December and January are Botswana’s wettest months, with afternoon thunderstorms a regular feature across the country. The rains are cooling, but daytime temperatures remain high, averaging in the low 30°C’s, but with hot days of up to 40°C or more. Nights tend to be humid and warm, often not dropping below 20°C. The clear atmosphere and thunderclouds make for excellent photographs, and you can expect a spectacular thunderstorm every few days.
December is the start of the summer ‘green season’ when the vegetation recovers and grazing land is plentiful. New-born calves frolic on the Kalahari plains and are often targeted by the ever-present predators. As the pans slowly fill, more and more animals are drawn to the central parks and both the Central Kalahari and Nxai Pans National Parks have abundant wildlife at this time of year. The Savuti region is also packed with game, although by now the elephants along the Chobe River are beginning to disperse as more water and vegetation becomes available inland.
As the rains intensify the roads around the pans deteriorate. Thick mud can make some tracks impassable and it’s a good idea to travel in convoy. The roads through and around Moremi also get worse as the rains continue. Large holes in the roads fill with water and the going can be very slow as you navigate around the deep pools and fallen tree trunks.