In Zambia, the transition from lush greenery to a landscape bathed in golden hues marks the arrival of the dry season—a spectacular period for wildlife enthusiasts and adventurers. Spanning mid-August to mid-November, Zambia’s dry season offers a mesmerising journey through soaring temperatures of between 30-40 degrees with extraordinary wildlife encounters. Join us as we delve into the heart of Zambia’s dry season safari, unveiling tips and all you need to know about this season across our destinations in South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi and Liuwa Plain National Parks.
South Luangwa National Park is often referred to as the “Valley of the Leopard,” and for a good reason. This pristine wilderness is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, offering incredible game viewing opportunities, especially during the dry season. During this season, Time + Tide Chinzombo and our bush camps are operational offering guests the ultimate in safari luxury throughout the park.
Wildlife Concentration: South Luangwa is home to abundant leopards as well as lions, plentiful plains game, buffalos, hippos, crocodiles, and giraffes. As the dry season progresses, water sources become scarcer, compelling animals to gather around the Luangwa River. This creates a concentration of wildlife around the life-sustaining waterways making it easier to witness dramatic predator-prey interactions.
Walking Safari: The perfect way to reconnect with nature is by exploring this destination on foot with one of our expert guides as you walk from one seasonal camp to another, a truly immersive and authentic safari experience.
Birdwatching Delight: The dry season coincides with the arrival of migratory birds such as Carmine-Bee Eaters, offering birdwatchers a chance to spot a variety of colourful and exotic avian species. Other incredible bird sightings include Lilian’s Love Birds, Saddle-Billed Storks, a variety of Hornbills and if luck is on your side, Pel’s Fishing Owl.
Located along the Zambezi River, Lower Zambezi National Park provides a unique safari experience that combines thrilling game drives as well as water-based adventures. Our accommodation in the Lower Zambezi during dry season includes safari tents at Time + Tide Chongwe, a private two-story house, Time + Tide Chongwe House, and suites for two or four travellers, Time + Tide Chongwe Suites.
Waterfront Spectacle: The Zambezi River is the lifeblood of this park, and during the dry season, it attracts large herds of elephants and buffalo, which come to quench their thirst. Enjoy incredible boat safaris on the river and canoe trips along its tributaries, getting up close to these magnificent creatures.
Predator Encounters: With reduced vegetation, spotting lions, leopards, and wild dogs becomes easier. The riverbanks provide the perfect vantage point for observing these apex predators in action.
Angling Adventures: The Zambezi River is internationally acclaimed as one of the premier destinations for tiger fishing and the dry season, spanning from mid-August to mid-November, transforms this iconic waterway into an angler’s paradise. As the Zambezi’s water levels recede during this season, tigerfish become concentrated in deeper pools and channels. The dry season aligns perfectly with the tigerfish breeding season, typically occurring from September to November. During this period, the tigerfish’s behaviour becomes more frenetic as they actively defend their territories and engage in spawning rituals. This heightened activity makes them more likely to strike at lures and bait making this a wonderful time for guests searching for a thrilling encounter. Fishing enthusiasts joining us on safari during this season have the opportunity to try their luck at catch-and-release tigerfish and various other species inhabiting the Zambezi River.
Birding Paradise: This period offers excellent birding opportunities as migratory species join the resident birds. Carmine-Bee Eaters arrive in September here too where they nest in colourful colonies in the riverbanks as in South Luangwa. White-fronted Bee, Ospreys, African Skimmers, and African Spoonbills are among some of the species you can expect to see.
Liuwa Plain National Park, located in the remote western region of Zambia, offers a truly off-the-beaten-path safari experience. Time + Tide King Lewanika re-opens its season on the 15th of October every year, just in time for the wildflowers and wildebeest.
Mega-Herds of Wildebeest: Liuwa Plain is renowned for its incredible wildebeest movement, often referred to as “Africa’s best-kept secret” and is home to the second largest wildebeest movement in Africa. During the dry season, tens of thousands of wildebeests congregate on the plains, dropping their calves, and attracting predators like hyenas, lions and the reintroduced wild dogs.
Cheetah Spotting: This park is one of the best places in Africa to see cheetahs. The open landscape makes it easier to witness these incredible cats in action.
Birdwatcher’s Delight: Liuwa Plain is home to an impressive array of bird species, including crowned cranes and wattled cranes, making it a must-visit for birdwatchers.
Book Early: The dry season is the peak safari season in Zambia, so it’s essential to book your accommodation well in advance to secure your spot. Do consider booking our Sleepout under the stars for the added thrill of returning to the wild with Time + Tide.
Pack Appropriately: Zambia’s dry season can be hot during the day and cooler at night, so bring a mix of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Don’t forget your binoculars, sunscreen, a hat, and insect repellent.
Photography Gear: Bring a good quality camera and zoom lens for capturing those once-in-a-lifetime wildlife shots.
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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.
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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.
Liuwa Plain’s vast savannah is one of the oldest conservation areas in Africa, yet it’s one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. With its golden grasslands and shimmering lagoons, Liuwa Plain transforms with the arrival of the rains from a vast grass plains to a watery wonderland.
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.