Seasons

The Okavango is one of the most dynamic safari destinations in Africa, making it all the more alluring. Every season is different and indeed the each year can be different too. The Okavango is a year round destination and with careful planning based on a deep understanding of this complex environment you can enjoy an excellent safari at any time of year.

The best time to visit will depend on your particular interests. Traditionally the dry season, when paradoxically the Okavango waters are highest, offers the best game viewing as the animals flock to the waters from the dry hinterland. This is also when many camps can offer water activities. However there are exceptions, October for example is the driest and hottest month and delivers superb game viewing but usually has low water levels.

The shoulder months (mid-season) have much to recommend them too, such as November which brings the first life giving rains and the land springs to life, a bright green carpet over the plains and the calving season for many antelope such as impala begins.

If you are a birder the best time to visit is generally during the summer months when the Okavango is bursting with resident and migratory birds – the air full of song and flashes of colour. That said, some of the heronries are best visited later in the year, so this too will depend on your personal preference. Excellent game viewing can be enjoyed in the summer months too, in the right areas with good resident game and permanent water channels. These months also see the longest migration in Africa as tens of thousands of zebra migration to the salt pans, a stunning sight.

Every month delivers a different experience and with careful planning you can have a superb safari in the Okavango at any time of year. Alternatively, speak to us about the kind of safari you have in mind and we can advise you accordingly and plan your safari to your particular interests.

Winter

In the Okavango Delta winter occurs from April to September. Days are generally dry, sunny, clear and cool to warm whilst in the evening temperatures can drop sharply. During the day temperatures generally reach 25 degrees Celsius and evening temperatures can be as low as 2 degrees Celsius and, in some dry areas, can plummet below freezing. Virtually no rainfall occurs during the winter months. As the land surrounding the delta dries up the animals begin to concentrate on around flood waters.

Summer

The Okavango Delta the summer starts in with temperatures building in October and ends in March with the onset of the dry season. In October the time before the coming of the rains are the hottest with dry temperatures soaring up to 40 degrees Celsius or more. Cloud cover, coinciding with the arrival of the first rains towards the end of November or in early December, reduce the temperature considerably, albeit only for a short period. During the rainy season, which lasts until the end of February or early March, the days are hot and sunny in the mornings with afternoon thunderstorms, usually in short, torrential downpours during the late afternoon. Temperatures during the day can rise to 38 degrees Celsius and night time temperatures can drop to around 20 degrees Celsuis. Rainfall is erratic, unpredictable and highly regional. Heavy downpours may occur in one area while 10 or 15 kilometres away there is no rain at all. Showers are often followed by strong sunshine so a good deal of the rainfall does not penetrate the ground, as it is lost to evaporation and transpiration.

The Okavango Delta is best known as a photographic safari destination and offers some of the best unspoilt vistas in Africa. With a variety of habitats and ever abundant water, the Okavango Delta provides the photographer with a wealth of photographic subjects, dramatic landscapes, herds of plain’s game and spectacular birdlife.

Overview of the seasons

A brief overview of the weather to expect in Botswana over the year. Please always remember how inherently unpredictable the weather is, increasingly so nowadays.

Dry season – May to October – Winter

There is little to no rain during winter and humidity is low, typically 20-40%.

May – A lovely month. The temperatures are relatively cool, typically 10°C/50°F in the morning and 28°C/80°F in the afternoon.

June, July & August – The average morning temperature is 6°C/42°F. Night temperatures can drop below freezing, especially in the dryer Kalahari areas. Afternoons will be more pleasant with temperatures around 25°C/78°F.  Be sure to pack winter clothing because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold.

September & October – The heat gradually builds and it can get very hot in October (38°C/100°F), but the average temperature remains around 34°C/93°F in the afternoon.

Wet season – November to April – Summer

November & December – Clouds start to appear, bringing cooler temperatures and an occasional late afternoon shower. This pattern of change continues in December, with typical temperatures between 20°C/69°F in the morning and 33°C/91°F in the afternoon. The more extreme Kalahari areas can still have very hot days, and cold mornings. Humidity is typically between 50-60%.

January & February – These are the wettest months, characterized by heavy downpours in the afternoon and sometimes continuous rainfall for days. Daytime temperatures are around 32°C/90°F and the humidity is between 50-80%.

March & April – Rainfall decreases and it steadily cools. This trend continues through April, which has lovely, clear weather and few clouds. The nights tend to be cooler but the days are very temperate at 30°C/87°F.

Botswana Temperatures

Botswana Temperatures – average lows and highs and rainfall

  • January – 19/32° Celsius or  66/89° Fahrenheit.  Rainfall = 94 mm
  • February – 19/31° Celsius or  66/87° Fahrenheit.  Rainfall = 81 mm
  • March – 18/31° Celsius or  64/87° Fahrenheit. Rainfall = 56 mm
  • April – 14/31° Celsius or  57/87° Fahrenheit. Rainfall = 44 mm
  • May –  9/28° Celsius or  48/82° Fahrenheit. Rainfall = 11 mm
  • June – 6/25° Celsius or  43/77° Fahrenheit. Rainfall = 4 mm
  • July- 6/25° Celsius or  43/77° Fahrenheit. Rainfall = 3 mm
  • August – 9/28° Celsius or  48/82° Fahrenheit. Rainfall = 2 mm
  • September – 13/33° Celsius or  55/91° Fahrenheit. Rainfall = 14 mm
  • October – 18/37° Celsius or  64/98° Fahrenheit. Rainfall 40 mm
  • November –  19/34° Celsius or  66/93° Fahrenheit. Rainfall 69 mm
  • December – 19/32° Celsius or  66/89° Fahrenheit. Rainfall = 82 mm

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