• SUMMER – November to February – Hot with tropical rains.
  • WINTER – March to October – Warm with sunny days and mild/cold nights.

The seasons for Botswana are as follows:

Botswana is a year round wildlife destination and because of the location of the Desert and Delta Safaris lodges and camps, we make it easy for you to select and plan a safari to suit your clients needs. However, there are certain seasons that are more suitable for special interests than others.

The following information is to be treated as a guideline as weather patterns and wildlife rhythms are never predictable and can never be guaranteed at a specific time or in a specific area.

Best time for Bird viewing – October to March

The summer season in Botswana welcomes a large variety of migrant birds from the northern hemisphere which use Botswana, and more specifically the Okavango Delta, as preferred areas for breeding and feeding.

The first migrants arrive from the Northern Hemisphere during September. By December all the migrants will have arrived which means there are 20% more birds in Botswana during the summer months compared to the winter months. The period from December to March is very active and the colours, more specifically the birds in breeding plumage, are spectacular.

The Okavango Delta is a birders paradise which entertains both the experienced ornithologist as well as the eager amateur. One of the highlights of the birding calendar takes place during September/October when the carmine bee-eaters arrive from Central Africa and often seen in their hundreds on the Savuti Marsh. Of particular interest, they make use of the large Kori Bustard, by riding on their backs as they move through the grass of the marsh and kick up fleeing insects.

Another highlight is the heronry at Gadikwe Lagoon, which provides nesting sites for hundreds of birds. (The Gadikwe lagoon is situated between Camp Moremi and Camp Okavango and/or Xugana Island lodge, and is a highlight to visit as part of the boat transfer between the lodges.) For guests who are spending three nights at Xugana Island Lodge, a full day Okavango excursion can be arranged which incorportates a visit to Gadikwe, walks on the Okavango Islands – a picnic lunch under the shade of a tree on one of the Islands and even a refreshing dip in the waters of the Okavango Delta on one of the shallow sand banks along the way.

Due to the heronry being shared by a variety of species it is active from July to March and is at its busiest from September to December when breeding colonies of herons are joined in the shallows, and among the low trees and swamp-fig thickets, by marabou, yellow and saddle-billed storks, sacred ibis and egrets. Flapping, noisy and colourful breeding displays can be enjoyed at close quarters.

Best Time for Plants, Vegetation and Botany – December to May.

After the first rains, the landscape in Botswana transforms into a subtle green blanket. Grasses shoot and leaves appear on what seems to be dead plants and it is a wonderful time of the year to experience the magnificent sprout of life in Botswana. The vegetation is lush and green and most of the plants are in bloom. February is peak flowering time for water lilies and the landscape is decorated with wild flowers. Savuti, in particular, and the area between the river and the wooded dunes in Chobe, break out in bright yellows, whites and purples among the green blanket that covers the ground. The sweet smell of fresh grass and wild sage at Savuti fills the air and adds to the raw assault on the other senses.

Best time for viewing Mammals and Wildlife

When the summer rains start towards the end of November the barren looking earth of Savute comes alive. Its rich new grasses are a magnet for herds of Burchell’s zebra and wildebeest, which can be found on the Savute marsh where they foal before making for the lush grazing grounds of the Mababe Depression further south to the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans.

Large herds of Buffalo gather from the Okavango and move through toward the mainland of Moremi, where there are now sufficient pools of water to sustain them.

As the rains cease towards the end of February and the pans vaporise as the dry season looms the herds gather once again. Closely followed by predators, they make their annual journey from Savute to the Linyanti to arrive around April. During the winter months the banks of the Chobe River, and the Xakanaxa area of Moremi become the lifeblood of the wildlife, as there is no surface water in the surrounding bush. Elephant and buffalo are also migratory, making seasonal movements of up to 200 kms from the Chobe river where they concentrate in the dry season to the pans in the Mopane woodlands to the south near Savuti, where the food source is very nutritional.

November to March are great months as the air clarity is unparalleled, trees begin to burst into life, the new grass is green and lush, skies are dramatic as big clusters of clouds precede the rains and babies are being born. It’s a wonderful time for the photographer as there is action, colour and visibility.

