Green Season Safari in South Luangwa, Zambia

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March 19, 2013

Green Season Safari in South Luangwa, Zambia

Should you take any notice of whoever said, “Game sightings are poor in the green season…….”?

It’s simply is not true!”  Says Christina Carr of  Norman Carr Safaris, now part of Time and Tide. The Green Season from January to March is summer in Zambia’s South Luangwa Game Reserve and everything turns green. The bush is at its thickest and animals have no need to come to isolated waterholes. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good time for safari – the renowned leopards are still here and migrating birds arrive for the abundance of food. It’s a time of plenty and beauty. Many photographers prefer this time of year over any other in South Luangwa – the ‘Valley of Leopards’.   If you love these images, see more on Will Burrard-Lucas’ outstanding website.

Time & Tide describe South Luangwa’s green season as; ‘Away from the crowds, unearth an emerald world by boat, vehicle and on foot, in a lush green landscape.’

These sensational photos are taken by Will Burrard-Lucas on foot, by vehicle, by boat and from his fiendishly clever “Beetle-cam” . They showcase the glories of the Luangwa green season eloquently.  The Green Season’s not ALL ABOUT BIRDS  – although this is one of the best times of the year for ornithologists……… there are also bumper sightings of  leopards (can there ever be too many leopards?)!

Potential guests worry that it rains all the time in Green Season, but in reality, game viewing is rarely interrupted and the small chance of getting wet is more than made up for by the incredible beauty of the bush. Luangwa is in a tropical region, so the usual pattern is a few days without rain, a gradual build up of thunderheads, a spectacular tropical downpour from lasting about an hour, then back to hot sun and blue skies and birds catching insects.

Many guests make an extra trip in Green Season because the flights are cheaper, the rates are better (especially if using a return guest discount) and it’s a wonderful time to head into sunshine from a northern winter.

Norman Carr established Luangwa’s first safari camp back in in 1950, when an African safari meant hunting. But Norman developed the pioneering idea of taking people to look and photograph animals, rather than shoot them.

Who should go on safari in Zambia?

You mustn’t be the kind of person that freaks out if insects get into your room, or someone who likes the certainty of brick walls. This is traditional ‘Out of Africa’ safari, deep in the bush with no fences. It’s for anyone who loves the thrill of being in the wild, wants to feel the African earth under their feet,  loves to take photographs and gets high from being close to big game, all the while knowing that an expert guide has your back. It’s real safari!  

Here are some interesting weather stats for the Luangwa Valley: 

January – March (Green Season)

  • Max temp 31°c min temp 20°c
  • Average rainfall 200mm per month

April & May

  • Max temp 32°c, min temp 19°c
  • Average rainfall 100 mm in April 0mm in May

June & July

  • Max temp 30°c min temp 10°c
  • Average rainfall omm

August & September

  • Max temp 35°c min temp 14°c
  • Rainfall omm

October (sometimes known as suicide month – look at the max temperatures!)

  • Max temp 44°c min temp 22°c
  • Average rainfall 0mm

November & December

  • Max temp 38°c min temp 22°c
  • Average rainfall 100 – 150 mm

Norman Carr Safaris have teamed up with Chongwe Safaris in the Lower Zambezi to create an unforgettable duo of wild safari destinations, encompassing the whole range of safari experiences including, walking safari, game drives, specialist birding, canoeing and fishing on the Zambezi and any number of other adventures and surprises dreamed up between them!

To finish off a Zambian safari, the best place to chill out and recuperate from the very early mornings at camp is Victoria Falls. Both the Zimbabwean side and Zambian side of Victoria Falls have plenty of superb riverside lodges for sundowner boating, visits to the Falls and maybe some crazy adrenaline activities like bungy jumping, white water rafting, high-speed boating, the bridge walk, and many more.  Or, opt for a cultural village tour, market shopping or just sitting by the pool overlooking the Zambezi River with the mist of Victoria Falls rising 1km into the air – especially in the Green Season!  

Victoria Falls (not at full strength)

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