Botswana is one of Africa’s best safari destination because it offers first time experiences for everyone who visits the country. Botswana is know to be a good place to visit throughout the year but the best time to visit Botswana depends on the different activities that you are going to do and your interests.
Botswana is located in the southern part of Africa and it’s one of the peaceful countries that you will visit and know that you will be safe due to the security measures that have been put up to protect both the locals and tourists. Botswana has two seasons that is the dry and wet season and these highly determine when to visit the country.
In this articles, we are going to look at the different seasons and months that are best for having a safari in Botswana and also look at the different places and activities that you can see and do when you visit the country.
From November to February, Watch Migratory Birds
November to February is the best month for all bird watchers. These months receive a heavy down pour and for those who love watching game, this is not the right time to visit Botswana as it will really be hard to see the different animal species.
During this period, the animals are scattered and it is hard to see them although you will be able to see the young calves being born as this is the period when the animals give birth and the migrations of the animals during this period are in full swing. You will be able to view the different bird species and the migratory birds which fly into the country during this period.
Grab those binoculars and cameras and enjoy your birding experience in Botswana and don’t forget to pack appropriately according to the weather.
From March to April – Rainy Season
March to April are still wet seasons but the rains ease up towards the end of April. It is also the best time to view the different migratory birds and other indigenous bird species that are located in the area and new born animals.
The vegetation during this period is still thick making it hard for tourists to view the the animals since most of them keep to their habitats because there is enough water and pasture to last them. You might sight a few predators that target the newly born animals.
During this period, some camps are alsways closed due to the weather and those that are open offer cheap accommodation since there are not many tourists during this period. Therefore if you are not a fan of crowds, this is the best time to visit Botswana.
From April to May – Best Photography Safari in Botswana
Mid April to May are considered to be one of the best times to visit Botswana. During this period, the seasonal Wells and other water sources are starting to dry up and the vegetation is also drying up during this time. You will be able to see the different animals as they start coming from their hiding places in search of pasture and water. These months are the best for those who are not fans of crowds because during these months the peak season has not yet started. The animals start arriving at the Okavango Delta and Chobe River in search of water and they settle at the Moremi Game Reserve.
From May to October – Dry Season
This is considered to be the dry season in Botswana and the best time to visit the different parks in Botswana. During this period the Okavango Delta is flooded and you can enjoy the boat ride as you view the different animals that traverse the Delta. During this period, the parks can be over crowded and the prices to the accommodation facilities are high and it is considered as the peak season for game parks in Botswana.
Between June to July the county is a bit dry with dusty roads but it is the best time from all those who love game viewing. Although you should note that the nights in Botswana during this period are extremely cold so you should carry some heavy blankets and clothes to keep yourself warm during this time.
Safari in August
The concentration of the animals in the different game Parks is on the rise due to the increase in temperature. It is extremely hot during this period and tourists are advised to carry appropriate clothing during the safari.
The seasonal water holes and other water bodies become completely dry and the vegetation completely dried out. There are different animals that can be seen around the Delta banks like buffalos, elephants, antlopes, hippos, lions and a few predators that come to take them out for a meal.
From September to October
This is also termed as the dry season and the best time to visit Botswana since many of the animals will be seenalong the River banks in search of water and food. So if you can handle the heat this is the best time to go game viewing in Botswana.
After looking at the different seasons that are best for a safari in Botswana, we are going to look at the different places that you can visit during both the dry and wet season in Botswana.
Places to visit during the dry season
As earlier noted, the dry season is extremely good for game viewing and below are some of the places that you can visit during the dery season in Botswana.
The Okavango Delta is a large area that is gazetted for animal reservation and it covers 15000 square kilometers in the Northern part of Botswana in the Kalahari Desert. The Okavango Delta has a lot of things that you can do when you visit and these include:
The Moremi Game Reserve
Moremi Game Reserve is found in the Okavango Delta and although it is not as large as other parks, it has a wide range of wild animals that one can see. It was named after the chief Moremi of the Ba Twana people and it has animlas species like the lions, elephants, Rhinos, the cape buffalo, Impalas, wild dogs and other species. It also has over 500 bird species.
Enjoy the guided walks
You can enjoy your guided walks in the Okavango Delta especially to the Xugana Delta. The walks are mostly done in the mornings and evenings when the sun is not too hot. You will enjoy various features on your walks and probably see a few wild animals like monkeys and also have a great view of the different bird species that are found in the area. And you will also hear the various stories form the local tour guides about the area as you track down a few animals in the area.
Enjoy the Horse back rides
The horse back riding is mostly done at the Macatoo camp. Horse back riding needs when you are well experienced with riding but even those who are not well versed with riding can be assisted by a guide.
The horse riding helps you view the animals from a different angle and it helps you to access parts of the Okavango Delta that are inaccessible by a car. You will be able to view the different Flora and fauna along the way and they normally take place in the Eastern part of the Delta on the flood plains. This is an experience yo do not want to miss.
Interact with the elephants
The different camps located in the area offer close interaction with the elephants and one can get to know more about these large mammals and also get to feed them. You will get to know about their welfare and also get a chance to play with them.
