If you holiday in Botswana you will experience some of the best game viewing in Africa. Botswana is roughly the size of France, yet over 40% of it is protected and conserved for wildlife. So it is astonishingly rich in game and wonderfully diverse.
Roam the arid plains of the Kalahari Desert or sit beside inquisitive meerkats in Makgadikgadi Pans – formed by a shift in the Earth’s crust and the setting for the evolutionary birthplace of modern mankind. Explore the the Okavango Delta wetlands in a traditional Mokoro canoe and see a wealth of game and exotic birds. Explore the flooded delta in a small plane or helicopter, or even splash through the shallows on horseback alongside giraffes. You can stay on Chief’s Island and experience some of the best game viewing in Africa (Top tip: Make sure your camera is serviced and bring plenty of memory).
The dry season in Botswana is from April to October, with the rains falling from November through to March.
In general, game-viewing in Botswana is best between May and November. In April/early May, the grasses are still long and game viewing can be more challenging.
From late May onwards, conditions for game viewing can be considered as excellent, though it is probably best from August to the end of the dry season in October.
The landscape can look harsh and very dry during this time, but game viewing is easiest because grasses and foliage have withered or been eaten, and animals are reliant on more limited water sources. Migrant birds tend to start arriving in late September.
Best time to go
November usually brings the start of the rainy season, and whilst game-viewing can still be excellent with great visibility, certain animals (particularly elephant and buffalo herds) will start to disperse as soon as enough rain has fallen for them to survive away from the permanent water sources.
The most challenging time of year to visit Botswana is from December to March, unless you are mainly interested in birds and don’t mind a bit of rain!
The exception to this rule is the Kalahari ecosystem, where game-viewing is actually more productive during the rainy season (best from December to March) when game concentrates on the open plains and around pans. During the dry season, and particularly from July to October, the Kalahari is very harsh and game is widely dispersed.
The Okavango Delta floods annually from April (when the waters usually start to arrive) to June, so the best wetland ‘Okavango’ experience is usually had between May and September.
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