South of the equator, Botswana has an eclectic mix of rainforest-like wet weather and desert-like dry weather. There is no easy answer to ‘which is the best time to visit Botswana?’ as people’s reasons for visiting Botswana vary.
Tourists mainly go to hunt game, to observe game, to birdwatch or to go to a hot climate in the European winter. One thing is for certain: temperatures are over 10°c hotter in the north than in the south. Temperature aside, there are two distinguishable seasons in the annual climate of Botswana; dry and wet. This may have the biggest impact on the time of year you decide to visit. You are generally best going in the warm, dry part of the year, but as that is 6 months long, more careful consideration may be needed.
Naturalists usually go for wildlife observations in the cooler of the dry months when more birds stay in Botswana for long periods, but it is warm enough to also see game animals. Leisure travellers usually go in the hottest months, towards the middle of peak season, when lodges and camps are most popular.
- In January, the weather is very wet, and the air is very humid. So if you choose to experience a safaris while the rain can keep you cool, you’ll need loose fabrics and waterproof clothing.
- Similarly, February is very wet, which is especially good for birdwatching.
- Botswana is dry and sunny in March but with the occasional violent thunderstorm, so be close to shelter.
- April has some rain but mostly clear weather. April is the beginning of the Southern African winter.
- The start of May signals the start of the dry season. The sky is very clear so good for birdwatching. There’s some rain but only showers. May is a good time to see national parks
- June is dry but very cold. This is the start of the holiday season as the dry weather means it’s best for going to national parks or safaris to spot game animals.
- July is the coldest month. Freezing temperatures at night mean overnight self-drives and over-night camping are not recommended. However, the least rainfall here occurs in July – so at least you won’t get wet.
- August is clear and dry but cold at night, so heated lodges would be more enjoyable than camping in a freezing cold tent.
- September sees the start of the wet season, but you won’t be cold as the temperature starts to warm up. Game come out of hibernation, so you might find a buffalo or deer on your travels.
- Botswana’s hottest month is October, when temperatures are consistently in the mid-thirties all day long. This is great weather for camping at night and game-spotting in the day.
- November is the most difficult month to predict the weather as the climate is between seasons, but this could be a good time to get the full experience of Botswana. You get to see game animals when it’s dry and beautiful landscape views when it starts to rain.
- It’s also rainy in December but the local green fauna has its most vegetation of the year, bringing the closest you’ll get to a true jungle experience.