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Best time to visit Botswana for a safari

Botswana is a very fascinating tourism destination famous for a variety of wildlife species such elephants, lions, cheetahs, buffaloes, crocodiles, hippos, and much more habiting numerous national parks such as Chobe national park, Okavango Delta, and many more. The best time to visit Botswana for a safari depends on many factors such as season and weather, national park and reserve, festivals and events, and many more.

Weather and seasons

Botswana’s weather and seasons are a fundamental factor determining the best time to visit the country for a safari, Botswana experiences semi-arid climatic conditions explaining the dryness of the country throughout the year with short rainfalls. Botswana weather conditions are comprised of two seasons that are dry and wet season.

Dry season

The dry season in Botswana is experienced in May to October (winter months), the dry season is characterized by cool conditions most especially in the mornings and evenings but it is reasonably warm during the day with pleasant average temperatures. In the dry season, rainfall rarely falls and winter in Botswana coincides with the season, dry season is considered to be the best time to visit Botswana for a safari because of less vegetation cover making spotting of animals easy. In this period large group of animals congregatess around watering holes to drink water and these sites are usually visited while on game viewing to view these animals.

The period of July to October is the peak season in Botswana but due to the large area of the national parks and reserves in Botswana it does not feel crowded though a huge population of tourists visit the country.

Note: when visiting Botswana in this period it is advisable to pack warm clothing for morning game drives particularly in the months of June, July and August.

Wet season

The wet season in Botswana is experienced in the months of November to April which are also summer months, wet season in Botswana is also referred to as green due to the thick green vegetation cover. The wet season in Botswana is characterized by hot weather conditions rainfalls, in the wet season, rainfalls are short and received in the afternoon. It is only in January and February when continuous rainfalls are received.

The wet season is a perfect and recommended time to visit Botswana to spot migratory bird species, in this period herbivore species give birth to their young ones. The months of December to April are considered low season in Botswana and it is characterized by less population of tourists visiting Botswana, in this period some lodges and camps in Botswana close up due to too much rainfall received.

Temperatures and rainfall in Botswana

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUNE JULY AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC
High °C

Day

32°C 31°C 31°C 30°C 28°C 25°C 25°C 28°C 32°C 35°C 34°C 32°C
Min

Night °C

19°C 19°C 18°C 15°C 10°C 6°C 6°C 9°C 14°C 18°C 19°C 19°C
Chances of rain high high high low none none none none none low high high

The best month to visit Botswana

January

January is a rainy season in Botswana characterized with 25°C and too much rainfall, this month is a perfect month to visit Botswana for bird watching. January is an off-season with few travelers visiting Botswana and lower rates.

Note: in the month of January some of the lodges and camps are closed so when traveling to Botswana this month it is advisable to check the availability of the lodge/camp of your choice.

February

February is a continuation of the rainy season and it is the rainiest month of the year in Botswana, this month is characterized by 25°C temperatures. In February, fewer travelers visit Botswana and there are low rates for lodges camps, in February travelers enjoy sights of animals such as buffaloes.

March

March is a rainy season characterized with 24°C temperatures (cool temperatures), in this month rains slow down and it is an indication for the end of summer in Botswana. The month of March is the peak time for mosquitoes so travelers visiting Botswana this month are advised to carry anti-malarial medication and mosquito repellents.

In this month, lodges and camps are quieter and travelers get to enjoy excellent sights of birds and animals.

April

April is a continuation of the rainy season with 20°C temperatures which at times soar up to 30°C and get low in the mornings and evenings. In this month tourism in Botswana starts to picks up because the temperatures which start to become more pleasant during the day and the rains begin to slow down.

The month of April is the best time for spotting rhinos early in the morning and most lodges and camps start to open up.

May

May is a month of the dry season and the driest month in Botswana characterized of 17°C, this month is the best time to visit the Okavango delta and ideal for wildlife viewing spotting a variety of animals such as lions, buffaloes, rhinos, leopards and many more.

June

June is a continuation of the dry season characterized by 13°C, this month is sunny and warm during the day, cooler at night and in the mornings. This month is the best time to visit Botswana for game viewing safaris thus spotting a variety of animals in the park, June is also the best time for walking safaris in Botswana.

July

July is a dry season characterized by temperatures of 13°C, these temperatures tend to fall a little below the warm weather, this month is one of the driest months of the year and it is the best time to visit Botswana national parks such as Moremi game reserve, Okavango Delta, Chobe national park for game viewing.

August

August is an extremely dry month characterized by temperatures of 17°C which usually drop at night below freezing point and blue skies due to lack of clouds, this month is the best time to visit Botswana for wildlife viewing and perfect for tourists desiring blue skies while on an African safari in Botswana.

September

September is part of the dry season characterized by 20°C, in this month weather starts to heat up and occasional thunderstorms are received but it continues to be extremely dry. Because of the dryness in the national parks, animals converge at watering holes and they easily spotted on these sites.

October

October is the beginning of the rainy season characterized by average temperatures of 23°C which usually soar as high as 44°C, because of the extreme temperatures most travelers fear to visit Botswana but this month is the perfect time to visit Okavango Delta where the extreme temperatures are tampered with by the surrounding water bodies. This most is the best time to spot a big cats as they hunt and hippo basking in the sun.

November

November with a continuation of a rainy season and the beginning of summer, in this month temperatures, begin to raise 40°C making the conditions extremely hot. Regardless of the conditions, this month is the perfect time to visit Botswana for spotting big cats as they’re seen resting on trees and shades during the day. November is an off-season and a perfect time to visit Botswana for budget travelers as rates are lower.

December

December is a rainy season characterized by temperatures of 25°C, this month is a holiday season for Christmas and New year. This month is characterized with high morning humidity which make early morning game drive a bit hard but sightings of predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and more are excellent.

Parks and reserves

Okavango Delta

Okavango Delta is a magical destination in Botswana visited throughout the year for a safari, the best time to visit Okavango Delta for wildlife viewing is in the period of July to October which is a dry season. Okavango delta experiences wet season from January to March and in this period offering excellent sights of some animals, in this same period some areas of the delta become inaccessible but flooding in the delta is high in the dry season making the season the perfect time to visit the delta Mokoro trips (dugout canoe).

Chobe national park

Chobe national park is one of the remarkable national parks in Botswana, this park is visited throughout the year but the best time to visit Chobe national park for a safari is from May – October for wildlife viewing. While wildlife viewing in Chobe national park in the dry season the best sight to be visited is the riverfront area, in the dry season wildlife usually migrate into the park. In wet season in Chobe national park, animals such as zebras migrate to Savute Marsh.

Central Kalahari National Park

The best time to visit Central Kalahari national park for wildlife viewing from December to March which are the wettest months (rainy season), in this period wildlife migrates through central Kalahari making it the best time to view animals as they tend to gather around the pans in the Deception Valley area.

Note: In the wet season, roads in the park become very muddy and some sites are very inaccessible

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