Although April – October are traditionally the months that most people choose for a Botswana Safari, but there are still plenty of attractions in Summer (November – March) and with things generally being quieter many people are discovering the attractions of doing a safari at this time of year.
In fact Botswana has a hot wet summer period, from November through to March / April, and then a dry warm winter period from May to August / September, with the heat and rains starting to appear again somewhere around October / November. Africa is always magnificent and mother nature making her contribution with the weather with spectacular rains, can add to the safari experience as arid planes and landscapes come alive withe vegetation.
The majority of the rain of the summer period occurs around December through to February, although the timing, like Africa herself is never completely predictable. When it comes, the rain usually falls in awesome afternoon thunder showers, pelting the land with big drops, and forming large waterholes and deep puddles along many of the roads. Temperatures during the summer months often get above 40 degrees, and together with rain and humidity, this can make it quite muggy.
Many people feel that as a general rule, game viewing is best during the dry months, when the vegetation gets thinner, making animals easier to spot, and when there is less surface water, bringing animals closer to permanent water sources and thus easier to observe but that is not true of the whole country and some areas like the Makgadikgadi Salt pan the Central Kalahari and the Savuit Marsh area do offer excellent options for travel during the wet season too, as long as you are prepared for some rainy afternoons and some heat.
For those traveling in the summer months there is the bonus of good rates with lower tourist numbers. If you plan the right itinerary and especially if you love bird watching, this is the time you need to travel to Botswana.
If you are thinking that the idea of heavy rain is not what you had in mind for your holiday, then you have never experienced an African rainy season. The rain conveniently confines itself to one part of the day, usually the afternoon and is spectacular to watch from the comfort of your Lodge or veranda as you relax after lunch. This is nature in the raw, not the drizzle that we experience in the UK rather a dramatic demonstration of mother nature in action.
Botswana is a fabulous safari destination in the opinion of many perhaps the best. The country has been developed specifically as a high end tourism destination and because of that avowed objective, the quality of accommodation is very good, in many cases excellent. This is not a mass tourist destination: wildlife viewing is privileged and an experience, in this setting, that you will never forget. You will rarely see another vehicle whilst out on game drives and it will feel as though you have this whole majestic country and its magnificent wild life to yourself.
It is perhaps one of the last true wilderness destinations left to us on this planet and as such is a treat to visit. Visiting in the low season months will give you not only the chance to see the wildlife and the wonder of the country but also to experience this magnificent continent at its most exhilarating.
Colin McDonald writes on behalf of Opulent Africa – Botswana Safari