The ‘Emerald Season’ is the time of the year when the heavens open and Zambia is blessed with life-giving rainfall from November to April. Particularly noticeable in the South Luangwa, the rains transform the valley into a lush, emerald green paradise from which the rainy season takes its name. With an increase in rainfall becoming more noticeable in November, December and January, these months are statistically the wettest months in Zambia, with an average rainfall of just over 7 and 8 inches respectively. Although wet, the temperatures remain remarkably warm and consistent throughout.
Aside from all the much needed new vegetation that sustains the wildlife, the Emerald Season is a wildlife photographers dream! The lush foliage contrasts brilliantly with the contented animals, and the feeling of rejuvenation is hard to miss. With so much rain around, there is a myriad of bird, plant and animal life which seems even more vibrant than usual, not to mention the amount of baby animals which were born at the end of the dry season, which makes for beautiful pictures and lots of predator interaction.
See how striking the Emerald Season can be:
What’s so special about the Emerald Season, in a nutshell
- The Emerald Season runs from November to May.
- The bush is bright green and very lush.
- Its not too hot and so ideal for walking safaris.
- The natural light is perfect for photography.
- The Luangwa River is in all its glory and there are lots of hippo in the area.
- There are fewer people and so game viewing is a more intimate and exclusive experience.
- The impalas have their babies.
- It is a birder’s paradise as the migratory birds arrive and many birds are in colourful breeding plumage.
- Large flocks of carmine bee-eaters and storks are around.
- The famous Mfuwe Lodge elephants annually walk through the lodge en route to their favourite wild mango tree!