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Africa Geographic
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Africa Geographic Travel

With the year fast drawing to a close, comes the onset of the summer rains in Zambia. The migrant birds return, and bush begins to sprout with new life and bursts into vivid green. This heralds the start of the Emerald Season.


The Emerald Season begins in November and ends around mid-May. It is possibly the most underrated safari period on the calendar. Here at Robin Pope Safari’s, however, we’ve always encouraged our guests to visit during this season as we believe it is a spectacular time of the year in the Luangwa Valley. Now that the rains have arrived, we’re looking forward to the vibrant colours and plenty of new growth to come – flora and fauna alike!

Here are a few perks of visiting South Luangwa during the Emerald Season:

  • There are less travellers to the area during this season so you can enjoy a more intimate safari experience. Consider it your own private ‘Garden of Eden’.


  • A lot of animals drop their young during this season so there are babies abound! Everywhere you look the bush is bursting with new life and it is probably the ‘cutest’ time of year.
  • As the migratory birds return, the skies come alive as the feathered beauts dance around in full breeding plumage, making it a bird-lovers paradise.
  • The air is much less dusty and provides excellent, crystal clear conditions for photography. There are also dramatic afternoon skyscapes and spectacular clouds and lighting. The conditions are so perfect that renowned wildlife photographer, David Rogers, hosts frequent photographic safaris at Robin Pope Safaris during this time of the year.
  • The Luangwa River is high and dramatic, and flows over into the brimming lagoons. Boating into these lagoons gives you a view of the Valley which is normally inaccessible during this season. These conditions are ideal for the Robin Pope Safari’s River Journeys which happen from mid-January to March and combines Nkwali, Nsefu and Luangwa River Camp.
  • Despite being called the ‘wet season’, it does not rain continuously but rather, rain occurs in short bursts of showers before moving off again. The weather is actually rather moderate throughout the season, providing an average balmy temperature of 25-30°C/77-86°F during the day, before cooling down a little at night.

During the Emerald Season, some areas become flooded and inaccessible and some parks, such as the Lower Zambezi National Park, have to close completely. However, our Nkwali Camp and Robin’s House, in South Luangwa, stay open and operational throughout this time, and Nsefu Camp and Luangwa River Camp are both opened in mid-January.

Come and join us and find out for yourself why the Emerald Season holds such a special place in our safari-loving-hearts:


Africa Geographic Travel
Robin Pope Safaris

At Robin Pope Safaris we have one simple goal: to give our guests an amazing African safari holiday, experiencing the wonder of Africa's secluded wilderness, rich culture and outstanding wildlife, whilst staying in our lodges and safari camps in Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe.