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Best Time to Visit Tanzania for a Wildlife Safari in 2024 explained Month by Month

The Best time to visit Tanzania is in June to August which is when most safari-goers recommend visiting Tanzania. Addition to the pleasant coolness in Tanzania, throughout June and July about two million wildebeests and Zebras brave the treacherous and crocodile infested Mara River crossing. Outside of these months, the Serengeti offers other opportunities to observe the wildebeest migration in the other corners of the park like the calving season in Ndutu plains. The heaviest rainfall occurs between the months of March and early May, which invigorates the environment but may impede transportation.

The Weather in Tanzania is the most important thing to consider when planning your safari to Tanzania. Tanzania is challenging to apply universal rule of weather changes because of the large and geographical diversity of the country, but there are basic weather patterns that give a general idea of what you can expect at any given time of year.

Tanzania has got two rainy seasons which is  the long one that usually occurs between March and May and a shorter one that takes place in November and December.

The best time to go on a safari in Tanzania is between the most pleasant time of year which is the long dry season (June to October) when the weather is generally clear and sunny. However, Temperatures in Tanzania vary greatly depending on elevation and the weather usually remains warm even in winter in the coastal areas. 

 The best time to go on safari in Tanzania will also depend on what you intend to see in the country. Different attractions have different months of the year that are more favorable for a safari in Tanzania than others.

Travel Guide to Tanzania

Tanzania is located in East Africa and is home to one of the seven wonders of the continent which is the great migration of wildlife in the Serengeti National park. Tanzania is home to the great Serengeti National Park, Africa’s highest mountain in Kilimanjaro National Park, the world’s largest crater the Ngorongoro crater, and many other opportunities to spot Africa’s Big 5 game like elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and Rhinos.

Many visitors who would like to visit Tanzania have the ever-common and the repeating question “When is the best time to visit Tanzania” but from our expertise and experience of over 15 years in service, the best time to visit Tanzania depends on what wildlife you’d like to spot. Visibility and movement of wildlife in Tanzania are all dictated by the weather most especially the rains dictate much.

If your aim for a safari in Tanzania is the Great Migration. This occurs year-round across Serengeti but many people flock around here between July and September for the best chance to witness huge herds of wildebeest and zebra crossing the great Mara River trying to avoid the jaws of the deadly Mara crocodiles and other predators like lions, leopards, and cheetahs waiting for their meal. At this time of the year, you ‘ll see lots of Safari vehicles in the park following the migration. This same time of the year is Tanzania’s long dry season with the best wildlife viewing opportunities since the vegetation in these months is short and is not as dense as in the rain which allows amazing game viewing.

Tanzania’s ever-green season, between November and March, is much quieter. While there’s a chance of rain showers, it’s a fantastic time for birdwatching as migratory species arrive in their thousands. You’ll also experience the calving of the wildebeest herds with their newly born calves.

The only time we tend to avoid Tanzania is between April and May when heavy rains can disrupt wildlife viewing and also parks like Serengeti and the Ngorongoro crater are inaccessible.

Best time to Visit Tanzania based on the prevailing Season at the famous attraction

A Tanzania safari is a lifetime trip if you need to know the best time to go and when to avoid uncertainties on your trip. Whether you’re planning your trip based on the best overall time to go, budget, or crowds, keep reading to see the perfect time of year for your trip goals detailed according to the major seasons and also monthly.

From June to September (High Season).

This is the high season and again the best time for game viewing in Tanzania. This is the time of year when the weather is cooler and dry and most days are sunny. Animal spotting is at its easiest as the pastures are sparse and all the animals congregate around dwindling water sources. The great wildebeest migration in the Serengeti usually takes place in these months while crossing the Mara River. Hotels in popular areas are often full during this time, with high-season prices in place but also with the best luxury service ever.

