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When to visit Tanzania

The best time to go to Tanzania is dependent on the wildlife you wish to see; December and February sees the birth of zebra and wildebeest but June to October is the best time to see a myriad of wildlife gathering around the remaining waterholes. Tanzania’s tropical climate is relatively constant all year due to the country’s proximity to the equator, with daytime temperatures usually ranging from 25°C to 32°C. Early mornings and evenings feel noticeably cooler, but regional variation and altitude will effect this.

Tanzania's rich wildlife is a big draw, and your visit's timing can affect your safari experience. Millions of wildebeest and zebras cross the Serengeti's grasslands during the Great Migration, which takes place there from June to October. One of the highlights of travelling during these months is seeing this amazing display. The time to see juvenile zebra and wildebeest taking their first steps is from December to February if you're interested in the birthing season and cute infant animals. The optimal time to embark on your Tanzanian vacation thus depends on whether you want to see the cycle of life or the great herd migration.

TAN St Tanzania Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Shutterstock Kirill Dorofeev
TAN St Tanzania Serengeti Cheetah Shutterstock Harry Singh Photography

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The Best Time to Visit Tanzania

  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC

January sees the western parks such as Gombe, Mahale and Kavati likely to have continuous rain throughout the wet season; trekking surfaces can become muddy and sometimes even impassable so chimpanzee treks are more difficult. Despite humidity also being very high, you don’t feel the heat so much at Ngorongoro Crater due to the high altitude, this is probably the best place to spot rhinos.

Late January is a great time to see the calving season begin with antelope, zebra and wildebeest delivering their offspring while the landscape is green and there is plenty of water in the parks.

If you want to combine your safari trip to Tanzania with a beach visit, January is a good time to head to Zanzibar, the sea breeze tempering the high humidity making it a pleasant place to soak up some winter sun.

Northern Parks

Home of the classic safari route that includes the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, it is more than possible to enjoy the ‘northern circuit’ any time of year, but it can be crowded over Christmas and between July and August when the migration occurs. Whilst peak summer months are best for the migration, an alternative time to visit is January to March, when wildebeest and zebra have their young, with great wildlife viewing in the south Serengeti.

Southern and Western Parks

These lesser visited areas such as Selous and Ruaha have popular months between June and October after the rains subside. Watch huge herds of buffalo congregate at the rivers in Katavi National Park in the west of Tanzania, when the rivers dry up during the dry season, hippos also fight for space at this time. It is also worth considering January to March, as this is generally a quieter time to visit but also very fertile with excellent game viewing.

Coast and Islands

The coastal region is a lowland area that experiences somewhat heavier tropical rainfall and hot and humid weather, although these are mainly afternoon downpours that soon disperse. Temperatures along the coast tend to be more bearable between May and October and there will be fewer mosquitos providing the optimum time for a honeymoon safari. The rainiest months are mid-March to May and November to January.

Things to do in Tanzania

See birds

Head to Selous and Ruaha from December to March as European migratory birds arrive and males are out in full force vying for the females’ attention. Look out for the colourful Northern Carmine bee-eaters seeking out grasshoppers in the undergrowth.

See big cats

Travel to the Central Serengeti between July and October, after the herds of wildebeest have passed through.