Green Season in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley

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March 19, 2013

Green Season in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley

“There is no game in the green season…….!”   This is a phrase used about Zambia’s Luangwa Game Reserves in the green season, but “It’s simply is not true!”  says Christina Carr of Norman Carr Safaris. The Green Season covers the months from January to March, when the summer rains turn everything green, the bush it at its thickest and animals have no need to come to the isolated waterholes.

But these pics taken by Will Burrard-Lucas over 5 days in February 2013 on foot, by vehicle, by boat and from his fiendishly clever “Beetle-cam” in Luangwa, describe the glories of the Luangwa green season eloquently. And the Green Season’s not ALL ABOUT BIRDS  – although this is one of the best times of the year for ornithologists………          there were 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!

Many of Norman Carr Safari guests make an extra trip in Green Season because the flights are cheaper, the rates are better (especially with a return guest discounts) and it’s a wonderful time to head into sunshine from a northern winter. Sounds great to me!












Norman Carr Safaris have invited me to visit and that sounds like a fine idea to me!  They are after all the forerunners of safari in this remote region of Zambia renowned for big game. 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. Today Norman Carr Safaris operate six camps in South Luangwa, namely Kapani Lodge, Luwi, Nsolo, Kakuli and Mchenja bush camps and in June 2013 they will open their newest camp; Chinzombo.















Who should go on safari in Zambia?

You mustn’t be the kind of person that freaks if insects get into your room, or someone who likes the certainty of brick walls and designer interiors. This is traditional ‘Out of Africa’ safari, deep in the bush with no fences. It’s for anyone who loves the trill 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. The Zambian side of Vic Falls near Livingstone has 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!  I have a very soft spot for this area (I lost my heart to a Zambian lodge owner once…but that’s another story)!  I’ll only tell it if you persuade me!




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