Luftaufnahme einer weitläufigen, grünen Savannenlandschaft in Botswana

Best time to visit Botswana

Climate, weather and tips for your trip to Botswana

Climate, weather and tips for your trip to Botswana

Botswana is a fascinating travel destination characterized by geographical contrasts. From the dry savannahs of the Kalahari Desert to the waterways of the Okavango Delta, this landlocked African country is extremely diverse. Botswana's hot and dry climate not only shapes the entire course of the year, but also the migration patterns of wild animals. In addition to the dry season with pleasantly mild temperatures, the rainy season is also ideal for exciting safari adventures, depending on the destination.

Find out here how to determine the best time to travel to Botswana and your planned activities - practical tips included.

Written by: Dana Leidel Last updated at: July 4, 2024

Seasons and climate in Botswana

Botswana is located in the southern hemisphere of the earth. This means that the seasons run in the opposite direction to the Central European standard. As we prepare for the cold season, the summer rainy season begins in Botswana. When summer begins in Europe, southern winter prevails in the heart of southern Africa. Unlike other places in the world, the year in Botswana is not divided into four classic seasons.

The dominant seasons are the rainy season from December to March and the dry season from May to September. Typical for summer in Botswana are high temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius during the day. It rarely cools down noticeably at night either, with average temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius. The mild, low-rainfall southern winter is considered the best time to travel to Botswana if you want to visit Chobe National Park or the Okavango Delta.

January to March: The rainy season is characterized by a midsummer climate with hot daytime temperatures and warm tropical nights. Heavy rainfall is usually short-lived and makes the Kalahari savannah blossom. The birth of numerous young animals now makes this region of Botswana a sought-after travel destination.

April to June: Up to 10 hours of sunshine a day and pleasant daytime temperatures of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius characterize the transition period to the southern winter. The number of rainy days per month also steadily decreases and tends towards zero by June. The Kalahari Desert is in full bloom. Accommodation in lodges is significantly cheaper in April than in other months. It is still low season in Botswana. If your travel time for Botswana falls in June, you should definitely think about warm clothing. The nights can get quite chilly with temperatures in the single digits.

July to September: The dry season marks the best months for a safari in Botswana. Prices in the high season are above the annual average. However, you can also expect ideal conditions for numerous wildlife sightings on game drives and guided bush walks. There is now plenty to see, especially in Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. A pleasant average of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius during the day allows safari fans to breathe a sigh of relief. As in June, cold nights can still be expected in July.

October to December: The rainy season begins and with it Botswana enters the hottest months of the year. Temperatures of around 35 degrees Celsius are now the order of the day and the number of rainy days per month increases steadily. Individual temperature peaks of up to 40 degrees Celsius are possible. Strong thermals favor showers and thunderstorms. On days without precipitation, you can look forward to up to ten hours of sunshine.

The best times to visit Botswana by region

Between dry savannah and wetlands, mopane forests and swamps, Botswana's diverse ecosystems provide an ideal habitat for numerous species. Would you like to see the famous Big Five, marvel at large herds of elephants or observe exotic birds? Your chances are more than good here:

Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta, one of the most impressive wetlands in the world, is a paradise for nature and animal lovers and also an excellent spot for birdwatching. In the dry season between May and October, water from Angola's highlands floods the winding river arms and wide plains. The water levels in the delta are at their highest between June and September, making these months the best time to visit the Okavango Delta. This facilitates boat trips and mokoro tours, where you can experience the diverse wildlife up close. Look out for colorful songbirds, storks and ibises, hippos and crocodiles. On land, with a little luck, antelopes, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, lions and cheetahs will cross your path.

Chobe National Park

In Chobe National Park, you can also see a particularly large number of wild animals in the dry season. From May to October, huge herds of elephants gather along the Chobe River. The roads are usually perfectly passable and the view of the Big Five is unobstructed. While lions, cheetahs and spotted hyenas roam the area, hippos and crocodiles frolic in the water. The lower humidity makes game drives particularly pleasant at this time of year.

Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert is a fascinating region with endless dune landscapes and an amazingly adaptable flora and fauna. With the heavy rainfall in the rainy season, the Kalahari Desert comes to life. Between November and April, the otherwise barren dry savannah really blossoms. Despite the sometimes very high temperatures, the air movement provides a slight cooling effect. Colorful flowers line the reddish shimmering dune landscape. Antelopes show off their young in the fresh grass. Unlike in the dry season, wild animals are increasingly moving through the entire desert area. Sufficient water sources are now available in many places. This is also the best time to spot the famous Kalahari lions.

By choosing the best time to visit each region of Botswana, you can ensure that your adventure is unforgettable. Whether you want to experience the majestic elephants in Chobe National Park, the lush waterscapes of the Okavango Delta or the unique beauty of the Kalahari, each region has its own special highlights and best times to travel.

The best time to travel for various activities in Botswana

Game drives or bird watching, boat safaris or guided tours? Botswana's wilderness with its characteristic flora and fauna can be explored in many different ways. You can easily determine the best months for your safari in Botswana using this overview:

Classic safari and game viewing

The dry season in the southern winter offers you the best safari conditions with pleasantly mild daytime temperatures and dry road conditions. The wild animals gather in large numbers at the central water sources. Elephant fans can now marvel at the gentle giants in herds. In their slipstream: big cats such as lions and cheetahs.

Ein Leopard liegt entspannt auf einem Baumast. Er hat seinen Kopf auf seine Pfoten gelegt und schaut mit halbgeschlossenen Augen in die Kamera.

Zwei Touristen sitzen in einem traditionellen Mokoro, einem Einbaumkanu, das von einem Guide mit einem langen Stab durch das flache Wasser des Okavango-Deltas in Botswana gelenkt wird.

Water activities and mokoro tours

The high water level in the Okavango Delta favors boat trips on the winding river courses in the dry season. You glide almost silently through the landscape in traditional dugout canoes. Exotic birds, hippos and reptiles hide in the thicket along the banks. You can take your time to photograph them and capture your memories for eternity.

Adventure and outdoor activities

Do you love setting off and keeping your eyes and ears open? In the dry season with its long sunny days, you will find plenty of opportunities to do so. Accompany knowledgeable guides on their excursions into nature and discover birds, insects and other animals that you might otherwise easily overlook. Do you appreciate high-contrast photo motifs? The rainy season, with its rapid changes between sunshine and rainfall, gives your photos a special depth.

Ein Safari-Guide begleitet zwei Touristinnen auf einem Spaziergang durch die afrikanische Savanne.

Further tips and recommendations for your Botswana trip

While the high season in the southern winter beckons with numerous hours of sunshine and ideal safari opportunities, the subtropical summer is rainy and calm. Use October and November as well as February to April to benefit from attractive offers. You can often book lodges and flights at significantly reduced prices. Prices rise again at Christmas and New Year. On the other hand, Botswana also offers a midsummer contrast to the Central European winter.

The rainy season in the southern hemisphere offers further advantages: The constantly high temperatures make packing easier. Light clothing is completely sufficient at this time of year. In the low season, you can also enjoy Botswana's nature and biodiversity undisturbed. For the southern winter, you should pack cozy sweatshirts and jackets - at least for the cooler nights. No matter what month you travel in: Botswana attracts visitors all year round with its breathtaking flora and fauna.

Would you like to find out more about this fantastic destination? Feel free to contact us!

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