Zimbabwe is a place with world-class national parks, vibrant culture and incredible wildlife. It’s a unique type of holiday, coming on safari, but it’s incredibly rewarding if you choose the right time of year. We’ve gathered some expert advice from our guides on why June to October, which falls in the dry season, is considered the best time to travel.
As a safari guide, I’m always asked what my favourite time of year is. After many years of experience in the bush, I believe the very best time (although anytime is a great time!) is in November. After the long, dry winter, those first rains bring about signs of new life under dramatic skies painted with electrical storms. The fresh smell of the rains, the droves of flying termites emerging from their mounds, the falling dropping of the baby impala and warthog, superb predator activity, and the arrival of all our summer migration birds flocking in from North Africa and Southern Europe – it is a truly magical time. A time of change and regrowth.
In light of this, we are lowering our rates for November and including this wonderful month in our Secret Season Special.
Wildlife sightings are usually the reason most people come on safari – the dry season offers a high activity and a good chance of dramatic sightings. (Take a look at our Live in Camp to get an idea of the incredible sightings we had this season)
Take a look at our discussion on the topic in our recent ‘Conversartions with Beks’:
According to our Guides:
Alf Ngwarai, our professional guide at Nyamatusi Camp in Mana Pools National Park, who has 22 years’ experience in guiding all through Africa. He’s a master of the walking safari and has a poetic way with words. This is what he had to say:
“Between June and October Africa is at its most challenging – the bush is dry, the grasses are golden, and the animal densities are at their highest, congregating around the water sources. The drama of predation is at its highest, enjoyed through the sparse bush.
The elephants in the high season are pleasurable to watch as they hustle for water and puff up clouds of dust and splash mud while bathing,” he explains. On safari, water is a critical life source that forces change and evolution in the animal kingdom; wildlife constantly make the long trek in search of water, the driving purpose of day-to-day survival.
Alf adds that “the wild dog pups in the high season come out of the dens and start following the adults, what awesomeness to watch.”
Wildlife competition begins to intensify as waters start to recede between June to November. The famous Armchair Safari, and the Kanga Pan, really comes alive! Spot several species visiting the pan, as it is the only water source for a 10km radius. Combining Kanga Camp and Zambezi Expeditions will make sure you are getting the complete Mana Pools experience; to see the mighty Zambezi River teeming with wildlife, as well as the inland pan action.
Calvet Nkomo guides at Somalisa Camp in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe and has almost 20 years’ experience in the field. He’ll captivate you with a story around the crackling campfire under the velvet night sky.
He tells us that animals are found in more significant numbers in Hwange National Park during the high season and that roan & sable frequent the area. The larger herds of animals start to make their way to the permanent waters along the marshes as the surface waters in the thicker Mopane woodlands begin to dry up.
The drier the area becomes; the more and more elephants frequent the waterhole surrounding the camp, creating fantastic close-up viewing from the camp decks. It isn’t just the ellies that visit the waterholes in camp as things dry up, lion remains the most commonly seen predator, while cheetah and leopard are shyer, they appear more often during the dry season.
Steve spent his early childhood herding cattle and fishing near his village; he loved spending his time outdoors. Steve fell in love with guiding during a holiday consisting of hiking from Kazungula to Victoria Falls, rafting from Victoria Falls to Deka Drum and finally canoeing from Deka Drum to Mlibizi – an adventure of more than 124 miles (200 km). Steve shares his love for adventure with his guests at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge.
“The lodge is situated on top of the Bumi Hills which comes from the local Tonga name Ume/Bumi, which means ‘Gift of God’. Lake Kariba is a man-made lake for hydroelectricity. The lodge opened in the late 1960’s. The shoreline, lake and few islands are the wildlife’s lifeline including elephant, buffalo, impala, hippo, crocs, kudu, lion and leopard, and excellent birdlife. Recently cheetah has been sighted, which could be attributed to the conservation efforts in the area from Bumi Hills Anti-Poaching Unit (BHAPU). Lake Kariba is also famous for tiger fishing and bream fish.” Steve tells us.
No matter where in Zimbabwe you decide to travel to, booking between June and October is a guarantee of a fantastic safari. Book now and enjoy Zimbabwe coming alive with a range of activities from walking safaris sunset cruises.