Zambia in March

Zambia’s wet season is nearing its end in March, but there’s still plenty of rain, especially in the north. Up north, the season lasts longer, but gradually the rains retreat from the south, first from Livingstone and then Lusaka. Hot days remain around 30°C, but the nights get slowly cooler – down to around 15°C by the end of March.

The Woodland kingfisher as seen in South Luangwa

Woodland kingfisher

Although the afternoon storms are getting less frequent, water levels across Zambia remain high, in fact they’re at their highest levels throughout March and April. This is still an extremely difficult time to explore Zambia by road. Livingstone, Lusaka, and the main connecting roads are fine, but driving off-road into the parks is practically impossible. South Luangwa National Park has the best network of all-weather roads and also offers fly-in safaris along the Luangwa River. These incredible boat safaris follow the swollen river into the surrounding floodplain, drifting between half-submerged trees in search of game that may not have seen humans for months. It’s especially rewarding for photographers and birders, with great light and dramatic skies, and thousands of birds getting ready for their approaching winter migration.

In Zambia’s Western Province, a very different migration is also preparing. The final date varies from year to year, but in late March or early April, Zambia’s Lozi people undertake their annual odyssey, vacating their summer residence near the Zambezi River for higher, drier ground. This ‘Kuomboka’ festival literally translates as ‘to get out of water’ and is marked by a spectacular ceremonial procession as the king and queen navigate their huge, decorated barges to their winter residence at Limulunga.

Further south, the mighty Zambezi is by now in full flow over Victoria Falls. It’s not the ideal time for white-water rafting as the volume is so great the first section of rapids is usually closed. Above the falls the famous Devil’s Pool swim is also closed in February; the high waters make it far too dangerous. It’s during March and April that the falls’ local name seems most appropriate: Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’. It’s an awe-inspiring – and very wet – experience, and you won’t see much of the chasm itself with the amount of mist and spray pouring into the air. For the best views, take to the skies. Helicopter and light aircraft flights are at their best at this time of year.

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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 April

Although not considered prime game-viewing season, April is an excellent time to safari in Zambia. Rates tend to be lower, the weather drier and slightly cooler, and the atmosphere clear and crisp and scattered with fluffy clouds. It’s an ideal month for photography enthusiasts and for those who want to see the greener side of Southern Africa without the afternoon downpours. Hot days will still touch 30°C, with colder nights falling to between 10°C and 15°C. By mid-April the rains…

Zambia in February

February in Zambia is much the same as January, with short, fierce afternoon thunderstorms, swollen rivers and washed-out roads. It can be a difficult time to visit in Zambia, unless you’re flying into a specialist lodge that operates throughout the season. These usually offer their best safari deals from January to April and will sometimes have discounts for families and children. Expect day-time temperatures around 30°C and nights falling below 20°C by the end of the…

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