Botswana’s climate is semi-arid. Though it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season, from November to March. 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 that a good deal of the rainfall does not penetrate the ground but is lost to evaporation and transpiration.
‘Pula’, one of the most frequently heard words in Botswana, is not only the name of Botswana’s currency, but also the Setswana word for rain. So much of what takes place in Botswana relies on this essential, frequently scarce commodity.
Botswana’s safari seasons
HIGH (DRY) SEASON – July, August, September and October
|Warm and sunny weather with moderate temperatures||Nights can be particularly cold in July|
|Sunshine and blue skies||October is typically the hottest month|
|Lower Malaria risk|
|Water sources are lower. Animals tend to gather around water holes.|
SHOULDER SEASON – April, May, June and November
|End of the wet season||Grass can be high which can impede the viewing of wildlife|
|Pleasant Temperatures||November can be very hot|
|Still chance to see animals around water holes||Nights can be very cold in June|
|Rutting season for some antelope|
LOW (WET) SEASON – December, January, February and March
|February is an excellent time for bird watching||Hot and humid weather (November to March are the hottest months)|
|Heavy but short downpours||More challenging to spot wildlife|
|Localised afternoon thunderstorms||More mosquitoes about|
|Possibility of seeing new born animals||Peak wet months January and February|
When to visit Botswana’s national parks and game reserves
It is true to say that there are national parks and game reserves in Botswana for every season and for every interest, making Botswana the ideal safari destination at any time of the year. The dry season draws the wildlife to congregate along the life giving waterways, and the rainy season attracts the herds to the lush new grass on the floodplains.