When is the best time to visit Botswana? Our destination experts share an overview.
The best time to visit Botswana differs according to the region. In general, the dry months from June to October are considered to be the best, as animals tend to rendezvous at the few waterholes and so are particularly easy to observe. During this time the temperatures increase continuously. It is around 77-95°F during the daytime from June to September. From October onward it can become very hot, with temperatures in excess of 100°F. The nights are cold, and the thermometer can fall below 50°F, especially in the deserts.
April and May are also a great time for Botswana safaris, however, you should expect scattered rain showers.
January is one of the wettest months in Botswana though the rain pattern is fairly unpredictable. Do note that temperatures will be cooler after the rains as compared to December. This is also the time the desert comes to life! But be prepared for muddy roads if you do opt for a desert safari.
- Head for a unique safari in the largest saltpans in the world, the Makgadikgadi Pans in the Kalahari. Expect to see enormous herds of wildebeest, zebra and springbok – with the accompanying predators!
The weather this month mirrors that of the preceding month – a lot of rain! Sometimes the rains can last through the day so do factor that while making your plans. The maximum temperatures usually hover around 90 with the Kalahari witnessing lows of around 59°F. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is usually lush green by this time, attracting a whole range of wildlife.
- Visit the Central Kalahari Game Reserve – the largest game reserve and the largest sand basin in the world and get up close and personal with its many meerkats!
The monsoons start tapering off this month and it is around this time that temperatures start dropping as well. Expect the minimum temperatures to hover in the early 60s while the highs with hover around the mid 80s. This is also peak mosquito season time, so make sure you carry plenty of repellent should you happen to be in Botswana around this time.
- The Botswana National Museum in the lively capital of Gaborone brings the cultural heritage of Southern Africa alive and is well worth a visit during your tour of Botswana
This is transition season time in Botswana. Expect clear skies and often large variations between day and night temperatures. So carry layers! This is also the time that visitors start traveling to Botswana as the rains will appreciably reduce during this month.
- This is one of the best times to head to Kgalagadi, the pioneer transfrontier park in Africa and witness a plethora of wildlife and birdlife!
- If you are in Gaborone around April, don’t forget to check out the Maitisong Performing Arts Festival, the biggest arts festival in Botswana
This is among the better times to visit Botswana as there is hardly any rainfall. Expect cooler weather as well with night temperatures dropping to around 50°F. Conditions are close to perfect for game viewing around this time, so let the safaris begin!
- Spend time in the bustling town of Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta, soaking in the traditional village life
- The Shinde Concession, dotted with palm islands and popular for its wild dogs, is perfect for walking Africa safaris
This is around the time Botswana starts heading towards peak tourist season, so if you plan to visit now or in the next few months, book early! Weather wise, you can expect warm, sunny days with cool evenings and nights.
- Explore Chobe National Park, a haven for many animal species, a wide variety of birds, and the multitude of elephants that concentrate on the Chobe River during the dry season
- Experience the wildlife diversity for yourself with wonderful game drives and boat safaris
This is one of the best times to enjoy game viewing in Botswana. July is usually dry with maximum temperatures around 77°F, while the minimum can drop to around 42°F. Make sure you carry plenty of layers!
- Embark on a mokoro or a traditional canoe ride and explore the rich birdlife in the narrow waterways of the magnificent Okavango Delta!
- You could always opt for a faster motorboat safari through the floodplains and lagoons during which you could encounter hippos, elephants and crocodiles!
- Head to Linyati and witness large herds of elephants and other wildlife at the rivers and waterholes
Expect the weather in August to be pretty similar to what you would experience in July, but lower temperatures during the night. You could even see frost on the ground! This is peak tourist season, so expect the game parks and reserves to be bustling. The ratio of water to land-based activities could vary between August and September, so that could be a factor in determining what activities will be available in your camp as well.