April to October bring about cooler mornings with high relative humidity that leads to wonderful early morning misty magic especially over the water. The buffalo begin to group into large herds and visit the river areas more often as the seasonal pans begin to dry. Along the Chobe river, breeding herds of elephant increase in density daily as they visit the rivers and pans with permanent waters. African wild dogs den in June and it is possible to witness exciting hunts in the Savuti and Moremi areas. Animals begin to concentrate at the permanent water sources, as do their predators. Soft early morning and evening light combined with dust provides the opportunity for many dramatic photo settings. In July the bush is bare and the dust pervades but there is plenty of action and with patience and perseverance the rewards are great.


SUMMER – October to March. The summer or rainy season begins in October and ends in March. In October the weeks preceding the coming of the rains tend to be the hottest with temperatures soaring up to 40ºc or more. Cloud coverage and the arrival of the first rains towards the end of November or in early December cool things down considerably, although usually only for a short period. During the rainy period, which lasts until the end of February or early March, the days are hot and generally sunny in the morning with afternoon thunderstorms – usually in short, torrential downpours during the late afternoon. Day time temperatures can rise to 38ºC and night time

temperatures drop to around 20ºC – 25ºC. Northern areas receive up to 700mm of rain per annum while the Kalahari Desert area averages as low as 225mm per annum. Rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and highly regional. Often a heavy downpour 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

WINTER – April to September. The days are dry, sunny, clear and cool to seductively warm while evening temperatures drop sharply. Day time temperatures generally reach 20º C and evening temperatures can be as low as 5ºC and in some areas can plummet below freezing. Virtually no rainfall occurs during the winter months.


Bird viewing is excellent. It is peak breeding time for many of the colourful migrant bird species. Excellent wild flowers, brilliant green foliage and constant sounds day and night – from insects and birds – the bush is alive. January is in the middle of the rainy season with spectacular afternoon thunderstorms, high humidity and warm days (average 30°C plus) and nights (20°C plus). Game viewing is reasonable with active predators still chasing the fast developing young of their prey species. January is an ideal month for photography due to all the vivid colours, spectacular skies and unparalleled air clarity. The contrast of the predators natural winter camouflage with the summer colours makes for dramatic photos. More easily spotted by their prey species the predators have to work hard while the prey has a time of plenty…


Ripe figs are eaten by many species including the fruit bats that make interesting night sounds while feeding. It is peak flowering time for water lilies and the reed frogs are colourful and noisy – the Okavango Delta is brilliant, noisy and alive. Due to the rains plants are growing actively. Butterflies, birds, frogs and all the small creatures are full of life and at their best. The rains continue in the form of mid to late afternoon thunderstorms with dramatic skies and sounds. It is hot with daytime temperatures averaging above 30°C and warm nights at 20°C plus. There may be both wet and very dry spells within the month. The giant bullfrog emerges from months and sometimes years of hibernation to indulge in nocturnal feeding frenzies. The resident game species do not have far to go for water and the young are almost as tall as the adults. Birding is excellent!


The fruit of the Marula trees attract their attendant bull elephants that wander from tree to tree in search of their favourite meal. At this time of year elephant are often encountered on walks in the Okavango as they feed from one Marula to another. The start of the rutting season leads to the sleek and fat impala males snorting and cavorting to attract females. Temperatures are still warm both day and night but the air is drier and the rains less frequent. The bush is lush and green and there are lots of flowers…


The first signs that the times are a changing – night temperatures drop to below 20°C on average but day temperatures continue to rise up to 40°C on some days. Generally the temperatures are very pleasant. The cooler mornings with high relative humidity lead to wonderful early morning misty

magic especially over water. The impala rut is in full swing and the impala noises continue right through the night with dramatic clashes between rival males. Baboon and impala are often seen together as the baboon act as sentries protecting the busy impala. The trees have completed flowering and fruit is ripening, with massive sausages hanging from the Sausage trees. Reptiles are actively breeding and feeding in anticipation of the dry season which is about to start.


Traditionally floodwaters from the Angolan highlands should reach the top of the Okavango Delta panhandle and begin their slow and deliberate progress through the Delta. The rains are over and the nights are cooler with temperatures averaging 15°C. The days are still warm with temperatures up to 35°C. Buffalo begin to group into large herds and visit the river areas more often as the seasonal pans begin to dry. Breeding herds of elephant increase in density daily as they visit the permanent waters. The vivid green bush starts fading to duller dry season colours and the predators begin to enjoy themselves as their colours blend in with their surroundings once again. The migratory birds begin their flights to winter-feeding and breeding grounds in far away places.


