Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Best Time to Safari in Botswana

The Best of Times - Botswana

Each period of the year offers different highlights, though May through to October / November are the months offering the best general wildlife viewing opportunities. The drier months result in better game viewing as the animals are forced to visit the fewer remaining water holes and pans in order to drink each day.

The predators merely have to wait at these water sources, being fewer in the drier months and therefore more crowded, for the animals to approach and commence drinking. For the wildlife enthusiast with limited time to spend, the period June to November is the wisest choice of times to go on safari in the Okavango Delta or Moremi Game Reserve.

In May, the flood waters from Angola are still making their slow and deliberate progress through the Okavango Delta. The rains have now ended, the nights are significantly cooler with temperatures averaging around 15 Celsius (60 Far) and day temperatures peaking at just over 30 Celsius (90 Far).

Breeding herds of elephant increase in density as they visit the perennial rivers of the Okavango, Chobe and Kwando. The seasonal pans begin to dry up. The lush greens, so evident in the wet season, begin to fade quickly into the duller dry season colours, allowing the predators to take full advantage of the fact that their coats now blend in with their surroundings again. The migrating birds commence their annual flights to winter feeding and breeding grounds in distant lands.

In June, temperatures reach their lowest, night temperatures towards the months end can drop to below zero (32 Far) but day temperatures still hit around 30Celsius (75 Far ) . Dry and dusty conditions now dominate with pans and water holes now resulting in the animals drinking at permanent water sources, closely followed by the predators

However, the wet months of December through to March offer other spectacular highlights which should not be overlooked. Obviously the vegetation at this time of year is rich with lush green growth evident everywhere.

Many of the antelope family have young ones during this period to take advantage of these nutritious grasses for grazing. This again offers predators rich pickings - these very young antelopes being easy prey for lion, cheetah, leopard or wild dog. For the birding enthusiasts the wet months can be a delight with many males of the various species displaying their full breeding plumage.

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