The Best Time to Visit the Okavango Delta for an Unforgettable Safari Experience
The Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s premier safari destinations, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for wildlife enthusiasts. However, choosing the best time of year to visit the Delta can be tricky, as the seasons can greatly affect the overall safari experience. In this article, we’ll delve into the Delta’s climate and seasons to help you make an informed decision on when to plan your visit.
Understanding the Okavango Delta’s Climate and Seasons
The Okavango Delta is located in Botswana and experiences a subtropical climate. The Delta’s climate is divided into two main seasons: the dry season and the wet season. The dry season runs from May to October, while the wet season spans from November to April.
During the dry season, the Delta experiences cool and dry weather, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 30°C (59°F to 86°F). The humidity is low, and the skies are clear, providing a picturesque backdrop for safari activities. On the other hand, the wet season is characterized by high humidity and hot temperatures, with the mercury rising up to 40°C (104°F). Thunderstorms and rainfall are prevalent, and the landscape is lush and green.
The Dry Season – May to October
The dry season is arguably the best time to visit the Okavango Delta for a safari experience. The weather is cool, dry, and sunny, which makes for excellent game viewing conditions. During this time, wildlife is drawn to the Delta’s permanent water sources, such as the Okavango River, making them easier to spot.
Furthermore, the dry season is characterized by low vegetation, which provides an unobstructed view of the wildlife. This is especially advantageous when it comes to predators such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs, which are more active during the cooler hours of the day. The Delta’s dry season is also the peak season for tourists, and as such, it’s advisable to book accommodation and safari activities well in advance.
Activities during the Dry Season
The dry season offers a plethora of activities for visitors to enjoy. Game drives, both in the early morning and late afternoon, are a popular way to explore the Delta’s wildlife. Bush walks are also an option for those looking to experience the Delta on foot. During this season, mokoro trips (traditional dugout canoe) are less popular as the water levels in the Delta’s channels decrease. Instead, boat cruises on the Delta’s larger waterways are a great way to explore the region.
The Wet Season – November to April
The wet season is the Delta’s low season and is not as popular as the dry season. However, this is an excellent time to visit for bird watching enthusiasts and for those looking to experience the Delta’s lush and vibrant landscape. The wet season sees the Delta’s waterways fill up, attracting a plethora of bird species, including the rare Pel’s fishing owl.
Additionally, the wet season provides visitors with a unique opportunity to see newborn wildlife, as most herbivores give birth during this period. The lush vegetation also provides a food source for grazers, which, in turn, attracts predators.
activities during the Wet Season
While some activities such as mokoro trips may not be possible during the wet season, boat cruises and game drives are still available, albeit with a different experience.