In Botswana, a Southern African country occupied by a plateau having an average altitude of around 1,000 metres (3,300 feet), the climate is sub-tropical, arid or semi-arid depending on area. The winter, from May to August, is dry and sunny, mild during the day but cold at night, especially in the centre and south. The summer, from November to March, is hot and moderately rainy because of 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 intense especially in the north, however, hot days are possible throughout the country from September to April.
In the country there are several parks and nature reserves that host plant and animal species of the savannah, which are still little known but of great interest. 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 drops below 300 millimetres (12 inches) per year, and the far east, in the valley of the Limpopo, where it goes below 400 mm (16 in) per year. The wettest areas, where more than 500 mm (20 in) of rain fall per year, 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, or because of the remains of cyclones (see below).
The average daily temperature of the coldest months, June and July, are around 11/12 °C (52/54 °F) in the south and 18 °C (64 °F) in the north. Temperatures in summer are more uniform, in fact they swing between 25 °C and 27 °C (77 °F 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 centre-south, while in the north the hottest days occur in October and November, before the rains manage to lower a bit the temperature: in this period, the daytime temperature stays normally around 35 °C (95 °F), but it can even reach 40 °C (104 °F).



In the south-west we find the Kalahari desert. Here are the average temperatures of Tshabong, located in the far south-west, near the Gemsbok National Park, which is part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: not only you can notice the remarkable temperature range in winter, when nights are cold but days are mild, but also the summer heat.
Tshabong - Average temperatures
Min (°C)1919171262149131618
Max (°C)353432282522222529313335
Min (°F)666663544336343948556164
Max (°F)959390827772727784889195

In this southern area, the rains are scarce, in fact they amount to about 300 mm (12 in) per year. Here is the average rainfall.
Tshabong - Average precipitation

In the arid southwest the sun shines all year round.
Tshabong - Sunshine


The capital Gaborone is located in the south-east, a short distance from the border with South Africa, and, like most of the country, at 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) above sea level. From October to March, the maximum temperatures are around 30 °C (86 °F) or slightly above, but moisture is higher from December to March, at the height of the rainy season. Sometimes the temperature can reach 36/40 °C (97/104 °F) from September to April.
Here are the average temperatures.
Gaborone - Average temperatures
Min (°C)19191713855813161819
Max (°C)333230282523232630313232
Min (°F)666663554641414655616466
Max (°F)919086827773737986889090

In a typical year, 590 mm (23 in) of rain fall, of which 100 mm (4 in) 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 become cold, even close to freezing (0 °C or 32 °F): therefore even here, in this period the temperature range between day and night is noticeable.
Here is the average precipitation.
Gaborone - Average precipitation

In Gaborone the sun shines all year round, however, because of afternoon thunderstorms, in the rainy season the sunshine duration decreases a little.
Gaborone - Sunshine


Okavango Delta

Sometimes, however, on winter nights it can freeze even in the north-west of the country, on the edge of the Okavango Delta, the river that gets lost in a vast marshy area, in the north-west of the country, without having access to the sea.
Here are the average temperatures of the village of Maun, located at 950 meters above sea level, south-east of the Okavango Delta.
Maun - Average temperatures
Min (°C)191918151066914181919
Max (°C)323131302825252832353432
Min (°F)666664595043434857646666
Max (°F)908888868277778290959390

Here the rainfall amounts to 450 mm (18 in) per year. Here is the average rainfall.
Maun - Average precipitation

Here, too, the sun shines all year round, but especially in the dry winter.
Maun - Sunshine

To the south-east of the Okavango delta and of Maun we find the Makgadikgadi Pan, a group of dry salt lakes that during the rainy season receive the waters, respectively of the Boteti River (which carries the waters of the same Okavango delta) and the Nata River. The area is protected in the two neighboring national parks, Nxai Pan and Makgadikgadi Pan.


In the far north, winter is milder, so that the maximum temperature is around 24/26 °C (75/79 °F), and the minimum around 8/10 °C (46/50 °F). Moreover, as mentioned in the north the hottest period goes from September to November, while in summer the temperature slightly decreases because of the prevalence of more humid air masses of tropical origin.
Here are the average temperatures of the northern town of Kasane, in the Chobe National Park, near the border with Namibia (Caprivi Strip), Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Kasane - Average temperatures
Min (°C)201919161310101216192020
Max (°C)313131312926262933353331
Min (°F)686666615550505461666868
Max (°F)888888888479798491959188

In this northernmost area, which is the rainiest of the country, rainfall exceeds 600 mm (23.5 in) per year, though as usual the rains are concentrated in summer. Here is the average rainfall.
Kasane - Average precipitation

In the northernmost area the sun shines regularly in the long dry season, while in the rainy period the hours of sunshine decrease a little more than in the rest of the country.
Kasane - Sunshine

Beyond the border, about 70 km (45 mi) to the east, the Victoria Falls are found.

Tropical cyclones

Occasionally, Botswana can be affected by tropical cyclones, which originate in the Indian Ocean, and after passing over Mozambique can reach the eastern regions of the country. Typically they lose strength when penetrating in the mainland, but are still able to bring a good amount of rain, as happened with Cyclone Japhet in early March 2003, or Dineo in mid-February 2017.
The cyclone season runs from mid-November to May, but they are most likely from late December to mid-April.

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 centre-south, even with possible slight frosts. Given the remarkable daily temperature range, it is necessary to dress in layers.
If you want to go 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 with 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 throughout 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, a warm jacket and hat for the evening.
In summer (December to February): light clothes for the day, a sun hat, a sweatshirt and a spring jacket for the evening; a light raincoat or umbrella.

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