Weather and Climate


Zimbabwe enjoys pleasant temperate climate with 365 days of sunshine and 10 sunshine hours per day on average. The seasons are the reverse of those in the northern hemisphere, with midsummer at Christmas and winter lasting from May to August. In winter the days are generally dry and sunny with cold frosty nights in the Highveld. In summer temperature average 25-30 degrees Celsius, October being the hottest month where temperatures exceed 32 degrees Celsius. In low-lying areas it is much warmer all year than Harare and other Highveld centres.

The temperatures given are those for the main centres and it must be realized that it is considerably warmer all year round in low-lying areas such as Kariba, Victoria Falls, Hwange, Gonarezhou and the Zambezi valley. During the rainy season (November to March), a light jacket may be needed in the evenings. Most hotels expect men to wear a collar, jacket and tie in bars and restaurants after 1830hrs, except in the warmer parts of the country.

Zimbabwe is south of the equator, so the seasons are reversed from those in the Northern Hemisphere -- winter in New York is summer in Harare. But seasons aren't extreme -- overall, the climate is very similar to that of southern California. Because of the elevation (averaging 3,000 ft/915 m), it rarely gets above 90 F/33 C or lower than about 45 F/7 C. The best time to go is a matter of splitting the difference between comfort and optimum game viewing. The weather is most comfortable just after the rainy season, in May and June, but the grass is also highest then, and the animals are dispersed (in addition, the views of Victoria Falls are obscured by heavy mist). By October, animals are easy to see in the thinning vegetation and they congregate around water holes, but it's very hot, and Victoria Falls is at its least impressive. We think July-September is the best time to go. The rainy season begins in November and continues through March, but it still isn't a horrible time to go -- most of the rain falls in the morning or at night.

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