The Rainy Season 🌧️
The rainy season in Botswana runs from November to March, which is considered the worst time to visit the country. During these months, Botswana experiences frequent and intense rainfall which can put a damper on safari activities and wildlife viewing.
The heavy rains lead to flooded roads and pathways, making driving and access difficult, especially in remote areas. Safari vehicles can get stuck in muddy conditions. Thick vegetation growth also impacts the ability to spot wildlife clearly.
Many camps and lodges close down during the peak of the rainy season in January and February. The rains bring high humidity levels leading to an increase in mosquitos and malaria risk. High temperatures combine with the humidity making conditions quite uncomfortable.
If visiting Botswana during rainy season, be prepared for delays, disruptions and limitations. Waterproof clothing and gear will be essential. Wildlife will still be present but concentrated near water sources and thicker bush.
Holiday Periods 🎄
Botswana’s peak visitor seasons coincide with school holidays in Europe, America, and South Africa. The main holiday periods to avoid are:
- Easter Week in April
- Christmas/New Year’s weeks in December and January
During these times, popular camps book up far in advance and park entry fees increase significantly. Flight and transfer costs also rise due to higher demand.
Safari vehicles reach maximum capacity with long queues at park gates. There is less exclusivity and personalized service from guides. Animals congregate in large herds or hide away from the crowds.
If planning a Botswana safari over Easter or Christmas, make reservations many months in advance. Be flexible with accommodation choices and prepared for much busier parks. Shoulder seasons just before or after the holidays are good alternatives.
Summer Months 🌞
Botswana has extremely hot summer temperatures from October to February. Daytime highs frequently exceed 100°F/40°C leading to uncomfortable outdoor conditions.
The searing heat makes morning and afternoon game drives more challenging. Many animals nap under trees during the day to escape the sun. Nighttime drives can be better for wildlife viewing.
High temperatures combined with occasional strong winds whip up dust storms, limiting visibility on safaris. The hot dry weather leads to sparse vegetation and less scenic landscape viewing.
Summer visits require packing effective sun protection like wide brim hats and loose lightweight clothing. Seek camps with pools to relax in the heat of the day. Plan more activities in the cooler early morning and evening hours.
School Holidays 🏫
When school is out in Botswana from early December to late January, family tourism rises across the country. Gaborone and Maun see more overland travelers with campsites filling up.
Like international holiday periods, school break leads to higher rates for accommodations, flights and activities. With families traveling, there is more noise and less serenity in the parks and reserves.
Young children can disrupt the quiet ambience on early morning game drives. Guides must split their time between educating kids and spotting wildlife for other guests.
If visiting Botswana during local school holidays, opt for remote lodges and private conservancies for more exclusivity. Schedule drives and walks during school hours for a quieter experience.
Avoiding the rainy season, major holidays, peak summer and school break will provide the best conditions for an incredible Botswana safari. Remember flexibility with dates and lodging to balance visibility, value and crowds.