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When to Go to Tanzania

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When to Go to Tanzania

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By Diane Du Plessis

Safari Travel Planner

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Overview

Tanzania is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit can vary depending on what you want to experience.

Whether you’re interested in wildlife safaris, beach holidays, or cultural experiences, understanding the seasonal changes can help you plan the perfect trip.

High Season vs. Low Season

High Season (June – October)

  • Overview: This period coincides with the dry season, attracting visitors for prime wildlife viewing and clear skies.
  • Pros: Ideal for game viewing, the Great Migration, and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Cons: Higher prices and more crowded attractions.

Low Season (March – May; November – December)

  • Overview: These months are considered the wet seasons, with the long rains from March to May and the short rains in November and December.
  • Pros: Lush landscapes, fewer tourists, and lower prices.
  • Cons: Some areas become inaccessible due to heavy rains, and wildlife viewing can be more challenging.

Month-by-Month Guide

Aerial view of a hot-air balloon over the Serengeti, Tanzania: Photo credit: Songa Tented Camp
Aerial view of a hot-air balloon over the Serengeti, Tanzania: Photo credit: Songa Tented Camp
January
  • The short dry season in January offers good wildlife viewing, although it can be hot and humid. The Northern Circuit parks like Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater are popular. The Zanzibar Archipelago provides an excellent beach retreat. Don’t miss the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area and the annual Sauti za Busara music festival in Zanzibar.
February
  • February is still part of the short dry season, making it ideal for safaris and beach holidays. It’s also calving season in the Serengeti, where you can witness the birth of wildebeest and other animals. Key events include the Kilimanjaro Marathon.
March
  • The long rains begin, and the landscape becomes lush and green. While wildlife viewing is less predictable, birdwatching is excellent. Many lodges offer lower rates. 
April
  • April is typically the wettest month, with heavy rains making some roads impassable. However, this is the best time for birdwatching, and the landscapes are beautifully green. It’s a quiet period with few tourists.
May
  • The long rains continue, but by the end of May, they start to taper off. This is a good time for those seeking solitude and lower prices. The green landscapes provide stunning photography opportunities.
June
  • June marks the start of the dry season and is perfect for wildlife safaris. The Great Migration can be witnessed in the Serengeti, and the weather is cooler and more comfortable. Important events include the Serengeti Cultural Festival.
July
  • July offers excellent game viewing opportunities, particularly for the Northern Circuit. The Great Migration continues, and the weather is ideal for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Key events include the Serengeti Marathon. 
August
  • August is one of the peak months for tourism in Tanzania. The weather is dry and pleasant, making it perfect for safaris and beach holidays. The Great Migration river crossings in the Serengeti are a major highlight. Highlights include the Zanzibar International Film Festival.
September
  • September remains part of the dry season, providing excellent conditions for wildlife viewing and climbing Kilimanjaro. The Great Migration is still a major drawcard.
October
  • October signals the end of the dry season, with warmer temperatures. It’s a great time for safaris and beach holidays, with fewer tourists than in previous months. 
November
  • The short rains return in November, creating lush landscapes. Wildlife viewing can be hit or miss, but the birdwatching is superb. This is a quieter period with fewer tourists and lower prices. Don’t miss the annual Bagamoyo Arts Festival.
December
  • December’s short rains make the landscapes green and beautiful. Wildlife viewing improves towards the end of the month, and the beaches of Zanzibar are ideal for a holiday. Key events include the Swahili Fashion Week in Dar es Salaam, ahead of  Christmas celebrations in the country.

Regional Climate Overview

Zebra Crossing River, Serengeti National Park, Image Credit, Canva
Wildebeest part of the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park | Image Credit: Canva

Serengeti & Northern Circuit

  • Dry Season (June – October): Best time for game viewing and witnessing the Great Migration.
  • Wet Season (November – May): Lush, green landscapes with calving season and excellent birdwatching.

Zanzibar Archipelago

  • Dry Season (June – October, December – February): Ideal for beach holidays and water activities.
  • Wet Season (March – May, November): Hot and humid with afternoon showers, but fewer tourists.

Mount Kilimanjaro

  • Dry Season (June – October, December – February): Best time for climbing with clear skies and stable weather.
  • Wet Season (March – May, November): Trails can be slippery, making climbing more challenging.

Best Time for Activities

Activity Best Time to Visit
Game Viewing June to October
Birdwatching November to April
Climbing Kilimanjaro June to October, December to February
Beach Holidays June to October, December to February
Cultural Experiences Year-Round

 

Start Planning Your Safari:

Tanzania’s diverse landscapes and climates offer a variety of experiences throughout the year. Whether you’re looking for a wildlife safari, a beach holiday, or a cultural tour, understanding the best times to visit can enhance your trip.  

Discover Africa offers personalized safari experiences tailored to your preferences, ensuring every detail is taken care of. Start planning your dream safari today and create memories that will last a lifetime.

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