When is the Best Time to Visit Botswana?

The best time to visit Botswana is during the dry winter months of May to October when game viewing is at its peak. During these months, animals are concentrated in ever increasing numbers at water sources as the dry season wears on. Many experts regard the cooler months of June to August as the best time of year for luxury safaris in Botswana, which has the perfect weather for a game drive, and the risk of malaria is at its lowest.

The question of when to visit Botswana is best answered by thinking about what you want to experience. Wildlife tends to disperse during the rainy January to April summer, but several destinations such as Chobe's Savuti region and the Kalahari offer excellent summer game viewing, as they lie on the path of migrating animals, particularly zebra.

 

Month-by-Month Guide for Travelling to Botswana:

Visiting Botswana from January to April

Botswana in the green season | Go2Africa

In January the rainfall is unpredictable with heavy downpours. Most travel experts will tell you that January is not the most popular time to visit Botswana, but prices will be a lot lower than in peak season. This is a great time to take advantage of any safari specials on offer. It is also an excellent month for birding for both numbers and diversity of species.

If you’re planning on travelling to Botswana in February, you will arrive during the wettest month of the year. The heavy rains turn the landscape into a lush, green paradise especially in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. February is the start of breeding season in this reserve for the local antelope population, when you can view newborns taking their first steps. There is also a wide variety of birds in the area during February.

While visiting Botswana in March, you will experience a drop in temperature and steady rainfall. This month of the year is renowned as the best time to visit Botswana for landscape photography, because of the vibrant green terrain brought on the by the heavy summer rainfall.

The April to May shoulder season is an ideal time to visit. By April the heavy rainfall has almost completely stopped across the country, and the landscape is still verdant. By mid-month the water levels in the Okavango Delta begin to rise. April is the beginning of impala breeding season, when the males start to size one another up for the attention of the females. The nights do start to get cooler in April, which makes for perfect weather sitting outside in the evening with a sundowner and possibly reveling in an armchair safari.

 

Visiting Botswana during May, June & July

Elephants at Camp Moremi in Botswana | Go2Africa

May is the start of the dry winter season when there isn’t a drop of rain anywhere in the country, which makes this one of the best times to visit Botswana. This month offers excellent game viewing, mild, dry weather and the campsites and safari parks are not too busy – as this is before peak season later in the year. Wildlife sightings are at their best in the Savuti region where buffalo and zebra can be found in large numbers while the elephant herds return to the Linyati Chobe River System in May.

June is another great month to visit Botswana. Late June marks the beginning of peak season, while July to October are the busiest times in the parks. It’s advisable to book your spot in advance if you’re planning to a safari at this very popular time of year. The climate is exquisite in June for outdoor activities and places to visit in Botswana, but the evenings do tend to get cold and certain areas in the Kalahari can drop below freezing after dark. Morning game drives can be chilly, so come prepared with some warm safari gear.

If you’re planning to go in July, you will arrive at the start of the peak season and there are plenty of things to do in Botswana. July is the perfect time to visit the famed Okavango Delta as well as the Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park – wildlife in these areas can be found in greater numbers than other parts of the country at this time. Game viewing is superb along the water channels of these destinations, as there’s plenty to feast on along these waterways for a wide variety of large mammals.

 

Traveling to Botswana from August to October 

Leopards seen on safari at Little Vumbura Lodge in Botswana | Go2Africa

August is a very dry time across the country, although towards the end of the month there is a chance of brief rain showers in the south. This is a very popular month in the game parks as the climate of Botswana is perfect for a safari towards the end of winter. The water levels in the Okavango Delta are high, and game viewing along the waterways is at its best. August marks the start of the catfish run in the northwest panhandle, which is the main water source for the Okavango.

Hundreds of elephants make their way to the Chobe and Linyati Rivers during September, as they rely on this water source for survival and can consume up to 200 litres (53 gallons) of water in one day. The days start to get very warm in September and the thin, dry vegetation makes for great wildlife viewing. The mornings are cooler than the afternoons and are pegged as the best times for spotting predators.

When travelling to Botswana in October you will experience the hottest temperatures on the calendar. Despite the heat, this is still a very popular month for a Botswana safari, especially along the Chobe River which is famous for its thirsty herds of elephants along its banks. By October the country would have not had rain for six months, and the clear skies turn a pale blue.

 

Visiting Botswana in November & December

Birdwatching in Botswana, Southern Africa | Go2Africa

When planning to visit Botswana in November, it’s best to keep in mind that this is the start of the spring season. It’s still very hot across the country but soaring rain clouds return, along with a host of migrant bird life. Once the rains do begin, the landscapes are filled with newborn wildlife, frolicking while predators circle. December is the start of the summer season when the grazing land recovers and the greenery is plentiful. Botswana's three Kalahari parks are arguably at their best in early summer.

 

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