Africa's best kept secret
Zimbabwe is an incredible destination that offers gorgeous landscapes, diverse wildlife and a wide range of adventure activities. It is the one place where you can go white water rafting before exploring an untouched wilderness that teems with wildlife. The top attraction in Zimbabwe is the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls which is also recognized as one of the “Seven Wonders Of The World”. With never-ending rainbows and water plundering down a 108-meter drop, the Victoria Falls is a sight to behold.
Two pristine game reserves flank the Victoria Falls - Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe is renowned for its large populations of elephants, hippos and Nile crocodiles, whilst Hwange in western Zimbabwe is home to large elephant herds, lions and African wild dogs. Visitors can look forward to exciting big five game drives, enlightening bush walks, gorgeous sunsets, fishing expeditions, and incredible bird watching.
Find out when is the best time of year to visit Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a destination visited all year round but during the summer months of January to March, the region receives its greatest rainfall, with January being the wettest month. Although the iconic Victoria Falls is in full flood, it is often difficult to enjoy panoramic views with the rush of water from the Zambezi River belting down the edge of the cliff and creating a spray. The surrounding game reserves such as Mana Pools National Park and Hwange National Park, see many lodges close during the rainy season. It is not the best time to visit Zimbabwe if you are looking to tick off a list of animals but it is the ideal time to visit these parks if you are looking for a more exclusive safari experience, with many lodges and camps much quieter. Several lodges and camps will even offer reduced accommodation rates during this time period. Not needing as much water, animals tend to move away from the waterholes and spread out within the parks. This can make it harder to spot animals but it doesn't impact the nature experience. Rainfall usually occurs in the afternoons with short showers. Rain could however stay for a few days at a time. Bird watching is at its best during the wetter months, with many migratory birds present and a prime time for breeding.
Days are still extremely hot and humid in Zimbabwe, with rainstorms evident in the late afternoons, often followed by the most magnificent rainbows. The wetter months are the best time to visit Zimbabwe if you are looking to see newborn animals. There are a number of newborn sable and waterbuck, and predators such as lions who are daring enough to splash in the water in order to get their next meal. Many roads are still inaccessible, particularly in the Eastern Highlands, and some may require a high clearance vehicle or even a 4x4. The Eastern Highlands offers some of the regions best birding from January to April. Matobo Hills National Park boasts a lush green landscape during the rainy season and offers incredible sightings of newborn animals and migratory birds. Although many camps and lodges are still closed for the rainy season, reduced accommodation rates are still offered by others throughout the various game reserves in Zimbabwe.
Still hot and humid with temperatures averaging between 30°C (86°F) and 16°C (61°F), the country still receives rainfall but it slowly comes to an end. Many lodges and camps still remain closed whilst others still consider the month of March to be low season, offering reduced accommodation rates. In Hwange National Park, small groups of elephant bulls start to arrive, plenty of newborn animals are seen in the protection of their herds, and gorgeous butterflies flutter about. In Gonarezhou National Park, newborn animal sightings are at their best and the lush green landscape attracts a number of migratory birds, affording incredible bird watching opportunities.
With the rainy season over, the skies are blue, the roads dry, and lodges and camps that were closed are now accessible and open to visitors. In Hwange National Park, the migratory birds move on and large herds of buffalo are seen in the woodlands area where lions linger in anticipation that they will get the opportunity to strike. In Mana Pools National Park, it is the last month for excellent bird watching and wildlife sightings are superb. Although Matobo Hills National Park still experiences some rainfall, the landscape is lush and incredibly beautiful, making a visit here worthwhile.
It is a wonderful time to visit Zimbabwe with blue skies and virtually no rain in sight. Victoria Falls is at its best from May to September when the water levels are mid-to-low and the spray doesn't obstruct the views of the falls. The pans in Hwange National Park begin to dry up and the pumping program begins when water is pumped from underground sources to surface pans. This is necessary as two-thirds of the park is covered with Kalahari sand. In Mana Pools, wildlife is easier to spot with the dry vegetation and animals are seen regularly around the Zambezi River for a drink of water, particularly elephant. With less humidity, game drives in the afternoons are much easier to bear and there is very little chance of rain. Evenings are cooler but the skies clear, making it the perfect time to enjoy a dining experience beneath the stars.
