Planning a trip to Africa for a safari? There is a likelihood you will want to know the best times to visit Botswana, considering this is one of the best places in Africa for safari trips. So, lets get you booking already! You will not regret it. If you made it to this post that means you are at least thinking about. So then I am sure you will be interested in the best time to go on safari in Botswana, maybe the best time to visit the game parks in Botswana as well? Well, we are doing just that in this post.
Botswana is home to the Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the WORLD! Its full of lagoons, secret waterways and palm-dotted islands where hippos and crocodiles roam free and where the big five can be found dotted around the vast planes.
- 1 A Little Bit About Botswana
- 2 The Climate & Best Time To Visit Botswana
- 3 Is Botswana Safe To Visit?
- 4 Best Time For Safari In Botswana
- 5 Other Things To Know When Planning A Trip To Botswana
A Little Bit About Botswana
Botswana lies in the southern part of Africa and bordered by Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Botswana is largely untouched and mostly dominated by the Kalahari Desert located in the center of the country but covers a good 84% of the country. Then 17% of the land is national reserves where you will find many beautiful creatures that make Botswana one of the most beautiful places to go for a safari.
During our visit we were lucky that my brother was still living in Botswana so was our guide for most of our trip. Although skipped out on our safari as he has done it like a million times. While Gaborone might be the capital, most people will coming through to the main tourist hubs in Maun hence my recent post on things to do in Maun and will do another on Kasane which is another one of the main hubs in Botswana that we visited.
Fun fact: Botswana is one of the richest countries in Africa. Thanks to Diamonds! A girl’s best friend. Shame we didn’t pick up any on this trip.
The Climate & Best Time To Visit Botswana
Being from Zambia you would think I would be used to the heat, as I currently live in the UK at the moment where the summer weather is the equivalent to winter weather in Botswana. When it comes to the climate in Botswana, the weather in Botswana is hot and dry for the most part. As we were going to be visiting Namibia during our trip I opted for the best time to go to Namibia and Botswana. With my husband being ginger I didn’t want him toasted to ash. We still came prepared with 60-100 SPF suncream.
While the country may be hot if you are visiting the Kalahari Desert it’s worth noting that sometimes the weather can drop to the minus. It has been known to drop as low as -12°C. Below I will go through the best time to go to Okavango Delta and other national parks as well as the weather in Botswana for each month.
Botswana seasons | Best Time To Visit Botswana By Month
While any time is great to visit in Botswana, is always great to know the seasons in the country to help you pack accordingly. The rainy season in Botswana is between December and February and comes with plenty of humidity if like me and your hair looks like a poodle in humidity don’t forget to pack some decent hair products.
During the summertime in Botswana weather can reach close to 40°C. Botswana average temperatures is around 25-30s, so make sure you pack light clothing for day time and good jackets for the evening as the weather tends to drop in the evening. I will do a post on what to pack for safaris but make sure you pack light coloured clothing especially colours that blend in well with the bushes when going on safari. Anything goes for visiting the towns and cities. Just note the winter in Botswana temperatures can be as low as 10°C. Majority of companies like GAdventures, or ExodusTravel will usually run their African Safari tours in favourable seasons.
I have split up the months to make it easier to decide when is the best time to visit Botswana for safari. As I cover the national parks below, this might also help for those that to know the best times to visit the best time to visit Botswana and Victoria Falls, especially for those that are coming for the Devils Pool and want to combine it with a visit to Chobe National Park.
Visiting Botswana In:
- April, May: visiting Botswana in April and May, you will find that the weather is fairly pleasant with some odd showers in some afternoons. The average temperature in April is around 24-25°Cand around 20°C in May.
- June, July(Winter in Botswana): Just like my home country, June and July are the coldest months in Botswana. The average temperatures in Botswana in June and July is between 10-17°C.
- August, September: From August the temperature the temperatures start to rise again. The average temperatures for August in Botswana are around 19°C and 24°C.
- October, November: In October is when we have summer in Zambia and you get similar temperatures in Botswana too. While the average temperature might be around 27°C …the temperature during the summer is usually in the high 30s. During these two months, there is a lot of humidity and well as higher chances of showers in the afternoons but they dry up very quickly as if nothing happened.
