Best time to visit Tanzania
When to visit Tanzania
Timing is real important while planning visit to Africa might only happen once in a lifetime. Taking a trip to the Serengeti, to Zanzibar, to Kilimanjaro, this is all stuff that dreams are made of. So why not plan your African trip during optimal conditions? Why not set yourself up for success? Now, know we can’t control the weather, but we can choose to avoid times of prolonged rain or intense heat, to make your trips as leisure and pleasure as possible
SEASONS AND WEATHER
Tanzania enjoys a fairly temperate climate making it a great year-round destination. Given the country's size, it’s hard to pinpoint when the ‘perfect’ time to go is, so we'll look at what the weather tends to do throughout the year and what you want to do when visiting.
Tanzania experiences two dry seasons, lasting from January to March and June to September. If you’re coming to Tanzania for the sublime array of wildlife then we recommend timing your visit with either of the dry seasons. Reason being that the vegetation is less dense, so game viewing is somewhat easier and animals tend to head to commonly known waterholes, rivers and lakes for refreshment.
The second dry season from June to September is the most popular time to visit Tanzania. So if you want the great weather and easily found wildlife but fewer crowds, maybe plan to visit between January and March.
April to May and October to November mark the rainy seasons in Tanzania. The first rainy season, from April to May is seen as the heaviest and a raincoat is a must-have. The second, from October to November, then sees lighter rainfall.
The rainy seasons can be a beautiful time to visit as the vegetation is at its most lush and green. Rainfall tends to fall in short showers, interspersed with bursts of sunshine, which can make for some excellent photography. April to May is also the low season in Tanzania, so parks are usually less crowded and rates for accommodation and tours can be lower.
The best wildlife viewing in Tanzania is observed during the dry seasons, however your experience can vary according to which park you’re visiting.
If you’re visiting the vast Serengeti, time your visit with the second dry season from June to September to experience the annual highlight of the great migration. This epic natural event sees millions of wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate north to the Masai Mara in Kenya from July to November.
This is also a great time to visit if you're looking to do a combined safari to Tanzania and Kenya. But if you’re looking to avoid the crowds the migration brings, visit the Serengeti in the first dry season from January to March, which is also the wildebeest calving season.
The Ngorongoro Crater
Wildlife viewing inside the crater is excellent year-round. However in the dry seasons, from January to March and June to September, the grass on the crater floor is short - making Africa’s iconic wildlife much easier to spot.
Best Time to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro
If you are looking to climb Kilimanjaro then there are a few things to bear in mind. The warmest months are January and February, however these also bring with them the largest numbers of trekkers. By March through to May the rains come making trekking potentially more challenging – however there are considerably less people on the mountain.
June to August then see colder temperatures but less rain and September and October are fairly dry with pleasant temperatures. November to December see the rains return but the temperatures are still quite mild. Despite what the daytime temperature is, it gets cold at night on the mountain and naturally the closer you are to the summit the colder it will be. For more info climb kilimanjaro
The Great Migration
The endless plains of east Africa are the setting for the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle – the pounding of more than 6 million hooves during the Great Migration. From the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara over 1 million wildebeest, 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle and some 200,000 zebra, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators, migrate in a clockwise fashion over 1,800 miles each year in search of rain ripened grass.
The precise timing of this incredible event is hard to predict, as the path of the wildebeest migration is dependant on rain. The animals follow the path of the rain in order to feed off the new grass whilst also being close to a good water supply. If you'd like to time your trip to Tanzania or Kenya to watch this incredible event then here's our migration safari
From December to February the wildebeest congregate in the Serengeti region. In the Serengeti an estimated 400,000 wildebeest calves are born during a six week period early each year - usually between late January and mid-March. From March to May/June, the wildebeest migration moves north following the rain, to the Lake Victoria region. From July to August the wildebeest migration heads east to the Masai Mara in Kenya, returning south across the Tanzanian border around November
Festivals and Events
More than 120 tribes inhabit Tanzania with Christianity and Islam popular religions. This cultural mix makes for an interesting selection of festivals and events that take place during the year, alongside sporting events that attract people from all over the world. Here are some of the most popular.
Starting in 2002 this event offers competitors to run in a marathon, half marathon and fun-run in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro. Professionals and amateurs from around the world participate with the route following well-paved roads. For more info Kilimanjaro Marathon
Bagamoyo Arts Festival
Taking place over 6 days, this annual event showcases the best of Tanzanian art and culture with music and dance performances, acrobatics displays, sculpture exhibitions and workshops. It takes place in the town of Bagamoyo on Tanzania's northeastern coast.
Sauti za Busara
Sauti za Busara ( "sounds of wisdom") is an African music festival that is held every year in February in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It is centred in the Old Fort (Ngome Kongwe), with fringe events taking place concurrently around Stone Town - including a carnival street parade.
Sauti za Busara is one of the largest music festivals in East Africa, with several hundreds of artists participating each year. It showcases a diverse and dynamic programme of exclusively African music - 100% live - and has over the years provided a valuable stage for local Swahili talent, from taarab legends like Bi Kidude and Culture Musical Club, to homegrown Tanzanian pop and hip-hop.
Zanzibar International Film Festival
The Zanzibar International Film Festival(ZIFF), also known as Festival of the Dhow Countries, is an annual film festival held in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It has been described as the largest cultural event in East Africa. ZIFF is a non-governmental organization established in 1997 to develop and promote film and other cultural industries as catalyst for the regional social and economic growth.