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Written by
Jody van Merode, Iain McConachie & Angela Thomas

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.

May to October

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.

November to April

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.

November to April

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.

May to September

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.

September to October

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.

November to April

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.

July to August

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.

June to September

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.

Where to Stay in Botswana

Some of Jacada's Recommended Lodges and Camps

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