Tanzania’s climate is predominately tropical. Coastal areas are usually hot and humid, but on the beaches a sea breeze cools the air considerably. The average day temperature is 30°C. Tanzania has two rainy seasons – the long rains from late March to June and the short rains from November to January. The long rains fall in heavy downpours, often accompanied by violent storms, but the short rains tend to be much less severe.
The hottest time of the year is from December to March, before the long rains begin. The coolest months are June, July and August, when the weather is often overcast. In high-altitude areas such as Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Highlands, temperatures can fall below freezing.
If at all possible, avoid visiting during the rainy season, which runs from March through May. Rainstorms are frequently strong and abrupt, causing events to be cancelled at the last minute.
Tanzania’s Safari Seasons
LOW (WET) SEASON – April/May and November/December
April and May are the long rains. It tends to rain heavily almost every day, although not often for the whole day. Humidity tends to be high, especially in the hotter southern and western parks. November and December are the short rains. A period of about a month of short rains which occurs sometime between November and December. Its timing is unpredictable and, in Northern Tanzania, it can even happen in October. The rains will rarely interfere with your safari.
|Lots of baby animals around||Wettest months of the year|
|Green landscapes with the best light of the year for photography||More difficult to get around by vehicle|
|Accommodation is more affordable||Hot and humid on the coast|
|Less crowded with tourists||More mosquitoes|
|April and May Great time for bird-watching|
SHOULDER SEASON – June, January, February and March
|Still a chance of rain||Grass can be high which can impede the viewing of wildlife|
|Grasslands are still green||November can be very hot|
|Good time for bird watchers||Nights can be very cold in June.|
|Wildebeest Migration should be in the Grumeti area of the Serengeti heading north.|
HIGH (DRY) SEASON – July, August, September and October
|June, July/August are best months to see the wildebeest migration||Winter - cooler mornings and nights|
|Accommodation is more expensive||Can be very crowded with tourists|
|Need to book well in advance||Not many baby animals around|
|Sunshine and blue skies|
|Lower Malaria risk|
|Water sources are lower and animals tend to gather around water holes|
When to visit Tanzania’s national parks and game reserves
The best time for a Tanzania safari will depend on where you want to go and what you want to see. Tanzania is best visited during the lengthy dry season, which runs from July to September. Safaris, the Great Migration, trekking, and beach vacations in Zanzibar are all recommended during these months. These are, of course, the busiest travel months.