Tanzania is a world-renowned safari destination and to see its full splendour and beauty, knowing the best time to go on a safari in Tanzania is necessary.
This will give you many opportunities to see and take clear pictures of the Great Wildebeest Annual Migration wherein over 2 million animals, migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Maasai Mara in Kenya, but here’s the real whopper: Tanzania has the largest concentration of animals per square kilometer in the world! It’s no wonder Tanzania is such a safari hotspot!
But with a country that is overflowing with photo opportunities and once-in-a-lifetime experiences, it begs a very important question:
“When is the best time to go on safari in Tanzania?”
And if that question has been heavy on your noggin’, you’re in the right place.
Below, we’re breaking it down:
- The best time to go on safari month-by-month
- The best time to go on safari season-by-season
- Which parks shine when
- The high and lows lights of each month
- When you need to book well in advance and which months are friendlier to your wallet.
Ready to demystify your dream Tanzania trip? Let’s go!
The best time to go on a safari in Tanzania: Season by season breakdown
Looking to visit Tanzania and experience a Safari like no other in the world? Then you will need to know about the best time to go.
This is why we have broken down the months season by season, so you can make the most of your visit to Tanzania.
The best time to go on a safari in Tanzania: Visiting Tanzania in the wet season
People often ask “What is the chance of rain happening in Tanzania?” The answer is dependent on when you go. If you go during the rainy season, you can expect afternoon showers, afternoon downpours, and less crowded parks. Strictly speaking, the wet season period isn’t continuous as there are 2 wet seasons every year. The first one is November through December (the short rains), while the long rains take place from March through May.
November – December
The rains during this time are gentle and shouldn’t interfere with your trip. This is a great time to see the wildebeest returning home from Kenya. This is definitely an underrated time to visit Tanzania!
January – February
Because this is the wildebeest calving season, and if you’re hoping to catch some predator action, this is a good time to do so! Thousands of wildebeests are born every day during these months. It is also the lull between the two rainy seasons so the weather is peachy, and the bird watching cannot get any better! Pro tip: Jan/Feb is our low season, so if you’re wanting to cut your budget a bit – this is also a good time!
Some might say that going on safari during the wet season is a bad idea, and perhaps it might not offer the best conditions – but it is definitely not off-limits. Similar to the short wet season, the peak wet season offers fantastic bird watching opportunities, and even game viewing opportunities (although, definitely less than the dry season). The prices during this time of year are the lowest. Expect heavy rains and unpredictable weather patterns. Consider trekking Mount Kilimanjaro during this time of the year as the mountain creates its very own weather patterns!
Wet season summary: best time for birding, few crowds, lowest prices.
The best time to go on a safari in Tanzania: Visiting Tanzania in the dry season
June – July
Hands down the best time to see the Great Wildebeest Migration in action. The weather during this time is also arguably the best. The lack of rain means no mosquitoes and less humidity. The only downfall of visiting during this time is the crowds, so remember to book well in advance. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is picturesque during these months, making this the most popular time to visit Tanzania.
August – September
This is the ideal time to visit if you want to witness the great river crossings, as the migration crosses the border around this time of year. Getting to see the river crossing is truly a life-changing experience. Predator action is at an all-time high. Weather conditions are similar to the previous 2 months.
This month gets a special mention! October offers similar conditions to the rest of the dry season, however, if you stay till the end you will get to see the magical thunder clouds building as the rainy season draws closer. There will also be considerably fewer people. But remember to wrap up warm. We have a guide just for that!
Dry season summary: great weather, great game viewing, big crowds, more expensive.
Best months to go on a safari in Tanzania (month by month)
Countless people have had their lives changed for the better after experiencing an African safari. Whether it’s your first time or you’re taking your fifth, there are still plenty of things that can make it even more special. And if you get off on the right foot, it could be the trip of a lifetime.
The best time to visit Tanzania for a safari depends on what you want to see and do. Each season has its own special attractions. Here’s a month-by-month guide to help you plan your dream safari.
Want to see rhinos? Head to Tanzania in January and go on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater. Not only will you escape the heat that grips the rest of the country (thanks to the perks of high altitude), but you’ll have an easy time spotting the iconic Big 5 that roam the crater floor.
For those that love baby animals, January is the wildebeest calving season in the Serengeti. You can catch a glimpse of the 8,000 wildebeest born almost every single day!
On the Southern Tanzania Circuit, you can escape the crowds and high season prices. At Nyerere and Ruaha National Park, the lack of foot traffic means you can scoop up fantastic deals at safari lodges.
Along the west, Gome, Mahale, and Kavati are in the grips of their rainy season. Trekking to the chimpanzees is difficult, and the consistent downpours mean you’ll have a hard time spotting wildlife.
Much like January, the rains will dictate where you can go on safari in Tanzania. The western parks are still a no-go with continuous rainfall, whereas the northern and southern Tanzania circuits are drier.
Head to the southern part of the Serengeti, and you can catch the last couple of weeks of the wildebeest calving season.
For bird watchers, Nyerere and Ruaha see an influx of European migratory birds, and Lake Natron welcomes 2.5 million Greater and Lesser flamingos, the birds only breeding ground in East Africa.
In March, the heavy rains of the long rainy season begin. While the downpours don’t last the entire day, it’s frequent and can cause some roads in the national parks to become inaccessible.
As a result, the lodges and camps close to the Southern Tanzania Circuit like Ruaha, Nyerere, and Mikumi close down.
But all hope is not lost!
March is an incredible month for bird lovers. Head to Lake Manyara, and you’ll have spectacular sightings of water birds and hornbills.
