Seasons of Botswana

© Duma Tau

Year round, you'll find something remarkable to do and experience in this land of contrasts. Each season in Botswana has its attractions and each destination is unique in some way, so there really is no best time to visit Botswana. Here is an overview to set the scene in your mind:

The Dry Winter Season - April to September

Temperatures are generally milder in the winter season, but the heat starts to build up again from August onwards.

Temperatures in the Okavango where there is more water are quite pleasant at this time, but other regions of Botswana can still be considered very warm. Generally night-time temperatures do drop in the peak winter months. The desert regions experience very warm sunny days and extremely cold nights.

The vegetation dies back so animals are easier to see.

There is almost no rainfall during winter, so water becomes increasingly sought after by wildlife. Game viewing is particularly good around waterholes and at permanent water sources. Great herds of Elephant make their way to the Chobe and Linyanti floodplains, and Zebra and Wildebeest in the Makgadikgadi move towards the Boteti River in preparation for the rains.

July - October is peak season, the rates are higher and there are more visitors. Flood waters from sources further north in Africa arrive in the Okavango, with peak flooding between June and September in the Delta, which is ideal for water activities over a wider area than the deeper permanent waters in the central Delta.

The Wet Summer Season - October to March

October is usually the hottest month. The heat is overwhelming in the build up to the rains. The first rains in November bring some temporary relief. Humidity is high once the rains set in and can be stifling indoors at night.

The days are sunny and very hot with short but heavy thundershowers in the afternoon followed by more sunshine. The rainfall is erratic and will be less in the desert areas. Biting insects flourish in the warm, wet conditions.

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The vegetation is lush and green and grazers are attracted to the nutritious grasses. Game is harder to see in areas where the vegetation becomes dense, but on the open grasslands and at the edges of water sources there is plenty of interaction between predators and prey. The rainy season offers the best birding opportunities, especially near water, due to migrant arrivals and nesting activities. Antelope give birth in the summer. Great herds of Zebra and Wildebeest and thousands of Flamingos migrate to the Makgadikgadi Pans after the rains start.

December to May is sometimes called the Green Season and you can often find lower rates. Roads can become impassable during the rainy season and a number of lodges close at this time. Fly-in safaris to lodges near open grasslands such as Tuli and Savute or Nxai Pan make good options. Game viewing in the Kalahari is especially good in the wet season. Popular destinations are less crowded at this time.

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