When is the Best Time to Visit Botswana?
The best time to visit Botswana is between May and October; the dry season. Little rainfall means less vegetation resulting in exceptional game viewing. The days are hot and sunny and evenings feel cool and crisp. This period marks the best time to visit the Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Moremi and Chobe National Park.
The Delta starts to flood in June, so the swollen channels and waterways make for fantastic boat trip safari experiences. Hot air balloon excursions only operate during the dry season between May to October. Visibility on the ground is excellent during this time and from your bird's eye view it is often possible to see multiple game sightings at one time.
The wet season in Botswana is between November and April. At this time of year you can expect very hot day time temperatures sometimes exceeding 35°C (96°F), interrupted by rain showers and even thunderstorms. This is the best time to visit the Kalahari for safari as this dry desert region becomes a haven for migrating wildlife.
Read our guide to find out all you need to know about when is the best time to go to Botswana.
Monthly Climate Guide for Botswana
What is the best season to visit Botswana?
Both the dry and wet seasons in Botswana come with exciting opportunities for adventure, but it’s good to be aware of the differences in the seasons so that you can plan to get the most out of your visit.
Vegetation is less dense in the dry season, making this the best time to spot animals gathering at watering holes and rivers.
On the other hand, the wet season is the best time to visit Botswana for its Kalahari Game Reserve as the desert comes to life with abundant wildlife.
Dry Season in Botswana
The dry season between May and October is considered the best time to travel to Botswana. These winter months see moderate temperatures ranging between 24°C and 35°C (75°F and 95°F), warm days, chilly mornings, little rainfall and clear skies. Less vegetation means great visibility and superb game viewing.
Within the dry season, each month has its own characteristics in terms of highlights and reasons to go to Botswana. During May and June, as the rains dry up you’ll still see the lush green vegetation that makes Botswana so pretty. July and August see clear skies and sunny days with pleasant cooler nights. September and October offer hot day time temperatures and balmy evenings, the mercury will start to rise and by the end of October the short rains can arrive with the possibility of spectacular thunderstorms.
Wet Season in Botswana
The summer months between November and April mark the wet season in Botswana. This period is also known as the green season and it is when the country experiences the most rainfall. Lush green flora, dramatic skies and abundant wildlife make the wet season the best time to go to Botswana for some travellers, particularly photographers.
November can still be dry and very hot with the chance of heavy showers. Once the long rains fall in December the landscape immediately turns greener. January, a very hot month, is known for dramatic thunderstorms and rainstorms in between patches of searing sunshine. February is similar, hot with some epic storms and plenty of rain, even the Kalahari desert starts to become green at this time. March typically brings a climate shift and the rains will ease off. Come April almost all the rain has gone and nights are starting to feel cool again.
Top Things to Do in Botswana
Botswana is one of the best safari destinations in Africa. From the Okavango Delta, to the Linyati, Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve, the opportunities for wildlife encounters and exciting things to do are endless. There are many reasons to travel to Botswana and seasonality plays a part when deciding on the best time to visit.
With a commitment to positive impact travel, it means that activities are often exclusive and authentic. Here’s when to visit Botswana to enjoy your favourite experiences in nature.
Birdwatching in Botswana
The best time to go to Botswana for birdwatching is during the wet season, and especially in October. The Okavango Delta in particular is a bird haven with dense vegetation giving cover and protection from predators. Over 570 species of birds and distinguishing landscapes makes Botswana a bird watchers paradise.
January is a good time to visit Botswana to see migratory birds breeding, although it’s important to remember it will be hot and wet at this time. Some of the best bird watching can be found at Pelo or Qorokwe camps in the Okavango Delta, where you can see birds of all colours and sizes.
Hot Air Balloon Adventures
The best time to go to Botswana for hot air ballooning is between May and September. Weather conditions are perfect as there’s little rain or wind. The best place to enjoy an exhilarating ride up in the clouds is without doubt the Okavango Delta.
Vumbura Plains offers a stunning balloon ride over some of the most spectacular scenery in Botswana. The excursion only operates until September, starting again in May, to avoid the rains and possible storms that can limit visibility and make taking off and landing a little too bumpy.
Catch the Barbel Run
September to October is the best time to go to Botswana to experience the natural spectacle of the Barbel Run. The Okavango Delta waters recede creating a feeding frenzy as the barbels (catfish) feed on the millions of smaller fish washed into the rivers.
Joining the hungry barbels are menacing tiger fish with sharp teeth, opportunistic eagles and greedy herons hoping to catch any fish the barbels miss. Whether you’re keen to try your hand at fly fishing or you just want to watch the excitement, it’s an event you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting during the latter part of the year.
Experience the Desert in Bloom
The best time to visit the Kalahari Game Reserve for wildlife is during Botswana’s wet season, November to April. This dry, arid desert turns lush and green and by February the desert comes to life with abundant plains game, cheetahs and even the rare black maned lion can be spotted.
Baby animals are born during the wet season, attracting predators which can mean dramatic game viewing. It will still be very hot during this time, and of course, you’ll experience some heavy rainfall, but seeing the desert bloom and reawaken with life is certainly worth it.
Game Viewing in National Parks and Reserves
The best time to visit Botswana for safaris is during the dry season, between July and August. During this period, high densities of wildlife gather at the limited water sources amidst dry conditions. The Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park are the best places to visit for big game safaris.
