In Zambia, you’ll be looked after on safari by some of the best guides in Africa. They’ll happily share everything they know about the local wildlife and landscape, while safely leading you on game drives, walking safaris, even canoeing safaris along the Zambezi River.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent guiding
- One of Africa’s best walking safari destinations
- Good wildlife viewing
- True wilderness experience
- Eco-friendly bushcamps
- Not crowded with tourists
- A chance to see Victoria Falls
- Not much to do apart from safaris
You can see lots of safari favorites in Zambia, like the elephant, zebra, hippo and buffalo. You also have a good chance of seeing lions and leopards, and the wetland antelope known as the lechwe. The white rhino and black rhino only live in a couple of Zambian parks and are very hard to find. You’d also be lucky to see a magnificent cheetah, or a wild dog. But imagine how you’d feel if you did see one of these rare animals.
More about the wildlife
Zambia is an excellent safari destination, and most of the high-profile animals are relatively easily seen. South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Kafue are particularly good for leopard sightings, but wild dog and cheetah are harder to see. Black rhino is only present in North Luangwa and white rhino only in Mosi-oa-Tunya.
Weather & Climate
The rain can pelt down in Zambia’s Wet season (November to April), which can affect outdoor activities. The humidity is bad at this time of year making it unpleasant to spend long periods outdoors. In the Dry season (May to October) it stays warm, building up to hot just before the season changes. But from June, mornings can get quite chilly. You’ll need to wrap yourself up in thick clothes for early-morning game drives.
Best Time to Visit
The downpours in the Wet season (November to April) have a habit of cutting off road access, which makes getting around really hard. Also, no-one likes to get soaked on safari. Which means that many of the parks close at this time – though not South Luangwa. Wildlife watching is much more pleasant in the Dry season (May to October), when there’s hardly any rain and the animals are easily found at rivers and waterholes.
More about the best time to visit
You have an excellent chance of seeing lots of wildlife in Zambia during the Dry season (May to October) when the animals gather around rivers and waterholes. This will fit in nicely with a visit to Victoria Falls, which you can see most clearly from June to September. A Wet season safari (November to April) is much more challenging, as most parks and camps shut down because of the heavy rain. The Mfuwe section of South Luangwa NP is an exception: you can drive its all-weather roads year-round.
Best Time May to September (all parks)
High Season July to October (not crowded, except Victoria Falls)
Low Season November to April (the parks are very quiet; many camps close down)
Best Weather April, May and September (pleasant temperatures; the short afternoon rains of April rarely affect your safari)
Worst Weather October (very hot in low-altitude parks) and December to March (the wettest months)
May to October –Dry Season – Winter
- It’s much easier for you to spot animals because there’s less vegetation and they gather around waterholes and rivers
- There’s hardly any rain, the sky is clear, and there are fewer mosquitoes
- Although it’s high season, most of the parks won’t be crowded except for Victoria Falls
- June through September is the best time to see Victoria Falls – the water is mid-to-low, so there’s little spray to block the view
- October can get very hot in lower-altitude parks like South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi
- Morning game drives in winter are really cold, so bring warm clothing during June, July and August
November to April –Wet Season – Summer
- The landscape is greener; plus it’s low season, which means lower rates
- You can see newborn animals
- This is the best time for watching birdlife, including migratory birds
- The rain mostly falls as short showers in the late afternoon
- Some camps in South Luangwa stay open; they offer boat trips and are more flexible about you bringing your kids
- The animals are harder to find because the bush is thicker and they no longer rely on rivers and waterholes to drink
- Dirt roads become impassable due to heavy rain and most parks and camps close down – but Zambia’s most-popular park, South Luangwa, remains open
- From October to December, Victoria Falls might just be a small stream on the Zambian side
Best Time to go to Zambia by Major Park
For the best wildlife viewing in the main parks, visit in the dry winter months (May to October). This coincides with the best opportunities for great photos of Victoria Falls – between May and August. Any later in the year and you’ll find that the falls aren’t very impressive from the Zambian side, although you can cross into Zimbabwe for a better view. The rainy season has its problems, like washed-out roads and camp closures. But the landscape becomes lush and beautiful, the bird watching is wonderful, and boat safaris are offered in South Luangwa.
Premier Parks & Reserves
- South Luangwa – Walking and classic safari
- Kafue – Classic safari
- Lower Zambezi – Canoe and classic safari
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