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Discover the Best Time to Visit the Okavango Delta

Time your safari right for amazing wildlife encounters one of the world’s most unique destinations.

5 min
Discover the Best Time to Visit the Okavango Delta
Author: Christian Jankowski

Always wanted to see some of the world’s most amazing creatures up close? Africa safaris are at the top of many people’s bucket lists and are ideal for glimpsing fearsome lions, magnificent elephants, graceful giraffes, and countless other fascinating species in their natural habitats!  

When it comes to where to go, the Okavango Delta is hard to beat. You’ll find the supremely lush region in northern Botswana and it’s one of the country’s top places for a safari adventure. Remote and secluded with few other safari-goers around, Botswana’s policy of quality over quantity makes the Okavango perfect for elite game-seekers. Some of the best guides in Africa are employed in this region, offering you the promise of delightful close encounters with the delta’s unique wildlife and landscape. As well as being a UNESCO World Heritage site, Okavango is home to the Moremi Game Reserve and several private concessions – all prime destinations for luxury safari experiences, if you time it right.

So when’s the best time to visit the Okavango Delta? 

If this secluded part of Botswana sounds like your ideal location for a one-of-a-kind wildlife experience, you will want to know the best time to visit the Okavango Delta. Luckily, the area is a year-round safari hotspot, with each season offering different types of wildlife safari experiences and diverse activities offered by intimate camps. 

Whether you want to fall asleep under a canopy of stars, venture out on a water safari, or get up close to unique wildlife on guided bushwalks, there’s no bad time to book an Okavango Delta safari.

Floodplains of the Okavango
Aerial shot of flooded grasslands at the Okavango Delta

Rainy Season in Botswana: November to April

This gorgeous corner of Botswana is an ideal place for your winter escape. While November to April is the country’s official rainy season, it is still a fantastic time to visit the Okavango Delta.

After the dry winter months, heavy rain showers from November onwards cause the delta to burst with virgin greenery. The weather is hot and the humidity high, plus you are likely to witness some brilliant but short thunderstorms if you’re vacationing in February or March. 

Towards the end of the rainy season, Okavango’s already spectacular birdlife really comes into its own, with thousands of migratory birds settling on small lakes created by the downpours. Keen birders should have no trouble spotting avian species such as Bateleur, African fish eagles, and the Saddle-billed stork as well as uncommon species such as the Black coucal, Pel’s fishing owl, and Wattled crane. 

African wild dogs - Discover the Best Time to Visit the Okavango Delta
African wild dogs in the Okavango being chased by a buffalo

When it comes to game viewing, this season is a prime time to see animals giving birth to their young. In fact, over 200,000 species flock to the area, making it especially ideal for spotting predators such as lions, leopards, hyenas, and packs of wild dogs chase their prey.

Land safaris are particularly popular, especially north of Moremi in the Upper Delta and Khwai areas. Nevertheless, the damp conditions and burgeoning green grasslands mean bush walks are off the cards in most destinations. 

Cheetah in the Kalahari Desert - Discover the Best Time to Visit the Okavango Delta
Cheetah in the Kalahari Desert

In this season, you can also combine your trip to the Okavango Delta with a visit to the neighboring Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Thanks to the rain, the harsh terrain of the Kalahari turns into a lush green haven that attracts hordes of wildlife and predators, thus making it easy to spot them.

Best for: Birdwatching and dramatic photo opportunities 

Winter Season in Botswana: May to August

The rainy season may be over, but that simply paves the way for the delta’s flood season. 

Thanks to flooding, from the Angolan Highlands to the north of Botswana, the Okavango River’s water level rises and spills out across the delta. This provides visitors with the chance to soak up the scenery from the water itself and view hundreds of animals who migrate to the region from a safe distance.

Mokoro ride in the Okavango Delta
Mokoro ride in the Okavango Delta

As well as guided trips in motorboats, why not take a traditional mokoro safari? This will have you gliding across the Okavango Delta in traditional dug-out canoes manned by skilled oarsmen – a mode of transport that has been popular in the region for hundreds of years! Mokoro safaris are possible in the south, west, and northerly regions of the delta, and this is the best way to get to hidden corners and view some of Okavango’s shyest animals.

When it comes to the climate, both the humidity and temperatures drop continuously throughout the flood season. Nights can be very chilly, especially in July and August, but you are less likely to be plagued by mosquitoes during that time compared to the rest of the year.

Best for: Mokoro safaris and motorboat rides

Summer in the Okavango Delta: September and October 

September and October are the region’s driest months and prime time for game drives and bush walks! With the lack of rain causing many watering holes to dry up across Botswana, you’ll find that many animals trek hundreds of miles to the Okavango Delta.

Leopard in the Moremi Game Reserve of Botswana - Discover the Best Time to Visit the Okavango Delta
Leopard in the Moremi Game Reserve of Botswana

The delta’s floodplains burst with new grass in October as the water recedes, drawing many animals in search of food. This is one of the best times to visit the Okavango Delta for ‘Big Four’ animal sightings (lion, leopard, elephant and African buffalo)! Moremi Game Reserve is particularly great for wildlife during this season, as is nearby Chobe National Park (a haven for elephants) and Linyanti (major big cat territory). 

Baobabs - Discover the Best Time to Visit the Okavango Delta
Baobab trees by the Kalahari Salt Pans

You could additionally take a drive southeast to the moon-like Kalahari Salt Pans which usually dry out during these months, allowing for exhilarating quad bike explorations and sleepouts under starry night skies. 

With summer approaching, temperatures in the latter end of October can tend towards the extreme in the Okavango Delta. Lazy midday siestas out of the beating sun are recommended! 

Best for: Dry weather conditions and rewarding game drives

Want to experience this magnificent place for yourself? Get help from our experts in choosing the best time to visit the Okavango Delta for your trip so you can do all that you wish to and more!

Want to experience this magnificent place for yourself? Get help from our experts in choosing the best time to visit the Okavango Delta for your trip so you can do all that you wish to and more! 

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