When to visit Botswana
December to March
- The green season or rainy season in Botswana
- The cheapest time to visit Botswana; we can offer some excellent special rates for this season
- The best time to see the Kalahari region and Nxai Pan region, when the zebra herds migrate to the short grass plains.
- Strangely, the rainy season is not the same as the flooding season for the Okavango Delta, which has the lowest water levels during summer
- The delta is not affected by local rainfall; rather, it's fed - or drained - by virtue of the floodwaters from the Angolan highlands, to the north
- This is the height of summer and daytime temperatures can soar to well above 30 °C (sometimes over 100 °F); at night it cools down to 20 °C
- It's known as the green or "secret" season because the bush has so much to offer, yet there are fewer tourists, despite low-season rates
- The rains are here, usually in the form of dramatic thunderstorms
- It is a time of abundance; loads of baby animals and, therefore, lots of predator action
- The bush is lush and green and the birdlife is prolific
- The heat and insects can always be kept at bay with mosquito nets, overhead fans and, at some lodges, air conditioning
April and May
- The beginning of the dry season and a great time for going on safari
- Animals start returning to the rivers and waterholes as the rain puddles dry up
- However, the water level in the Okavango Delta keeps rising as the floodwaters from further north arrive
- The bush starts turning from green to brown and it becomes easier to spot wildlife
- Migratory birds head north
- Temperatures are not as hot anymore but can still reach 30 °C during the daytime
- Shoulder season rates - between low and high season rates
June to September
- This is the heart of the dry season and peak safari time in Botswana
- Animals flock to the remaining water sources and one can see large herds of elephant and buffalo congregating at the riverbanks and waterholes
- Predators lie in wait for their prey near the waterholes and exciting game viewing is guaranteed
- The Okavango Delta is in full flood during this time, peaking in July or August
- Elsewhere, the bush is dry and thins out as the remaining grass gets trampled down and eaten, and the dust in the air creates warm, glowing sunsets
- During the day it is warm (20-25 °C) but at night the temperature can drop to 10 °C so bring warm clothes for the morning and evening game drives
- By September it gets very hot again during the day
October and November
- A time of transition: October is the height of the dry season when the bush waits in eager anticipation for the rains to come.
- This is the hottest month of the year, with temperatures peaking above 40 °C.
- The water level of the Okavango drops and exposes vast green floodplains.
- Elsewhere, most waterholes are dry and animals desperately compete for the remaining water sources, until the first rains arrive.
- The bush might be dry and dusty before the rains arrive, and the game viewing can be spectacular during this season.
- In November, the rains usually arrive and this brings relief from the heat.
- Soon after the first rains, the impalas give birth and the time of abundance begins once more.
- The bush transforms within a matter of days from death to life, from brown to green - this is an exciting time to be on safari.
Combining Botswana with other destinations?
Ask us for expert advice on the ideal time to travel to Botswana to get the best out of multiple destinations.
Please keep in mind this is just a rough guideline. Every year is slightly different, the rains may arrive early or late, and the flood levels of the Okavango Delta also fluctuate.
Read more about Botswana and its many attractions.
See our recommended Botswana Safaris.
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