Weather: Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia

Much like the Sahel, but without the blazing temperatures, Zimbabwe and neighbouring Zambia feel the pulse of the ITCZ each year. Its southward push brings widespread showers, thunderstorms and clouds from December into March. The rains are most frequent (almost daily) and the clouds most persistent across Zambia, where the ITCZ is enhanced by intrusions of “Zaire air” (or “Congo air”) – a tongue of moist Atlantic flow that pushes in from the northwest. The savanna of Zimbabwe get wet-season thundershowers every couple of days. Longer spells of guti weather – drizzle and fog – accompany a push of cooler air from the southeast every week or so. Daytime temperatures tend to be pleasantly warm year round across both countries and in adjacent Malawi. Dry-season highs approach, but seldom top, 90°F/32°C, except toward southwestern Zambia and the hot Limpopo Valley of extreme southeast Zimbabwe. Rain is essentially absent from June through September, except in Zimbabwe's eastern highlands, where an occasional winter guti may strike. Since most of the land is a plateau above 1000m/3300ft, the winter nights become strikingly cool for the tropics. They usually bottom out around 4–7°C/39–45°F, but hang near 10°C/50°F in western Zambia. Despite the chill, freezes are quite rare on the plateau. The tropical latitude reasserts itself as you drop from the highlands into lowlying Mozambique. The swampy southland is warm and muggy in the wet season and mild with occasional showers in winter. As you move north, the coastal rains get heavier and the air stickier. Inland are Mozambique's semiarid hot spots: the lower Limpopo Valley and the Tete region, sandwiched between Zimbabwe and Malawi. Highs run close to 35°C/95°F in October and November before the rains arrive. Although they rarely make landfall here, tropical cyclones can trigger severe flooding from December to April across Mozambique and Malawi.