Map from Google - 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 1,000 metres. 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, 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 300 millimetres per year, and the far east, in the valley of the Limpopo, where it goes below 400 mm per year. The wettest areas, where more than 500 millimetres 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 11/12 °C in the south and 18 °C in the north. The temperatures in summer are more uniform, as they swing between 25 and 27 °C, 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, which are able to lower a bit the temperature: in this period, the daytime temperature stays normally around 35 °C, but it can also reach 40 °C.
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.
Average temperatures - Tshabong
In this southern area, the rains are scarce, given that they amount to about 300 mm per year. Here is the average rainfall.
Average precipitation - Tshabong
The capital Gaborone
is located in the south-east, a short distance from the border with South Africa, at 1,000 metres above sea level, like most of the country. From October to March, the maximum temperatures are around 30 °C or slightly above, but moisture is higher from December to March, at the height of the rainy season. Sometimes temperatures can reach 36/40 °C from September to April.
Here are the average temperatures.
Average temperatures - Gaborone
In a typical year, 590 mm of rain fall, of which 100 mm 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
In the northern cities, winter is milder, so that the maximum temperature is around 24/26 °C, and the minimum around 5/10 °C. 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.
Average temperatures - Kasane
In this northernmost area, which is the rainiest of the country, rainfall exceeds 600 mm per year, and as usual the rains are concentrated in summer. Here is the average rainfall.
Average precipitation - Kasane
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.
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.