Botswana is certainly one of the top safari destinations. The country has some of the best national parks and game reserves in Africa and the diversity of wildlife on offer is astounding. As the seasons in Botswana change, so do the safari highlights. From when the Okavango is flooded full with water from Angola after May and nighttime is a chorus of cacophonous frogs, to drier times when elephants and buffalo congregate on the waterholes in magnificent numbers, as do opportunistic predators. Every month brings something different to experience so it all depends on what you are looking for.
January – This is the height of the rainy season and is characterized by thrilling afternoon thunderstorms. Flowers and foliage are in full bloom, creating a lush green landscape that is dotted with colourful migrant birds.
February – The rains continue as the temperature rises with warm nights and warmer days. Now it’s time for the frogs to fill the nights with their song while butterflies, other insects, and fruit bats feast on the vegetation that has burst forth. Small creatures are at their most active.
March- March is migration time! It’s the largest Zebra migration in Africa, with thousands of Zebra moving between Botswana and Namibia almost in a straight line. They are also joined by Wildebeest and trailed by predators. This is also when Marula trees fruit in the Moremi and elephants wander between the trees to snack on their favourite meal.
April- The seasons are slowly starting to change from rainy to dry and nighttime temperatures are dropping further while daytime temperatures head in the opposite direction. There’s a beautiful early morning mist over the water. It’s impala mating season and rival males clash spectacularly.
May – The rains have ceased and now the floodwaters from Angola are starting to fill the Delta from above. The heat of the day is no longer as harsh as before, although temperatures are still high in the day but cooler at night. Elephants and buffalo now start to congregate by the waterholes and the landscape starts changing from lush green to sandy bush, which makes a better camouflage for predators.
June- It is now the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere which means nighttime and early morning temperatures are at their lowest. Days are pleasantly moderate and most trees and bushes have lost most of their leaves with only some persisting. Big game are becoming easier to witness, especially as the pans are drying up.
July – The flood waters have now filled the Delta and it’s an excellent time for Mokoro excursions. Evenings are still cold but days are sunny and clear, perfect for taking pictures – especially in the early morning and evening light.
August – Animal herds are increasing in size and there are moments of tension between breeding herds of elephant near the water. The bush is quite bare which makes for excellent game visibility.
September – Winter is on its way out and it is now Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. Nighttime temperatures are becoming warmer and daytime temperatures are hot. Predators are incredibly active and this is a good time to see lions and other big cats. Elephant and buffalo are numerous as well.
October – This is an excellent time for game-viewing as skies and the landscape is clear. Predators chase their prey on the dusty plains. Game drives take place earlier in the morning to avoid the high heat of the day.
November – It is now proper summer and temperatures are high during the day and the night. The antelope birthing season has started which allows for some excellent prey and predator action. Trees are starting to grow leaves again and new grasses are sprouting. It’s a fantastic time for photographs as there is ideal colour, action, and visibility.
December – The rains are starting up again and the afternoon thunderstorms are returning. The impalas have completed their lambing and now it’s the wildebeests turn to calve. The bush is starting to become denser and all the migrant birds have returned.