Botswana is a predominantly dry and sunny country with a pleasant climate throughout the year. Even during the rainy season months (December to March), rainfall is rarely high enough to prohibit travel and visitors are rewarded with dramatic skies, cheaper prices and beautifully green landscapes.
Most of the country is classified as being either desert or semi-arid and all would be pretty barren were it not for the annual flood waters that inundate the lush Okavango Delta and northern waterways. The fact that the flood waters come when the wildlife needs this most – during the height of the dry season (July to October) – makes this an even more remarkable event and helps to sustain some of the highest mammal concentrations in Africa.
Counterintuitively, the rainy season months (December to March) are when the flood waters are at their lowest and many animals move away from the wetland areas to find grazing elsewhere. This is when many animals choose to have their young and when the deserts of the south start to bloom, creating a paradise for birds, herbivores and associate carnivores.
This mix of seasons means that Botswana is truly a year-round destination. Most people choose the dry season months for their first visit but many old-timers prefer the greenery, dramatic skies and unusual wildlife of the rainy months.
As one would expect, the dry season months (July to October) are the most expensive with December to March usually being the cheapest (but wettest) months to travel. The transitional months of November, April, May and June tend to have good weather and decent prices but the wildlife can be a little harder to see as there is a lot more cover and the animals are more dispersed.
The best time for birdwatching is from September to May, with the Okavango heronries becoming most active from September through to November when migrant birds return. Read more in our Travelling to Botswana: where to go when? blog post.