December 12, 2022
The Best time to visit Tanzania. With a country that is overflowing with photo opportunities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it begs a very important question:
And if that question has been heavy on your noggin’, you’re in the right place. Below, we’re breaking it down:
June marks the opening of the dry season in Tanzania. During these months, the landscape becomes drained of color; the sun is shining, and wild animals tend to gather around the remaining water sources. The wildebeest herds are on a migration cycle, looking for food and water; this will be the best time to view wildlife in the greatest number.
You’ll see lots of safari vehicles in the park at this time of the year. Most camps and lodges will be jam-packed, and you can expect to pay premium prices due to the high demand.
From the end of December until March, the calving season is in full swing in the plains of the Southern Serengeti (The Ndutu Area), when the ranks of wildebeest give birth to thousands of calves each day attracting plenty of predators. It is the time and place of year where predator density is at its highest and you have the best chances of seeing predator-prey interaction.
Tanzania’s “green season,” is much quieter; the scenery is green and beautiful! March is not as predictable as other months! While the earlier days of March tend to be dry, it’s a fantastic time for bird-watching as migratory species arrive in their thousands.
Heavy downpours during these months will make the lush landscape green and the roads muddy. It is a low season, so expect heavy discounts from the gorgeous accommodations found around the country.
The weather, the availability of water resources, grasslands, etc., all tie together in an elegant but very complex cycle, and will transform the landscape, impacting every aspect of sightseeing and safari travel in multiple ways.
To understand this more, let us look at how Tanzania changes throughout the year!
What’s the weather like in Tanzania in January? In the mainland, the average temperature ranges from a cool 16°C to a warm 29°C, so it’s ideal to pack some warm clothes along with your summer style! On our islands, you can expect a balmy 23°C to a hot high of 32°C, so whip out the sunscreen!
Generally, January is hot and humid, falling during our green season, so named for the rich, lush, green landscapes (perfect for photography!). Occasional rainfall provides a welcome respite from the heat.
The heat continues in February, but with occasional showers to cool things off. These random showers lead to a greener landscape and much sought-after new grass, especially for the hundreds of thousands of animals in the Southern Serengeti for calving season. Birds rejoice in the showers, and visitors will delight in their merry chirping.
You also have the benefit of enjoying the highest average hours of sunshine that we get all year – and you know what that means, the best photographic conditions available countrywide!
March is not as predictable as other months! While the earlier days of March tend to be dry, it is not uncommon that some years will see the rain return a little earlier and March can be wet – changing the landscape from a tawny beige to a vibrant green.
Calving continues through the month, and for the younglings, this is the time for them to eat, grow, and gain strength for the migration ahead. If you prefer solitude and hope to enjoy a more peaceful safari without the crowds, this is the right time to visit Tanzania.
April signals the official arrival of the rainy season and marks the beginning of the wet season. The rains bring lush green pastures for the animals and colorful wildflowers to attract hundreds of species of birds. Meanwhile, the wildebeest are forming herds for their migration north in their endless quest for the green pastures. It’s a great time to visit and observe these majestic beasts in a relatively peaceful setting.
May in Tanzania is a photographer’s delight. Known as the Emerald season, April showers most definitely give way to May flowers, as the landscape blossoms into vivid color. Big game herbivores like elephants, rhinoceros, and buffalo are more easily spotted in May due to the tremendous abundance of food and water.
The rainy season is officially over in June. The air is cooler and crisper, and the land begins to dry. The wildebeest migration continues north, following just behind the rain, across the Serengeti in search of food and water. By now, the herds are gigantic and have started attracting crowds of tourists from around the globe.
July is right in the middle of the dry season, meaning it is the perfect time to enjoy a safari. The landscape is parched, the skies are blue. While the lack of rain means clear skies, it also means that there is a higher likelihood of dust being kicked up, particularly since July is peak season and there are more safari vehicles than usual on the roads.
In August, the weather is as close to perfect and leads the wildebeest north and across the daunting Mara River and into Kenya. As the most difficult of the river crossings, it’s an event of high drama as the wildebeest stampede across a river full of circling predators. Only the strongest and fastest wildebeest survive the crossing. So, if this is the action-packed, nail-biting wildlife excitement you’re looking for, this is the time and place to be on safari.
The weather continues to be ideal in September, pleasant and well-suited for trekking, exploring the beaches, and other fun, sightseeing activities. If you have Kilimanjaro on your bucket list, this is one of the best times to take on that big adventure. The Mara River crossings are still in progress, and if you want the chance to see nature in action right before your very eyes, now’s the time.
October marks the last chance in the year to catch Tanzania in a properly dry climate. The wildebeest migration herds are now returning from Kenya starting their trek back to the southern plains of the Serengeti. For the first few weeks of October, you will experience the tail end of the long dry season, a season that has been going on since late May or early June.
November brings a short rainy season to Tanzania. But, unlike April and May, the November rains are brief and sporadic. A wonderful time for bird-watching since these many feathered friends migrate from the North in search of greenery.
December can be a little wet – it is not yet the true green season, but December and November are known together as the short rainy season. Rainstorms will often appear in the early afternoon and be short, clearing to beautiful blue skies and excellent photographic conditions.