HIGH (DRY) SEASON
Botswana’s dry season generally occurs between April to October. It’s also “winter” which is relative in Botswana, as you can still expect daytime temperatures to reach around 68 fahrenheit (25 celsius). It does get chilly at night, and on morning safari drives in July and August one will need a fleece or extra layer. By October however, it can be very hot, around 104F (40C) during the day. It is mostly a dry heat, so bearable, but be prepared for strong sun during this time.
The dry season is the best time to view wildlife. The animals are easy to spot because the grass is short, and the bushes aren’t full of green leaves. They also gather in larger herds to drink from the few remaining water sources. But the dry season is busy as it also coincides with the summer holidays for the northern hemisphere. Prices are higher and forward booking is advised during this season. Botswana is an amazing safari destination because many of the camps are small and only accessed by charter plane. This puts a premium on space and keeps a high quality of camps.
The Okavango Delta is at its ultimate best during July and August. The flood waters have usually arrived in the delta, attracting huge numbers of wildlife from the dry interior. You are likely see huge herds of elephant, buffalo and all manner of buck, plus of course the predators who hunt them.
GREEN (WET) SEASON
Both wet and dry spells occur throughout the season. Typically short, spectacular afternoon showers offer a welcome relief from the heat of the day and make for great photographic opportunities. However, periods of heavy rain, low cloud cover and drizzle can occur. Green Season offers much better value. It is also the best time to visit the Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans.
Large concentrations of wildlife surrounding the permanent waterways during the dry season disperse to seek new grazing and are sustained by the seasonal pans now filled with rain water. Lower concentrations of wildlife are compensated for with lower visitor numbers offering added exclusivity. With the arrival of the rain comes new life as birthing season begins for many species. Predators take advantage seeking out the vulnerable young as easy prey creating spectacular wildlife interaction. Heronries and other nesting colonies are very active at this time of year and it is the peak breeding time for many of the colorful migrant birds.
Among an expanse of red sand, lies Botswana’s jewel and the largest inland delta in the world. The only permanent river in the desert, the Okavango Delta provides tourists with excellent game viewing opportunities by attracting hordes of birds and animals to its seasonal lagoons. This incredible geographical feature has created a quite incredible and diverse combination of safari environments, where one can view wildlife from a mokoro, walking, in a 4×4, motorboat and from above, in a light aircraft. There are camps offering water-based activities, land-based camps offering more traditional vehicle safaris and more.
The Okavango also incorporates the Moremi Game Reserve. Combining mopane woodland, acacia forests, floodplains and lagoons, the Moremi Game Reserve is known for its great diversity of plant and animal life. The Okavanga Delta is largely protected by the Moremi Game Reserve in the south east, often described as one of the most beautiful wildlife reserves in Africa.
Botswana’s second largest National Park is home to one of the largest surviving continuous elephant populations in the world. These migratory elephants can be found at the Chobe and Linyanti Rivers in the dry season and the pans in the southeast of the park during the rains. They travel in gigantic herds and are known as having the largest body size of all living elephants. To witness these gigantic animals in such sheer numbers is gob-smackingly amazing and hard to describe. Plus you are likely to see a lot of other excellent wildlife sightings too.
Linyanti Reserve is in a quiet forgotten corner of Botswana, which gives top lodges exclusivity and free-roam of the area. Being a private reserve, one can do night drives, game walks and off road driving, making it all the more attractive. Named after the Linyanti River that separates the reserve from the adjacent Namibian Caprivi Strip, Linyanti is renowned for its huge concentration of game, especially elephants and buffalo. Other features are its gentle lagoons, stunning river frontage, mature woodlands of sausage trees and jackalberry leading to open grasslands and dry inland woods and pastures.
Large herds of elephants and zebra spend the dry winter months (May to November) along the Linyanti River, then gradually move south to the Savuti hoping for good grazing brought by summer rains. Beautiful sable and roan antelopes roam the grasslands, while red lechwe and sitatunga antelope are found in the wetlands. There is a full compliment of predators, and bird life is prolific too.
Further south towards the heart of Botswana, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is one of the largest game reserves in the world. Visiting the Kalahari (or Kgalagadi as it is known by the locals) is a must for those wanting to meet the San tribe and experience their incredible connection to the land. Here you might well see the famed lions of the Kalahari or the white rhino, some of the only rhino in Botswana.
In the middle of the Kalahari Desert, grassland and dry savannah surround a large dusty hollow. The largest salt pans in the world, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are located in north-eastern Botswana. This unique environment is home to the legendary camps of Uncharted Africa: Jacks’ Camp, San Camp, Camp Kalahari, Planet Baobab. It is also home to the famous meerkats of “Meerkat Manor”. To experience the peace and wide open spaces of the Makgadikgadi is not to be missed, and provides a strak comparison to the lush Delta.
Let us know how much time you have, what areas interest you and our expert travel consultants will recommend the best fit for your. We will put together a tailor-made Botswana journey to suit your budget and time requirements. We will also pass on any value adds possible, such as free nights, free flights and other discounts. Africa Bespoke offers special deals at Wilderness Safaris, And Beyond, Desert & Delta and many independent camps throughout Botswana.
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