From October to February (Wildebeest Calving Season)

This is the best time to witness wildebeest calving. In these months the weather is hot, especially from December up to February, the short rains fall and the seasonal trade winds blow from late October. Wildebeest calving takes place in late January in the southern part of the Serengeti which is the Ndutu plains. High-season prices apply from mid-December to mid-January in our most precious luxury hotels, lodges and tented camps.

From March to May (Low Season)

In this season, heavy rains are making secondary roads muddy and some areas inaccessible during these months, but it seldom rains all day, every day, and landscapes are lush and green. As it’s low season, some hotels close while others offer discounts. In these months, you can take advantage of lower rates and less crowded parks in the north of the country. And bird-watching is at its best at this time of year since migratory birds are coming.

Tarangire National Park

Best time to visit Tanzania Explained Month by Month

Here’s our monthly guide to what you can expect throughout the year in Tanzania.

Visiting Tanzania in January

In January, there is still a chance of getting rain, the temperatures are getting higher and the humidity is building. It’s still a good time to visit as rates are still lower and the safari experience is excellent. At this time of year, the migration herds are calm in the southeastern part of the Serengeti for calving. The Ndutu Plains are very busy but still amazing to see so many animals in one place.  Since January is still in the green season between November and March, Tanzania still offers superb birdwatching opportunities, with its migratory birds arriving in their thousands.

In January, there is little rain making the whole of Tanzania at large dry with less mud which makes it is for you to also hike the highest point in Africa.

Events & Festivals

  • Zanzibar Swahili Festival

Visiting Tanzania in February

Migration and calving are still occurring in the Ndutu plains. The weather is hot and humid with a chance of rain, giving relief from the drought and bringing green landscapes, flowers, and birds. February is still the best time to go bird-watching.

Events & Festivals

  • Sauti za Busara.
  • Wildebeest calving season.
  • Orchids in Kitulo National Park

Visiting Tanzania in March

Migrating herds are starting to leave the Ndutu plains, heading west toward the Grumeti River. This is truly a low season before the heavy rains start but with humidity building. Great rates can be taken advantage of at this time of year. This is the green season, bringing lush grasses and bushes that can make the spotting game more difficult. However, this is still a wonderful time to travel particularly for bird watchers as parks are full of migratory birds; especially in the south. The migration of wildebeests and zebras is in the Grumeti area of the Serengeti heading north.

 

Events & Festivals

  • Kilimanjaro Marathon.
  • Nyama Choma Festival.
  • Jalada Mobile Literary.
  • Arts Festival

Visiting Tanzania in April.

The rains begin to taper off in some areas, although much of the country remains wet. Green landscapes, wildflowers, and birds, plus continued low-season prices, make this a delightful time to travel if you can avoid the mud. The wildebeest begin to form thousands-strong herds that start migrating north and west in search of food, which is a spectacular sight.

Events & Festivals

  • Wildebeest migration begins

Visiting Tanzania in May

Although May is still part of the rainy season, it is pretty dry in recent years, and rain is unlikely to last for the whole day on the mainland. Zanzibar can experience a lot of rain, making May a less favorable time of the year to visit.

Events & Festivals

  • Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival

Visiting Tanzania in June

The rains are ending, the weather is clear and landscapes are slowly beginning to dry out. Temperatures are also considerably cooler, and the Serengeti wildebeest migration is on the move. In this month of the year, the migration always takes place on the southeastern side of the Grumeti River.

Events & Festivals

  • Bulabo Dance Festival

Visiting Tanzania in July

This is the start of the peak season. The Migration is in the north of the Serengeti moving toward Kenya, and elephants start to gather in Tarangire. The land is getting drier and the spotting game is becoming easier. Temperatures are in the high 20°Cs to early 30°Cs and the humidity is low. This time of the year gives the best chance to observe herds of animals in their hundreds as they cross Tanzania’s rivers like the Grumeti River.

Events & Festivals

  • Festival of the Dhow Countries.
  • Zanzibar International Film Festival.
  • Dry season wildlife watching.
  • Mwaka Kogwa.
  • Ruaha Marathon.

