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Figuring out the best time to visit the Lower Zambezi National Park can be tricky due to the fact that each month of the year is fantastically unique, highlighting different features of this breath-taking region. To make things easier for you, we’ve separated the months and seasons of the year according to three factors: weather conditions, the quality of game and bird viewing, and tiger fishing along the Zambezi River.

Weather

 

The Lower Zambezi National Park, and Zambia in general, has two distinct seasons: a Dry Season (or Winter) which runs from May – October, and a Wet Season (or Summer) which ranges from November – April. Both the Chiawa Camp, and Old Mondoro, close to guests in mid-November, opening up again in late April. This is a result of the large volumes of rainfall experienced in the valley, the high level of humidity, and the extreme temperatures – sometimes reaching as high has 43°C.

As such, the best time to visit the Lower Zambezi National Park, in terms of weather, is during the cooler winter months. The chilliest months of the year June and July still see daytime highs of 33°C and 34°C respectively, making for warm game viewing weather. Evening temperatures dip as low as 3°C during these months, making camp fires and hot water bottles at Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro, welcome additions.

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Things begin to warm up in August and September, and the arrival of October brings with it scorching days and cool (but not chilly) evenings. With the possibility of occasional rainstorms to cool down the searing soil, October in the valley is a wonderfully unique experience.

 

Game Viewing

 

With such a fantastic diversity of wildlife in the Lower Zambezi National Park, game viewing is excellent throughout the safari season, though the Park changes according to the different months. In April and May, when the bush is green and lush, and the water holes are filled to the brim, lion viewings are outstanding, whilst elephant and buffalo are still dispersed within the Park. April is also a month fantastic for bird spotting, as various migrant species are still around to enjoy the after-effects of the summer rains.

Between June and August, as the bush begins to dry out, game viewing drastically improves with each passing month. Trees lose their leaves, which improves visibility, the entire park is accessible, without rain to soften the roads, and game such as elephant and buffalo begin to make their way inland.

During September and October, however, game viewing is at its best, with wildlife very concentrated along the Zambezi, due to water holes drying up. Activities to take advantage of during this time are canoe trips, and river safaris.

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Tiger Fishing

 

Simply put, fishing in the Lower Zambezi National Park is at its best from late August to mid-November, when the water is warmer and the tiger fish are more active. Make sure to sign up for a morning or afternoon of guided fishing at Chiawa Camp. Experienced, and highly familiar with the river, your guide knows all the best spots to take you fishing, ensuring that you have the best possible chance to land the world’s greatest fresh water fighting fish.

* Please note, a 100% catch and release policy applies for all species in the Lower Zambezi National Park.

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To find out more about booking your first, or next, trip to the Lower Zambezi, simply contact Chiawa Camp or Old Mondoro on res@chiawa.com or +260 977 767 433.

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A Mecca for safari-lovers, Zambia boasts a total of 20 national parks teeming with wildlife and offering a wide variety of different experiences. While it seems impossible to choose from such an impressive list of sanctuaries, we have taken the time to select five of the best:

South Luangwa National Park

 

Arguably one of the best wildlife havens in the world, the South Luangwa National is situated in eastern Zambia. Named after the Luangwa River, which runs along its eastern border, this park is an incredible 9059km² in size and boasts a high density and diverse array of game. Of over 60 separate species of wildlife, most notable are the large towers of Thornicroft’s giraffe, immense herds of elephant, buffalo, leopard, and Crawshay’s zebra. Fascinatingly, the South Luangwa National Park is also the unofficial birthplace of the walking safari, where endless savannah plains make for fantastic game viewing.

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Liuwa Plains National Park

 

A favourite amongst safari experts all around the world, the Liuwa Plains National Park in western Zambia spans an area of 3600km². The remote and untamed nature of the park is by far its biggest attraction, ensuring travellers an exclusive safari experience. Vast herds of blue wildebeest spill out onto the plains when the rain arrives in November, while large packs of African wild dog, red lechwe, oribi, and roan antelope are regular features.

 

Lower Zambezi National Park

 

A relatively undeveloped, pristine wilderness in south-eastern Zambia, the Lower Zambezi National Park covers an area of 4092km². The namesake of this stunning Park, the mighty Zambezi River, accounts for 120km of river frontage in the park, and is itself a wonder to behold. Over 50 mammal species and 400 bird species thrive within the Park, most of which congregate along the valley floor and the river. This area is still unspoiled as it is new to tourism, which affords safari-enthusiasts an eagerly sought-after level of intimacy, and the opportunity for an unbeatable African safari.

 

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North Luangwa National Park

 

Another national park known for its remote and unfettered status, the North Luangwa National Park offers one of the wildest safari experiences in Africa. Stretching across 4636km2 of north-eastern Zambia, standout features include the diverse vegetation, an impressive diversity of antelope and predators, and unforgettable walking safaris. Much the same as the South Luangwa National Park, it is named after the Luangwa River. Large prides of lion, hyena, Cookson’s wildebeest, zebra, eland, red hartebeest and puku can be regularly spotted, and common bird species include carmine bee-eaters, Pel’s fishing owls, and crowned cranes.

 

Kafue National Park

 

The largest national park in Zambia, covering an astounding 22400km2 of variable terrain, the Kafue National Park can be found in the centre of western Zambia. Established in 1924, the Kafue is also the oldest national park in the country. While it is characterised by a low density of wildlife in relation to its size, the diversity of game within the Kafue is spectacular. Keep your eyes peeled for lion, cheetah, leopard, eland, kudu, reedbuck, zebra, blue wildebeest, lechwe, and grysbok. It also boasts the richest birdlife of any Zambian national park, with the opportunity to set your eyes on kori bustards, secretary birds, spur-winged geese, ibises, and pale-billed hornbill, Narina trogons, and more.

 

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To find out more about booking your trip to the Lower Zambezi National Park, Chiawa Camp, or Old Mondor, simply email res@chiawa.com or call +260 977 767 433.

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