Planning for your upcoming safari is an exciting time! The key is to pack light and pack smart. When travelling to Africa for a safari it’s very important that you leave your bright colours at home. Here are some other useful tips on what to wear on safari:
- Dress casually and for comfort, choosing items of clothing in more neutral shades. Avoid all brights colours, including blue, as well as bold prints. Rather let the wildlife do all the showing off.
- Clothing in lightweight, loose-fitting fabrics are most comfortable, easier to wash and dry off. They also take up less space.
- Leave your camouflage or military styled clothing items at home. This is not appropriate and can cause confusion or questioning from local bush police.
- Temperatures can drop considerably in the evenings and mornings so bring a light weight jacket/sweater and a scarf.
- Head gear is vital to protect you against the vigorous African sun. Bring a full brimmed compact hat,as well as an extra hat just in case.
- Comfortable and durable UV protective sunglasses. The more lightweight the better.
- Shorts for men and women are fine in the bush, but longer trousers are socially acceptable in rural villages.
- Pack a pair of open comfortable sandals for milling around the campsite or lodge, and a pair of lightweight walking shoes with ankle support for extended outdoor activities.
- A few pairs of thin socks. Rather layer thin socks than wear one pair of thick wintery socks. It is often more comfortable and you can remove a few layers should you wish.
- Lightweight, breathable shorts are best for men and women, but pack in a pair or two of light long pants for evenings. These are also often more suitable for when visiting rural communities.
- Sunscreen should be worn at all times. The African sun is ruthless and you wouldn’t want to spoil any of your trip by catching sunstroke.
We hope this helps your packing & enjoy your safari!
If you would like to find out more about the best time of year to visit Zambia and the Lower Zambezi, check out this post
When planning your trip to Zambia and it’s beautiful parks and wildlife hotspots, it’s important to consider the seasons to ensure you get the most out of your trip. Game spotting is at its best in the drier months, when foliage is sparse and animals gather around diminishing water sources, yet in the wetter months the landscape is lush and an abundance of migratory birds are an absolute delight to behold.
The climate in the capital, Lusaka, is representative of the climate found in the higher areas of central and southern Zambia, such as Kafue National Park. South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi National Parks are located in lower-lying valleys and follow similar weather patterns, but are considerably hotter. Temperatures increase by about 6°C for every 1000m you descend (or 3.5°F per 1000ft).
Zambia, situated in the tropics, receives good rainfall, and has a dry season from May to the end of October and a wet season from November to April. During this wet season, many areas become largely inaccessible by vehicle, and most camps in these areas close down. The higher areas in the East generally receive more rain than western and lowland areas.
The Dry Season (May – Oct) ~ Winter
This can be divided into the cool dry season (May to August) and the hot dry season (September and October).
There is little to no rainfall during the entire winter and humidity is very low.
- Days are bright and filled with sunshine.
- Wildlife will congregate around waterholes when other water resources become scarce.
- The chances for malaria are lower since there are fewer mosquitos.
- Humidity is at its low point, making the heat less bothersome (except in October).
- Warm clothing is recommended for early morning game drives, which can be cold.
The Wet Season (Nov – April) ~ Summer
- The landscape is lush and green.
- A time for new-born animals
- With the appearance of migratory birds, birdwatching is at its best.
- Game viewing is not as good as during the dry season as the foliage is thicker and water more abundant
- Some roads become muddy and hard to drive on.
- The heat and humidity can be intense
High tourist season: June – October
Low season: January – June
Best weather: April – September
Less-favourable weather: October – Feb (humid & rainy)
Highest rainfall: Dec/January
Best time for game watching: June – October
Best time for bird watching: Excellent year round but particularly rewarding from December to April.
Best time for tiger fishing: Sep – mid November
This solitary feline is the strongest climber of the large cats, and like other cats, spends about two thirds of it’s life sprawled out in relaxed slumber. Although hard to track, the Lower Zambezi is a fantastic location for the chance spotting of the secretive leopard.
The spotted coat of the leopard provides almost perfect camouflage, and their adaptability to their environment has helped them survive the loss of habitat to increasing human settlement. They prefer dense bush in rocky surrounds, as well as riverine forests. Leopards continually move about their home ranges, seldom staying in an area for more than two or three days at a time. By marking and calling, they usually know each others whereabouts.
This nocturnal cat is capable of killing prey larger than itself. Hunting usually occurs at night, and they spend much of the day hiding in thickets or in a tree, resting. They mainly prey on small antelope, rodents, baboons, monkeys and birds, and are highly efficient hunters. They haul their prey into trees in order to enjoy their meal in peace, safe from lurking vultures, lions and hyaenas. The leopard can run up to 58km/h and can leap 6m horizontally and 3m vertically. They are also excellent swimmers.
These cats have a reputation as being dangerous killers, but research does not support the claim at all. In some areas farmers try to kill them, whilst in others leopards are considered symbols of wisdom.
Fishing on the Lower Zambezi is a diverse and exciting experience, with opportunities for the skilled and casual angler alike. Over 75 species of fish have been identified in the Lower Zambezi making it a very popular location for anglers, who visit from all over the world.
The ‘striped river dog’ or tiger fish, known for its aquatic acrobatics and razed-sharp teeth, is always a top attraction. These fascinating predatory fish eat other fish of almost 75% of their own length, including their own species, as well as small birds, young ducks and aquatic reptiles.
Other fish which can be found in the Lower Zambezi are the sizeable vundu and smaller species such as the Zambezi electric catfish, African mottled eel, cornish jack, barble and bream, to name a few.
When visiting the Lower Zambezi, angling is a fantastic way to enjoy the enchanting Zambian landscape and natural beauty. Watch elephants lazily frolic at the waters edge, hear the majestic cry of the fish-eagle, all whilst seeking out your catch of the day. Whether you are a serious angler or a first-timer, experienced fishing guides on the river are more than happy to assist and make your experience most enjoyable.
The best time to catch tiger fish is during the warmer months, from late August to mid November, but tiger fish and other species can be caught throughout the safari season. Most lodges operate a strict catch and release policy on the river to ensure the survival of the fish population, maintaining the balance of this magnificent ecosystem.
Zambia is a bird lovers paradise, with one of the highest concentrations of bird species on the African continent. The Zambezi River, the natural boundary between Zambia and Zimbabwe, attracts an abundance of birdlife, considered to include as many as 400 species.
One can experience the vast array of birdlife on a walking safari, equipped with binoculars and an experienced guide, ensuring your safety and offering knowledge on the various species. Another fantastic option is to go on a boat or canoe safari, and gracefully drift down with the Zambezi current, book, camera and checklist in hand. You will also spot other exciting game from the river.
Bird spotting is great year round but the period just before the summer rains is considered to be a prime bird watching time, when the local bird population swells with the arrival of migrant species from Europe and beyond. Colourful carmine bee-eaters flock in their hundreds, to nest along the river banks, and is just one of many delightful sights.
Expect to see a vibrant array of kingfishers, lovebirds, parrots, hornbills, fish eagles, sunbirds, hawks, buzzards, honeyguides and many, many more!