Seasons in Botswana
Each and every season in Botswana has got something special to offer. Most guests would like to maximize their game viewing experience whilst on safari and as such the best big game viewing will be during your dry winter months of May to October. The scenery during the summer months of November/December to March/April is breathtaking, and beautiful skies compliment the green landscapes. During this time, many of the antelope species give birth to their young.
Botswana enjoys a continental semi-arid climate, which means rainfall is low and seasonal and the day temperature ranges are high, with low humidity. Botswana’s annual rainfall varies from 250mm a year in the south-west, to 650mm in the extreme north, and rain falls mainly between November and March.
The highest average temperatures range between 32°C and 35°C, while the lowest average temperatures are generally between 20°C and 23°C. Night-time temperatures can be very low, even below freezing at times during Winter. The hottest month is normally January and the windiest, August.
When to go to Botswana?
Rainy season: November to March is the hot rainy season and the roads can be quite bad. The advantage of this time of year is that most of the animals give birth, providing a wonderful game watching experience. The landscape is lush and green and there is an abundance of wild flowers.
Dry season: April to October is the dry season and the drier it becomes the easier it is to spot animals close to permanent water holes. At this time much of the Okavango dries out, apart from permanent rivers in Moremi Game Reserve and the northern reaches of the Okavango. The heat starts to build in earnest from October onwards.
When are the highest prices in Botswana?
Highest Prices: July to October
Mid Prices: April to June
Lowest Prices: November to March
Spring in Botswana
When the migrant bird species appear, it is a clear sign that spring has arrived. The first to arrive are usually the yellow-billed kites and the carmine bee-eaters. The arrival of bird species will usually coincide with the first rains, sometime during September. Throughout the country most of the acacia trees are in bloom, the baobab, sausage tree and apple leaf are in bloom.
Tiger fishing is also now at it’s best. Usually by late October the heavy rains arrive, filling up the pans with water which allows the elephants to begin their migration away from the Linyanti and Chobe River.
Night time temperatures vary between 13-18 degrees Celsius and day time temperatures vary between 33-35 degrees Celsius.
Summer in Botswana
The summer season begins in November and ends in March. It usually brings high temperatures, however, it is also the rainy season, hence cloud cover and rain can cool things down slightly. Summer is at its peak when you start hearing the very distinctive breeding call of the woodland kingfisher.
Woodland Kingfishers migrate mainly from Angola where they stay during the winter months; they are called intra-African migrants. They arrive a little later than most of the other migrants and immediately look for a nesting spot. The male and female call in perfect harmony. They migrate north again in April.
The water levels are at their lowest in the Panhandle now. Usually by early December the rains have saturated the ground. The first flood waters of the Okavango River arrive in the far northern regions of the Panhandle towards the end of December. Zebra and wildebeest begin their mini-migrations in the Makgadikgadi, Savuti and Linyanti regions. Another aspect of the summer months is that many of the antelope species like Impala, Tsessebe, Wildebeest and warthog give birth to their young during this time to take advantage of the nutritious green grass after and during the rains.
For those who want to see the predator-prey interactions, the summer months provide some of your best opportunities to see hunting behaviour and predator interactions.