When is the best time to visit Tanzania?
The best time to visit Tanzania depends on which regions you wish to visit, and what you want to experience during your Tanzania vacation. The country is located just south of the equator and temperatures range between 77°F and 86°C. Moisture can be very high in the coastal region, particularly in the regions around Arusha, and the island of Zanzibar. In the highlands of Tanzania, the humidity is lower.
January is warm in Tanzania, with the average day time temperatures around 84°F and high humidity levels. But a lot depends on where you choose to visit – The Ngorongoro Crater, for example, is at a higher altitude, so it is much cooler here than other parts of the country.
- Head early to Ngorongoro Crater and seek out the Big Five!
- If you are looking for peace and quiet, Pemba Island is the perfect spot
- Visit the Songo Songo Archipelago, an ecological hotspot for sea turtles and birds, for great diving experiences
The weather pattern is similar to January – warm, humid days with nearly eight hours of sunshine with varying rainfall, depending on the part of the country you are visiting. This is also one of the best months to see the wildebeest calving!
- Plan a trip to Selous to see the European migratory birds arrive
- Stroll through the winding streets of Stone Town market in Zanzibar. This is also the time that Swahili music festival, Sauti ze Busara, is held.
- This is best month to witness the wildebeest calving in south and central Serengeti
Tanzania’s long rainy seasons usually begin around this time, so expect heavier rains across the country from around mid March and high humidity levels. Some roads do become inaccessible around this time, so factor that in while planning your trip.
- The early part of the month is a good time to visit Zanzibar – enjoy a Dhow Cruise, snorkel amid the coral reefs and savor sundowners as you watch a stunning sunset
The rains are in full flow during April and the humidity levels are very high. Several regions can be inaccessible, so once again, it is important to factor this while planning your trip.
- This is among the wetter months on Zanzibar, but should you be there, head for a spice tour, during which you will learn about the famous spice trade of the historical island
While May continues to be part of the long wet season in Tanzania, the intensity of rainfall can vary. This is usually around the time thousands of wildebeest, zebras and their newborns start crossing the crocodile-infested Grumeti River in Serengeti, and this extends till July.
- With its wide variety of wildlife, Mikumi National Park is a popular game viewing destination, accessible through the year
- Look out for giant elephant herds, buffaloes and gazelles in the barren and harsh landscape of the Ruaha National Park
June is the start of the best season to visit Tanzania so make your bookings early! The skies are clear, there is a fair amount of sunshine and you can expect temperatures to range between 59-80°F.
- Explore the remote Katavi National Park
- In Zanzibar, head to the erstwhile prison for slaves, Prison Island and meet its current inhabitants – giant tortoises!
- Visit Jozani Forest in Zanzibar to meet endangered Red Colobus Monkey
This is winter in Tanzania with clear, warm days. This is also one of the driest months in the country and you can expect lows in the 50s.
- Go chimpanzee trekking in the dense mountain forests of Gombe Stream National Park
- Explore Mahale Mountains National Park with its abundant wildlife, colorful tropical fish and birds
- Visit the trading city of Kilwa, which has the largest group of pre-colonial ruins in East Africa
Expect largely warm and dry days, with maximum temperatures in the early 80s.
- It is around this time that the wildebeest and zebras move to the remote Northern Serengeti crossing Mara River, populated with giant Nile crocodiles.
- For a true cultural experience head to Nungwi, a bustling village of local Zanzibaris
- The dry season is the best time for moonlit walks in Lake Natron, one of the most alkaline landscapes in the world
The weather in September is largely similar to that in August. Expect nearly eight hours of sunshine and nighttime lows of 59 °F.
- Enjoy an exhilarating trek on towering Mount Meru
- Indulge in myriad sea activities in the warm colorful waters around Mafia Island
- Visit Pangani, a small Swahili outpost, for its spectacular beaches, and 200-300 million-year-old dinosaur fossils!
This is the last of the dry months before the short rainy season begins. You can expect dry, warm conditions through the month, but be prepared for increasing bouts of rainfall as November nears.
- There are hikes aplenty on the legendary Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain on the continent
- Unwind on the many beautiful beaches of Bagamoyo
- Catch the Bagamoyo Arts Festival during this month
This the start of the short rain season in Tanzania, but the amount of rainfall can vary. The wildebeest continue their migration south, to the plains to take advantage of the moisture, so planning a visit to the parks in Serengeti could be something that you can factor in. This is also the start of the fishing season.
- Experience the night markets of Zanzibar!
- Try to catch the giant Nile Perch in Lake Victoria!
Expect some rains in December but with reduced intensity. Wildebeest will also be flocking to the plains of the Serengeti, so this is a great time to book your safari there! But Tanzania can get busy around Christmas and New Year’s so plan well in advance!
- Explore the colonial past of Dar es Salaam, the main port in Tanzania on walking tour
- Head to Lake Eyasi for an off-the-beaten-track Tanzania experience
- Explore the bush meets beach scenery at Saadani National Park
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Best time to visit Tanzania by season
Tanzania has two distinct annual rainfall patterns and generally, there are two rainy seasons. The short rains occur between November and December while the long rains take place between mid-March and June. The warm Tanzanian summer lasts from mid-December until March. The cooler, dry winter occurs from June to October and the cool air during this time is perfect for viewing sunsets while sitting at the campfire with a warm cup of tea or cocoa! Tanzania’s mountains are notable exceptions to its complex but otherwise regular climate. Temperatures on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru drop below freezing point.
These are the typical seasons for you to bear in mind as you plan your travel to Tanzania.
Long wet season: mid March – June
Winter: June – October
Short rainy season: November – December
Summer: Mid December – March
What to Pack for Tanzania Tours
Safari wear should be comfortable and casual. Evenings and early mornings can be chilly so warm sweaters are recommended. Low heeled comfortable sports or trekking shoes are the most suitable walking shoes should you intend joining any walking safaris. We recommend you bring warm clothes, including a fleece or light wool sweater and socks, to their normal safari gear. During the day it can get quite hot so don’t forget sunglasses and a high factor sunscreen, as well as a sun hat with a small brim.
Some specialist trips, i.e. mountain climbing, require extra items of clothing and footwear. Many hotels, lodges and camps have swimming pools so you are advised to bring swimsuits. Due to limited space in the vehicle and light aircraft, we advise you to keep your luggage to the minimum. We suggest you pack your luggage into a small bag of no more than 15 kilos – the luggage limit for local flights issued by the airlines. Almost all safari lodges and camps provide same day laundry service.
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