It is important to understand the Victoria Falls weather. The temperate climate and the different seasons will determine when you visit.
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The Victoria Falls weather, including most of the Zimbabwe region, is a temperate one. This ensures warm, sunny weather that is not too hot – most of the time.
Temperate climates exclude extreme ranges of temperature making the changes between summer and winter very mild and comfortable.
The National Parks of Hwange and Zambezi National Park are warmer than most, and these areas enjoy warm to hot weather in the wet season. In the dry season, it is still very pleasant during the day, but night time and early mornings will be cold. This area falls into the summer rainfall region.
The Falls are at their most spectacular from February to May, directly after the region’s summer rains, when the water is flowing at its greatest volume. The mist and spray is at its most spectacular, but can obscure the view of the waterfall. The density of the spray is because of the huge volume of water entering the gorge.
This spray creates and sustains the lush, dense undergrowth and large trees of the rainforest found along the edge of the gorge opposite the cascading water. In stark contrast, away from the waterfall and the wetting spray, the countryside is generally dry and supports savanna grasslands.
One of the conspicuous trees in this dry region are the African baobab tree. These very large trees look almost prehistoric with their mostly bare branches and expansive tree trunks.
If you want to take in the Botswana experience, one of Africa’s Big 5 safari destinations, the best time for your holiday combined with a Chobe river safari, is the dry winter period from June to August.
You will experience great game viewing, warm days and cool nights with little to no rain and plenty of water flowing over the falls.
There are 2 very distinct seasons with 2 very short “shoulder” seasons in-between. These shoulder seasons are brief and see the one season in and the other out.
This time of year is called the Green Season as the bushveld is lush and green after the rains.
Unfortunately, this inhibits the game viewing as the bush is very thick and it is difficult to see very far into the veld to spot the wildlife. With the bounty of water lying in pools, the wildlife does not need to come to the watering holes, which makes viewing animals even more difficult.
You may experience some dramatic African storms in January and February as well as lighter showers, with the rainy season tailing off by March.
With the rains upstream, the water swells in the Zambezi River and increases the volume of water flow over the waterfall. This results in a heavy mist and spray which can obscure the view of the falls, but seeing and hearing the sheer power of the waterfall is a humbling experience.
The average mean temperature during the day is 30°C and 18°C at night.
This is the beginning of winter and the period just before the upcoming dry season.
The temperatures now start dropping to 25°C during the day and the chilly night temperatures reach 6°C. The night chill quickly disappears during the day with clear, sunny days that are very pleasant.
So bring a selection of warmer and summer clothing to cope with the fluctuation of the weather at this time of year.
The dry season experiences the greatest changes in temperature with the daily maximum of 26°C and minimum night temperatures of 6°C of July and August climbing to a summery 34°C and 18°C respectively.
September is an excellent time for a safari as the bush has dried up leaving very little vegetation to obstruct the view of the game. The water has disappeared in the small pools, so the wildlife congregates at the river or watering holes to drink in the late afternoon or early morning.
Towards October, the temperatures maintain their average, although the humidity tends to rise before the rains break. This can become uncomfortable.
October is commonly known as “suicide month” because of this, as temperatures can reach up to 40°C. As soon as the rains arrive, these temperatures quickly dissipate, though.
There is no telling when the rains will arrive, so the humidity could arrive late in November although day temperatures will remain high.
November through to early December can be the most uncomfortable months of the year, with soaring temperatures and humidity.
This is the start of the rainy season with light to heavy showers arriving. With the rains the temperatures do drop as the moisture cools the dry bushveld and leaves pools of water lying around.
The average of 34°C for this period can reach the high 30’s and sometimes even up to 40°C.
It is not recommended to visit the falls at the end of the dry winter period, October through November, as the water level is at its lowest.
Low water levels guarantee you’ll have panoramic views on both sides of the falls, as there is no mist or spray to obscure the view. However, the water flow is quite low showcasing the basalt cliffs.
The water flow on the Zimbabwean side is permanent, although it fluctuates dramatically, but the Zambian side of the waterfall may have dried up completely.
Be aware of the time of year you choose to holiday to this dramatic spot. The Victoria Falls weather and climate can impact your visit dramatically.