When is a good time for a Tanzania safari?

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.

Plus SymbolLots of baby animals aroundMinus SymbolWettest months of the year
Plus SymbolGreen landscapes with the best light of the year for photographyMinus SymbolMore difficult to get around by vehicle
Plus SymbolAccommodation is more affordableMinus SymbolHot and humid on the coast
Plus SymbolLess crowded with touristsMinus SymbolMore mosquitoes
Plus SymbolApril and May Great time for bird-watching

SHOULDER SEASON – June, January, February and March

Plus SymbolStill a chance of rainMinus SymbolGrass can be high which can impede the viewing of wildlife
Plus SymbolGrasslands are still greenMinus SymbolNovember can be very hot
Plus SymbolGood time for bird watchersMinus SymbolNights can be very cold in June.
Plus SymbolWildebeest Migration should be in the Grumeti area of the Serengeti heading north.

HIGH (DRY) SEASON – July, August, September and October

Plus SymbolJune, July/August are best months to see the wildebeest migrationMinus SymbolWinter - cooler mornings and nights
Plus SymbolAccommodation is more expensiveMinus SymbolCan be very crowded with tourists
Plus SymbolNeed to book well in advanceMinus SymbolNot many baby animals around
Plus SymbolSunshine and blue skies
Plus SymbolLower Malaria risk
Plus SymbolWater 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.

Green DotOrange DotYellow DotRed DotWhen to go on an African Safari
Lake Manyara National ParkGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotYellow DotYellow DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotYellow DotGreen Dot
Ngorongoro Conservation AreaGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange Dotdot-light-green-388d02dot-light-green-388d02dot-light-green-388d02dot-light-green-388d02Yellow DotGreen Dot
Serengeti National Park (West)Yellow DotYellow DotOrange DotOrange DotGreen DotGreen Dotdot-light-green-388d02Orange DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotOrange Dot
Serengeti National Park (North)Orange DotOrange DotYellow DotYellow DotYellow DotOrange Dotdot-light-green-388d02dot-light-green-388d02dot-light-green-388d02Green DotGreen DotOrange Dot
Tarangire National ParkOrange DotOrange DotYellow DotYellow DotYellow DotOrange DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange Dot
Selous Game ReserveYellow DotYellow DotYellow DotRed DotRed DotOrange DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange Dot
Ruaha National ParkYellow DotYellow DotYellow DotRed DotRed DotOrange DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange Dot
Mahale, Gombe and KataviOrange DotOrange DotOrange DotYellow DotYellow DotOrange DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotGreen DotOrange DotOrange Dot