Tropical Zambia has two quite distinct seasons: the dry, winter months from May to October and the wet summer months from November to April.
The dry season is divided into the ‘cool’ months (May to August) and the ‘hot’ months (September and October). In the South Luangwa, many of the seasonal bush camps are closed from November to April when the rain churns up the ground and makes them inaccessible.
When the ground starts to dry up again in April/May, the camps open their doors again and amongst them is Nkonzi.
The best time to safari in the South Luangwa is generally considered July to October.
At this time, the thick vegetation recedes and the waterholes begin to dry up leading the wildlife to congregate around the river. Animals become concentrated in smaller areas making them easier to spot and predators also take advantage of these movable buffets and make numerous kills.
May to August
This is the ‘cool’ dry season and visitors should be aware that temperatures drop sharply so remember to bring a fleece! It’s coldest in the early morning and on an open vehicle, the wind-chill factor shouldn’t be ignored. Pack a couple of warm sweaters and perhaps a scarf or a hat however, and you’ll be fine – but stick in a pair of shorts too, for daytime temperatures can still hit 27 oC or 94 oF.
September to October
By September, things are really heating up and daytime temperatures can often top 38oC, or 100oF. Nights are usually still cool enough to sleep comfortably, but during the day, lightweight cotton clothing, lots of drinking water, high factor sunscreen and a good hat are all essential. At this time of year, we tailor our safari activities to avoid the heat so you shouldn’t be spending long periods in the sun.