Most people wishing to visit Botswana will likely be advised to head to the country during the dry season which runs from April to October.
The reason for this would be that it is cooler than the hot Nov – Mar period. With less rain, the wildlife concentrates around permanent water (Okavango and Chobe) and it is easier for vehicles to travel around without getting stuck. The grass has dried and disappeared so it is easier to see the animals. In fact it is for these reasons that dry season game viewing is generally considered better across all safari regions of Africa.
The Green Season (or wet season) does however have its own advantages not least of which is the 30% reduction in the rates, making it a more affordable period to experience Botswana. With fewer travellers it can also provide a more personal experience. If you do decide to safari in Botswana in the summer months, will the experience be as good and what can you expect?
Our opinion is yes, if you are well advised to travel to the right regions and the correct camps, most certainly the green season in Botswana can be as rewarding. In summer, Botswana becomes a productive paradise interspersed with vibrant floral displays and a kaleidoscope of colours. There’s an explosion of new life as many species give birth to their young making for a fantastic observations of the comical and endearing antics of the young learning to face life for the first time. This is particularly enjoyable in an area like the Central Kalahari which is at its wildlife viewing peak in the green season. This normally arid area with wide-open vistas welcomes the rain and the desert is entirely transformed.
Predator sightings are frequent in these summer months as the animals take full advantage of the abundance of inexperienced younger prey and summer is the best season for bird watchers and bird photographers. Several bird species display their splendid breeding plumage and a myriad migratory bird species arrive, such as the vibrant kingfishers, vocal cuckoos and colourful bee-eaters.
The floodplains in the Okavango Delta are exposed by the receding winter flood and are transformed by the rains into a tapestry of green. This couch grass luxuriance draws grazers from the woodland of the higher lying larger islands onto the plains for giving birth. This means that it is possible to explore the islands and plains either on foot or in a safari vehicle. Game with young, feeding in these open areas, makes for excellent photographic opportunities coupled with rich landscapes and dramatic summer skies.
With the Savute Channel flowing again for the first time since 1983, the wildlife dynamic of the Linyanti region has changed. The famed elephant population that historically dispersed in the summer months now stay in the Linyanti in good numbers.
In a good year of rain the Makgadikgadi, famous for its season population of 50 000 flamingos, may have water, making for an extraordinary sight and a very different experience.
Summer mornings are exceptional. The temperature is perfect for warm pre-dawn starts to the day, happy in the knowledge that, like the animals, you can doze off in the hotter midday. In terms of the amount of rainfall you can expect, this is of course variable according to area and time of year but generally you should just expect short sharp afternoon showers or thunderstorms which in themselves are a spectacle. The wet season is by no means an all day every day rain experience.
During the summer months photographers will find the colours much more brilliant, the light sharper and the cloud formations and sunsets will be stunning. You will not be disappointed if this is your first safari. If you are a seasoned safari goer you will really appreciate the contrast to the dry season and will enjoy the abundance of life about.