Botswana

When to go to Botswana

the best time to go to botswana

As Botswana lies south of the equator its seasons are opposite to that in the northern hemisphere, however, this works out well for us as the ideal time to safari in Botswana is their winter, running from April to October, with drier days and clear skies.

‘Pulu’ is the Setswana word for rain and this influences much of the locals’ way of life. They depend on this to grow their crops and for the animals and people to survive. Therefore, although we may look at the rainy season unfavourably, it is vital to Botswana’s communities.

In summary, the best time to go to Botswana is:

  • May to September is the most popular time to visit, with clear days and cooler temperatures. This is the best time to for game drives giving you high chances of seeing some of the big five and some beautiful birdlife.
  • October and April are shoulder seasons between summer and winter and therefore are still likely to have fairly dry, bright days.

BOTSWANA IS CHARACTERISED BY ITS HOT AND DRY CLIMATE INTERSPERSED WITH UNPREDICTABLE RAINY MONTHS THROUGHOUT THE SUMMER.

When to go

This is a guide for the country as a whole, indicating good times to plan a holiday, taking into account popular places to visit, wildlife encounters and overall weather. Please remember that where in the country will vary depending on month of travel.

botswana seasonal overviews

As with most safari destinations, Botswana has clear seasons, each with their pros and cons. Below is a quick round up of the seasons and the differences between them.

April to November

The dry season broadly occurs from April to November when you can expect to see clear and near uninterrupted blue skies. June to August are the coolest months, when desert temperatures in the Kalahari are known to drop below freezing. From September onward the heat gradually builds up and peaks, sometimes unbearably, in October. Temperature extremes are much more moderate and pleasant in the Okavango region. During this dry season travel is much easier and game viewings increase as the dry conditions cause the animals to congregate around watering holes.

December to March

The wet season from December to March is completely different and days can vary enormously, with January and February being the wettest months. However this season can be much more pleasant and it is a time when many herbivores give birth. Rainfall during these months usually consists of short, sharp thunderstorms that last around an hour. The shoulder seasons of November/December (as well as May/June in the dry season) also result in great game viewing and reduced prices offering great value for money.

When to avoid

November to March is the summer period in Botswana, typified by heavy showers. However, these are often followed by bright sunshine and are unlikely to last all day, meaning game drives are still possible. This is a particularly good time for birdwatchers.

events & expert view

A lively country, Botswana has lots of events you can try to experience during your safari. Find out more here, as well as our experts favourite time to travel.

Events

There are some interesting local events that take place annually in Botswana which may be of interest to visitors. Ditshwando Annual Human Rights Film Festival is held in March and has international and local film screenings, speakers and discussion, focusing on the development of Human Rights in Botswana. Maitsong is the biggest annual Perfoming Arts Festival in Botswana, with outdoor dance, theatre and music programmes in different locations around Gaberone. The event takes place over a week in March/April. The Toyota 1000 Desert Race takes place in June, and is an extreme off road event for cars, quads and bikes taking in different routes around Botswana each year.

Experts view

Arabella, one of our Botswana experts says ‘September is the best time for game as this is the end of the dry season so the bush is less dense and animals congregate at the waterholes and it is before it gets too hot. I also really like November as it is a more affordable time to go and it's when a lot of the wildlife gives birth, so plenty of baby animals everywhere! If you want to combine Botswana with Victoria Falls then the best time to go is May/June as the falls are in full flow at this time. Any time though is great for a Botswana holiday!’

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