The same site will also provide 9-day forecasts for Chirundu, on the Zambezi between Kariba and Mana Pools. Satellite images can also give you a good idea of prevailing cloud and rain conditions in our area. We use METEOSAT on http://bit.ly/wQz3S0 and
KOBUS BOTHA on
http://bit.ly/h5qnUe but
there are many others.


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TEMPERATURE - the Zambezi Valley can get surprisingly cold in winter. Take your winter woollies and extra blankets. By October, though, afternoon shade temperatures can be in the mid-forties. This can be extremely uncomfortable if you are not used to it. You'll need to drink copiously to avoid dehydration, and sunstroke and heat exhaustion are real dangers

RAIN - mostly between mid-November and late March, although you may get early or late showers, and possibly some light drizzle in the winter months. Spectacular thunderstorms and heavy rain often occur early in the wet season. In late December or during January and February, the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone may 'sit' over the Valley for several days at a time, causing heavy and prolonged rainfall. Road conditions may be difficult, and gravel roads sometimes impassable. Viewing tracks may be closed in some Parks, and vegetation too tall for easy gameviewing. However, the wet season is great for birding and scenic photography.

HAZE - the wetter months, plus April and May, are best for photography, especially for landscapes and scenery. After that, haze created by dust and bush-fires can reduce visibility to a couple of kilometres at times.

LANDSCAPES - some like the green, lush vistas during and shortly after the rains; others are attracted by the stark, harsh browns and greys of the dry season.

WILDLIFE - it's always there, but can be more difficult to find in many areas during the rains and for some time after they end, as there is usually plenty of surface water and wildlife is dispersed. As this water dries up, animals are forced to gather near water, such as the Zambezi River and the shores of Lake Kariba.

A special note for keen birders: of Zimbabwe's 700-plus bird species, over 400 have been recorded from the Mana Pools National Park alone. Generally speaking, the best time of year is from October to March, when most migrant species are present. However, some species - the African Skimmer, for example - usually depart in December, while Carmine Bee-Eaters (of which there are numerous colonies in our operating area) are usually only present in large numbers between late August and November.

This bar-chart helps you to select the time of year for your visit that will best accommodate your interests. Keen photographers may prefer the brilliant clear skies of the very early dry season, or even the spectacular wet-season cloudscapes. Overseas visitors may find the October heat too oppressive. But remember that our wild places are lovely at any time of year!
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