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Crowned cranes in South Luangwa National Park

When is the best time to visit Zambia?

The Zambian dry season between June and November is a wonderful time to visit due to its cobalt blue skies, hot days and cool nights. Victoria Falls makes a great option to combine with a safari, but can be visited on its own when the camps are closed briefly in the wet season between January and February. This is when the 'smoke that thunders' lives up to its name.

Outside of the wettest months rain does fall, but this is compensated for by minimal crowds and top quality birdwatching.

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Zambia Climate Guide

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
The Kafue National Park 28°C 210mm 28°C 183mm 28°C 105mm 29°C 25mm 27°C 3mm 25°C 0mm 25°C 0mm 28°C 0mm 31°C 3mm 33°C 27mm 30°C 100mm 29°C 225mm
The Lower Zambezi National Park 31°C 184mm 31°C 160mm 32°C 91mm 32°C 23mm 30°C 2mm 28°C 0mm 27°C 0mm 30°C 0mm 34°C 1mm 37°C 13mm 35°C 54mm 33°C 182mm
Lusaka 26°C 214mm 26°C 183mm 26°C 88mm 26°C 28mm 25°C 4mm 23°C 0mm 23°C 0mm 26°C 0mm 29°C 2mm 31°C 17mm 29°C 92mm 26°C 204mm
North Luangwa National Park 30°C 218mm 30°C 193mm 30°C 156mm 30°C 49mm 29°C 5mm 28°C 1mm 27°C 0mm 29°C 0mm 33°C 1mm 34°C 8mm 34°C 77mm 31°C 187mm
South Luangwa National Park 31°C 209mm 31°C 179mm 31°C 131mm 31°C 47mm 30°C 3mm 29°C 0mm 29°C 0mm 31°C 0mm 35°C 0mm 36°C 15mm 36°C 84mm 32°C 162mm
Victoria Falls 30°C 175mm 31°C 146mm 31°C 80mm 31°C 21mm 29°C 4mm 26°C 1mm 26°C 0mm 29°C 0mm 33°C 2mm 36°C 20mm 34°C 71mm 31°C 171mm

Month-by-month guide to travelling in Zambia

The Victoria Falls, Zambia

Visiting Zambia in January

January is a good time to see Victoria Falls, but is very wet elsewhere and most camps are closed.

Events & Festivals

  • Green Season for birdwatchers (November to May): Zambia's Green Season is great for birdwatchers and walkers, offering beautiful scenery, flocks of migratory birds and hardly any people, as well as amazing value for money. Zambia's Green Season
White-fronted bee eaters, Lower Zambezi National Park

Visiting Zambia in February

It remains wet throughout February, so it's a good time to see Victoria Falls, but only a few camps stay open for boating and walking. It's also a good time for birdwatching.

Events & Festivals

  • Green Season for birdwatchers (November to May): Zambia's Green Season is great for birdwatchers and walkers, offering beautiful scenery, flocks of migratory birds and hardly any people, as well as amazing value for money. Zambia's Green Season
Brown hooded kingfisher, Kafue National Park

Visiting Zambia in March

Victoria Falls is at its fullest, sending huge amounts of spray into the air and often obscuring the view of the falls themselves. Some camps are open for boating, and birdwatching is excellent. This time of year offers fantastic value for money and camps are really quiet so there are no crowds.

Events & Festivals

  • Green Season for birdwatchers (November to May): Zambia's Green Season is great for birdwatchers and walkers, offering beautiful scenery, flocks of migratory birds and hardly any people, as well as amazing value for money. Zambia's Green Season
Hippos, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Visiting Zambia in April

The weather starts to dry up a bit, but rain remains a significant feature of April.

Events & Festivals

  • Green Season for birdwatchers (November to May): Zambia's Green Season is great for birdwatchers and walkers, offering beautiful scenery, flocks of migratory birds and hardly any people, as well as amazing value for money. Zambia's Green Season
Walking Safari in North Luangwa

Visiting Zambia in May

A few more camps open up as the rain stops. However, this isn't the best time to embark on a safari as the ground is still sodden, which makes access difficult.

Events & Festivals

  • Green Season for birdwatchers (November to May): Zambia's Green Season is great for birdwatchers and walkers, offering beautiful scenery, flocks of migratory birds and hardly any people, as well as amazing value for money. Zambia's Green Season
Walking safari from Musekese Bush Camp,Kafue National Park

Visiting Zambia in June

The ground starts to dry out after the rains, making June a lovely time to visit. The rivers are still full and the bush is colourful. The camps have opened and are offering excellent deals, while there are few other visitors to compete for space with.

Leopard preparing for an evening hunt in South Luangwa

Visiting Zambia in July

Once July hits, Zambia kicks into high gear. Temperatures are rising but it stays chilly in the mornings and evenings. All camps are open in all the national parks, with the South Luangwa the best option for game, the Lower Zambezi for river cruises and fishing, and the Kafue for remote wilderness. Victoria Falls is spectacular, without being overly wet.

Elephant in the Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

Visiting Zambia in August

The hotter weather and drier bush means walking safaris are excellent across the country. This is the prime time of year to combine game viewing and Victoria Falls.

Carmine bee-eaters, South Luangwa National Park

Visiting Zambia in September

September is a superb time to be on safari. Temperatures in the high 20°Cs make the days pleasant, and the water sources are drying up so animals congregate by the rivers and waterholes. Victoria Falls is not as dramatic as earlier months but is still impressive. Meanwhile, carmine bee-eaters arrive in their thousands to nest in the river banks.

Events & Festivals

  • Carmine bee eaters arrive (September): This month sees the carmine bee eaters arrive, with flocks of hundreds nesting in river banks, providing a thrilling spectacle of colour and sound. Read more
Rhino, Mosi Ao Tunya National Park, Livingstone

Visiting Zambia in October

The heat increases through October and game viewing is best done early and late in the day to escape the midday temperatures.

Lion,  Lower Zambezi National Park

Visiting Zambia in November

The rains arrive in the latter half of the month, but as they are not regular they are not too disruptive and the bonus is seeing dramatic skies with storm clouds building. Temperatures are high and it can be muggy. Some camps close but lots stay open and are great value. You may also be able to see lots of young animals being born.

Events & Festivals

  • Great bat migration (November): Experience the world's largest mammalian migration as millions of bats fill the skies in a remote part of Zambia. Witness the bat migration
  • Green Season for birdwatchers (November to May): Zambia's Green Season is great for birdwatchers and walkers, offering beautiful scenery, flocks of migratory birds and hardly any people, as well as amazing value for money. Zambia's Green Season
Walking Safari in North Luangwa

Visiting Zambia in December

Rains fall regularly, the rivers rise and the bush gets thicker and more colourful. This is an excellent value time to travel.

Events & Festivals

  • Green Season for birdwatchers (November to May): Zambia's Green Season is great for birdwatchers and walkers, offering beautiful scenery, flocks of migratory birds and hardly any people, as well as amazing value for money. Zambia's Green Season

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Practical tips for travelling to Zambia, from social protocols to guidance on money matters, with a link to the latest government travel advice.

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