June is an exciting month. The African wild dogs begin to search for dens, which makes them easier to find than normal in certain areas for the next three or four months as they operate from their dens. Exciting hunts and playful puppies – what more could you wish for! Temperatures have dropped to their coldest by the end of June with night temperatures reaching as low as 5°C (very cold on night drives due to wind chill factor). Daytime temperatures rise up to a very comfortable 25°C and dusty dry conditions begin to dominate. Some green bushes and trees persist but leaf drop commences and pans dry up. Animals concentrate at permanent water sources, as do their predators. The inner

Delta starts to flood!


It is the height of the floods for the Okavango Delta, after a slow path from the wet Angolan highlands thousands of kilometres away. The paradox is obvious – the flood arrives when dust and dryness pervade and the rains have long gone. The leaves are falling off the trees, grasses are getting shorter every day and visibility is excellent. The nights are still cold but the days are marginally warmer and the weather typical of Botswana – sunny and clear with brilliant cobalt blue skies. More and more animals congregate near the water and flood plains – July is a special time of the year. Water seeps into areas where there was none the day before and the Mekoro and boat trips become more exciting as new channels and waterways can be accessed. Soft early morning and evening light combined with dust provides the opportunity for many dramatic photo settings…


The elephant herds are getting larger. As they jostle for space near the water tension rises between the breeding herds. The bush is bare and the dust pervades but there is plenty of action and with patience and perseverance the rewards are great. The floods have passed through the Delta and now reach Maun – leading to excitement for the locals in town as water related speculation is at a peak – how high? When will it stop? How far will the water go? The weather is warming up with daytime peaks averaging closer to 30°C and night time averages rising to around 10°C. August is another special month in Botswana as well as being peak visitor season. The herons, storks and other birds start to congregate at the Gadikwe heronry, visited on the boat transfer between camps Moremi, Okavango and Xugana Island Lodge.


The climate has changed and winter is all but gone. Night temperatures rise rapidly within the month and by month end the average reaches 15°C plus and day temperatures soar well into the 30°’sC. The sunshines, the skies are clear and it is really dry. Unbelievably the elephants concentrate in

still greater numbers as do the buffalo keeping the predators busy as the season takes its toll on the prey species – it is a time of plenty for the lions. The colours explode as the carmine bee-eaters return for the summer. The first migrants arrive and storks start nesting. Water levels have slowly started to drop as the waters from Angola have completed their trek. Certain trees start to produce their first green shoots – fed by the floodwaters and temperatures and not by any rain, as the first rains are still about six weeks away…


It is hot – really hot but never will you experience such great game viewing – well worth the sweat. This is the time of year when the herbivores are at their weakest because of a lack of food and the lions are at their strongest. Day temperatures rise regularly above 40°C and nights are warm with averages in the 20°C. There is no place to hide, everything is bare and the grasses have been eaten or trampled. Predator chases erupt into clouds of dust as the eternal game of eat and be eaten plays out daily in the very open plains. Fishing frenzies with the annual catfish (barbell) runs in the rivers. The Gadikwe heronry near Xugana and Camp Okavango is full of activity with hundreds of birds breeding and nesting – bird viewing is excellent. At night Savute becomes alive with nocturnal sounds – elephants screeching impatiently at the water holes and earth trembling lion roars!


The expectation – in fact – desperation for rain dominates all discussions – the residents and the animals all seek an end to the dryness and dust. Temperatures remain high both day and night and game viewing is excellent – until the day of the first rains – normally around mid November. The rains come, the animals are relieved, disperse to eat on new vegetation and drink from the seasonal pans. The birthing season begins with the tsessebe, followed by impala and Lechwe. The predators seek out the vulnerable young and kill many times a day to get their fill. It is a time of action, great visibility and colour with big clusters of cloud, fresh sprouting grass and trees bursting into life – a wonderful time for the photographer!


Protein rich grass feed the mothers of the antelope while the lambs and calves grow at astounding speed. The impala complete their lambing, the wildebeest start and complete in a few weeks. The rains become more regular with thunderstorms every few days. The pans remain full and the colours shine in brilliant green. While the grazers enjoy the green tender mouthfuls the predators are ever watching and stalking. Their winter camouflage lets them down and they have to work harder, however, the bush is dense allowing more hiding places for them to observe their prey. All the migrant birds have arrived and the birding is excellent. Temperatures have cooled on average but hot days still occur and nights are still warm and humidity can rise after rain. Great colours, dramatic skies and lightning at night all add to the magic of December.