Best Time To Visit Tanzania For Safari
We're often asked "When is the best time to go to Tanzania", and the answer is often complex. It will depend on many things including your interests, exactly where you want to visit and why you're travelling. One person's best time can be another's worst!
We have endeavored to sum up what you should expect at each time of the year as well as giving you a few of the best accommodation and location tips based on our many years of travelling out to this fantastic country!A huge country with much regional variation in geography and climate plus two distinct rainy seasons, the question of when to go to Tanzania depends on what it is that you want to experience.
Best Time To Visit Tanzania: Weather and climate
A huge country with much regional variation in geography and climate plus two distinct rainy seasons, the question of when to go to Tanzania depends on what it is that you want to experience.
Here is a broad guide to the climate of Tanzania – although remember that this comes from records and experience, not from a crystal ball. Weather patterns across Africa are becoming increasingly unpredictable, probably due to global warming; we're seeing downpours in the middle of deserts and damaging droughts when rains should be falling.
Just south of the equator, Tanzania is huge and its sheer size means that the climate varies considerably within it. However, generally the main rainy season, or the 'long rains', lasts during about March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which are heavier and more predictable beside the coast and on the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.
The long dry season lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October is when rainfall is unusual, even on the islands. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it's usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it's a great time to visit Tanzania. During November and December there's another rainy season: the 'short rains'. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.
If it has rained during the short rains, then it normally dries up for a few months, January and February, which is Tanzania's 'short dry season', before starting to rain again in earnest in March
The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the Dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the Dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the Dry season as well.
The best time to see the great wildebeest migration
Many travellers visit Tanzania to see the Serengeti's great wildebeest migration. Linked to the rainfall, this stunning migration of thousands of wildebeest – accompanied by zebra, gazelle, eland and impala – takes place throughout the year, and follows a fairly predictable pattern, as the wildebeest are constantly seeking fresh grazing and water.
Having said that, the wildebeest migration happens all year – the migration can be found during any given month; you just need to know where to look! The question should really be about the 'best places' to see them during a given time of the year – and when visiting them is most enjoyable.
The best time to go to Tanzania for the Serengeti Migration is between November and Augustbut you'll need to be in the right place at the right time to catch all the action: find out more about the best time to see the wildebeest migration.
General game viewing in the Serengeti and Tanzania's other parks is at its peak during the June to October dry season. Mount Kilimanjaro is best climbed either between July and October or January to March, while the best time to visit Tanzania's coast, its islands and Zanzibar is between August and October - avoid the coast during the long rains of March to May.
Best Time to Go to Tanzania by Major Park
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration, and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good wildlife viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Selous and Ruaha) are best visited in the Dry season, from June to October.