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Climate in Zambia

The climate in Zambia is classified as ‘tropical wet and dry’ or ‘humid subtropical’

Land locked Zambia is a vast tropical plateau in southern Africa. The plateau reaches a height of 3,937 ft. (1,200m) above sea level, the climate in Zambia rarely becomes unbearably hot because of this altitude with the exception of the Zambezi and Luangwa Valleys where temperatures can rapidly rise towards the end of the dry season. August to mid-November is the hot dry period. Before the onset of the rains during October/early part of November the Luangwa and Zambezi Valleys can become quite hot with temperatures reaching the mid 40 degrees C. If you can cope with the climate at this time of year it is an excellent time to view game in Zambia.

The climate in Zambia is warm and wet from Mid–November until the end of April. Many camps are closed during this period because the heavy rains make the more remote areas difficult to access. However you can go on safari running during the ‘green season’. If you’re hardy and not put off by the heavy showers and thunderstorms, the periods of sunshine can be delightful and provide the perfect environment and growing conditions for the plants, trees, grasses and flora to flourish.

The winter period in Zambia is between May and August when the climate is cool and dry. The river water levels drop which means that if you’re on safari in Africa the viewing progressively improves around the permanent water sources.

Zambia has a predominantly frost-free climate but when the temperature drops during the cooler months it could be a little firm underfoot, especially in southern Zambia where it’s less humid. As the countryside dries up high winds can create grass fires which are characteristic of the time of year.

It is worth bearing in mind when planning your safari to Zambia that global warming has world-wide effects and African weather patterns can be as unpredictable as at home. To coin the old scouting phrase it’s best to “be prepared” when packing – you may find yourself in a downpour in the middle of the dry season and droughts when it should be raining. Whatever the weather make sure you don’t leave home without a hat, sunglasses, a pair of binoculars and a good camera with a ready supply of batteries!

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