Okavango Delta Weather and Climate
Background knowledge and geographic location
The Okavango Delta in north-west Botswana is a gigantic labyrinth of canals, islands and foothills of the Okavango River. The inland delta seeps into the basin of the otherwise very dry Kalahari, making it the lifeline of one of the best safari areas on earth.
Due to its size and importance for the flora and fauna of an entire region, the ecosystem was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2014.
Botswana travel guides also like to speak of the “river that never finds its way into the sea” when referring to the Okavango. But it is precisely this peculiarity that is responsible for the extraordinary characteristics and biodiversity of the delta. In addition to the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, the Okavango Delta in northwestern Botswana has the highest density of wildlife on the entire African continent.
The starting point for most trips to the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park is the city of Maun, which has its own airport and is connected several times a day with major African cities such as Johannesburg, Cape Town, Windhoek and Gaborone.
The popular Moremi game reserve is also only around 100 kilometers away from Maun.
Climate in the Okavango Delta
The region around Maun and the Okavango Delta has a subtropical-continental climate. Basically, the seasons in Botswana are exactly the opposite of our European ones, but with some restrictions and appropriate preparation, the Okavango Delta is worth a trip all year round. The rainy season in the delta begins around the end of November and continues into April, with sometimes very heavy rainfall.
However, it is a fallacy to believe that the Okavango Delta immediately floods with the onset of the rainy season. Rather, the delta is fed by the river of the same name, which rises as the “Cubango” in the highlands of Angola and also runs through a part of Namibia. It usually takes until the beginning or even mid- July for the Okavango Delta to reach its peak.
The dry season between the end of April and October provides a bit of cooling, the daytime temperatures in June and July are around 26 degrees Celsius. At night in the African winter, values between 4 and 8 degrees are not uncommon. Especially on safari game drives in the early morning and after sunset, the air can get very cold and uncomfortable.
Towards the end of the calendar year the entire landscape changes again drastically. 34 to 35 degrees with high humidity, occasional thunderstorms and short but heavy rain showers are no longer an absolute exception from December. The vegetation is now also sprouting away from the delta and also in the Chobe National Park and the Moremi Reserve the grasses are now high and the thicket is very dense.
When is the best time to go safaris in the Okavango Delta?
In general, we recommend the drier months of July, August and September as the best time to visit the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. Since the surrounding regions are now very dry, the animals often gather at the remaining water points and the wetlands of the delta. In addition, the land areas in the delta are getting smaller and smaller, so that the animals have fewer opportunities to retreat.
The months between the dry season and the rainy season are also highly recommended as a travel season. Generally rule from May good conditions for your unforgettable safari until October. During the rainy season, however, numerous lodges in the Okavango Delta are closed, and some places can only be reached by boat or seaplane anyway.
Although the animals now have more protection due to the dense vegetation and the weather is a little unpredictable, we do not want to advise against a trip to Botswana during the rainy season. Many “repeaters” value this time especially with its unique charm. The Chobe National Park is less dependent on the rainy season and is therefore well suited for safaris all year round.
Here we would also describe the travel time from July to September as ideal for animal observation. The Moremi game reserve is sometimes difficult to drive in the first half of the calendar year, some bridges are closed or difficult to access until July. Nevertheless, like Chobe, the reserve is generally accessible all year round. If you are planning a combined trip with a visit to Victoria Falls, please also note our climate information for this region.
Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine
|Daytime temperature||33 ° C||33 ° C||33 ° C||32 ° C||29 ° C||27 ° C||26 ° C||28 ° C||34 ° C||36 ° C||35 ° C||34 ° C|
|Night temperature||18 ° C||20 ° C||17 ° C||15 ° C||11 ° C||7 ° C||7 ° C||10 ° C||14 ° C||18 ° C||19 ° C||19 ° C|
|Precipitation in mm||102||91||44||18||8||6||4||5||7||16||47||68|
|Hours of sunshine||8||9||8||9||10||10||10||11||12||11||10||10|
The annual average temperature is 23.1 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is October (27 ° C), coldest month of July with averages of 16.5 ° C.
The annual precipitation is 416 mm. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. There is no rainy season, i.e. months with more than 175 mm of precipitation. Snowfall is generally not expected in any month.
As our climate table shows, September is the sunniest month with an average of 12 hours of sunshine per day. On average over the year, the sun shines an average of 9.8 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.
Okavango Delta weather in March, April and May
Average daily temperatures between 29 ° C and 33 ° C can be expected over the next three months. In the Okavango Delta it gets warmest in March, but May is a little cooler.
In the period from March to May the sun shines on average between 8 and 10 hours a day. The sunniest weather is in May in the Okavango Delta, but with less sun you have to get by in March.