Best Time to Visit Botswana

Although Botswana can be visited year round, the dry season (June-October) is generally considered the best time, both for weather and wildlife viewing. Paradoxically, this is also when the Okavango Delta is flooded and its most luxuriant. However, other times of year can be equally rewarding. The green season (December-March) is hotter and wetter, but it’s arguably the best time for birdwatching. July and August are peak season – be sure to book well in advance.

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botswana okavango delta impala istk

June to October

  • Dry season; rain is rare, but nights can be chilly
  • Excellent time for wildlife watching around shrinking water sources
  • Okavango Delta receives its floodwaters
  • Peak season Jul-Aug; book early
botswana okavango zebra closeup djb

November

  • Temperatures soar in build-up to rainy season
  • Vegetation is withered, allowing easy wildlife sightings
  • Wildlife congregates around water sources at end of dry season
botswana okavango elephants istock

December to March

  • Green Season; summer rains at their peak Jan-Feb
  • Floodwaters recede from Okavango Delta
  • Mammals give birth; migrant birds arrive
chobe chilwero dining

April to May

  • Transition months between wet and dry seasons
  • Good wildlife viewing
  • Less busy at camps; more availability and cheaper

Botswana in the dry season (June-October)

Dry season in most African national parks is usually good news for safari-goers – vegetation has died back making wildlife easier to spot, while dwindling water sources concentrate game into defined areas. In Botswana, this is particularly true in Chobe National Park. Dry season, however, is when the Okavango Delta receives its annual floodwaters. It takes roughly six months for summer rainfall to percolate south from the Angolan Highlands and Namibian Panhandle to recharge the vast wetland. By June, the inundation is at its height; large areas of grassland are flooded and wildlife must adapt to a watery existence. While some species, like lechwe and sitatunga, are perfectly adapted to an amphibious lifestyle, other wildlife will move out to the fringes of the delta. Some camps in the Okavango are located by permanent, year round water, others have seasonal water. By staying in two or three different locations, you can (depending on when you visit) experience activities ranging from walking safaris and game drives to exploring the delta by boat or mokoro dugout canoe. Rain is rare during the dry season and the skies are usually clear – but early mornings can be chilly, so you’ll need warm clothing.

botswana chobe national park elephants sunset adstk
Botswana weather

Temperature Botswana has a subtropical desert climate with warm or hot days and cool nights. During peak season (June-August), expect daytime temperatures of around 25°C, climbing from chilly early mornings of 6°C. The heat builds in October when average daytime temperatures can exceed 34°C. During the wet season, daytime temperatures range from around 30-33°C – but cooler in the mornings and following rain.

Rainfall During the dry season there is little or no rain. By November and December, there may be an occasional afternoon shower, but January and February are the wettest months with torrential downpours.

Important dates
  • Late March or early April: Maitisong Festival – performing arts in Gaborone
  • Early September: Okavango Delta Music Festival

Botswana in the green season (December-March)

The summer rains reach their peak in January and February when it can pour for several days. In December and March, you’re more likely to experience short afternoon showers. Some camps and lodges don’t operate during the green season, but those that do can offer superb wildlife viewing – with few other visitors and cheaper prices. When floodwaters recede in the Okavango Delta at the end of the dry season, exposed floodplains are transformed into lush grassy swathes by the first summer rains. Antelope, zebra and other herbivores are lured onto the plains to graze and give birth – and predators like lion and hyena are never far away. Migrant birds also arrive and nesting colonies of herons and bee eaters are at their most active. Summer rains also bring the Kalahari Desert and Magkadikgadi Pans to life with everything from wildflowers to flamingos. The flurry of wildlife activity, vibrant vegetation and rain-washed skies all conspire to keep photographers happy.

camp okavango deck

Botswana in transition seasons (April-May and November)

Caught between dry and wet seasons, these transition months shouldn’t be overlooked. May can often have beautiful weather and large concentrations of wildlife, particularly around the Savute Channel and Linyanti River. November, meanwhile, is extremely hot – the land waiting with baited breath for the coming rains. Wildlife sightings are easy during this month since the vegetation is at its driest and most frazzled. Herds congregate near water sources like the Savute Channel.

savute safari lodge waterhole

Suggested Holidays

Best of Botswana

from £2165
excluding flights
6 nights Year round
Discover Botswana’s wildlife and the majestic Victoria Falls on this seven-day holiday to Botswana and Zimbabwe.
  • Wildlife
  • Independent
  • Safari
Botswana

Botswana Focus

from £5780
excluding flights
8 nights Mar-Nov
Discover all of Botswana’s northern highlights on this nine-day holiday including Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta, as well as the majestic Victoria Falls from Zimbabwe.
  • Wildlife
  • Independent
  • Safari
Botswana

Okavango Explorer

from £990
excluding flights
3 nights Dec-Jan, Mar-Nov
Spend three nights in the Okavango Delta exploring its waterways and discovering the wildlife that lives here.
  • Wildlife
  • Independent
  • Safari
Botswana

Victoria Falls and Chobe Getaway

from £764
excluding flights
4 nights Year round
On this short break, discover the highlights of Botswana and Zimbabwe, visiting both the majestic Victoria Falls and Chobe National Park; one of Africa’s best game reserves.
  • Wildlife
  • Independent
  • Safari
Botswana