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The Okavango Delta is an incredibly rich and diverse landscape, expanded around an inland river delta in northern Botswana. This oasis of lagoons and waterways is home to a wealth of resident wildlife, with reliable and regular sightings of elephant, lion, leopard, antelope, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, and much more.

While the African wild dog is rare, one of the most thriving populations in Africa can be found here in the Okavango Delta. Zebra, giraffe, and kudu can often be spotted too, while birdlife includes more than 400 different species, such as the magnificent African fish eagle. To help you plan the most memorable trip we’ll break down what you can expect throughout the year in the Okavango Delta.

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January, February & March in the Okavango Delta

January

January is one of the wettest months of the year, with heavy afternoon downpours and temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but it can be a great time for bird lovers to visit. This is the peak month for breeding among many migrant birds and watching wattled cranes, with Africa’s largest population found here. Nearly 85 percent of the slaty egret population inhabits the area, and you can see many other birds like the greater swamp warbler. Plus, it will be lush and green with colorful wildflowers, and you’ll have the chance to watch epic afternoon thunderstorms with lightning reflected in the water.

February

February is also part of the rainy season, but if you come now, you’re likely to enjoy plenty of sunny days with blue skies too. It’s an unpredictable month, so it’s difficult to know exactly what it’s going to be like although it will be hot. While the average is still 90 degrees, the mercury often reaches 97 and with the humidity, it feels even hotter. This isn’t the best time to come for wildlife viewing as the vegetation will be thick due to all the rain, so the animals are harder to spot, although there is still plenty of bird life.

March

March is a transitional month with rainfall decreasing while temperatures steadily cool. It’s a welcome relief after a very rainy January and February, with the evenings finally cooling down as well, dipping down to the mid-60s. The days are still quite warm with an average temperature of 87 degrees. It’s much more likely to be dry, although rained-out safaris are still possible. Generally, this is a beautiful time of year with flowers still blooming and the landscapes are a brilliant green while antelopes are out and about, and you might see elephants flocking to the Marula trees to feast on their favorite fruit.

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April, May & June in the Okavango Delta

April

April is generally quite pleasant with warm, but not too hot days although temperatures can still rise well above 100 occasionally. Remnants of mud remain from the rainy season and the floodwaters are at their peak making April ideal for Mokoro boat trips, bringing lots of fabulous photo ops. It’s a magnificent time to be out on the water enjoying sightings of all sorts of reptiles and baboons tucked among the tall grass and fruit-laden trees. This is also the time to watch for impalas who often create dramatic scenes around the fringes of the delta in the shallow floodplains, with males fighting for partners.

May

May is one of the best months of the year to visit the Okavango Delta. Temperatures are more moderate now with the average high at 82 degrees and nights dipping down to just below 50 degrees, while the rain of the wet season is gone. This is the dry season and the floodwaters have reached their peak. There aren’t a lot of predators around as they tend to appear later in the season when prey is easier to find, but you’ll often see buffalo herds and breeding herds of elephants which increase in density daily as they come to the waters to drink.

June

A peak dry season month, June is a fabulous time to visit the Okavango Delta although the number of tourists increase significantly so if you plan to come now you’ll need to book well in advance. Enjoy an excellent mix of both land- and water-based activities, with the grasses thinning creating better visibility that makes it easier to spot wildlife. The animals tend to focus on the lagoons and the main rivers for water. Elephants, hippos, zebra, buffalo, leopards, and lions are all here now. African wild dogs are often spotted too as they search for dens for their puppies.

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July, August & September in the Okavango Delta

July

July is the coldest month in the Okavango Delta, although it’s likely to feel quite comfortable with daytime high temperatures averaging around 77 degrees. Nights are quite cold with an average low of 43 degrees. It’s very dry with dust starting to cover the landscape although the skies will be bright blue and wildlife viewing is excellent. Despite the dryness, the floodwaters will have reached previously untouched areas, which means boat trips and other water activities will be easily accessible throughout the region. With greater visibility, predators are often spotted, including cheetahs, hyenas, leopards, and lions who often assemble in significant numbers here.

August

By August, the floodwaters will have passed through the Okavango Delta and the temperatures are starting to warm again with daytime highs at 82 degrees and overnight temperatures now at 48 degrees. This is the peak time for visitors with outstanding wildlife watching thanks to the thinning vegetation. Many birds return, including storks and herons that congregate at the heronries. In the north, there will be many leopards and lions that can be seen from the viewing spots and if you head south, safaris on horseback are available. With the floodwaters still high, August is another great month for boat trips too.

September

Winter comes to an end this month with the temperatures rising dramatically. The afternoon high increases to 91 degrees and the nights are warmer too with a low of 55 degrees. Many birds have returned to the Okavango Delta to begin nesting, including storks, while the floodwaters start to drop. September is one of the best months for viewing predators as the dry landscape means that they’ll be easily visible and often found around the water sources as it’s all that is available for a drink. Many animals trek hundreds of miles to come here, from hippos and giraffes to African wild dogs.

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October, November & December in the Okavango Delta

October

The heat is scorching now with the average afternoon high at 98 degrees and nights are warm too, averaging in the 70s, but many feel it’s worth pushing through to enjoy some of the most dramatic wildlife viewing of the year. You’ll have an excellent chance to spot predators like lions and leopards as well as elephants, which descend on the waterholes and rivers in huge numbers. The heronries will be very active too, with hundreds of birds breeding and nesting. If it’s very dry, water activities may not be possible, however, and lodges will be further from the water.

November

November can be a bit unpredictable, but the rain usually starts up again around the middle of the month, cooling things off a bit. Some years, however, it will be dry which means visibility of predators is still good for wildlife viewing. Once the rains arrive, often with dramatic thunderstorms, the animals tend to disperse, and they become harder to see with the vegetation thickening and the landscapes becoming green once again. It can be an ideal time for photography and many babies are born now too, including impala and tsessebe. You might spot predators as they seek out the young and vulnerable.

December

The rains are more regular now and thunderstorms tend to occur every few days with grazers enjoying the chance to drink while predators keep an eye on them, stalking the vulnerable. The dramatic skies make for striking photographs, but safaris are frequently rained out and as the water levels are typically low, there are no boat trips. It is a wonderful time for babies who will be growing quickly, feeding on their mother’s rich milk, but it can be hard to spot them as they hide among the thick vegetation. Birdwatching is excellent with all the migrant birds here once again.

Summary 

Whether you are combining the Okavango Delta with a comprehensive Botswana safari, or a wider southern Africa itinerary, make sure to speak to our specialists to ensure you are visiting at a time that suits you.

Is the Okavango Delta on your bucket list? Unforgettable Travel Company hosts a variety of luxury tours and safaris in Botswana so get in touch today!

Luxury Tours to the Okavango Delta