The dry season in Botswana begins to tighten its grip a few months after the last rains have fallen in March or April and by the time October arrives, the vice-like hold the season has on the wilderness is at breaking point.October is the hottest month in Botswana with temperatures reaching the mid forties in the middle of the day. But it can also be said that October in Botswana is the time of the last throes of the dry season and although very hot the game viewing is at its peak as the animals concentrate around permanent water.
Devastation of the Great Drying
The water in the vast interior of the Botswana wilderness has all but dried up and the vegetation around the dried up water sources has been ravaged by the animals that utilised the waterholes – hence the concentration around the permanent water.The rivers of Botswana are the lifelines for the huge numbers of animals that arrive in search of water during the harsh dry season. However, with so many animals concentrating around these water sources the vegetation is slowly decimated making it easier to view the wildlife at this time of the year.With the food source non-existent on the floodplains the animals have to walk great distances every day between feeding grounds and drinking sources and there is nothing more poignant than the sight of a herd of animals heading to the water through the damaged vegetation.
Highlights of October
- Africa’s largest concentrations of elephants are found on the Chobe River at this time of the year as they gather along the permanent water source.
- In the Okavango at this time of the year the water levels are dropping rapidly which in turn opens up floodplains to a great many animals to graze – which in turn attracts predators in numbers.
- With the drying in the Okavango pools are left which attract large numbers of birds and other predators to feast on the fish and crustaceans trapped in the pools.
- Great dramas play out each moment of the day as the water dries and animals become desperate.