Best time to visit Zimbabwe

Best time to visit Zimbabwe


TEMPERATURE & RAINFALL

A year round destination, the best time to visit depends on whether you like heat, rain, or more temperate conditions. For safaris, the ideal time to go to Zimbabwe is from May-Nov, though the latter part of this season sees temps soar into the 30s. July-Aug hover in the mid-20s, but can get pretty chilly at night. Some camps around Hwange close during the rainy season (Dec-Mar), but the animals are still very much there to be seen, as are the guides that need their jobs. Zimbabwe’s storms can be incredibly atmospheric bringing migratory birds, beautiful sunsets and really clear skies.

When to visit Zimbabwe


MONTH BY MONTH GUIDE

The dry season is excellent, particularly April, May and September, as the temperatures are not too extreme and malaria risk is low. Also, this is when the wildlife gathers around the waterholes.

October is also dry but very hot with temperatures soaring into the thirties.

It may be heating up, but September and October are considered the best time to see elephant herds in Hwange National Park.

Around Mana Pools National Park, many lodges close between January and March for the low, rainy season. By contrast, July and September is a brilliant time to visit. Open for business and yet not busy at all.

Similarly some lodges close during the rainy season at Hwange National Park (December – March) and it is at its most crowded between June and October.

Although you would be forgiven for thinking that Victoria Falls might be best in full flow, this isn’t the case as the spray obscures really good views. So go when the water is lower, the best time being June to September.

November and December is when the rainy season begins and lasts through until March, although it usually consists of afternoon showers. This is also when a lot of wildlife is born though. So, the grass is greener and all that.

If you are hoping to raft the River Zambezi, the best time is when the water is low, as the white water is more dramatic. August to February are great months. When the waters get higher around March or April, it is unlikely that runs will be offered.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IN ZIMBABWE


Responsible Travel recommends

Debby Oscroft from our supplier, Sunway Safaris: “Zimbabwe is a great destination all year round, but possibly the best weather and game viewing would be from June to October, especially as the game viewing at waterholes is fabulous. From a photography point of view, the summer months have clear air and the morning and afternoon light is magical. Of course the dusty winter months mean that the sunsets are rich orange and reds. The dry winter months also mean that the bushveld has less grass and foliage, so the clear view of wildlife can make photography a bit easier.”
Andrew Appleyard, from our supplier Exodus Travels: “If you are in Vic Falls on a full moon the park is open for special guided walks to see the lunar rainbow which lasts three days.”

Festivals & events


OUR NATURAL PICKS FROM THE ZIMBABWE CALENDAR

Did you know about…?


As well as all the other magnificent wildlife, one of the most spectacular migrations is that of the carmine bee-eater. This migratory species spends the breeding season here, from August to November. They are a truly spectacular sight with their brilliant crimson plumage.
Photo credits: [Temp chart: frankdoylezw] [What happens when: Walter Schärer] [Did you know about: Uncovery]
Written by Catherine Mack
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