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Climate - Botswana

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go, what to pack

United States version (°F - inches - feet). See also the metric version (°C - mm - meters)

Flag - Botswana

Map - Botswana

In Botswana the climate is sub-tropical, arid or semi-arid depending on area, occupied by a plateau which has an average altitude of around 3,300 feet. The winter, from May to August, is dry and sunny, mild during the day but cold at night, especially in the center and south. The summer, from November to March, is hot and moderately rainy, due to thunderstorms in the afternoon or evening. Therefore, there's plenty of sunshine even in this season, especially in the morning. In spring, in September and October, the heat is often stifling especially in the north, however, hot days are possible throughout the country from September to April.
In the country there are several parks and natural reserves, which are still little known but of great interest, being home to the flora and fauna of the savannah. Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the country has reversed seasons compared with the Northern Hemisphere.


The driest areas are the south-west, where the Kalahari desert is found, and precipitation goes even below 12 inches per year, and the far east, in the valley of the Limpopo, where it goes below 16 inches per year. The wettest areas, where more than 20 inches of rain per year fall, are the north and the south-east, where the capital Gaborone is located. In general, rainfall in the warm season is not very abundant, but in some years it can be more abundant than usual, when the country is reached by moist air masses from Congo.
The average daily temperature of the coldest months, June and July, are around 52/54 °F in the south and 64 °F in the north. The temperatures in summer are more uniform, as they swing between 77 and 81 °F, depending on latitude, but also on altitude, which in any case is fairly uniform. The hottest months are December and January in the center-south, while in the north the hottest days occur in October and November, before the rains, which are able to lower a bit the temperature: in this period, the daytime temperature stays normally around 95 °F, but it can also reach 105 °F.
Here are the average temperatures of Tshabong, in the far south: you notice the remarkable temperature range in winter, with the cold at night and the mild air during the day, as well as the summer heat.
Tshabong average temperatures
Tshabong J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 66 66 63 54 43 36 34 39 48 55 61 64
Max (°F) 95 93 90 82 77 72 72 77 84 88 91 95

In this southern area, the rains are scarce, given that they amount to about 12 inches per year. Here is the average rainfall.
Average precipitation Tshabong
Tshabong J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 2.0 2.3 2.0 1.5 0.5 0.2 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.8 1.3 1.3 12.1
Days 6 7 6 5 2 1 0 1 1 3 4 5 41

The capital Gaborone is located in the south-east, a short distance from the border with South Africa, at 3,300 feet above sea level, like most of the country. From October to March, the maximum temperatures are around 85 °F or slightly above, but moisture is higher from December to March, at the height of the rainy season. Sometimes the temperatures can reach 97/105 °F from September to April.
Here are the average temperatures.
Gaborone average temperatures
Gaborone J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 67 67 63 56 47 40 40 46 55 61 64 66
Max (°F) 91 89 86 82 78 73 73 78 85 88 89 90

In a typical year, 23 inches of rain fall, of which 4 inches per month from December to February. In winter, from May to August, the sun shines and it almost never rains; daytime temperatures are pleasant, while at night they get cold, even close to freezing: therefore the temperature range between day and night, during this period is noticeable.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Gaborone
Gaborone J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 3.9 3.9 3.3 1.6 0.8 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.7 1.8 2.6 3.9 23.3
Days 10 9 7 5 2 1 1 1 2 5 7 9 59

In the northern cities, winter is milder, so that the maximum temperature is around 75/79 °F, and the minimum around 41/50 °F. Sometimes, however, it can freeze at night even on the edge of the Okavango Delta, the river that gets lost in inland wetlands, without having access to the sea. Moreover, as mentioned in the north the hottest period goes from September to November, because then the temperatures decrease slightly in summer, due to the prevalence of more humid air masses of tropical origin.
Here are the average temperature of the northern city of Kasane.
Kasane average temperatures
Kasane J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 67 67 66 61 55 50 49 54 61 67 69 67
Max (°F) 87 87 88 87 83 79 79 85 91 94 92 89

In this northernmost area, which is the rainiest of the country, rainfall exceeds 23.5 inches per year, and as usual the rains are concentrated in summer. Here is the average rainfall.
Average precipitation Kasane
Kasane J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 6.2 5.2 3.1 0.7 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.9 2.5 5.9 24.6
Days 14 11 8 2 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 13 61

When to go

The best time to visit Botswana is the austral winter, from May to August: the sky is clear, the air is dry, it's warm during the day, and the animals of the savanna are easy to spot because they are concentrated in the few mud puddles left. Certainly, one must take into account some cold at night, especially in the center-south, even with possible slight frosts. Given the remarkable daily temperature range, it is necessary to dress in layers.
Wanting to travel in the austral summer, for example at Christmas, you will have to reckon with rains and thunderstorms, especially in the north and in the south-east, and the heat during the day, especially in the south and in the Kalahari. In September and October, before the arrival of the rains, the heat is intense especially in the north, but sometimes all over the country: those who are sensitive to cold and do not suffer from the heat, can choose this period.

What to pack

In winter (June to August): spring/autumn clothes, in layers, even light for the day, as well as sweater, warm jacket and hat for the evening.
In summer (December-February): light clothes for the day, sun hat, a sweatshirt and a spring jacket for the evening; light raincoat or umbrella.

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