Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, is a country located in southern Africa, just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, and almost entirely occupied by a plateau, at an altitude between 1,200 and 1,600 meters (3,900 and 5,200 feet), which tempers the climate.
There are three main seasons:
- a rainy season, hot and humid, from mid-November to mid-March, followed by a period, from mid-March to mid-May, when the rains become rare but the temperatures are still high;
- a cool season, dry and sunny, from mid-May to mid-August;
- and a period of intense heat at the end of the dry season, between mid-August and mid-November, before the rains that come during the month of November, and are able to lower a bit the temperature while increasing relative humidity.
This kind of climate, with a long dry season, produces almost everywhere a savannah landscape, except in the highest mountains, where forests are found. The highest peak is Mount Nyangani, 2,592 meters (8,504 feet) high, located in the east, in the Nyanga National Park.
In much of the country, annual rainfall ranges from 550 to 900 millimeters (21.5 to 35.5 inches). The rains occur primarily in the form of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. The wettest regions are the north and the east, while the driest region is the south, in the Limpopo Valley, on the border with South Africa, where rainfall drops below 400 mm (16 in) per year.
In the latter region, the altitude drops to around 500/600 meters (1,600/2,000 feet), while in the south-eastern strip, at the border with Mozambique, where the Gonarezhou National Park is found, it goes down to around 200/300 meters (650/1,000 feet). Another area where the altitude drops to around 500 meters (1,600 feet) is found in the north and is that of Lake Kariba. It goes without saying that the areas where the altitude is lower are also the hottest, and in October and November, highs can reach 40 °C (104 °F).
Here are the average temperatures of Kariba, located near the lake of the same name, and at 500 meters (1,600 feet) above sea level.
Kariba - Average temperatures
Min (°C)222121191411111419232322
Max (°C)313131312926262933353431
Min (°F)727070665752525766737372
Max (°F)888888888479798491959388

The famous Victoria Falls are located in the north-west, in the Zambezi River, about 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level. Here are the average temperatures.
Victoria Falls - Average temperatures
Min (°C)191918151076914181919
Max (°C)303030302826262832343330
Min (°F)666664595045434857646666
Max (°F)868686868279798290939186

Victoria Falls

The Hwange National Park is located in the south-west, it covers nearly 15,000 square kilometers (6,000 sq mi), and it's home to a large number of animals of the savannah such as lions, elephants and cheetahs.


The capital, Harare, is located in the northeast of the country, at 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) above sea level, and has a temperate climate. It is pleasantly warm from September to April, with highs around 26/29 °C (79/84 °F), even though there's a bit of sticky heat at the height of the rainy season, ie from December to February. The dry season, from May to August, is cooler, with highs around 22/24 °C (72/75 °F) and lows around 7/9 °C (45/48 °F). In the coldest nights, the temperature can approach freezing (0 °C or 32 °F). The coolest period, however, is also the sunniest. In October and November, it can be hot during the day, but not as much as in the lowlands, below 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).
Here are the average temperatures.
Harare - Average temperatures
Min (°C)16161513977912151616
Max (°C)262626262422222428292826
Min (°F)616159554845454854596161
Max (°F)797979797572727582848279

In Harare, 840 mm (33 in) of rain fall in an average year, of which more than 150 mm (6 in) fall from December to February, while it almost never rains from May to September. Here is the average precipitation.
Harare - Average precipitation

In Harare, and in general in Zimbabwe, the sun regularly shines in the dry period, while in the rainy season, the sun alternates with the clouds. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
Harare - Sunshine

Tropical cyclones

Sometimes, Zimbabwe can be affected by tropical cyclones, which originate in the Indian Ocean, and after passing over Mozambique, they can reach the eastern regions of the country. Typically, they lose strength when penetrating the mainland, but they are still able to bring a good amount of wind and rain. Some cyclones that hit the country in the past were: Leon-Eline in late February 2000, Japhet in early March 2003, Dineo in mid-February 2017, and Idai in march 2019.
The cyclone season runs from mid-November to May, but they are most likely from late December to mid-April. This is one more reason to avoid the rainy and sultry season.

Best Time

The best time to visit Zimbabwe runs from mid-May to August, in fact, it is the coolest and sunniest, and with almost no rain, even though it can get cold at night, especially above 1,500 meters (5,000 feet). Usually, by mid-August, the temperature begins to rise, and cold nights become less likely. In September and October, the heat can be intense during the day, although nights remain cool at high altitude.
The rainiest and muggiest period, and therefore the least advisable, runs from December to February.

What to pack

In winter (June to August): pack light clothes for the day, but also a sweater, a jacket, and a hat for the evening.
In summer (December to February): pack light clothes for the day, and a sun hat; a sweatshirt and a spring jacket for the evening, especially above 1,000 meters (3,300 feet); a light raincoat or an umbrella.

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