Unlike some destinations, the best time to go to Botswana is a bit complex as it really depends on why you’re planning a visit, where you want to go and what your interests are. For some, the best time to go can be the worst time for others. Keep in mind that weather patterns across Africa and many other places across the globe have become increasingly unpredictable. There have been downpours in deserts when it should be dry, and droughts in places where it should be raining. That said, this overview of the seasons can provide you with a general ideal of the best time to visit Botswana for your dream trip.
Peak Wildlife Viewing Times
The Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe, Botswana’s most popular parks, are generally best visited between May and September, during the dry season which experiences more moderate temperatures. The Okavango will be flooded from June through October. While wildlife viewing is good throughout the year, if you plan to visit the Okavango Delta or Moremi Game Reserve, you may want to avoid January through March, a time when you can still some animals, but it’s only rated fair for game viewing as compared to the rest of the year.
December through March
While Botswana doesn’t experience as much rain as countries that are further east, the wet/rainy season is generally considered to be between December and March, which is summer here in the Southern Hemisphere. It tends to bring a mix of bright sunny days, some with afternoon thunderstorms, and other days that see grey skies. Average low temperatures range from the upper 60s to low 70s Fahrenheit while highs are typically around 90 degrees, occasionally inching toward 100.
If you do not mind some afternoon rainstorms, this is a great time to visit and is known as the ‘Green Season’. The prices come right down and its far less busy, there are some great deals on at this time of year. This is the time of year when many of the antelope give birth, watching the babies play while you are out on a game drive is a very special experience. The green season is when the annual zebra migration starts from the Chobe River down to the Nxai Pan area, Central Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans. These areas are normally dry and arid, but the rains turn them into lush grass land.
Image credit: Vumbura Plains (left) and Linyanti Camp (right)
April to May
Botswana’s fall season can be a great time to go, with the skies usually clear and the landscape lush and green. While temperatures begin to drop after dark, particularly in the Kalahari where it can dip down to the 50s, it won’t be as extreme around the Okavango with nights rather pleasant, around the mid-60s.
June to August
It’s winter here in the Southern Hemisphere, with temperatures in drier areas overnight sometimes close to freezing. It will warm up quickly, however, with clear blue skies and average high temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s. The vegetation is sparse in the reserves, making it easier to spot the wildlife. Water is in short supply, so the animals congregate around the waterholes and rivers. The water levels in the Delta are high, perfect for the water activities Botswana is famous for. The game viewing at this time of year is spectacular. This is peak season in Botswana where the prices are highest.
Image credit: Linyanti Camp (left and right)
September to November
The pleasant weather typically continues into October, though temperatures will begin to climb the further the month proceeds. This is considered the best period for a big game safari, although you may want to aim for September as October temperatures can reach well over 100 degrees. November is one of the most unpredictable months in Botswana. Sometimes the first rain of the season helps to cool things off, but other times the heat of October continues.
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