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Tanzania

January Overview

January falls within the wet season (November-May), however the northern parks such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro experience a short dry season during January and February. The Ngorongoro Crater is ideal if you want to avoid the heat and humidity as its high altitude means that you won’t feel the heat here as much as other areas. Ngorongoro Crater is probably the best place in Tanzania to spot rhinos.

Western Tanzania (Gombe, Mahale and Kavati) tend to have continuous rain throughout the wet season so it is best avoided during this time. Trekking paths can become very muddy and sometimes even impassable during the rainy season which can make chimpanzee treks difficult.

The calving season begins in late January with zebra, antelope, and wildebeest giving birth while the landscape is green and there is an abundance of water in the parks so this is a great time to go to Tanzania if you want to see newborn wildlife.

The coastal areas, including the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago, experience blissful sunshine and warm temperatures in January. Although it can be humid in Tanzania, the sea breeze in Zanzibar makes it a fantastic destination for some post safari relaxation. You can expect daytime temperatures to be in excess of 30°C. 

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

February Overview

As with January, the northern parks are likely to see drier periods whilst the western parks continue to experience continuous rainfall.

February is the best time of year to see wildebeest calving. This usually happens in the southern part of the Serengeti where millions of wildebeest congregate to feed on the grasses and give birth. Approximately 500,000 calves are born which makes for an incredible sight on safari, and of course this means that predators wait in the surrounding areas to make the most of the prey on offer.

If you’re a keen bird-watcher, December to March is a great time to head to the southern parks of Selous and Ruaha as European migratory birds arrive.

Zanzibar experiences one of the lowest average rainfall levels during February making it a great option for some post safari relaxation, plus you can enjoy the Swahili music festival Sauti ze Busara which takes place in Stone Town in February.

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

March Overview

If you travel to Tanzania in early March you can expect clear blue skies, however towards the end of the month it can become quite wet as the long rainy season approaches. The rains are very unpredictable and if they do not arrive the land will become very dry making for excellent game viewing opportunities around waterholes and rivers.

The long rainy season starts at the end of March and lasts until June. This is not traditionally the best time for a Tanzanian safari as the roads and tracks in the national parks and reserves can be flooded and often inaccessible. The wet weather and the abundance of vegetation can make wildlife viewing more difficult, however the lush green landscapes will create an incredible backdrop for your game drives and your photographs.

Birdlife in Lake Manyara is phenomenal from March to May as water birds reside by the wetlands and streams. The park is also well known for numerous hornbills perching in the trees.

Please note, some lodges and camps close down during the long rainy season – please speak to one of our Fair Travel Consultants for further information if you’d like to plan a Tanzanian safari during the rainy season.  

In the coastal areas, including the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago, some of the beach lodges will start to close towards the end of the month.

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

April Overview

April is in the middle of Tanzania's long rainy season and is the wettest month of the year. Southern and western parks experience very high humidity during the rainy season and can be somewhat uncomfortable.

Despite the rains, April can be considered a good time to visit Tanzania for a safari. The parks see very few tourists, yet they’re full of animals making the most of the abundant water supplies. Wildlife can be harder to spot due to the flourishing vegetation, but plenty of predators and herbivores remain. The south and south-eastern areas of the Serengeti generally have wide open plains with very little tree coverage which means that game viewing is still very good here even during the rainy season. 

Zanzibar is very wet in April due to the Kusi monsoon winds bringing in high levels of precipitation and therefore is not the best time to visit.

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

May Overview

May is in the middle of long rainy season and it is another very wet month in Tanzania. Most big game leaves Tarangire National Park by May so it’s not the best time to visit, but this is a fantastic month to head to Moru Kopjes in the Serengeti as many wildebeest are passing through before heading north.

Towards the end of May the rains start to subside and you may be lucky enough to have some dry days. On the plus side there is notably less dust as the ground remains damp, and there are significantly fewer tourists in the parks.

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

June Overview

June sees the start of long dry season with sunny days and clear skies. It is a fantastic time for a Tanzanian safari. Daytime temperatures are usually around 25-30°C, however the mornings and nights will be cooler so remember to pack warm clothes for your morning and evening game drives.

