When to go on a Botswana safari.
Botswana is a top-rated African safari destination that boasts an exceptional wildlife experience throughout the year. This remarkable country offers a unique blend of vast savannahs, lush wetlands, and waterways that are home to some of the most sought-after animal species on the continent. To help you plan the perfect safari adventure, we have prepared a comprehensive guide that explores Botswana's natural wonders month by month. Join us in exploring Botswana's spectacular wildlife and stunning landscapes.
July to October: Ideal for Wildlife Enthusiasts
The dry winter season in Botswana runs from August to October and is considered the best time for safaris. During this season, the foliage recedes, and wildlife gathers around the remaining waterholes, providing an incredible game-viewing experience. The Okavango Delta is also at its peak, attracting a large number of animals.
November to March: Embrace the Green Season
While the dry season is the norm, November to March has its own perks for a safari in Botswana. This is because the landscape is lush, and the climate is pleasant during this period. Afternoon thunderstorms not only rejuvenate the land but also provide ample sunshine. Moreover, the rainy season is the perfect time to observe migratory birds and adorable baby antelope.
January: Blessing of the Rains in Botswana's Desert
At the turn of the year, the refreshing summer rains arrive in Botswana, bringing the usually arid Kalahari Desert to life. It's a unique time of the year for safari-goers to witness the lush side of the desert landscape and marvel at the resilience of nature. January is the perfect month to experience this spectacular transformation.
February: The Kalahari in Full Bloom
February is known for its rainy season in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which transforms the arid landscape into a lush green oasis. The reserve's newborn antelopes can be seen dotting the landscape, providing a heartwarming sight for nature enthusiasts.
During this month, the Nxai Pans attract large herds of zebra, springbok, and oryx, making it a focal point for wildlife. However, the abundance of prey does not go unnoticed by predators, especially lions, which creates a dynamic ecosystem full of action.
March: Photographic Wonderland
As the summer fades away, Botswana experiences moody afternoons with scattered showers, creating an ideal setting for scenic photography. The landscape transforms into a picturesque view that invites photographers to capture its essence.
In March, the elephant migration towards the Okavango Delta begins as waters start to dry in other areas . It is also an excellent time to witness the dazzles of zebras in the Kalahari, adding to the rich tapestry of wildlife on display.
April: A Transition into Optimal Game Viewing
April is a significant month in Botswana, as it marks the transition between the green and dry seasons. This period offers a perfect balance of weather conditions, which are ideal for exceptional game-viewing experiences that continue into the following months.
In April, the antelope breeding season begins, which is an exciting period for wildlife enthusiasts. Male antelopes engage in fierce battles, trying to attract females, and this results in increased activity and interaction among the wildlife.
May: The Thrill of Dry Season Adventures
May is considered one of the optimal months to visit Botswana, as the beginning of the dry season creates ideal conditions for game viewing. Wildlife is forced to congregate around permanent water sources due to reduced availability of water, providing opportunities for remarkable sightings.
For those looking for some adventure, May is the perfect time to embark on quad bike excursions in the Makgadikgadi Pans. A must-visit is the Chobe River, which offers diverse wildlife, river cruises and photographic boating safaris.
June: The start of the Okavango flood
June and July is an exciting time in Botswana, as it marks the beginning of a unique period when the Okavango River begins its flood season. This natural phenomenon creates an opportunity for incredible mokoro and water-based excursions, allowing visitors to traverse the delta's waterways and experience the breathtaking beauty of the area.
Despite being one of Botswana's coldest months, June offers some of the best safari sighting opportunities. The clear, thin vegetation ensures prime game-viewing prospects, with wildlife converging along the Okavango Delta and other northern waterways. So, visitors can enjoy the winter's chill and exceptional sightings while exploring the stunning natural surroundings.
July: Optimal Game Viewing During Dry Weather
July is one of the most popular months to visit Botswana due to its warm days, cool evenings, and dry weather. The conditions create great game viewing opportunities as thousands of animals gather around water channels and the Okavango flood rushes in. July is also an ideal time for family travel, as the low levels of rain minimize the presence of mosquitoes.
August: Botswana's Winter Season in Full Swing
August in Botswana is a month of stunning natural beauty. The clear, blue skies stretch across the vast landscapes, and the water levels in the Okavango Delta reach their peak, extending as far south as Maun. This creates the perfect setting for game viewing along waterways, promising exceptional sightings. Birdwatchers have the opportunity to delight in the vibrant southern carmine bee-eaters, adding to the delta's stunning beauty.
Botswana offers travelers an unmatched safari experience on both land and water, with various water-based activities available from June to September. You can explore the waterways by boat, taking in the breathtaking scenery as you go. Alternatively, you can enjoy a relaxing mokoro ride, a traditional dugout canoe used by the locals. Whatever your preference, Botswana's water-based activities promise an unforgettable experience.
September: Showcasing Big Five wildlife
September is the perfect time for wildlife enthusiasts to visit Botswana and witness the majestic Big Five up close. During this season, the dry weather forces animals to gather around sources of food and water, making it easier for visitors to spot them.
In addition, this month is the beginning of the end for mokoro and boat excursions, This means that travellers should take advantage of this opportunity to immerse themselves in Botswana's wilderness from various perspectives, such as getting up close to the animals on a walking safari or exploring the waterways on a boat excursion. With so much to see and experience in Botswana, September is truly a magical time to visit.
October: The Heat of Botswana's Safari
The month of October in Botswana brings scorching temperatures, but it's the prime season for observing the Big Five animals in their natural habitats. Wildlife viewing is at its best during this time, with thirsty elephants congregating along the Chobe River, providing a remarkable sight. The landscape is also more visible due to the grazed-down vegetation, making it easier to spot other game animals.
November: The Shoulder Season
November marks the "spring shoulder season" in Botswana, which is characterized by soaring thunderclouds, the return of migrant birds, and the arrival of fields of newborn calves. Although the weather can be unpredictable with the possibility of wet or dry conditions, game viewing remains relatively good as animals continue to frequent watering holes and surrounding vegetation. This month offers a dynamic safari experience with the chance to witness the interplay between predators and prey.
December: Amidst Botswana's Wilderness
December in Botswana is marked by thunderstorms that rejuvenate the landscapes and help vegetation recover. This season turns the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and Nxai Pans National Parks into wildlife hotspots, attracting visitors with their abundance of fauna.
Another attraction during this month is Botswana's second zebra migration. Zebras feed on the seasonal green grasses of the Makgadikgadi Pans ecosystem, creating a visually stunning event that adds to the allure of a Botswana safari during the festive season.
Botswana offers such a diverse and captivating safari experience throughout the year, with each month bringing its own unique set of wildlife encounters, landscapes, and activities. A memorable adventure can be available at any moment. With the dry months being the most popular, those looking for discounted prices and fewer crowds of tourists will find that the green season months also offers truly magnificent scenery and remarkable wildlife opportunities.