With its semi-arid climate, Botswana is a perfect location for those who love safari adventures. It is assumed to be dry and hot year-round, but during winter (June to August) it can be very chilly at night and in the early morning. Rainfall varies from region to region while the desert environments such as the Kalahari have more extreme weather: hotter in summer and colder in winter. If you are planning a trip, it’s a good idea to find out about the weather in Botswana before visiting so that you know what to expect in terms of game viewing as well as what to pack.
Climate and Seasons in Botswana
The summer season is generally from late September through to April. Summer days are hot with average temperatures between 28°C and 35°C. They peak in October and can reach a blistering 40°C. Summer is also the rainy season in Botswana where you are likely to witness spectacular thunderstorms. Be prepared for heavy rains and slightly cooler temperatures in January and February when the rains are at their peak. The annual rainfall varies from the highest of over 650 mm in the extreme north-east area of the Chobe District to less than 250 mm in the extreme south-west part of the Kgalagadi District. For the most part, however, the Botswana climate is pleasant for most of the summer.
Winters in Botswana, May to September, are the dry season when its cool and sunny with virtually no rainfall and clear skies. With no cloud cover in winter, the nights are cooler and in some places the night temperatures may drop below freezing. There have even been instances of water freezing and frost in the Kalahari. The southern region temperatures are colder than the northern average of 22°C to 26°C. During winter it’s easier to explore on safari as the vegetation is thinner making it easier to see the animals. June, July and August is when you can expect the coldest evenings and mornings so gloves, scarves and blankets (which are provided) are good to have on those early and late game drives.
Wet Season in Botswana (Nov-Mar)
January and February are the wettest months, characterised by torrential downpours in the afternoon. Dark storm clouds gather and then the storms break with spectacular thunderstorms, followed by clear skies and rainbows. Daytime temperature is around 32°C and the humidity level is between 50 and 80%. In March the rainfall decreases as it starts to cool. In April the nights are relatively cooler and the day temperature remains at 30°C. This is a transition month from summer to winter with the rains decreasing – it’s a great time to visit Botswana’s national parks to spot animals and birds.
Dry Season in Botswana (Apr-Oct)
If you are planning a trip to Botswana then the dry season is a great time to visit. The average temperature is lower with sunny and bright days ideal for morning and afternoon game drives. Mornings and evenings are going to be cold so you will need to have a fleece, long safari trousers, a beanie and gloves to go along with the (normally) provided blankets on the game drive vehicle. There will be no rain. The dry season from April to October is also great for spotting game as the bush is drier and not so thick so it’s easier to see the wildlife. Animals tend to congregate at permanent water sources at certain times of the day so hanging out at waterholes watching the game becomes a feature of the game drive.
With warm days and dry nights, June to October is peak season, although October can be very hot. The shoulder season is May and November, which is a cheaper and less busy time to travel.
You can plan a trip year-round to Botswana and will have an amazing experience, but it’s helpful to do a quick bit of research to ensure you are prepared with what to pack and what to expect on the ground. Start planning your Botswana adventure soon!
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