Visiting Tanzania in August

This is a peak season and Migration is still in the north of Serengeti. As the land becomes more parched, the animals’ behavior becomes more predictable. The dense bush in Ruaha is drying out so game spotting here becomes much easier. This month the key attraction is the Mara River and viewing Africa’s Big 5.

Events & Festivals

  • Mara River Crossing

Visiting Tanzania in September

This approaching the end of the migration process in Tanzania and it’s still in the north of the Serengeti, with herds on both sides of the Kenya and Tanzania borders and high numbers of elephants in Tarangire. The northern circuit can be very busy, but it is less busy in the south, so for those who want to avoid crowds it’s best to visit the southern parks, and the country’s beautiful beaches, and tackle the Kilimanjaro.

Events & Festivals

  • Bagamoyo International Festival of Arts & Culture

Visiting Tanzania in October

At this point, the migration is now in Kenya, but the game viewing in central Serengeti is still very good. Southern parks are particularly rewarding at this time of year, especially the Ngorongoro crater and the other parks in the south.

Events & Festivals

  • Chimpanzee trekking in Mahale Mountains National Park

Visiting Tanzania in November

This month is a great time to take advantage of low season rates and is still a popular time to travel. Although there is a risk of rain during the day as well migrating herds are starting to travel south from Kenya, crossings can be seen in the north of the Serengeti.

Events & Festivals

  • Karibu Music Festival

Visiting Tanzania in December

Temperatures are high and humidity also starts to build. The safari experience at this time of the year is good, with migrating herds in the north traveling southern Ndutu plains. The festive season is always very busy and needs to be planned well in advance to ensure availability. It’s also an ideal time to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.

Events & Festivals

  • Swahili Fashion Week
  • Christmas Day
  • Boxing day
  • New year

Top Vacations Spots in Tanzania and the best time to visit them.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park has an exceptional game in high density all year round. Serengeti National Park is one of the high-ranking Tanzania tourist destinations with the park well famous for the largest Annual 1.5 million Wildebeest Migration with thousands of zebras and hundreds of thousands of gazelles and also famous for its numerous Nile crocodile and the honey badger.

Serengeti National Park is located in the Mara and Simiyu regions and contains 1.5 million hectares of the savanna, and stretches on a total land area of over 14,763 square kilometers in Tanzania and was established in 1951. Serengeti National Park is at the heart of the larger Serengeti ecosystem and is well defined by the area covered by the Annual Migration.

Serengeti host the second largest terrestrial mammal migration on earth, the Great Migration, where1.5 over a million Wildebeest Migration with thousands of zebras and hundreds of thousands of gazelles commence their legendary journey of over 1,800 miles on a long round trek of dry-lands in Tanzania. The Serengeti National Park contains the exceptional game in high densities year-round, although peak time is during the dry season from June to September when animals crowd near water sources and the vegetation is less dense making it easy to spot them.

Great Wildebeest Migration

Best Time to Visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area 

The Ngorongoro dry season is between June and October which is usually considered the best time to visit the Area. The lack of rains makes the vegetation thinner and thus spotting wildlife is easy. November to May is a greener season and game viewing is still possible and the Conservation Area is less crowded.

Best Time to visit Selous Game Reserve 

Selous Game Reserve is the largest Game Reserve in Africa and one of the largest in the world. Selous Game Reserve is renowned for being larger than Switzerland and remarkably four times bigger than the Serengeti National Park.

Selous Game Reserve was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 because of its diversity of wildlife and undisturbed nature. The dry season between June to December makes an excellent sighting of all big cats and wild dogs making this season the best time to visit. Animals usually spread out during the wet season (March to May) and the heaviest rains fall in the months of March and April. Although you may be slightly more restricted in activities in this area.

Best time to Zanzibar Island

This Tropical Island adventure is best experienced from June to October when the climate is cool and dry. Within this period, August and September have the best water clarity of 25 or more meters, offering incredible snorkeling conditions and whale viewing potential.