Botswana is home to the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park so it's a great safari destination year round. That said, it's important to know what time of year is the best to go, so that you can make the most of your visit.
June through to August are perfect for visiting the three main parks. Between July and October is the best time to visit Botswana if you prefer your game viewing a little less people-packed. Some camps close down for the low season, so plan carefully if you’re thinking of going between December and April.
You'll find the best weather from April to May. The hottest time of year is from October to November and the wettest is January through February. For a little riverside excitement, catch the Barbel Run in September and October.
Botswana’s driest season is winter, which runs from May to October. At this time of year the vegetation thins out, making for much better game viewing. You’ll also find that the animals tend to gather around watering holes, which is fantastic for photography. The drier weather means fewer mosquitos, but you should go prepared. Nights and mornings can be on the chilly side, so for game drives that set off early in the day make sure you have clothing that is warm but easily removed. Skies are clear and the birdlife is abundant in September, although many of the migratory birds start arriving in the wet season.
Summer in Botswana spans from November to April, and this is when the country experiences most of its rainfall. Parks are greener and you may get to see some of the new-born wildlife if you know where to look. In January and February it rains almost continuously, tailing off into afternoon showers throughout the rest of the season. Towards October and November the temperature really heats up, so make sure you stay properly hydrated. As you head towards May temperatures start to change again with the approach of the dry season.
The dry season is best for spotting animals in the wild, so if you are keen on visiting the Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park, you should plan to visit between July and August. Wrap up warm in the mornings and evenings. Head to the emptier watering holes and rivers in September and October to marvel at the variety of animals congregating there. In the wet season, the abundance of new-born animals increases your chances of seeing predators on the prowl. While some camps close down during the wet months, you may find those that don’t offering reduced rates.
More than just an exciting prospect for fishing enthusiasts, the Barbel Run is a quite a spectacle for any nature lover. As floodwaters begin to drop around the beginning of September, masses of barbels (catfish) feed off the millions of smaller fish being washed from the floodplains into the main rivers. The waters seem to boil as fish work themselves into a feeding frenzy. Joining the hungry barbels are menacing-looking tigerfish with their 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 all the excitement, it’s an event you won’t want to miss if you’re visiting during the latter part of the year.
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