Botswana Weather Forecasts


Botswana Weather Forecasts

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About Botswana

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About Botswana

Botswana, a landlocked country in the south of Africa, is bordered mainly by Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa, with a tiny protrusion in the north tickling Zambiaâs underbelly and the Chobe River. Botswana is dominated by the Kalahari Desert and the whole country has a relatively arid climate. The long, hot summer lasts from October till March. The summer is the wet season and while the country is generally arid, it receives quite high levels of rainfall during this period. The dry winter season from April till September is much cooler with drastic drops in temperature during the night. As the Kalahari covers the southwest regions of Botswana, rainfall dramatically decreases towards that area, though the Kalahari does receive higher average annual rainfall than other desserts, and weather conditions become more extreme. In fact, the term desert is thought by some to be a misnomer as while the southwest is very dry, there is still enough water for most of the area to be covered in Savannah or grassland.

The summer months in Botswana see temperatures rising from the high 20s, around 28°C or 29°C, up to the low 30s, peaking in January with an average high of 33°C. This means temperatures can often soar up into the 40s, and nighttime temperatures, without cloud cover, can drop below 10°C. However, in easterly areas, it does not usually get above the high 30s and nighttime temperatures can remain high. In Gaborone, the night time average is usually in the 20s. This is a dramatic drop in temperature from the day time 30s, but not as large as one might expect in desert conditions. This is due to the hugely increased humidity and rainfall which allows for heat retention, as well as a sudden burst of plant life. The heavy rains of this period on the fertile soil from the fringes of the Kalahari north-eastward mean that much of Botswana is suitable for agriculture. However, rainfall is localised so the landscape is made up of extremes of lush and near-barren habitats. In areas where rain rarely falls, the longed-for downpour is often in vain; the strong sun comes out straight after rainfall and often evaporates water lying on top of the hard-baked topsoil before it has time to soak in. Ninety per cent of Botswanaâs rain falls in the summer season in the form of sporadic and unpredictable storms. The small northeast region receives a healthy annual average of 650 mm while the large desert areas of the southwest receive 250 mm, which is still quite high for a desert. The heaviest rains fall between December and February. Before they come the heat can be truly unbearable due to its inescapability.

The wet season does not truly end until mid-April when winter temperatures have already started to set in. In Francistown, the average high in April slips down to 28°C and the night time average low gets down to 13°C. In the eastern cities like Gaborone and Francistown, the average low temperature does not go below 5°C even in the coldest winter months of June and July, while further west in Tshane it gets down to 2°C. While day time highs are usually in the pleasant mid to low the 20s, all over Botswana it can dip below freezing in the winter months. From June to August most areas can expect no rain at all, and this prevents the insulation. This is a popular time to visit Botswana and its game reserves due to the more bearable daytime temperatures, but anyone visiting in this period should be prepared for the nighttime cold which often leads to frosts. Perhaps the best time to visit is at the very beginning of the end of the winter. The days can still get very hot but the night times are not as cold. You may see a rainstorm but as long as you are prepared this could just add to the drama of Botswanaâs beautiful landscape. Visiting at the beginning of the winter will ensure large pockets of green while at the end of the winter, drought-like conditions leave much of the country barren. Botswana is home to four tributaries of the great Zambezi river and these sources of water are always surrounded with plant life. Kasane, on the banks of the Chobe River, sits on Botswanaâs cheeky little border with Zambia and is notably close to the famed Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Botswanaâs climate can be attributed to its location, elevation and topography. Areas at this latitude are expected to be tropical, with higher rainfall year round. Being higher up and landlocked far from oceans has to lead to Botswanaâs more temperate, extreme conditions. The flat, rolling topography of the country allows for the free passage of rain-bearing north winds.

Water is still a scarce resource in most of Botswana, but the heavy rainfall in the summer months allows for great biodiversity. Plants and animals thrive during this period; Botswana is home to the diverse wildlife that must struggle through the dry months. Even the desert is mostly brushed land with stunted plant growth rather than vast expanses of sand. This story of abundance and scarcity spreads to many other areas of Botswanaâs culture; in southern Jwaneng is the worlds richest diamond mine and has allowed the country great prosperity in comparison to its neighbours, but only a small proportion of the population directly benefit from this. The AIDS epidemic has ravaged the country, focusing on poorer communities, and continues to do so, hitting the countryâs economy hard.