Including a description of the weather and climate of Zimbabwe and Malawi.
Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi are three landlocked countries in Southern Africa between 8° and 22°S. These countries have a broad similarity of weather and climate, and any significant differences from place to place are a consequence of the range of altitude found in each country.
All three countries include extensive areas between 900 m/3,000 ft and 1,500 m/5,000 ft above sea level. Only in the valleys of the major rivers: the Zambezi, which forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe; the Limpopo, which is the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa; and their tributaries, such as the Shire in Malawi, are there areas of land below 600 m/2,000 ft.
In these lowland areas the climate is typically tropical with no real cool season and high temperatures during the period of overhead sun between October and February. This period of high sun is also the rainy season in all these countries.
The climate of these lowlands is oppressive and sultry, particularly during the rainy season, and has a bad reputation for the health of humans and animals, because of the prevalence of both malaria and sleeping sickness.
By contrast, the lower temperatures on the upland plateaux which make up the greater part of these countries are much more healthy and pleasant. Above 1,200 m/4,000 ft temperatures around the year are typical of warm-temperate rather than tropical climates.
During the long dry season there is abundant sunshine and the sun's rays are more powerful as a consequence of the altitude. The air temperature however, is rarely so high as to cause stress or discomfort, and it is mitigated by the generally low humidity.
The most uncomfortable season is the period from November to February, when both temperature and humidity are greatest and there is a smaller daily temperature range so that nights are not so cool. At altitudes above 1,000 m/4,000 ft and 1,500 m/5,000 ft frost is not uncommon at night during the dry season from April to August. This is a period of low sun and some days may be chilly if there is much cloud.
Over the whole area rainfall is largely confined to the period October to March, with a maximum in the months December to February, when the intertropical belt of cloud and rain is farthest south. It then lies across southern Zambia and Malawi.
Much of the rain is heavy and showery and accompanied by thunder, but periods of almost continuous rain lasting two or three days are by no means unusual. Except in the higher mountainous areas of Malawi, rainfall is very rare during the period April to September.
Zambia is the largest of the three countries. It has the greatest extent both from east and west and north to south. It is bordered on the north by Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, east by Malawi, south by Zimbabwe and Namibia, and west by Angola. In northern Zambia the rainy season is a few weeks longer than elsewhere, since it is nearest to the equator.
The tables for Ndola, near the border with the Congo, and for Kasama, in the northeast, are representative of wetter parts of the country. That for Lusaka, farther south, is typical of the drier parts. All three places, however, show very little difference in temperature, since they are at similar altitudes.
The higher temperatures in the lowlands can be represented by the table for Zumbo, which is in the Zambezi valley in Mozambique, but which is shown for Malawi. The southwestern parts of Zambia, and the valleys of the Zambezi and its tributary, the Luangwa, are the driest regions.
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