not yet completely desiccated. It’s a beautiful time to walk in the parks and you’ll find a range of walking safaris available. The more adventurous can try multi-day mobile safaris where guests walk between temporary camps, through some of Zambia’s most pristine wildlife areas. North Luangwa National Park is especially wild and the few operators in its southern section are walking safari specialists.

Northwest of the Luangwa Valley, the Bangweulu Wetlands are also excellent in June, credit: Foundation Segre

Northwest of the Luangwa Valley, the Bangweulu Wetlands are also excellent in June. Those wishing to see the strange, smirking shoebill will have better chance at the beginning of the month, before the floods recede. As the waters withdraw, the endemic black lechwe emerge from the surrounding woodlands, gathering in great herds on the exposed floodplain.

Across in northern Kafue, the Busanga Plains also begin to dry out in June. Here you’ll find red lechwe and roan and sable antelope, as well as elephant, buffalo, lion and leopard. By late June, the dirt roads of Kafue and Liuwa Plain National Park have usually reopened to self-drivers and as the region’s rivers subside and become clearer, the fishing conditions take off. It’s a wonderful time to combine a safari and fishing holiday along the Kafue and/or Upper Zambezi rivers. Bream and tigerfish are the prized catches in the area.

Although June is a great time to see Victoria Falls in high flow, the waters are usually still too high for the best white-water rafting. Half day trips starting further downstream are possible, but these skip the highest-grade rapids closer to the falls. The famous Devil’s Pool swim, above the falls, is also closed until around August, but guided walks onto Livingstone Island are normally operating by the end of the month.


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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 spot. That said, Zambia’s guides are experts and guided game drives can still produce great…

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 a variety of birds, including the supremely ugly marabou stork, descend for an easy…

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 north, but expect some chilly nights and take a fleece, or better yet a windproof jacket, for early…


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