From late November to March, the Green Season spreads across Zambia and brings the landscape to life, creating a paradise for wildlife and visitors alike. Contrary to popular belief, the wildlife doesn’t vanish in the Green Season…just the other tourists, making it one of the most coveted spots for seasoned safari goers. Our camps in operation during this time are Time + Tide Chinzombo and Time + Tide Kakuli in the South Luangwa and Time + Tide King Lewanika in Liuwa Plain.
Take the chance to visit these gems in the emerald season. Here’s why…
With few camps open and zero crowds; the Green Season is perfect for modern day explorers seeking the road less travelled. In the South Luangwa, Time + Tide Chinzombo and Kakuli, both connected by the high flowing Luangwa River, offer serenity and peace and the added opportunity to boat between the two at this time of year. Time + Tide King Lewanika is the only camp in the entire Liuwa Plain National Park offering a watery wonderland and the chance to feel like the first explorers on earth. With no other tourists for miles, experience a safari that’s raw, authentic and thrillingly wild.
The parks are thriving at this time of year, with fat and happy wildlife thanks to the plentiful food. Elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo and other plains game abound in the South Luangwa, with many tending to their young. The lush landscape results in big cats and predators using game vehicle paths as walkways, allowing for an unobstructed game viewing experience you will never forget. It’s peak time in the South Luangwa to see the endangered wild dog and now, thanks to the efforts of African Parks, explorers have the opportunity to see them in Liuwa Plain too. In Liuwa Plain, you will also be privy to a large movement of wildebeest who, on their way south, begin dropping their calves with the last stages of the calving season coinciding with their arrival into the vicinity of Time + Tide King Lewanika Lodge.
For our birding fanatics, you will find yourself right in the honey pot as seasonal and year round residents show off breeding plumage and sing their hearts out, hoping to attract a mate. Drift past Africa’s largest yellow-billed stork colony as they nest high in the treetops, drawn to the region thanks to the safe breeding sights and abundance of easy fishing. Liuwa’s annual floods turn plains into a haven for migratory birds. Large flocks fill the sky, including crowned cranes and Africa’s largest wattled crane population. Visit from January to May for this incredible birding opportunity.
The annual floods arrive in Liuwa Plain and turn vast swathes of the park into wetlands, creating a natural swimming pool right in front of your luxury safari tent. Find a spot to relax in the main area or on the deck of your safari tent and marvel at this beauty for hours. In the South Luangwa, the Luangwa River flows full on the banks of Time + Tide Chinzombo and Kakuli. Time + Tide Kakuli, located deep in the park and only accessible by boat at this time of year, is perched high above the Luangwa River and offers sweeping panoramic views and comfort in all types of weather. A waterhole right in front of camp attracts a daily parade of creatures, making for great game viewing right in camp. Time + Tide Chinzombo, dotted along an oxbow curve of the Luangwa River, is the perfect place to unwind in luxury and utter seclusion as you watch the hippo and crocodile activity in the river in front of you.
Canoeing, gamedrives, boating, walking safaris, you name it. As you watch a leopard drag an impala up a tree to feed in peace yours will be the only vehicle at the sighting. As you drift quietly along the banks of the river, it will be just you and a thousand birds swirling overhead. As you walk through the verdant forests you will feel like the first people on earth.
This is the only time of year to experience boating safaris in the South Luangwa . With water levels at their highest, boating safaris take you straight in the deepest heart of the park to territories untouched and inaccessible to vehicles and walking safaris. Venture beyond the banks of the river through the flooded ebony groves. As animals wander along the banks grazing and drinking, you will get an up-close and personal encounter, seeing them right at eye level.
Canoe in the Liuwa Plain – a special activity offered for guests between late January to early April when the flood plains are high. With no hippos, crocs or tsetse flies, this is a wonderfully tranquil experience where you can hop out and enjoy the water for yourself.
With the lush backdrops making animals pop and dramatic storms bringing the landscape to life, this time of year offers endless unique photographic opportunities. As the afternoon storms brew dramatic and magnificent, you will get interesting light, dazzling skies and chances to photograph unusual wildlife behaviours. After the brief storms pass, the air and skies are left refreshed and clear. Brilliant blue overhead and vibrant green in every other direction, what more could you ask for?
Image: Richard I’Anson
Experience the wonders of the Green Season for yourself where the rates are lower, the crowds are fewer and the temperatures are pleasingly mild. Time + Tide offers a special itinerary, Rivers + Rainbows; with 4+ nights you will have plenty time to explore and soak in the incredible natural beauty on display at this time of year. The road less travelled offers so much more, come and let us show you…
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Zambia is Africa's best kept secret, with its vast landscapes, diverse wildlife and welcoming culture. Trace the steps of early conservationists while experiencing walking safaris in the South Luangwa. Come face to face with giants as you glide quietly in a canoe along the reeds in the Lower Zambezi. Feel the rumble of a distant thunderstorm on Liuwa Plain’s horizon as you marvel at the sight of gathering wildebeest amongst a flush of colourful wildflowers.
Just a one hour flight from Lusaka, the South Luangwa is known for its big cat sightings and often referred to as the Valley of the Leopard. It is in the South Luangwa that the legendary Norman Carr pioneered the walking safari and conservation-based tourism in Africa. Zambia's outstanding reputation of guiding is ever prevalent in our team with some of our guides having trained with Norman himself. Our guides offer guests a raw, authentic safari experience and don't let the finer details in these vast spaces pass you by.
Time + Tide is the only permanent lodge in the Liuwa Plain. Its vast wilderness of over 3600 km2 has been protected for over 100 years, yet it is one of Africa's best kept secrets. As the African rains arrive in the north, the plains turn to a watery wonderland bringing with it a movement of wildebeest as they journey south to calve near the lodge. Liuwa Plain is known for its apex predators of lion prides and large hyena clans as well as endangered and rare bird species that thrive in this region. It is a land unchanged by time.
Nestled between the imposing mountain escarpment to the north and the mighty Zambezi River to the south, the Lower Zambezi Valley has a variety of activities that few, if any, other destinations can offer. It has been described by guests as their "happy place" because of its beautiful scenery, peaceful riverside woodlands and abundant wildlife. The Lower Zambezi is just a short 30 minute flight from Lusaka and offers guests the thrill of tiger-fishing to peaceful wildlife sightings on the banks of the river while canoeing or boating. Our guides strive to make each guest feel like they are part of the landscape and not a mere spectator.