- December, January, February, March(Rain Season): Rain season is between December and March and while during the other months you may be able to explore the national parks with a normal car, the rain season in Botswana is not the time for that! The roads can be treacherous during the rainy season so if you are going to do safaris during this time make sure you have a 4×4 or use a tour operator who will have a better knowledge of the roads, terrains and conditions and where best to go. The average temperature in Botswana between December and March is still around the 20s.
Is Botswana Safe To Visit?
Contrary to what media tout about Africa, many African countries are welcoming and pretty safe to visit. Is Botswana safe? Yes, it is! We drove, used buses and mingled with locals with no issues are all. Like with any trip planning always best to look at your itinerary and look at how to get to them, what the place is like, the safety of your transportation and time of travel. Like I have mentioned we had no problems at all in Botswana. This is also a country my family and I have visited countless times. If renting cars make sure you do additional research on any paperwork needed when driving in Botswana, gas stations around the areas you are visiting so that you don’t have to make unnecessary stops at night.
Best Time For Safari In Botswana
There are many game parks in Botswana, but among the most popular are Moremi, Okavango Delta, Chobe and Central Kalahari game reserve.
The Best time to visit Botswana for a safari is between April and October
Best Time For Okavango Delta And Moremi Game Reserve
This is by far my one of my favourite places to visit in Botswana and one of the must-sees in Botswana. Access via Maun, Okavango Delta and Moremi are among the most popular tourist destinations for wildlife safaris. The delta is a unique oasis within the Kalahari desert. There are many ways to experience a safari in Okavango Delta. Some of these were mentioned in my post on things to do in Maun. From exploring the delta in Mokoro boats to taking a flight over the delta.
Located on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta is Moremi Game Reserve which has floodplains and lagoons. Both offer an opportunity to port the big via as well as crocs and many other animals that are loved and feared all at the same time. This is also a paradise for bird lovers. Considering the danger the wild animals pose, walking safaris and night drives are not allowed in these parks. The weather Okavango Delta
There are a couple of villages near Okavango Delta to stop at like Gudigwa which has nothing more than a school and small shop to buy few essentials. Just be aware that there may not be many petrol stations so you are likely going to see people selling fuel in containers along the road side. Where to stay in Okavango Delta: There are many hotels and Safari camps in Maun, some of which I linked to in my post on places to visit in Maun.
Best Time To Visit Chobe National Park
This is one of the most popular national parks. If you are looking to combine your trip with Zambia then make sure you visit during the best time to visit Botswana and Victoria Falls. This is to make the most of your visit to see Victoria Falls at its best. Chobe National Park is located in Kasane region. Its also one of the largest parks in Botswana made up of floodplains and Mopane forests. Being the most popular, here you can expect to see elephants, zebras, hippos, buffalos, warthogs, lions, jackal, foxes, cheetahs, wild dogs, hyena and many more wild animals and birds.
While self-driving is ok here, you will need a 4×4 and if camping you are not allowed to get firewood in the park as the park is unfenced with plenty of wild animals roaming. You need to be wary of this at all times. You need to bring your own firewood if camping in the park. Another reason why Chobe National Park is that there is no best time to visit the national park as any time is good but even better is during the drier months.
Particularly, the best time to visit Chobe National Park is between May and September. Where to stay in Chobe National Park: Always book well in advance if you wish to camp in the park. You need to pay camping fees at the main gates of the park. If staying outside the park the nearest town is Kasane for hotels and lodges. I will be sharing a post of where we stayed shortly.
Best Time To Visit Central Kalahari Game Reserve
This area has beautiful salt pans similar to that of Bolivia. Originally home to Bushmen, here you can find not only salt pans but ancient riverbeds. The best time to visit the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is between March and October. You want to visit just after the rainy season when the area attracts migratory springbok, wildebeest ostrich, gemsbok, giraffes and the beautiful Kalahari black-main lions, as well as cheetahs and hyenas.
One thing to note is that there isn’t much civilisation here so you need to come prepared with a suitable vehicle, be self-sufficient. Majority of tours or tourist that come this way have 4x4s and most of these have their own sleeping and facilities. The best time to visit this area is usually the time when 4×4 are required due to the nature of the terrain. Where to stay in Central Kalahari: There are several camping areas to choose from but its advised to book in advance. Kori Camp, Leopard Pan, Motopi Camp to name a few.