With game drives, walking safaris or boat trips, there’s plenty of opportunity to spot big game. It’s worth remembering that National Parks can be busy during the high season so trips to Chobe should be planned well in advance. The smaller camps in private reserves also fill up quickly. Morning game drives at this time of year can feel very chilly so be sure to wrap up warm and enjoy the hot water bottles provided.
See the Okavango Delta Flood
The best time to visit the Okavango Delta is between June and September. The Delta swells to three times the size, its nutrient rich waters tempting animals and creating one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. With it comes a dynamic collection of waterways, channels, lagoons and islands.
This enormous flood takes place during the dry season, which is a little confusing; although the flood waters rise the weather remains clear and dry. It’s a great time to experience the Delta by boat. Traditional wooden canoes known as Mokoro will silently transport you across the waters for a safari experience like no other. Speed boats can manoeuvre quickly in the deeper waters taking you into remote areas inaccessible at other times of the year.
Our Team's Favourite Trips to Botswana
Where to Stay in Botswana
Wilderness DumaTau$$$$$With uninterrupted views over Osprey Lagoon, and a fantastic vantage point from which to watch the areas mega-herds of elephants, Wilderness DumaTau and nearby Wilderness Little DumaTau are perfectly located for making the most of your stay in Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. Each spacious tented guest suite has been positioned to offer great views whether you’re relaxing on your deck, or cooling off in your plunge pool. You’ll also find the tents include spot-cooling meaning you can find respite from the hot afternoons indoors. Spend time investigating the ‘curiosity boxes’ you’ll find mounted on the walls in your room and the drawers filled with fascinating artefacts and information the main shared area. They are a great way to learn more about the area’s wildlife and rich history. Look out for unique elephant and wild dog art in the rooms and library made from reclaimed snare wire. The rebuild has also allowed Wilderness Safaris to vastly improve the comfort and facilities in the new camps. In addition to the in-tent cooling systems, you’ll discover that the central Osprey Retreat which sits between the two camps boasts and pool, drink and snack counter and a Safari Boutique area, offering you more space to mingle with your fellow guests if you choose to do so. The upgrade has also seen the decks extended, plunge pools added and awnings erected at each of Duma Tau’s eight tented suites as well as at the four at Wilderness Little DumaTau. The Wilderness DumaTau team continues to focus on the sustainability of wildlife corridors, as they have done since 1997. They believe that it is more vital than ever to protect large, connected, natural tracts of wilderness like those within the vast Linyanti Wildlife Reserve – especially for the African elephant and wild dog that cover extensive ground. Staying at WildernessDumaTau offers you easy access to the Linyanti floodplain as well as the Savuti Channel, in fact, it is the only concession from which you can access both. The region has all the habitat diversity to make it a haven for wildlife, and is well-known for its elephant concentrations as they congregate along the waterways and lagoons during the dry winter months. General wildlife viewing is excellent year round including impala, wildebeest, red lechwe, Burchell’s zebra, giraffe, Cape buffalo, chacma baboon, vervet monkey, and warthog. Predator sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyaena are good. As well as day and night game drives, you can explore on nature walks or take to the water on motorboats or the river barge (depending on water levels).
Wilderness Kalahari Plains Camp$$$$$Overlooking the wilderness of the northern Kalahari plains, this desert based camp promises unique rooftop sleep-out areas alongside Botswana’s finest summer game viewing. Morning and afternoon game drives or day trips to Deception Valley give you the chance to spot the wildlife highlights of Kalahari lions, cheetah and gemsbok among other plains game and predators. Early morning guided nature walks are a good way to spot the smaller creatures and birdlife at a slower, more peaceful pace, plus walks with the local San bushmen lets you into the nomadic and traditional way of life unique this Kalahari tribe. Between breath-taking safari activities you will have the comfort of your canvas guestroom to enjoy. Providing plenty of space, each unit has its own amazing sleep-out deck on the roof, an unmissable highlight which offers the perfect spot to take in the African night sky. While two rooms cater for families, all have en-suite facilities including a shower and a veranda to soak up the scenic views. Besides comfortable accommodation, Wilderness Kalahari Plains Camp also boasts impressive eco credentials being run completely on solar panels. What’s more, the deck and swimming pool offer other spaces to relax, while a lounge, dining area and bar are also provided.
Wilderness Jao Camp$$$$$Very intimately placed in the private Jao Concession area bordering the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, Wilderness Jao Camp is a rather luxurious way to experience this beautiful part of the world. With just nine tented rooms, you will be well looked after and be able to enjoy some incredible service tied in with excellent guiding. Each of the tented rooms are situated a short distance from the main area and are accessed via raised walkways which adds to the charm of the place. All of the tents have their own deck area with great views over the expanse of floodplains before them, you will be nice and comfortable in your luxurious canvas setting. Jao Camp also has a great wine cellar where you can enjoy a private dinner and if you really wanted to treat yourself, they have a great spa where you can enjoy some superb treatments. Within the camp itself, you have access to two plunge pools which you might want to dip into in the afternoon heat when you aren’t relaxing inside the beautifully decorated interior with a nice book from the library. Activities here are entirely dependent on the flood levels at the time of year you visit, however as a rule of thumb you can expect about 30% game drives and 70% water activities which give you a brilliant and new perspective of the animals that call this place their home. Mekoro trips are highly recommended! As the camp is within its own concession area, it also has the ability to provide night drives (weather permitting) to spot the elusive nocturnal creatures found here.
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