Best time to visit Botswana

The best time to visit Botswana is in the winter from April to August. The temperature is pleasant and it's usually easy to spot animals on safari. The summer months from September to March are often very wet as this is also known as the wet or green season for the region. This can also make it difficult to travel around some of the national parks and harder to spot wildlife as they tend to disperse during the summer rains.

If you're interested in a boat tour or a paddle in a traditional mokoro canoe in the Okavango Delta, be sure to keep in mind that this area does have seasonal water level changes. The best time to visit the Okavango Delta is in the late summer and early autumn months although winter has the highest water levels throughout the year. The water then starts receding towards the end of the winter months and into spring, with the summer months offering up the lowest levels. This can affect some water activities such as mokoro or boat trips.

When to visit

Safari van driving through the bushes in Botswana
The best time to visit for a safari

The best time to go visit Botswana for safari is from May to September, during the drier winter months when skies are clear, there’s less rainfall and fewer pesky mosquitos. It does get chilly at night and in the mornings with the daily average temperatures sitting around 13-17 degrees, the evenings can also cool down quite fast, so pack warm winter clothing, especially during June, July and August. The most popular parks, the Okavango Delta, Moremi and Chobe will have more moderate temperatures, less vegetation and better visibility for animals as they tend to concentrate around waterholes and rivers. During this time, the Okavango Delta is also in full flood.

Travellers talking at a campground in Botswana
The best time to visit for camping

The best time of year for camping in Botswana is during the winter/dry season from May to September as the summer/wet season brings intense rains, thunderstorms and muddy conditions. June and August have the highest campsite numbers, mostly because it's a popular time for local campers from South Africa to visit. Although camping can still be a great option during some parts of the wet season because of the low off-season crowd numbers, December to February is the wettest time of the year for Botswana. At this time roads can sometimes be impassable due to the mud. It's also worth noting that March has high numbers of mosquitos.

Victoria fall, Botswana
The best time to see waterfalls

The best time to see Botswana and Victoria Falls is during May as it’s at its fullest after the end of the rainy season. Victoria Falls lies just outside of Botswana in neighbouring Zimbabwe and it is known as one of the natural wonders of the world. When in full flow, it is also known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world.

Botswana by month

Aerial view of the marshland of Botswana, Africa

Best for: lower crowds and lush greenery

A new year in Botswana starts off slowly as frequent thunderstorms, intense rains and low animal spotting during this time mean that visitors usually give this time a pass. If you’re willing to embrace the wilder weather, you might just see newborn herbivores and their stalking predators among the lush vegetation. Keep an eye on the sky for migratory birds as well.

Zebra heard in Botswana, Africa

Best for: migrating birds and zebras, flowers and greenery across the plains

Botswana will be very muddy and humid this month as February records the heaviest rainfall of the year. Typically, between November to April, the temperatures average 22 to 26°C but these are perfect conditions for the newly blooming flowers. If you're lucky, you might also catch the migration of zebras and birds.

Group on canoes on the Okavango River in Botswana,  Africa

Best for: mild weather, less rainfall and elephants in the Okavango Delta

Temperatures in March sit around 18-30°C with rains finally ebbing as the region moves towards the dry season. The national parks are alive with wildlife, especially the Chobe and Moremi parks as both the region's local herbivores and carnivores turn up at the scene, so keep your binoculars on hand. There’s also a large amount of blooming fauna and an unfortunately high number of pesky mosquitos at this time due to all the excess water from the wet season. We'd recommend keeping the bug spray close.

Antelope on the plains of Botswana,  Africa

Best for: lower crowds and drier weather, antelope mating season stand-offs

It’s shoulder season, so prepare for any kind of weather. There may still be afternoon showers but the days are usually warm with mornings and evenings the coolest. One noteworthy point for April is it’s the mating season for the antelope so you may encounter some male regalia as they lock horns for the entertainment of the females.

Baby Rhino in the grass in Botswana, Africa

Best for: animal spotting, mild weather, paddling in the Okavango, fewer mosquitos

May is typically the start of the busiest season for Botswana and its safaris. As the wet weather passes and the high grass and lush vegetation dies down, animals will move toward permanent water sources. This is great news for safari tours as it means the animals are pretty easy to find. Another must-see around May is the spectacular Victoria Falls as at this time it's at its fullest after the heavy rains of the wet season. With the start of the winter/dry season, the temperatures will sit around 13-17°C, dropping low in the nights and with the days becoming hot and dusty.

Wildebeest fighting  on the plains of Botswana, Africa

Best for: sighting African wild dogs, warm and sunny weather

Campsites are full and cameras are out, June is a busy time for campers and safari goers. This time of year typically has the best overall weather, full of fragrant days and chilly nights. This time is also when new litters of African wild dogs are born, so you might get a glimpse of this rare animal if you keep your eyes peeled. If you're interested in seeing some famous black and white striped animals, the zebra herds can be found at the Chobe River flood plains between June to November as they wait out the dry months. 

Group posing with guide of the back of the safari truck, Botswana, Africa

Best for: pleasant days, lively crowds, meerkats in Makgadikgadi

July and August are cooler but busier with the arrival of summer holiday crowds from the Northern Hemisphere. Temperatures can drop below freezing at night but the days will be hot and dry. Since it's the dry season, many animals can be found closer to the water sources making them easier to spot.

Elephant in the long grass in Botswana, Africa

Best for: elephants at the watering holes, clear skies and warming temperatures

This month you’ll likely be sharing the wonders of Botswana with many families and children with the school holiday season in full swing. The weather will be getting hotter and animal visibility is easier thanks to the sparse vegetation at this time of year.

Meerkats in the sand in Botswana, Africa

Best for: animal spotting and dry conditions 

Winter is passing and the return of the African summer months begins. Although temps aren’t as hot as in October, they will sit around 22-25°C with dry and dusty conditions. It’s still a great time for animal sightings and at this time of year, all areas are typically available for tour exploration as they're not flooded. This might mean you see more than at other times of the year.

Herd of Rhino's in Botswana, Africa

Best for: animal spotting

October is pretty hot but the payoff is easy animal spotting. No matter if you’re an early bird or a night owl, you’re very likely to catch sight of some of Africa’s native flora. Key an eye out for the big five: lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino and buffalo, as well as the classic favourites giraffes, zebras, hippos and crocodiles.

Bird in a tree in Botswana, Africa

Best for: zebra and bird migration

November is generally a shoulder season as the region moves from the dry winter conditions into its green, wet summer season. It’s still pretty warm with the added shower or two to contend with, usually in the afternoons. Bird watching is especially popular at this time as species from Asia and Europe will arrive, alongside new mammal cubs and offspring.

Group doing wildlife photography in Botswana, Africa

Best for: lower crowds, photography, zebra migration

It might be a little muddy in December with a thunderstorm or two. But if you brave the wetter weather, you’re likely to see the zebra migration which is usually hard to miss. Lower crowds, harder-to-spot wildlife and sometimes muddy tracks that make certain roadways impassable give this time of year, giving it its off-season label. 

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