Wondering when is the best time to visit Tanzania? Well you’ve come to the right place!
Tanzania is huge, so luckily this means that at any time of the year there is some place extraordinary to visit. Ultimately, the best time to visit Tanzania depends entirely on you.
Depending on the time of year you can enjoy spectacular safaris in the Serengeti or laze around Zanzibar’s pristine beaches. Because the country can be visited year-round, what you wish to see and do will ultimately determine when it’s best to go to Tanzania.
Tanzania is a vast country with a variable climate. The weather you experience will heavily depend on the geography and elevation of your chosen destination.
Generally, the weather is tropical, particularly along the hot and humid coast. The north-western highlands are consistently cool, with the central plateau remaining dry and arid all year round.
Most of the popular tourist destinations in Tanzania experience two rainy seasons (long and short rains) and two dry seasons annually. Read on to discover how each of Tanzania’s seasons can be the best time to visit the country – depending on what you want to see or do.
Dry Season – Holiday Season and Considered the Best Time to Visit Tanzania
The hot-dry season stretches from the months of December through February and is perfect for game viewing.
Although humidity is still high in December, the ocean breeze makes these high temperatures bearable. This is the most popular time for beach holidays, especially for tourists traveling from colder climates such as Europe.
In January, temperatures are rising and humidity is building. This is the best time to visit Tanzania as the game viewing is excellent and safaris are available at lower rates.
The weather in February is hot and humid with a chance of rain. Early February is the peak of wildebeest calving season on the Ndutu Plains, in the southeast of the Serengeti. It is truly amazing to see so many migrating animals congregated in one place.
Be sure to book your accommodation in advance as hotels tend to book up early, especially during the Christmas and New Year Period.
Long Rains – Can be an Unexpectedly Good Time to Visit Tanzania
The colder-wet season in Tanzania is the season of the long rains, and includes the months of March, April and May.
March marks the start of the intermittent rains. New grass growing over the plains is short enough to allow for excellent wildlife viewing. Wildebeest start to gather in large numbers in the Ndutu area, south of the Serengeti. Migrating animal herds begin to head west towards Grumeti.
This is truly the low season, occurring just before the start of the heavy rains. Spring-like conditions are moderated by cool nights as the humidity builds. If you’re looking for great rates, this could be the best time to visit Tanzania for you.
April to May is a period of heavy rains. During this time of the year there are amazing changes in the parks and reserves. You can expect beautiful green landscapes and panoramas, with the wildebeest congregating densely in the Serengeti.
A Second Dry Season – Peak Tourist Season
The colder dry season in Tanzania stretches from June to October.
The month of June marks the start of the green season which brings lush grasses and bush. It’s the best time to visit Tanzania for bird watching as the parks are full of migratory birds, especially in the south.
Wildebeest can normally be seen in large numbers in the Northern and Western Serengeti. This is also a great time of the year to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.
Peak tourist season is between July and August when game viewing conditions are excellent. Migration is now within the northern Serengeti, moving slowly towards Kenya. Elephants begin to gather in Tarangire. The land is getting drier and it is becoming easier to spot game.
The great migration river crossings occur between July and September. Temperatures are in the high 20s to early 30 degrees Celsius and humidity is low. This is the best opportunity to observe herds of animals in their thousands as they cross Tanzania’s rivers on their epic migration across the continent.
In August, visitors can continue to witness the migration in the north. As the land gets more parched, the behaviour of animals becomes more predictable. Meanwhile, the dense bush in Ruaha is drying out making it easier to spot game.
Short Rains – Don’t Forget the End of the Year in Tanzania
The hot-wet season in Tanzania is the period of the short rains and includes the months of September through December.
September is the tail end of the peak season. The migration is still in the north, with herds on both sides of the Kenya and Tanzania borders. There is a high number of elephants in Tarangire.
The Northern Circuit can get very busy in September. If you want to avoid the crowds you can visit the southern parks.
During October the wildebeest migration is in Kenya, although wildlife viewing in central Serengeti is still very good. The southern parks are especially rewarding at this time of the year, notably Selous and Ruaha.
Early October to mid-March is the best time to visit Tanzania for scuba diving in the Indian Ocean.
November marks the start of the short rains and there are intermittent showers. Rains normally fall overnight, but sometimes during the day as well. This is still a popular time to travel to Tanzania and take advantage of the low season rates.
The rains bring a wonderful greening of plants, as birdlife begins to arrive from Eurasia. Migrating herds start to travel south from Kenya, so spectacular crossings can be seen in the north of the Serengeti.
The Best Time to Visit Tanzania For You
Tanzania can be a great destination during every month of the year.
Ultimately, your interests, intended destinations in Tanzania, and reasons for traveling will be the key factors in deciding when to visit the country.
With this in mind, it’s clear to see that the best time to visit Tanzania is now! The African safari won’t wait forever! Now is the time to discover Tanzania’s wonders, before they become too touristic, or the incredible wildlife is lost forever.