Best time to visit Zimbabwe

Best time to visit Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls River Safari on Zambezi River | Photo: African Safari Portfolio

Zimbabwe is a year-round destination and the best time to visit depends on weather conditions you’d like to experience. However, similar to many other southern African countries, the best time to visit Zimbabwe is during the dry seasons especially for those who plan to enjoy a beautiful safari vacation. This doesn’t mean other seasons can’t be enjoyed though. It just depends on the experience you’d like to have. Here’s a month-by-month guide of the best times to plan a trip to this beautiful country, the weather in Zimbabwe is generally warm and the sun is always shinning – you can pick what time suits you best.

January

best time to visit zimbabwe victoria falls
Mukuvisi Woodlands, Harare, Zimbabwe | Photo: Cloudlake Travel

The first month of the year January falls in the middle of the rainy season. There’s a lot of rain during this period but the plush vegetation, together with the amazing sight of different bird species, baby wildebeests and zebras make it astonishingly beautiful. There are less tourists this time of the year, making for quieter safari trips. Whitewater rafting can be enjoyed in January as water levels of the Zambezi River are low thus more enjoyable. In the capital city of Harare, most attractions will be less crowded than usual this period. 

Average temperature (Harare): 69.8°F (21°C)

February

February also falls within the rainy season and is not an all so enjoyable time to visit Zimbabwe. The rains are heavy, the vegetation is high and thick and there is an abundance of natural water sources making wildlife difficult to view as they hardly gather together around water holes. Just like January it is still a great time for people who enjoy bird-watching. Some of the roads, camps and lodges do not open in this month. The water level of the Zambezi River is high and so while the Victoria Falls flow in full force, it is extremely difficult to view because of the heavy mist and fog.

Average temperature: 69.8°F (21°C)

March

Just like February in Zimbabwe, the same can be said about March. The weather is beautiful, hot, humid and rainy with incessant afternoon thunderstorms. Still a great time for birdwatchers but wildlife is scarce and the view of Victoria Falls is almost obscure because of the mist and fog. Visiting Zimbabwe at this time can be very rewarding.  

Average temperature: 69.8°F (21°C)

April

Best time to visit Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls River Safari on Zambezi River | Photo: African Safari Portfolio

At this point, the rainy season is almost over. The skies are clear and temperatures are neither too hot nor cold. It’s the best time to visit Victoria Falls as the Zambezi River is overflowing with water making a wonderful sight to behold. Most of the camps and lodges that had been closed during the rainy season finally reopen. Mana Pools National Park also resume activities. This is the last most for to really enjoy for the birdwatchers. Between 15th and 16th April, there’s an annual Jazz Festival where popular African artistes perform and there are also organized workshops to grow local talent. Students are granted free entry and proceeds from the festival go to charity.

Average temperature: 71.6°F (22°C)

May

May is the beginning of Winter in Zimbabwe. Yes, you read right winter although not by Western standards. Temperatures scarcely rise above 12℃ and is similar to summer in Europe, Asia or the USA. The grasses begin to thin out and wildlife can be still be a bit difficult to spot. The first week of May is also host to the Harare International Festival of Arts which takes place in the capital. We recommend for the art connoisseurs.

Average temperature: 64°F (18°C)

June

This is a very popular time to visit Zimbabwe due to the favorable wildlife viewing conditions. There are cooler temperatures in the day and the nights can be exceptionally cold. We advise tourists to pack up some warm winter clothing. Camelthorn pods ripen, which attracts large herds of elephant bulls.  There are no mists and water levels of the Zambezi River remain quite high so Victoria Falls is quite the sight to catch during this month. We recommend booking properties or lodges on time as it is a popular time to travel for tourists.

Average temperature: 61°F (16°C)

July

best time to visit Zimbabwe is all year
Wildlife Day at the Jafuta Private Game Reserve in the Victoria Falls area of Zimbabwe | Photo: ZEWACT

July is the last month of winter and the first month of Zimbabwe’s peak season. Temperatures are pretty mild during the day but that can switch to really freezing temperatures at night. It’s an excellent period for wildlife viewing, whitewater rafting and canoe safaris. Hotel and safari owners increase their rates as the country experiences a huge influx of tourists in this time. July is also host for the Zimbabwe International Book Fair where publishers around the world gather annually to participate in the occasion which is held in Harare. 

Average temperature: 59°F (15°C)

August

August is a great time to visit Zimbabwe just make sure accommodations are booked in advance as this is one of the busiest times of the year. Days are sunny and temperatures are mild. This is also an excellent time for viewing wildlife. Zimbabwe also celebrates past heroes who fought against colonialism in the month of August. It’s called Hero Month and there’s a long weekend public holiday to celebrate this. The yearly 10-day Zimbabwe International Film Festival also takes place in August.

Average temperature: 64°F (18°C)

September

September is another dry month in Zimbabwe. Temperatures begin to warm up and it’s a great time to go on a wildlife safari. This month there’s an annual game census in Hwange National Park and even tourists can get involved helping the park rangers take census of all the animals in the reserve. Isn’t that nice?

Average temperature: 72°F (22°C)

Location: Hwange Nature reserve in Zimbabwe  

October

whens the best time to visit Zimbabwe
Tourists admiring the rainbow in Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls | Photo: Anna.Titan

Labeled “Suicide Month” due to the extremely hot temperature this time of the year, in October wildlife viewing is great if you don’t mind the heat that is. It is the final month of the dry season with almost no rainfall. It’s also a great time to catch sight of elephants. Due to low water levels in Victoria Falls, tourists can climb into the Devil’s Pool and look over the edge, one of the most romantic places in Zimbabwe. The Devils Pool Victoria Falls is one of the major tourist attractions in Zimbabwe. Tourist accommodations in the country starts becoming more readily available in this month.

Average temperature: 75°F (24°C)

Location: Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe  

November

This is the month when Zimbabweans welcome the rain. It’s a welcome relief from the extreme heat of October and it can often arrive suddenly as thunder showers in the afternoons. A good month for birdwatchers as migratory species usually arrive with the rain. No weddings or other ceremonies are culturally allowed this month as it is considered sacred. The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe organizes an annual dance festival where children from primary schools around the country showcase different indigenous traditional dances. Harare International Food Festival is also held this month.

Average temperature: 75°F (24°C)

December

December in Zimbabwe is characterized by plenty rainfall, plush green landscapes, scintillating birdlife and the return of wildebeests and zebras to the many Zimbabwe safari locations as well as some of Africa’s most romantic destinations. The rain can continue for days sometimes and it can be short other times. Hotel rates and lodges are cheaper and accommodation is more readily available. Some camps, lodges and roads remain closed during this period but nature photographers can get quality shots at Victoria Falls in this time.

Average temperature: 75°F (24°C)

Explore the Best time to visit Rwanda.

Leave a Reply