when to visit
Northern Botswana Average Temperatures Northern Botswana Average Sun and Rain

Seasonality in Linyanti is ostensibly the same as in the neighbouring Okavango area, so a good deal of this section is repeated ...


Linyanti : July, August and September



This period represents winter, the classic season in which to visit Linyanti.

Rainfall should be virtually zero for the whole of these three months and humidity should be low. Skies should be largely crisp and clear, with virtually uninterrupted sunshine dawn til dusk. Daytime temperatures should be comfortable, averaging 25C/77F to 30C/86F, possibly peaking to 35C/95F. Night-time temperatures are the only slight concern, averaging 5C/40F to 10C/50F but quite often dropping below zero, especially in June and July. In reality these night-time temperatures tend not to be too much of an inconvenience ... during the night a few extra covers on the bed always seems to suffice, whilst in the morning the sun soon rises to hasten away the chill.

By July virtually all of the migratory species should have arrived into Linyanti, the flood should have arrived and gameviewing conditions really should be reaching their very best. There should be no shortage of action in most camps and as the grass cover dies back in non-flooded areas, so the game visibility should increase.

Flood areas here are much less significant than in Okavango, tending to be limited to a few areas on the west bank of the Kwando river as it comes south towards the Linyanti Rift. These areas tend to flood quite early, during June and early July, but also subside quite early, so that by August we could be looking at landscapes where the only water is in the main rivers themselves.

Gameviewing should be superb through all areas, so the choice of camp is very much down to your personal preferences. For more hardcore safari one should probably look towards Lebala Camp and Lagoon Camp. For high end luxury King's Pool Lodge or Zarafa Camp. For the famous Logpile Hide then it has to be Savuti Camp. Personally we feel that each concession is sufficiently different to warrant visiting all three, but very few people are quite that safari mad, or have the time and money to deploy on such ventures.


Linyanti : October, November and December



By October the cooler temperatures of winter have usually given way to the increasing heat and humidity which precedes the breaking of the rains. The first part of October in Linyanti is usually no problem, but as the month progresses and particularly as the humidity rises, so the climate becomes increasingly testing. Some people call this time of year 'suicide season', although in reality it is not so very bad, no worse than the climate that prevails all year on the tropical beaches of the Indian Ocean. The rains usually break during November and continue on into December and beyond although, this being the Kalahari, we are not generally talking about prolonged and heavy rain, more usually it takes the form of passing showers, as demonstrated by the consistently high sunshine hours.

By this time of year the game is usually coming under considerable stress, as the grazing close to water becomes completely used up and an exhausting daily migration between food and water sets in.

The key issue for this season is by what stage there has been sufficient rain to encourage the migratory game to disappear out from the delta to disperse across the vast hinterlands of mopane forest and Kalahari plains. Usually we would be expecting this movement to really be underway by November. Once these animals are gone however, what remains in Linyanti can still be impressive ... you can still expect a decent levels of safari.

At this time of year we would usually be looking to combine Okavango with some of the surrounding areas such as Central Kalahari, Nxai and Makgadikgadi, all of which benefit from the arrival of the rain and the arrival of the migratory herds. This makes Linyanti slightly less of a priority, although still worth including in longer safaris.


Linyanti : January, February, March and April



This period represents summer in Linyanti and is conventionally viewed as a more unusual time to visit. The first twelve weeks of the year usually experience the majority of the rainfall. Temperatures remain high, both day and night and, although the humidity is not generally considered to be so oppressive as it can be in Oct/Nov, there is obviously moisture around in the air, so there is not the same clarity that one associates with the prime winter season described above. But these conditions should not be overstated, in relative terms the amount of rain that falls here is low and sunshine hours only see a small dip in February and March.

By this time we would expect the vast majority of the migratory animals to have left Linyanti and be moving around the various surrounding parts of Chobe and the Kalahari in pursuit of showers and fresh grazing. Even with these animals are gone, the game that remains in Linyanti can still be impressive ... you can still expect a decent levels of safari. On the other hand, the more it rains, the taller and more verdant will become the grass cover, which can make gameviewing a good deal more difficult.

At this time of year we would usually be looking to combine Okavango with some of the surrounding areas such as Central Kalahari, Nxai and Makgadikgadi, all of which benefit from the arrival of the rain and the arrival of the migratory herds. This makes Linyanti slightly less of a priority, although still worth including in longer safaris.

A great advantage at this relatively unusual time of year is that many camps offer considerably reduced rates, often 40% or more lower than the high season equivalent. For more experienced safari people in particular, this can be a very smart time to be in Northern Botswana.


Linyanti : May and June



This period represents the transition from the hot wet summer to the cool dry winter. Over the course of these two months temperatures drop considerably and June can often see ground frosts as described in the winter season at the top of this section. Skies should be increasingly clear and the air wonderfully crisp.

At the start of this period the migratory game should still be pretty widespread across the vast hinterlands of Chobe, Nxai and Makgadikgadi, although as the summer rain dissipates, so the pans start to dry out and the grazing deteriorate, so the animals start to turn their heads towards Linyanti.

The key event at this time is the arrival of the flood along the Kwando/Linyanti river from Angola. Although these floodwaters tend to start arriving in March, it is not usually until late May or even well into June when their effects really start to show, since it takes a time for the water to build up and refill the permanent channels before spreading out onto the floodplains and soaking into the dry earth before producing standing water. If there has been significant local rain in preceding months and the ground is therefore already moist when the flood arrives, then the effects of the flood can be much more immediate, even as early as mid April.

That said, the flood here in Linyanti is a lot less pronounced than in Okavango, tending to be limited to a few areas on the west bank of the Kwando river as it comes south towards the Linyanti Rift. So the greater impact of the flood is simply to refill the rivers and provide fresh water to the land-based game.

To be honest May can be a little too early, partly because the migratory game may not yet have arrived back and the flood may not have arrived, but also because the grass cover can remain high, making gameviewing all the more difficult. From a gameviewing perspective the later in this period the better, although from a price and availability point of view the early part of this season can become disproportionately tempting.

An enormous draw in this season is the prospect of wild dog being at den in any or all three of these concessions, historically the most likely area being that around Lagoon Camp in the Kwando area, as described in more detail in the first section above.