Zambia is an untapped safari treasure, and Victoria Falls, in all its majesty, is on many people’s bucket lists, but when is the best time to visit Zambia for a safari? Zambia is home to some of Africa’s most pristine and unspoiled wildlife reserves. South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi, and Kafue National Parks, among others, are just waiting to be explored on wildlife drives, as well as expertly led walking, boat, and canoe safaris.
Here’s our guide to the best time to visit Zambia for a safari.
Wildlife: Best time to visit Zambia for a safari
The best time to visit Zambia for a safari is between the middle of June and the middle of October when most of the parks are at their driest and the days are bright and sunny. During these months, game-watching by vehicle and foot is the most reliable because the animals congregate around the rivers for their primary water source. Because the grass and bushes thin out during the dry season, it is easier to spot wildlife. Outside of these months, the wet season makes particular portions of the parks exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to reach.
Overall, the months of June to September are ideal for a safari in Zambia, with pleasant weather, good road conditions, and a wide selection of camps and walking safaris accessible.
Birding: Best time to visit Zambia for a safari
Many bird species are unique to Zambia, and others travel here in the winter to feast on the copious seeds, fruits, and insects brought by the periodic rains. The wet season in the South Luangwa Valley region lasts until the end of March, and migrating birds arrive in large numbers.
The Valley is ideal for birdwatching. Hundreds of huge waterbirds can be observed wading through the shallows near the end of the dry season when the river and oxbow lagoons begin to recede. Around the same time, shortly before the rains come in November, Palearctic migrants from Northern Europe and intra-African migrants arrive to take advantage of the feeding opportunities provided by the mild rainy season. Red-chested Cuckoos, White Storks, and European Swallows are among them.
The hundreds of brightly coloured Carmine Bee-eaters nesting in the river’s steep sandy banks are a sight to behold. With around 400 of Zambia’s 732 bird species occurring in the Valley, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migrant species, there is much for the birdwatcher to see at any time of year.
Best time to visit Victoria Falls
It makes sense that you would want to visit at the ideal time of year as Victoria Falls is one of the main reasons tourists pick Zambia as a vacation destination. Victoria Falls and the surrounding area offer a wide variety of activities that will keep you busy for days, from the adrenaline-pumping gorge swing to something a little peaceful like a close-up game-viewing experience. Additionally, Victoria Falls is just the ticket for serious photographers, birders, and those looking for a completely different encounter.
The experience at Victoria Falls varies greatly throughout the year, but the best time to go relies heavily on your preferences for leisure activities and personal interests. The Wet Season rains often start in December and last until around March. By April, May, and June the falls should be roaring into the gorge at the entire width of the Zambezi River as the volume of the falls gradually increases. The falls progressively diminish and split into various separate cascades between June and November.