The grass is long following the rains of the previous months and this can make wildlife harder to spot, however the lush green landscape with beautiful blue skies makes a wonderful backdrop for your game drives and photographs.

June to November is the best time to visit the Serengeti as this is when the great migration herds reach the northern-most point in their cycle, before making the perilous river crossings and moving northwards.

The dry months of June to October are also a fantastic time to visit Tarangire National Park. The park offers spectacular wildlife viewing opportunities and you can expect to see all the big African game, including large herds of elephant, that congregate along the riverbanks. Click here to read our specialist blog about Tarangire National Park.

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

July Overview

July falls within the long dry season and it is a popular time for Tanzanian safaris. If you want to avoid the large crowds we recommend heading to the southern and western parks as they tend to remain relatively quiet but have just as good wildlife viewing as the northern parks. Selous is a dry season reserve and the game viewing is generally better the later in the season you travel. July to October is the best time of year for the greatest overall concentrations of animals, however game viewing is still very good in various areas of the reserve throughout the year. Click here to read ‘The Wayfairer Guide to the Selous’.

In the coastal areas, including the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago, the dry season is now in full swing and July is one of the very best months to travel. 

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

August Overview

The weather continues to be dry and warm in August which means that the landscapes become arid and waterholes start to dry up. Vegetation becomes sparse making wildlife viewing easier than in previous months and much of the grass on the plains will have been grazed down by herds of buffalo and antelope over the summer.  Although wildebeest and zebra are likely to have moved on to Kenya during this time, other animals and predators will still be present in Tanzania.

If you’re interested in experiencing a variety of activities we recommend Selous and Ruaha which offer combinations of walking and boating safaris, as well as day and night game drives. These parks remain relatively quiet even though they have so much to offer. Click here to read ‘The Wayfairer Guide to the Selous’.

Zanzibar is perfect at this time with bright blue skies and pleasant temperatures. You can enjoy snorkeling and sunbathing followed by a delicious fresh seafood dinner whilst watching a spectacular sunset. 

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

September Overview

September remains dry with low levels of humidity. Daytime temperatures are around 28°C and 15°C in the evenings.

Depending on water levels, wildebeest and zebra start heading back south from Kenya and cross the Masai Mara between September and November so you may be lucky enough to catch a river crossing during this month.

Towards the end of the dry season the sea visibility improves off the coast of Zanzibar making it an excellent time to snorkel and dive. Visibility is typically good between September and March depending on how the short rains of November and December affect the water. 

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

October Overview

October marks the start of spring and it is a fantastic time to visit Tanzania. It is a good month for game viewing as wildlife becomes increasingly concentrated around the remaining water sources. The herds of the Great Migration are typically found in the Maasai Mara in Kenya, although some good grazing may still be left in the far north of the Serengeti. 

Lake Tanganyika is at its warmest at this time of year and with Mahale fully accessible it is a great time to see the chimpanzees.

In the coastal areas, including the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago, October is very dry and pleasant although temperatures are rising. The chance of rain increases towards the end of the month. 

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

November Overview

November sees the start of the short rains, which usually lasts through to the end of December.

Although the Serengeti experiences rain, this subsequently means that the wildebeest will be moving south across the plains to make the most of the water sources. If they have not already arrived from Kenya, they will do by November.

In the coastal areas, including the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago, the short rains begin around the start of the month.

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

December Overview

The short rains tend to continue into December but they’re unlikely to last the whole month and will vary depending on where you go.

Tanzania is fairly hot and humid during December, therefore we recommend that you visit the Ngorongoro Crater and the plains of the Serengeti as the high altitude of the Ngorongoro Crater and the open expanse of the Serengeti mean that you won't feel the heat and humidity as much here as you would in other areas.

December is a fantastic time for bird watchers as many migratory birds arrive. This is particularly good in southern parks such as Selous, and Tarangire National Park in the north is a birdwatchers’ paradise.

Zanzibar’s high season runs from November to February so expect prices to be high and availability low.

Planning to climb Mt Kilimanjaro? Click here to read our month-by-month guide to Kilimanjaro's weather. 

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