Enjoy fishing and boat cruises
Enjoy a glorious ride on the Chobe River as you spot fish when you visit the Okavango Delta. The most common fish that is caught is the Tiger fish. A boat ride will leave you refreshed especially after a long day in the Botswana heat.
Places to visit during the rainy season
The same places mentioned above can be visited during the rainy or wet season but not for game watching. This is the season when most bird species including the migratory ones converge into the different parks in Botswana.
The best place to visit during this period would be the Kalahari Desert due to the enormous transformation that it goes through especially during the wet season. The Kalahari comes to life during the rainy season and you will see different vegetation sprouting out for the different animals like zebras that can be going on their annual migration in the country.
Botswana is experiencing a drought season at the moment but this cannot stop you from visiting the country to enjoy the different attractions that can be viewed throughout the year. Book earlier especially during peak seasons to enjoy your Botswana safari.
A monthly guide of Botswana’s weather
Generally January receives the highest amount of rainfall with averages of 100mm of heavy precipitation that falls unpredictable. It’s for that reason that this is considered an off-peak tourist month. However most of the safaris are discounted at this time making it ideal for budget travelers. The long sunny days are characterized with thunderstorms and several migratory birds can easily be spotted making it ideal for bird watching. Herbivores and several newborn calves can easily be seen grazing on the green grasses in the open areas which gives predictors quite a variety of prey to enjoy so it is very easy to spot any of the predators running after their catch
At this time of the year the sun is up high and very hot continuous sunny day continue to dominate most of the days as the heavy rains which are characterized by scattered thunderstorms reduce – which makes it a good time to take photographs. The central area of the Kalahari begins to come to life with the vegetation verdantly thriving a thing which attracts different wild animals to them. In the forested areas most of the trees have ripening fruits which similarly attract a wide variety of wildlife
The month of March see hot and drier days and nights as the rains have reduced. The day temperatures are at an average of 30°C while the night temperatures may range at lows between fifteen degrees centigrade to ten degrees Centigrade (15°C to 10°C)
In April the day temperatures begin to drop although the days are hot and sunny at this time of the year it is more convenient to visit and it becomes more comfortable for tourist to enjoy their holiday compared to the earlier months. Because of the more favorable temperatures, holidaymakers can now enjoy evening sundowners. in April, the breeding season for different types of antelopes is underway and so common sightings of many between antelopes can easily be seen as they try to impress and compete for the female antelopes.
in May the rain have completely ended and the temperatures are no longer very hot but rather bearable the evenings are cool and generally it is a good time to visit for a safari however you are advised to carry someone layers such as a sweater or jacket for the early mornings and evenings.
In the month of June Botswana is experiencing its midwinter; the days are generally warm and beautiful and it’s very conducive for a safari. Because there is no rainfall, the water sources in the different wildlife sanctuaries begin to dry up and many animals begin to congest the few remaining ones. The sun dries most of the vegetation making it easy to spot the different animals. Don’t forget to bring a sweater or jacket for the cold early mornings and evenings.
In July the evenings and early mornings continue to be very cold however the days are pleasant and warm at this time of the year. the country is experiencing the dry season however interesting the level of water begins to increase as it flows from the central Highlands of Angola which makes it a good time to enjoy a mokoro tour on the various water channels across the country.
in the month of August the temperatures begin to rise again the days are hot and it’s generally dry throughout the country. The night temperatures in areas like the Kalahari continue to drop to freezing point while average day temperatures increase. Game viewing near the water sources is still very rewarding and it remains this way all through the month. As the month comes to the end the catfish run is beginning making it a good time to catch species like the tiger fish and in fact you will realize that most of the houseboats and lodges within panhandle are very busy.
In the month of September the southern and central part of the country may receive a few rain showers however the north remains totally dry. the night temperatures begin to rise as well and they hardly hit a low of freezing point even in areas like the Kalahari. The skies are blue and clear and the temperatures throughout the day are warm while in the evenings are generally cool. It is dusty on the ground and water sources are nearly drained out while the vegetation has nearly dried out. The wildlife is also struggling for survival as they search for water and pastures t0 graze.
This is the hottest month in the country following about 6 months of no rain at all with very clear skies, though there are clear sign that rain will be experienced in a couple of weeks to come. In October most tourist activities are put on hold as midday temperatures can heat over forty degrees Centigrade (40°C). The heat has generally increased and the dirty roads are dusty and very bumpy while game viewing is still very remarkable especially around the remaining water sources. In this month, the catfish migration sees very large numbers of catfish moving upstream as they avoid the dropping water levels in the delta. Some of the drained water pools trap fish and so it is a common sight to see large numbers of vultures in the water holes feasting on them especially within the delta.
In December large amounts of rain with thunderstorms return bring the land to life. The vegetation begins to grow and the wildlife has food to foliage. The newborn animals can easily be seen grazing to obtain energy to defend themselves against predators. This is the wettest month of the year together with January across Botswana. Although it is raining, the day temperatures remain at an average of 40°C. This month marks the start of the green season causing the animals to disperse across the land. The Kalahari has several newborn calves that play on its Plains. Nxai national park, the central game parks and central Kalahari are rich with wildlife as the pans fill up with water. With the increasing amount of rainfall, many roads close to the pan become muddy, slippery and at times impassable. Fallen trees and flooded potholes dominate the roads around Moremi national park making it nearly impassable.