Best time to visit the Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland delta, where one of Africa’s greatest rivers floods into the Kalahari desert, pooling in a network of channels and lakes, creating new islands and rewriting the landscape each and every year.
Best of all, the Okavango Delta’s waters are at their highest during Botswana’s dry season with typical peak levels in July and August, at a time when all the Kalahari’s game is roaming the desert in an all-consuming search for drinking water. This is a safari highlight for anyone interested in Africa and its wildlife.
The Okavango’s spreading waters attract huge concentrations of animals. The Moremi Game Reserve protects a part of the Okavango Delta, and offers some of the finest game viewing in the region – and in Africa.
This is the ultimate safari destination: explore by vehicle – with a raised air-intake for driving through deeper channels – by mokoro, a traditional dug-out canoe (now, rather sadly, made from fibreglass – as Africa no longer has the spare trees), on a riding safari or on foot.
The whole of the Okavango Delta has been divided into huge private concessions where visitor numbers are strictly controlled. None of them will ever be crowded but the lodge you choose is likely to dictate the types of safari available: some are set on permanent waterways, others offer canoe safaris only during the annual floods, while others, on dryer land, will always rely on vehicles or walking expeditions to meet the area’s wildlife.
You can choose from ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ camps or one which offers both activities, which is possible at certain times of the year. You’ll need to combine at least ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ – to glimpse the variety of experiences available in the Okavango Delta and expert advice is vital for what is likely to be an ultimate, once in a lifetime safari.
When is the best time to visit the Okavango Delta?
While the weather can never be guaranteed, the rains generally come between December and March, with April to November being dry and the peak season for visitors (having said that Botswana is never crowded). The months of May through to August are classified as winter with cool mornings and evenings and daytime temperatures in the mid-20’s. September and October are hotter months with temperatures into the 30’s.
- The Okavango Delta waters reach their highest between June and September
- Grass can be high and bush can be thick between March and May, but cats don’t like wet grass, so sightings can be good as they walk along tracks
- If you are thinking of a riding safari it’s good to know that May to August, when the waters are high, offers lots of opportunities to swim with the horses, but the riding is slower than later on in the season when the floods have receded. In September to October the riding is faster along the flood plains and the wildlife is more concentrated around the water that is left.
We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions about visiting the Okavango Delta. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.