The country is also home to the breathtaking Victoria Falls
Zambia lies landlocked in the heart of Africa and is blessed with remote and unspoilt areas teeming with wildlife
Landlocked Zambia shares borders with Angola, Namibia, DRC, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as the world’s second shortest border – a mere 157 metres where it briefly meets Botswana at Kazungula. Formerly known as Northern Rhodesia, Zambia is one of the largest and most diverse countries in Sub-Saharan Africa but, despite this, doesn’t have quite the same notoriety as some its neighbours as a major safari destination. Of course, visits to the Zambian side of Victoria Falls have long been popular, but relatively few visitors venture any further than the environs of the Zambezi River.
However, those in the know who visit regularly for a tailor made Zambia safari holiday are happy for things to stay this way as it keeps the bountiful National Parks lovely and quiet and creates an extraordinary safari experience. The best known of the parks are the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks, both of which have abundant wildlife and a wonderful array of places to stay. Easily linked by daily flights to both Livingstone and the capital Lusaka, they are often combined with Victoria Falls to create a delightfully varied safari circuit.
For visitors looking for almost complete privacy when on safari, the smaller North Luangwa and Luambe National Parks border the more famous South Luangwa and are great for escaping the crowds, exploring on foot and getting a feel of what safaris must have been like many decades ago. Equally, the Western and Northern parts of the country have some breathtaking places to visit, including the Kafue National Park and the truly wild Liuwa Plain National Park where just one permanent lodge sits right at its heart.
True adventurers will relish the chance to make their way North, visiting the Bangwelu Swamps, the source of the mighty Congo River and the Kasanka National Park, which plays host to the world’s largest bat migration in November and December. When planning a luxury Zambia holiday it is worth noting that the whole country, with the exception of Livingstone, is very much a seasonal destination. The summer rains render much of the country inaccessible between November and April each year, although a small handful of camps within the South Luangwa, and one in the Lower Zambezi remain open.
Best time to visit Zambia
When to go to Zambia
Find out the best time to visit Zambia with our month by month guide.
January is a good time to visit Victoria Falls, but the rest of the country is very humid and wet leading to many camps shutting during January.
February remains wet, so its a good month to visit the thundering Victoria Falls, however only a few camps stay open for boating and walking. The rains have created lush vegetation, during this time of year it is alive with the sound of migratory birds in their breeding plumage, an excellent time for birders to visit Zambia.
If you want to witness Vic Falls at its fullest, March is the month to visit, with huge volumes of spray often obscuring the view. The birding is still magnificent in March, and camps offer fantastic value for money as there are no crowds.
In April the weather starts to dry, however rain remains a prominent feature of April. In the Lower Zambezi National Park, lush vegetation is at its thickest making animals more difficult to spot. April is seen to be the best time of year to witness the rarely seen Wild Dog in South Luangwa National Park.
May is a mixed month, the onset of the dry season means rains are unlikely, however access to certain camps is tricky due to sodden grounds. Game viewing in South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi begin to improve as the vegetation things and waterholes begin to dry up, forcing wildlife together.
June is a great time to visit Zambia, the ground starts to dry out and camps are offering excellent deals and there are few visitors to share safari vehicles so you may have some areas to yourself.
July is high season, temperatures rise and all the camps are officially open. If you want to see game then South Luangwa is the best option, whereas the Lower Zambezi is perfect for river cruises and fishing.
Victoria falls is at its best, without being overly wet and clouded with spray.
August's hot and dry weather kicks off what Zambia is famous for, walking safaris. It is the prime time to combine game viewing with Victoria Falls.
Temperatures sore in September reaching high 20's making the long days particularly pleasant. This month sees Carmine Bee Eaters arrive, flocks of hundreds nest in river banks providing a thrilling spectacle of colour and sound.
October sees temperatures sore again, game viewing is best done in the early mornings to avoid the hot midday sun.
November brings the start of the rainy season, but the good news is the sporadic showers are not too disruptive and visitors get to see dramatic skies and stormy skies brewing. Temperatures are high and it can be humid, but the mixed weather brings great value stays. Plus many young animals are being born, making it a fantastic time to see the parks come to life.
The rainy season is in full force in December, grasslands begin to lengthen, foliage thickens and game viewing becomes a little trickier. The rivers rise and dependant on water levels travellers can visit 'devils pool' at Vic Falls, providing high excitement and a head for heights needed if you want to get close to the drop off.
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