JUST north of the tropic of capricorn, Zimbabwe lies mostly at an altitude of between 1,000 and 2,500 metres (3,270 to 4,920ft) above sea level, which, like its northern neighbour Zambia, gives most of the country a warm and equable climate.
Being farther south than Zambia, and well away from the influence of the equatorial regions, Zimbabwe has not two, but three, distinct seasons: one wet and two mostly dry.
For three months from the middle of August temperatures rise as the land becomes arid and parched. The rains come in the middle of November, causing temperatures to fall, though the increased humidity makes it feel less comfortable than before.
The rains last through the summer months, but become more sporadic from mid-March onwards, through to May, when the cool season begins, bringing much-needed relief until the temperature starts to rise again in August.
As in most tropical countries, the rain usually falls as thunderstorms or heavy showers in the afternoon, at the time the heat reaches its peak. The driest areas are in the south, around Kipling’s “great grey-green greasy” Limpopo River along the border with South Africa, with just 400mm (below 16in) annual rainfall.
At Zimbabwe’s greatest tourist attraction, the mighty Victoria Falls, daytime temperatures remain comfortably warm all year round, though it can get surprisingly cool at night.