- Head out an exciting game drive through the Duba Concession in The Okavango Delta with its 200,000 mammals and birds
- Relax in the hotels, guesthouses and campsites of Kasane or head for a boat cruise on the Chobe River
- When at Kasane, you could also opt for a fishing trip as well as a day trips to the Victoria Falls across the river in Zimbabwe or Zambia
- Plan a trip to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary in Serowe, where you will find Spitzmaul and Breitmaul Rhino species
Temperatures start moving upwards in September as the winter months are almost over. Expect largely sunny days with daytime highs hovering in the mid 80s.
- This is a good time to head out on a walking safari, with an armed ranger, to get up close and personal with the wild animals in the Okavango Delta
- Spot elephants, zebras and big cats in the Tuli Wildlife Reserve with its diverse landscape of rocks, rushing forests and species-rich wetlands
- Discover the most remote parts of Botswana on an adventurous and authentic yet comfortable safari with mobile bush camps
Spring sets in around this time so expect daytime temperatures to be on the rise, with the maximum temperatures settling around the mid 90s. Humidity levels will also be on the rise, with the rains gradually making their way back.
- Expect much to see in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana with its ‘The Old Mall’, the Pula Arch and the statue of Sir Seretse Khama – its first president
- Head to Gaborone Reserve, where the city dam is, and which is one of the few natural reserves inside a city!
- This is a good month to spend time in Okovango with slightly lower temperatures and capture stunning pictures of its birdlife
This is the start of the summer season in Botswana. There will be short, heavy showers during the day as well as rising nighttime temperatures. Temperatures in the day can rise as high as 104°F!
- Head to Savuti and witness a lesser-known annual migration, when animals head here to enjoy good grazing opportunities in the fertile Savuti Marsh
- From the lively capital of Gaborone, head to the Mokolodi Wildlife Park. On extensive game drives, you can observe giraffes, cheetahs and many other animals
Expect the maximum temperatures to settle in the low 90s, but the high humidity may make it seem warmer than the thermometer! With the greenery abounding, the possibility of sighting newborn animals increases!
- Head to Tsodilo with its plentiful stone rock paintings, which have earned it the sobriquet of “Le Louvre of the Desert”
- On a game drive in the Kalahari Desert, you can observe antelopes, wildebeest and springboks, endless expanses and a sense of absolute freedom!
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Best time to visit Botswana by season
The best time to visit the Okavango Delta, Linyanti and Chobe:
The Okavango Delta is flooded during the dry months from May to October, when the water has slowly but steadily paved its way.
From August to October, animal observations in Okavango Delta are particularly possible because the water reduces the land mass to numerous small islands, on which the animals gather.
During the rainy season in the Okavango Delta, which is also known as the Green Season, you can enjoy some great bird watching.
The best time to visit the Kalahari Salt Pans and Central Kalahari:
From December to April the desert comes to life! Fresh grass and small flowers suddenly sprout. Thousands of jumping and springboks, as well as wildebeest, are lured by new food sources, with hungry lions, cheetahs and jackals close on their heels.
Dec – March
Possibility of strong rains in Jan & Feb, some roads in remote areas and national parks may become impassable. High temperatures during the day.
April – May
End of the rainy season with occasional showers. Lovely weather with fewer clouds and moderate temperatures.
June – Aug
Chilly mornings and evenings – temperatures at night can drop below freezing point. Pleasantly warm temperatures during the day.
Sept – Nov
Temperatures begin to rise and get very hot in October. Clear skies.
What to Pack
What you pack on your trip to Botswana depends on the season you are planning to visit:
Dec – March
Rain gear including waterproof jacket and shoes. Mosquito repellent is particularly important during this time of the year.
April – May
Light clothes for day time and a jacket for cooler evenings.
June – Aug
Layers of clothing including warm jacket / fleece or jumper, gloves, socks and a scarf.
Sept – Nov
Light cotton or linen clothing with natural colors
Light shoes and sandals
Sun hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, swimsuit
Light jumper for cooler evenings
Long sleeved shirts and long trousers are useful for protection from the sun during the day and mosquitoes at night
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