Best Time To Visit Makgikgadi Pans
This is one of the largest salt pans in the world. Part of the pans also form park of the Nxai Pan National Park. During the dry season, there is nothing spectacular to see here, it’s during the rainy season that Makgkgadi Pans comes alive! When the rain season arrives all the animals flock here. The challenge for visitors is how to see this place during this time.
While flight tours might be best, driving here can be somewhat treacherous. During the rainy season you can find flamingos, pelicans, waders and in greener areas, you can find antelope and season visits of migrating wildebeest. By far the best time to visit Makgikgadi Pans is during the rainy season, providing you can actually get to.
There is also a nearby Nata Bird Sanctuary for those interested in wild birds. If traveling to Makgkgadi Pans or Nxai National Park, its advisable to stop by Gweta to stock up on food and supplies as there services and shops are few and far between. Where to stay near Makgkgadi Pans: There is Jacks camp, Planet Baobab Rest Camp and San Camp nearby.
Best Time To Visit Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Kgalagadi is located in the south-western part of Botswana. An interesting fact about Kgalagadi is that 3 quarters of this park lie in Botswana and a quarter lies in South Africa. This is another park that is well suited to self-sufficient safari vehicles. The roads here are mostly made of sand so don’t attempt a trip here with a small car anything other than 4×4 and you likely experience some trouble. This is because the park is situated in the Kalahari Desert.
The park is also well known for its large population of seasonal raptors and wild birds. The best times to visit Kgalagadi is between March and October. Just avoid the rainy season. If visiting this national park be sure to check around the rules of compulsory stay of 2 days if your intention is to enter via Botswana and leave via South Africa as well as having to go through border control.
Other Things To Know When Planning A Trip To Botswana
The Basics About Botswana
Currency in Botswana: Pula
Money and Payments: Most major towns and cities will take credit cards but for smaller towns and villages best to have cash on hand. Especially when driving and if needing to fill up at petrol stations. Sometimes there may be issues with connectivity as well when processing payments. We had some issues when I tried to use my card in Kasane. It was resolved in the end but involved having to call my bank in the UK so also always make sure you tell your bank you are traveling.
Language in Botswana: Setswana although English is widely spoken.
Photographing people and buildings: Always remember to ask people when taking pictures. Use common sense and respect people’s privacy. When it comes to taking pictures of people in uniform or official buildings, this is a no-no! Don’t take pictures of the police, soldiers or official residence buildings or risk getting arrested or fined if caught.
Main towns and cities to visit: Most people come via Kasane if traveling from Zambia or via Francistown or Gaborone. Francistown is one of Botswana’s oldest towns. Both Gaborone and Francistown offer great facilities for people to stock up before moving on to the safari destinations mentioned above.
Vaccinations For Botswana | What Vaccinations Do I Need For Botswana
So lets talk all things to do with health! So if you are asking yourself: Do I need a yellow fever vaccination for Botswana? Yes! – Only if you cross over from Zambia or Angola. Otherwise, the certificate is not required. Do you need vaccinations to go to Botswana? Yes! For the recommended vaccinations for Botswana and South African countries, actually any country for that matter I would highly recommend visiting your GP and let them know what countries you are visiting and they are best advised to let you know what you need. This is what I did in my case.
I had a list of places we were visiting and it was easier for the GP to look up on the system what I had previously and how long I am covered for each vaccine. If you have a flexible itinerary and may want to explore other countries near Botswana I would strongly advise you to get yellow fever as you may not be allowed in without one in some countries. They don’t normally ask, but on the chance they do, it may cost you have to go and find a doctor nearby to get one as well as the added time and costs lost.
Most vaccines last about 5-10 years. Malaria is the most obvious when traveling to Botswana, Zambia, South African and Zimbabwe. As are Hepatitis A, Rabies and other parasitic diseases. Other things to note are snake bites and scorpions in the region. Not common but the risk is there to be aware of.
- The Best African Print Swimsuit To Pack For Vacation
- Visions Of The Wild In Botswana
- Exploring Swakopmund
- Sandboarding In Namibia
Pin For Later