The best time to visit Zimbabwe is during the drier months and June is considered to be the start of the peak season in Zimbabwe. The vegetation is less dense and animals tend to congregate around the waterholes, offering the most incredible sightings. Parks such as Hwange and Mana Pools can get crowded from June to October so lodges and camps do often book out very early. The days are pleasant with early mornings and evenings much cooler, averaging around 26°C (79°F) during the day and around 7°C (40°F) at night. In Hwange National Park, camel thorn pods begin to ripen and attract a large number of elephant bulls who love to shake the trees for their share of pods. The misty mornings are a favorite for keen photographers who are brave enough to brace the cold morning conditions.
It is the best time to visit Zimbabwe because it is the peak of the winter months, with animal numbers at their peak and waterholes constantly surrounded. During the months of July to September, Hwange National Park is relatively busy but not overcrowded, making it the ideal time to go on safari. Big numbers of elephant return from the western regions of Zimbabwe and the pans, particularly the Bomani Pan, get very busy at night with a number of elephants coming to drink. In Gonarezhou National Park animal sightings are incredible, with opportunities of seeing elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and many antelope species. It is a great time for wildlife viewing in Mana Pools as animals congregate around the only sources of permanent waters in the Mana Pools region - the Zambezi floodplain, Kanga Pan and Chitake Spring.
The dry climate makes it the best time to visit Zimbabwe for a safari adventure and unbeatable views of one of the world's natural wonders - Victoria Falls. With water levels of the mighty Zambezi River medium-to-high, almost all water-based Victoria Falls activities are available, from white water rafting to canoe trails and fishing. It is windy in Mana Pools so canoeing excursions may not always run but it is still a great time of the year for game drives that bring you up-close with various animal species. In Hwange, the days get warmer and the first of the migratory birds arrive. Many wildebeest move on as the grazing grounds are no longer sustainable. Wildfires break out and the smog of the fire makes for the most spectacular sunsets.
In Mana Pools, the temperatures begin to rise and elephants and plains game are plentiful. Ripe fig trees and wild mango trees are a favorite treat for elephants. It is the best time in Zimbabwe to see wild dog puppies, with the floodplains of Mana Pools offering incredible sightings of pups only a few months old. Matobo Hills National Park experiences the best weather, making fishing, hiking, and visits to some of the San rock-art sites enjoyable. In Hwange National Park, the temperatures steadily increase with the pressure on waterholes intensifying. The pans are visited non-stop by elephant herds and only a small number of wildebeest and zebra remain. The park sees an increase in the number of migratory birds, making it an incredible destination for bird watching.
It is the best time to visit Zimbabwe for fantastic sightings of various animal species. There is always plenty of action even though it is a lot hotter. In Hwange National Park, the dry season is at its peak and elephant numbers around the waterholes are at their highest. Migrant birds continue to arrive and sightings of birds such as the Broad-billed rollers from Central Africa and Steppe eagles from Eastern Europe are incredible. In Gonarezhou National Park, the dry conditions offer great accessibility and incredible encounters with African elephants. Gonarezhou has one of the highest elephant densities in Africa and the biggest tuskers in Zimbabwe.
It is now the best time to visit Zimbabwe if you looking to experience canoeing, rafting or fishing. The rains have arrived and the Victoria Falls region transforms into a lush green oasis, and the view of the falls is excellent. Bird watching is also great with many migrant birds arriving in the area. During the summer wet season, the Limpopo, Runde and Save Rivers are in flood, so access to certain areas of Gonarezhou National Park is restricted. In Matobo Hills National Park, the days are hot and humid but newborn animals are abundant and the scenery is lush and gorgeous. Mana Pools has a shortage of food after the dry winter season but with the arrival of the rains in the later part of the month, the floodplain transforms and lush green grass sprouts. The most rainfall is experienced in the afternoon with a brief thunderstorm.
The month of December is the best time to visit Zimbabwe if you aren't afraid of some rain, enjoy seeking out the smaller creatures of the African bush, and love to spot birds. The low water levels of the Zambezi River make it an ideal time to go white water rafting. Victoria Falls see the start of calving season and is an excellent birdwatching destination. The hot weather conditions result in the most dramatic thunderstorms that are usually followed by the most magnificent rainbows. Hwange National Park sees an increase in rainfall, causing smaller insects to surface and amphibians to come out of hibernation. This, in turn, attracts a number of birds and reptiles. The rain nurtures the soil and new grasses begin to grow, seeing large herds of wildebeest and zebra return to the park. It is calving season for several antelope species and so predator sightings are fantastic as they lurk in the bushes waiting on an opportunity to strike.
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