Best time to visit Botswana
The heat peaks in October. If you can bear the temperatures, this is a great time to see wildlife as it clusters around the Okavango Delta.
August to October is often the best time to visit Botswana for first-time visitors. This is the dry winter season, when you’re most likely to see huge herds of elephants bustling around waterholes and get unobstructed views across foliage-free plains. Just be prepared for hot days, chilly nights and busy lodges. Some of our local safari experts prefer the “green” season from November to March. Wildlife disperses and water levels drop in the Okavango Delta, but the climate is pleasant. Thunderstorms tend to occur in the late afternoon, dulling the heat yet leaving time for sunshine. Migratory birds and baby antelope are best seen then too.
When is the best time to go on safari in Botswana?The best time for a safari in Botswana is often August to October, when the foliage dies back, the wildlife is concentrated around the few waterholes remaining, and the Okavango Delta is topped up with water. It is very hot, though, and thunderstorms start to rumble in the evenings. The green season (November-May) is great for seeing migratory birds and newborn antelopes against less parched landscapes… as well as the predators that stalk them.
A month by month guide on when to go to Botswana
January in Botswana
February in Botswana
March in Botswana
April in Botswana
May in Botswana
June in Botswana
July in Botswana
July and August are great for a Botswana camping safari
August in Botswana
September in Botswana
October in Botswana
October and November are great for pairing Namibia with Botswana
November in Botswana
December in Botswana
Botswana Weather Chart
Our Botswana Holidays
If you'd like to chat about Botswana or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Best times to visit Botswana for festivals & events
World Wetlands Day (2 February)If anywhere has reason to celebrate its wetlands, it’s Botswana. It’s home to the Okavango Delta, one of the most important and wildlife-rich wetlands on Earth. World Wetlands Day falls on the date Botswana (among others) signed the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. A free festival in Maun peppered with music and environmental talks celebrates the lifegiving delta, as well as educating attendees about our reliance on wetlands for the health of both us and the planet.
Maitisong Festival (April)The Maitisong Festival is the biggest music and arts festival in Botswana, celebrated throughout April in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana. Hip hop concerts, poetry jams, dance acts, comedians and theatre covering subjects as varied as lost languages and fantastical fairy tales are largely aimed at promoting Botswana’s young artists.
President’s Day (third Monday of July)This two-day holiday was recently cut to a single day – but you wouldn’t know it if you’re in Botswana. Most places shut down for longer to give people the chance return to their hometowns to party with their families. Military parades honour the current and past presidents who have ruled Botswana since independence (there aren’t as many as you’d think – only five since 1966).
Kuru Dance & Music Festival (August full moon)Held each August outside Ghanzi, Kuru Dance and Music Festival stages the world’s largest gathering of San dancers. Hundreds of San from across Botswana and Namibia share skills and knowledge, sell beaded bags and eggshell jewellery, and perform spiritual rituals before dancing until the early hours of the morning.
Botswana Day (30 September)Botswana Day celebrates the moment the nation declared independence from Great Britain in 1966. The day kicks off with parades in the cooler morning sunshine, barbecues sizzle in back gardens all day long, and a huge firework show lights up the national stadium in Gaborone, which gets all dressed up in the blues, blacks and white of the Botswana flag.
The barbel run (September-October)Each September and October, the receding waters of the Delta cause huge shoals of fish to swarm back to the Okavango River. This causes a feeding frenzy amongst the larger barbels (catfish) and tigerfish, which slap the water with their tails, terrorising the smaller fish out from the reeds and into their own mouths or the beaks of the stalking herons and eagles. It’s a fly fisherman’s dream – and a fascinating show even for those not armed with a rod.
Baby animals (November-February)The green season brings new life to Savuti in Chobe National Park as herbivores, including impala and wildebeest, begin to calve. But it’s not all cooing at wide-eyed babies. Vulnerable youngsters also trigger a thrilling increase in predators, creating plenty of action for those watching from hides.
Our travellers also ask…
When is the best time to visit Botswana & Victoria Falls?May is usually the best times to see Botswana and Victoria Falls. The green season is over, so the waterfall will be at its most dramatic, boosted by rainwater. May is also the start of the dry season in Botswana, when wildlife makes predictable beelines for patchier water supplies and the Okavango Delta welcomes back wildlife as the waters rise.
What is the hottest month in Botswana?Northern Botswana sizzles in September and October after a long dry season. Although the mercury might not be as high as later in the year, it feels much hotter because of the arid air. It’s a tad cooler amongst the rivers and wetlands of the Okavango Delta, though. The summer “green season” from November to March brings a steadier kind of heat, with warm summer nights that sometimes don’t climb down from around 20°C.
When is the rainy season in Botswana?The rainy season – or “green season” – is in the summer, between November and March. Wildlife behaviour switches from gathering around rare waterholes to feeding on long grasses and giving birth through the spring and summer. You won’t see large congregations of elephants and hippos, but you will spy more active predators and skies aflutter with migratory birds (although the growing greenery can obscure viewings somewhat).
The north and south-east are the rainiest parts of Botswana, with the capital city Gaborone going from near-zero rain in July and August to almost daily afternoon thunderstorms in January.
What is the best time of year to visit the Okavango Delta?Visit the Okavango Delta in August for prime wildlife viewing time and high water levels that cool down the scorching temperatures you’ll find elsewhere in Botswana. But really, any time from May to August is excellent in the Okavango Delta, with May-early June ideal for avoiding the school holiday crowds.
How cold does it get at night in Botswana?It can get very cold at night in winter (May-August) in central and south Botswana. That’s especially true of the Kalahari Desert and Gaborone, where evening temperatures hover around freezing point in June and July. (Don’t worry, the daily averages are a much more welcome 15°C.) It rarely gets that cold in the Okavango Delta, with winter nights about 10°C.
More about Botswana
If you’re looking to travel to southern Africa then our Botswana travel guide, packed full of information, is the perfect place to start your journey.
Our Botswana interactive map page reveals the country's highlights, with details of three classic itineraries, too, to help you make the most of your time.
There are of course myriad things to do in Botswana, from a mokoro canoe ride in the Delta to bush walks and an authentic San experience in the Kalahari.
Carrying water and silt from the Angolan highlands, Botswana’s Okavango Delta floods life into the Kalahari Desert and supports wildlife on an epic scale.
Botswana’s Moremi Game Reserve offers what is arguably some of the finest game viewing in southern Africa, in one of the continent’s richest and most diverse ecosystems.
Discover the diverse and fascinating wildlife roaming through one of Africa’s last great wildernesses on a Botswana safari.
The chance to see a vast array of Botswana wildlife hunting, feeding and raising young in some of Africa’s most unspoilt, pristine environments is what draws people to this desert nation.
You know your children and if you think that travelling in Botswana with kids will work for you and your family then don’t hold back, go for it.
Botswana is an exclusive destination with exclusive accommodation – often small, always perfectly formed and frequently at the forefront of responsible tourism.
We really rate travel advice from our friends in Botswana and think you should too; read pearls of wisdom from expert travel writers, photographers and fellow travellers, too.
Learn about Botswana's responsible tourism issues, from hunting bans to the San people, is an important part of travelling right in Botswana and finding out what you can do to help.