Is Tanzania on your travel bucket list? Well, it should be! Who doesn’t want to see the Great Wildebeest Migration, vast savannahs, to-die-for sunsets, flamingo-dotted lakes, snow-capped Kilimanjaro, and tropical beaches? We want to ensure that your travel plans don’t disappoint. Therefore, as the World’s Leading Safari Company, we share the best time to travel to Tanzania and what to expect with you.
January and February: The Short Dry Season
During this dry season, the short rains of November and December abate, leaving behind a lush landscape. And the Great Migration spreads out across the southern Serengeti to feed on the fresh new grass. Thousands of calves are born daily – easy pickings for lion, cheetah, leopard, African wild dog, hyena and many smaller carnivores. And as a result, predator action peaks.
The short dry season is a good time for general safaris in the south and west. Diving off the coast is also at its best because tropical beaches are at their warmest. Plus, it’s an ideal time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, offering clear views and warmer temperatures at the summit.
With lower visitor numbers than the long dry season and so many highlights, the short, drier interlude is one of the best times to visit Tanzania.
March, April and May: The Long Rains
The main rainy season is a relatively quiet time for Tanzania. Starting in late March, the monsoon rains feature spectacular downpours drenching the country with life-giving water almost daily.
During this time, migratory birds arrive from the northern hemisphere to breed. And by May, Lake Natron in the north of Tanzania is inundated with millions of flamingos also on a breeding mission.
The Great Migration’s wildebeest spread across the southern Serengeti during March and April. And, by May, they’ve gathered to begin their journey northwest.
With its altitude and accessibility, the Ngorongoro Crater is excellent all year round, offering an exceptional Big 5 safari regardless of the season.
June to September: The Long Dry Winter Season
The long dry season is prime time for an East African safari. Therefore, Tanzania is also at its busiest during winter. And this is no surprise as all the attractions, from the continent’s highest peak to the Wildebeest Migration, are at their best.
The Great Migration hits its first major obstacle, the crocodile-filled Grumeti River in northern Serengeti. But it only gets harder for this million-plus swarm of ungulates, as the Mara River is their next great ordeal.
Safaris in the south and west offer incredible wilderness and significantly fewer visitors. This is also the best time to experience the chimpanzees in the western national parks of Gombe and the Mahale Mountains.
By now, the flamingos of Lake Natron are well into their breeding routine, and the beaches are also worth a visit. Furthermore, Mount Kilimanjaro’s conditions are excellent – ideal for passionate hikers and climbers. Travelling to Zanzibar? Read more about the best time to visit this spice island.
If it’s a best-of-everything holiday and safari you’re after, and you’re okay with it being the busy season, then June to September is the best time to visit Tanzania.
October: The Wildcard Month
October marks the beginning of the short rains after a long dry spell. Generally arriving towards the end of the month, you’ll have the best of the dry winter interspersed with spectacular downpours. During this time, stragglers of the Great Migration also loiter around the northern Serengeti bordering Kenya’s Maasai Mara.
Therefore, October is an excellent time to visit Tanzania if you want to avoid the crowds, experience the best of this great country, and don’t mind the rain potentially affecting your plans.
November and December: The Short Rains
The short rains feature nighttime downpours and usually short-lived daytime showers. Most safari lodges are open during the short rains, unlike the long rains when some of the more remote camps are closed.
The Great Migration begins their southward journey to enjoy the fertile grasslands of the eastern Serengeti. And by December, they arrive, ready for breeding.
At this time of year, the country offers excellent wildlife sightings but without the crowds. Also, the incredible lush landscapes and good, clear photography conditions are a bonus.
So, When Is The Best Time to Visit Tanzania for My Safari?
As you can see, the best time to visit Tanzania is not necessarily the peak safari season. Instead, it depends on what you want to see and experience.
So, talk to one of our Travel Experts for a tailor-made itinerary to make the most of your time in this incredible East African country.