The best time to visit Zambia with Wilderness Safaris

When is the best time to visit Zambia?

The two areas in which we are present in Zambia generally adhere to the same seasons, with one difference: Our camps in the Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park, are only operational in the dry season – from June to the end of October. Below are a few helpful highlights of each time of year in Victoria Falls and Busanga Plains respectively.

It is important to remember that while game viewing can never be guaranteed, there are some trends that can be seen when we combine our knowledge of seasons, habitats and water availability with animal distribution, their numbers, and thus where they can be found. The table below gives some insight into these trends. For more details, it is best to speak to your Journey Specialist or a seasoned Africa expert.

  • Transition Season Highlights

  • Green Season Highlights

  • Dry Season Highlights

  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
Green Season - December To March

Victoria Falls, Livingstone

The summer months are a time of great light for photography, beautiful greenery and abundance of migrant birds like cuckoos, rollers, kingfishers, shorebirds and bee-eaters. Wildlife in Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is abundant, particularly in the early mornings, with elephant and buffalo coming down to drink at the river. The Zambezi River water levels also rise during this time, making the thundering Victoria Falls a spectacular sight of sheer magnificence and power, with an immense cloud of spray.

Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park

The camps are closed during this period.

Transition Season - April To June; November

Victoria Falls, Livingstone

While there is little rain, the Zambezi River levels are still high, meaning that the flow over the Victoria Falls is spectacular. At the beginning of this time, the high spray can obscure views of the Falls, with visitors generally getting pretty wet! The peak is probably June/July.

By contrast, in November, the water volumes flowing over the Falls are far less (so that viewing is best from the Zimbabwean side) and the dry surrounding environment means that wildlife is attracted to the Zambezi River making for good sightings during boating activities.

Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park

Our camps typically open in June, when the level of water on the Busanga Plains is still high. If the rains have been good, boating is still possible as an exciting activity with spectacular birding on the Plains at this time. Lechwe and puku are very concentrated in numbers, and lion prides are typically very focused close to the Busanga camps as a result of limited dry land, with even occasional sightings of swimming lions and chases through water!

Dry Season - July To October

Victoria Falls, Livingstone

August to October are the peak of the dry season and thus the best time for game viewing along the Zambezi River with plenty of wildlife attracted to the southern bank and seen from boats. Low water levels provide an ideal breeding habitat for bird specials like rock pratincoles, African skimmers and white-fronted bee-eaters; meanwhile, summer migrants are starting to arrive and breed. From September, the water volume of the Victoria Falls can be quite low and so the Falls are best seen from the Zimbabwean side

Busanga Plains, Kafue National Park

This is the peak game-viewing season here. As the plains have dried up almost completely, wildlife has settled here, safari vehicles can access a wider area and hot air ballooning is possible. Zebra and wildebeest form large aggregations and there’s an excellent chance of seeing Lichtenstein’s hartebeest. This is the best time for cheetah and wild dog sightings. Lions are abundant (namely the Busanga, Papyrus and Tree Line Prides), and this time of year is ideal to try for the unusual sight of lions climbing fig trees!