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 simply a great way to cool down. A stint on Lake Kariba is ideal at this time of year. It’s arguably the best month to catch giant tigerfish and in the deeper waters it’s also safe to swim.

A stint on Lake Kariba is ideal at this time of year and is arguably the best month to catch giant tigerfish, credit: Life at Sea

It may be relatively safe out deep, but the shoreline can appear especially treacherous. October is the start of the crocodile nesting season and it’s an excellent time to see them out of the water. As even the bigger rivers begin to dry out, thousands of hippos are forced into the ever-shrinking pools. In some places, many hundreds are crammed cheek-to-jowl and, grumpy to begin with, their constant jostling and roaring fights can be quite a sight.

The permanent water is where all the action takes place and on the riverbanks you’ll see large, mixed groups of herbivores alongside giant herds of buffalo and thirsty elephant. October is also a great month to see lions – they’re never far from the water and in the heat of the day they’ll loll around in the shade for hours.

In Liuwa Plain National Park the wildebeest are gathering, and by the end of the month their numbers may be many thousand strong. In November and December, they’ll move down out of the plains in what is Africa’s second largest wildebeest migration. The migration itself is dictated by the start of the rains further north so the exact timings vary year to year. In wet years, parts of Zambia will get a first sprinkling of rain at the end of October, but it’s rarely more than a shower and does little to diminish the heat.

October is a mixed time to visit Victoria Falls. It’s great for white-water rafting and the Devil’s Pool, but the flow over the falls is nearing its lowest ebb and there may be no water at all on the Zambian side. October lacks the mist and thunderous roar of April and May, but the views into the gorge are still beautiful and worth seeing. If you’re visiting in October, it’s a good idea to plan a daytrip across to the Zimbabwean side where there’s usually still good flow at this time of year.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 1

Welcome to Zambia
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 2

Smoke that Thunders

day 3

Wild Kafue
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 4

Puku, lechwe and roan, to name a few

day 5

Tree-climbing lions

day 6

Living Luangwa
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)
  • Grand Zambia Wildlife Safari (9 days)

day 7

Elephants in reception...?

day 8

A walking safari is a must

day 9

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Public transport in Zambia

Zambian self-drive adventures may become tricky during the rainy season Broadly speaking, there are three options for travelling in and around Zambia: by fly-in safari direct to your lodge, by road on a 4x4 self-drive or transfer, or rather less efficiently, by public transport. While it can be fun, and is definitely the most affordable option, public transport in Zambia is…

Solo holiday in Zambia

As Zambia’s road and transport infrastructure continues to develop, even its more remote regions will become exciting options for solo travellers. For the time being, however, the country’s more isolated corners are best explored in company, and ideally with an extra vehicle as backup if you’re planning to self-drive. In general, solo travellers will have the best experience by…

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…

Adventure holiday in Zambia

For true adventure, a self-drive 4x4 safari through Zambia is guaranteed to thrill. It’s best done well into the dry season (mid-June to October) when tracks inside the national parks are at their driest and there’s less chance of getting stuck. Even then, thorough preparation, good backup (minimum two vehicles) and some previous African 4x4 experience are essential. A self-drive…

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.…

Budget Zambia safari

Zambia offers excellent value on exclusive safaris and wildlife activities, but budget travelers will struggle to make the most of what’s available. In part this is because many of Zambia’s best wilderness areas are extremely hard to reach, with wonderfully isolated lodges that are therefore also very expensive to run. Just getting to these areas can hit the budget hard, with long…

Popular Zambia Safaris

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

 | 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 ...

 | Jewels of Zimbabwe and Zambia Safari (9 days)

Jewels of Zimbabwe and Zambia Safari (9 days)

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

 | 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...

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...

 | 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....

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...

 | City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

City and Safari in Southern Africa (14 days)

Majestic wildlife and the riches of Africa. ...

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...

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...

 | 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...

Ready to start your adventure?

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