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