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We are often asked what is the best time of the year to visit South Luangwa. The answer truly is, every season brings something spectacular and special to see. The distinct seasons add to the richness and variety of this ever changing landscape. During the dry season animals emerge from the high-temperature dry bush areas and commune along the refreshing Luangwa River. During this season great herds may be seen. 

During the "emerald season" or rainy season, fertile landscape is brought back to life. Lagoons begin to fill and the river begins to swell. South Luangwa becomes an oasis for thousands of migratory birds escaping the cold northern hemisphere to journey south. It is prime time for animals to give birth and a wonderful chance to see wild dogs. The park is less crowded during this season. It is often referred to as the secret season. 


  • rain with prolonged periods of sunshine most days with temperatures around 30°C/86°F

  • abundance of grasses grow into a thick forest and the park is alive with the sounds of life. This is the bush at its most prolific 

  • predators such as hyaenas and leopards are still found throughout the rains. In fact, with long, wet grass all over the place, they often can be seen using the roads

  • this is the low tourist season where you can escape the crowds and find unparalleled experiences on the road less travelled

  • best time of year to see endangered wild dogs

  • birdwatching is at its peak as many birds nest at this time and put their mating dances on display

  • river will reach its highest point for the year, and elephants take the opportunity to swim in the river


  • rains move away from Zambia and the maximum temperature is 30°C/86°F dropping dramatically at sunset

  • as the green wonderland turns into a golden sea this seasons offers a stunning backdrop for wildlife photography 

  • light begins to change and offer spectacular African sunsets

  • predators such as leopards and lions are often hunting later into the day than in the hotter months offering more opportunities for viewing

  • safari days are longer extending late into the morning and the early afternoon allowing nice photographs from 3pm onwards

  • river level begin to drop and reveal large sandbanks and along the river myriad waterbirds, including Goliath heron and Saddle-billed storks, catch fish in the diminishing flow


  • increasingly hot and sunny days (from mid-30°C/86°F in August to mid-40°C/104°F  by late October) with very little humidity

  • peak tourist season

  • the thick bush dries out and thins making wildlife sightings fantastic at this time of year

  • animals will gather around the river in high concentrations and close proximity making it an opportune time to spot the more elusive species on your list

  • large quantities of dust blown into the atmosphere filter the bright sunlight and give stunning soft lighting in the morning and evening

  • small buffalo herds throng together forming super-herds in numbers of over 500



  • rain begins and humidity increases with temperatures around 40°C/104°F 

  • grasses begin to grow like a well-maintained lawn giving the benefits both of visibility and a beautiful environment 

  • thunderheads build up every afternoon, the opportunities for photography against the steel-blue skies should not be missed

  • many animal babies are born during this season

  • the Wild Mango trees' fruit ripens bringing elephants, monkeys, baboons, parrots, louries, barbets, pigeons and many more species to enjoy the rich crop

  • expect plenty of activity, especially as hungry elephants with new-born calves wade in to take their shares

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