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When to go to Zambia

Compared to other safari countries, Zambia is one of the more seasonal destinations. Although there are destinations and parks you can visit year round (such as Victoria Falls and the Lower Zambezi), there are certain times that are better than others, and periods we would recommend avoiding.

Additionally, there are some national parks in Zambia which are completely impassable during the year. The Luangwa Valley for example.

In December onwards, the rain makes the black cotton soil on the ground impassable for vehicles, so getting into the North and South Luangwa National Park is almost impossible.

In general, the best time to visit Zambia for a safari is the June to October window. This is the dry season and good weather and game viewing is offered across the country. If you are combining your Zambia safari with a visit to Victoria Falls, the June to August period is one of the better times to go.

The months of October and November are the driest for the Falls, and some areas completely dry up. Our specialists have traveled extensively across the country and are the best people to gain an insight into the best time of year to visit Zambia, so please feel free to get in touch. Image: Fly camping in the South Luangwa National Park, Time+Tide

Souh luangwa time tide

Dry Peak Season

June to October

This is the dry season in Zambia and the best time to visit the safari destinations in the park. The South Luangwa National Park offers an unforgettable safari experience during this time, as the game congregates around the water sources, and the weather conditions and visibility are excellent across the plains. Earlier on in the season (the months of June, July and August), the weather is cooler so these are good months to visit if you are interested in longer walking safaris. It tends to heat up towards the end of the dry season and by the end of October and November, it can feel extremely humid and for some, quite uncomfortable. Other national parks also thrive during this period, with great leopard, elephant, wild dog and lion sightings in the Luangwa Valley and the Lower Zambezi. Image: Time+Tide

South luangwa time tide

October to December

If you are looking to combine Livingstone with a Zambia safari, it’s important to know that this is the driest period for Victoria Falls. It is a misconception that the waterfall has a high volume of water and flows year round. In fact, during the months of October and November, Victoria Falls (also known locally as Mosi Oa Tunya or The Smoke That Thunders) dries up and, in some parts, stops flowing. That said, the hotels and lodges around Livingstone are open year-round and the landscape and landmark are impressive enough to still visit. In terms of Zambia, October and November are at the very end of the dry season so while it is hot and humid (the temperature rises before the rains), it does offer some of the best game viewing experiences throughout the whole year. This is because the wildlife is congregated around the water sources, often desperate for water, with predators lurking nearby. Image: Time+Tide

Serengeti Lions

Shoulder Season

December to March

The rains arrive at the end of November and into December. Although it is heaviest between January and February, the period between December and March is usually wet, with sporadic and heavy downpours throughout the day. 

Victoria falls Zambia

April to May

Although April can still be wet, it tends to dry up and become brighter and warmer. As a result of months of rain, Victoria Falls are at their highest in water volume during April and May. If you visit the waterfall in May, you will certainly experience the ‘Smoke that Thunders’. A myriad of mist will cover you, so make sure you pack waterproof clothing or a poncho. Some camps start to reopen in May, but these will often be the permanent camps and lodges. The bush camps tend to wait until June to open, to ensure better and drier weather conditions. 

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