Tanzania is a great holiday destination all year round. But there are certain times of year where some activities or attractions are best experienced.
Whether you’re looking to tick a wildlife safari off your bucket list, brave the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro or soak up some sun on the paradise island of Zanzibar, check out some of my advice below on when to time your trip to Tanzania.
When is the best time to go on safari in Tanzania?
A safari adventure on the Northern Circuit of Tanzania is possible throughout the year. That said, as a general rule of thumb, the dry season (from late June to October) is the most popular time of year for safari.
During the dry season, you will find that many animals congregate near water sources and vegetation is sparse, thus improving the visibility of animals. It’s also a great time of year to catch predators in action as they hunt for their prey near the water sources.
However, one thing to bear in mind is that there are more vehicles in the park during this season, meaning crowding can occur in certain reserves. If you are looking to avoid the crowds and visit Tanzania out of the dry season, it is worth noting that some lodges do close during the rainy season (usually March to May).
When is the best time to witness the great migration in Tanzania?
One of the biggest drawcards for any safari enthusiast is the migration, which passes through the famous Serengeti National Park. Known to be one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth, this annual occurrence sees millions of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle migrate from Kenya into Tanzania in pursuit of fresh grasslands and water. If seeing the migration is your goal, then you need to be in the right place at the right time.
The migration takes one full year to complete before the cycle starts again. This means there is a good chance you can witness it throughout the year, but certain highlights only occur in certain months.
For instance, dramatic river crossings occur between July and August in the far west, and calving season starts from December to March. Between April and June, you’ll find huge herds migrating to the Grumeti region before making their way back to Kenya. Click here to see an interactive map illustrating the migration’s typical movements.
When is the best time to climb Kilimanjaro, Tanzania’s highest mountain?
Mount Kilimanjaro weather conditions can vary throughout the year, with each month providing different views of the surrounding region.
The best weather for climbing usually occurs from July to October, when there is generally little rain and the skies are mostly clear. Whereas it is best to avoid climbing from April to June when rain, mud, ice, and fog is common and can pose a risk for climbers.
However, December to February is also regarded by some as the best time to climb, as the weather is still dry and favourable and there are fewer groups on the mountain.
When is the best time to visit Zanzibar?
A Zanzibar island getaway is best experienced from June to October when the weather is generally cool to dry. During this time, the months of August and September offer amazing snorkeling conditions when the water is at its clearest.
However, it is also worth noting that some island restaurants do close during the Muslim festival of Ramadan (June/July) so do check before booking.
From December to February, temperatures can rocket up to 40 degrees Celsius making it very hot and dry. Wet season usually arrives in March and lasts until May, and you may find that some resorts close during these months.
My personal opinion?
Having visited on multiple occasions (and now living here), I have two times of the year which are my personal favourites.
October/November time is a great time as you’ve just come out of the high season. While there aren’t as many crowds, there is still enough activity going on to experience the buzz. The weather is generally quite hot during this time and the skies are often clear enough to get good views of Mount Kilimanjaro from afar.
However, it is can be quite dry and dusty during this time, which is why I also like being here during the rainy season (April to June). The surrounding area springs to life and becomes a gorgeous lush green. And the weather is generally a little cooler (although you can experience very hot days here and there too!)
Mount Kilimanjaro is usually quite shy hiding behind the clouds this time of year, but you may get a surprise peak from time to time. The only downside to this time of year is that getting around does get trickier with all the mud and rain.
Have you ever visited Tanzania? When did you go and what was it like during this time?
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