The dry, winter season (June-October) is widely considered to be the optimal time for game viewing in Botswana. The low grass and lack of vegetation make the animals easier to see. As water sources deep in the bush dry out, animals are forced to congregate in large numbers around permanent rivers. The green season in Botswana, however, is a magical time to visit. This is the time of year (Nov-May) when the rains fall and the dusty bush is once again renewed. There are a number of reasons to book a Botswana safari during the green season and a few downsides as well.
With the arrival of the rains around November, the parched bush is rejuvenated into a lush, green paradise. The dust has settled and the bare earth is transformed into a carpet of green with the growth of fresh grass. Trees grow new leaves, casting deep shade, and wildflowers explode from the sand. The high concentrations of game that gathered along permanent water sources in the dry season have dispersed to take advantage of the new growth. Zebras and other plains game migrate south from the Chobe region to graze on the fresh grass further south in the Kalahari or Makgadikgadi Pans.
The arrival of the rains brings new life as many animals give birth. The normally dry Kalahari Desert bursts with life. Huge herds of springbok and wildebeest gather to give birth. Thousands of zebra migrate into the Makgadikgadi Pans for the grazing. Large predators stalk the herds in hopes of an easy meal creating exciting wildlife interactions. Birds show off their colorful breeding plumage, joined by migrants escaping the northern hemisphere's harsh winter.
Though it is the rainy season, the rain usually falls as fantastic afternoon thunderstorms. The air is clean making for wonderful photography with billowing clouds, blue sky and green grass.
The green season is also the low tourist season so there are fewer people and rates are significantly lower than in the dry season of June-October. The dry season corresponds to summer vacations in the northern hemisphere, so Botswana can get busy. If you're looking to avoid the crowds, consider the green season.
That said, there are a few downsides to consider. With the rain comes humidity and insects. The grass may be too high for walking as visibility is limited. Due to lower water levels in the Okavango Delta, water based activities like boating or mekoro excursions may be cancelled. Some lodges are closed for annual maintenance and depending on the rain, dirt roads may be flooded and impassible.
However, its a great time for travelers who otherwise couldn't afford a Botswana safari or for returning visitors looking to see a different side of Botswana. It's a particularly good time of year to visit the Kalahari and Makgadikgadi Pans as these places generally have little game in the dry season.
We're offering a special green season Kalahari & Okavango Safari. On this 11 day safari you will journey through the Kalahari Desert and learn about ancient Bushmen culture, visit the endless grasslands of Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pan in search of the zebra migration, search for all the classic African game in the Moremi Game Reserve, and glide across the Okavango Delta in a traditional dugout canoe. Accommodation will be in lodges for 2 nights and luxury camping for 8 nights.
There are only 3 departure dates from Jan-March 2018! Contact us for details.
An exhilarating trek in search of endangered mountain gorillas? Experiencing the vast desert wilderness of Namibia? Following a herd of elephants on foot? Paddling papyrus lined waterways of the Okavango? Discover your African adventure on one of our safari packages or we'll help design your own itinerary.