What’s the difference between
WET SEASON AND DRY SEASON BIRDING?
In a nutshell:
The wet season (Nov. to Mar., extending sometimes to April) produces the greatest variety of birds as resident species are joined by migrants. Mid November to March is the optimum time. The arrival and movement of many birds is rain dependent; generally, the better the rains, the better the birding. Very heavy rain, however, may limit vehicle access to certain places. Temperatures can be high. In the rainy season, pans fill up, the bush greens up and big game is more dispersed. Dec., Jan., and Feb. are the months of highest rainfall; but it does not rain every day by any means, and droughts are common in Botswana. When it does rain, this is usually in the mid to late afternoon, heavy, and over fairly quickly. Best birding time in woodland, grassland and scrub is early morning, followed by late afternoon. Wetland/riverine birding is good all day long.
Migrants start arriving late Aug. and continue arriving throughout Oct. and Nov.; by mid Dec. all the migrants have arrived.
Dry Season (Winter) Birding, May to August, offers somewhat fewer species (no migrants), but is still good. Mixed bird parties form. The weather is generally mild and pleasant, sunny and dry. Chances of rain minimal. Water levels (Okavango & Chobe river systems) are high.
For many birders, the fact that they will be seeing an amazing variety of big game whilst birding is a distinct “plus”, as is the fact that Botswana is a safe destination and, unlike so many other African countries, is blessed by political freedom and economic stability. The sheer unrivalled wilderness aspect of Botswana is hugely appealing, too. Botswana, e.g., is the same size as Kenya, but has 20 times less inhabitants – which translates into far more wild, unpopulated, wide-open spaces.