The best time to visit Zimbabwe with Wilderness Safaris

When is the best time to visit Zimbabwe?

The two areas in which we are present in Zimbabwe generally adhere to the same seasons, with one difference: Ruckomechi Camp in Mana Pools is only operational in the dry season – from April to November. In both, and throughout the year, a wealth of wildlife can be found. Below are a few helpful highlights of each time of year in Hwange and Mana Pools 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
  • Sept
  • Oct
Green Season - December To March

Hwange National Park

Summer rainfall brings the plains of Hwange to life, with grazing animals and birds in equal abundance. This is the time of births – synchronised antelope births from impala to zebra – and arrivals – of migratory birds from far away. Incredible green season big game viewing with substantial herds of zebra, wildebeest, eland, waterbuck  and impala on Ngamo Plains, together with giraffe, lion, buffalo and elephant.

Mana Pools National Park

Ruckomechi Camp is closed during this period.

Transition Season - April To May

Hwange National Park

This is the onset of the dry season – the grass is dwindling, pans are drying out and vegetation is getting thinner.As a result large mammals are drawn to the remaining waterholes and the large elephant herds filter back into the area to be seen more regularly.Water-dependent herbivores like buffalo, zebra and even kudu, sable and roan are drawn from the woodlands into the open vleis of the concession where the remaining water is situated.

Mana Pools National Park

Cooling temperatures herald the beginning of this season. Most of the summer rains are essentially over and it’s a great time to get into the concession and ‘rediscover’ it after a period without guests. The environment is still relatively lush and green and several intra-African migrant birds are still present. As the inland water dries out, wildlife is drawn to the floodplains of the Zambezi River near Ruckomechi Camp to drink.

Dry Season - June To November

Hwange National Park

This is the time to catch those iconic wildlife sights for which Hwange is renowned. With no rain, an endless procession of large herds of elephant and other impressive wildlife concentrations are found at the waterholes. Dry grass and leafless trees mean that game in general is easier to see – for example, predators like lion. Birding is equally productive with many resident specials such as Arnot’s chat and Bradfield’s hornbill.

Mana Pools National Park (June to 15 November)

The initial months have a moderate, dry climate, while October and November can be very hot. Each ensuing month becomes progressively drier as all wait for the summer rains.The Zambezi floodplain is the place to be, attractingever larger, more permanent concentrations of game like elephant, buffalo, zebra, impala, waterbuck, warthog, kudu and eland – magnets for the predators. Hippo can be found at their highest densities in the river at this time.Birding is good with specials like African skimmer and Lilian’s lovebird easily picked up.