If March is the only time you can go on safari in Tanzania, speak to our team of experts to get recommendations on which parks are possible to visit without any issues. All our guides use 4×4 vehicles and know how to avoid getting stuck on muddy roads.
April is a month with a mix of pros and cons for a Tanzania safari. While the heavy rains keep some of the lodges along the Southern and Western circuit closed, you can still find incredible deals.
Almost all the lodges slash their prices to 50% off, making April one of the cheapest times to visit Tanzania.
Another pro of visiting Tanzania in April is its low season. The country’s most popular parks are devoid of other travelers, and the southern region of the Serengeti still has good game viewing despite the wet weather.
The only downside? The flouring foliage can make it harder to spot the big cats and herbivores.
May is the final month of the long rains in Tanzania and your last month to scoop up safari deals. As the weather slowly dries up, you can find massive discounts, making it the best time to visit Tanzania on a budget.
Plus, with hardly any other tourists in the country, you’ll have the national parks all to yourself!
In the Serengeti, the wildebeest are on the move. You can spot the massive herds moving across the plains before heading north. Despite the rest of the country offering low season rates, Serengeti’s prices are still high due to the movement of the wildebeest.
June sets the stage for the best time to go on a safari in Tanzania. The start of the dry season ushers in blue skies, plenty of sunshine, and unbeatable wildlife sightings.
And with the good weather, you can expect the high season prices to begin and more foot traffic inside the national parks.
In the Serengeti, you can go on a safari to watch the wildebeest at Grumeti River build up their numbers before making the treacherous river crossing in the thousands.
Along the Western Tanzania Circuit, Katavi and Mahale are once again accessible. Add a chimpanzee trek here to your Northern Tanzania Circuit itinerary for an exclusive and remote safari experience.
July is the peak safari season in Tanzania. If you want to avoid the crowds, head to the quieter southern and western national parks. While these regions aren’t as popular as the north, the wildlife sightings won’t disappoint!
For chimpanzee trekking, go to Mahale Mountain National Park or Gombe Stream National Park. Both have the highest number of wild chimps in Tanzania, and Gombe is home to the world’s longest-running study of chimpanzee behavior, pioneered by Jane Goodall.
Wherever you decide to go, remember it’s high season in Tanzania. Book your accommodation and tours at least six to eight months in advance.
As the watering holes start to dwindle, August creates exceptional wildlife sightings. With sparse foliage and no rain, the animals seek out the few remaining pools of water in droves.
Expect large herds of wildlife and easy sightings of the elusive big cats and Big 5.
Want to do more than go on game drives twice a day? Drive down to Nyerere and Ruaha National Parks. In August, you can take advantage of the unique walking and boating safaris as well as night game drives.
Again, August is a popular time to visit Tanzania. Don’t leave your flight, accommodation, and safari bookings to the last minute!
September marks the return of the wildebeest. The massive herds make their way back from Kenya in the millions, crossing the Masai Mara back into Serengeti National Park.
If water levels are good, you can even catch a river crossing!
Another good reason to visit Tanzania in September is the trekking conditions. With no rain, the climb up Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro is easier, and you’ll have clear visibility over Tanzania’s rolling landscapes. Keep a lookout for safari and trekking combos to get the most bang for your buck!
For travelers who want fewer crowds and deals on safaris, the Ndutu region that forms part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is in its low season.
October is one of the best months for a Western Tanzania Circuit safari. The temperatures are warm enough to take a dip in Lake Tanganyika, and Mahale Mountains National Park is fully accessible for trekking.
This is also the last month before the shorter rainy season begins in November. Make the most of the dry weather, and plan a western circuit safari. Katavi National Park is beautiful this time of year, and you’ll find the wildlife concentrated around the Katuma River.
Arusha is another national park that shines in October. Climb to the top of Mount Meru and keep an eye out for leopards and hyenas at dusk and dawn.
November marks the start of the shorter rainy season in Tanzania. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan an epic safari adventure – you just need to know where to go.
Travel to the north and visit national parks like Arusha and Tarangire National Park. Nyerere is also a good option, with its dry landscapes holding out until December. While the Serengeti does see some rain, you can watch the wildebeest move across the plains.
Another pro to visiting Tanzania in November is the predator action. The big cats are looking for newborn herbivores to snack on, creating the potential for action-packed safaris.
But the best part? November is a lull in Tanzania’s tourist season. There are fewer safari vehicles on the plains, giving you an intimate game viewing experience.
The short rainy season starts to dry out in December, and with it, Tanzania’s tourism picks up. Travelers flock to Tanzania for Christmas and New Year safari adventures.
If you want to end off the year here, book far in advance to secure rooms at your first-choice lodges and prepare your wallet for the peak season prices.
For bird watchers, December is a match made in heaven. The migratory birds arrive, and Nyerere and Tarangire National Park put on a spectacular wildlife show.
Best time to see the great wildebeest migration
The best time to see the great wildebeest migration depends on what you want to see. Are you looking to witness the wildebeest calving season? Visit the Northern Tanzania Circuit between December and March.
For the iconic river crossings and the big cat action, head to the western Serengeti between June and July. However, you can catch the migration until October, depending on the herd movements and the rains.
Tanzania safari FAQ
- When is the best month to visit Tanzania? June or July is the best month to visit Tanzania for a safari. It’s dry season, and the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti is in full swing.
- When is the best time to see the great migration in Tanzania? The best time to see the Great Migration in Tanzania is between June and October.
- What is the rainy season in Tanzania? The rainy season in Tanzania is November to mid-January and Mid-March to May.
- How hot is it in Tanzania in July? Tanzania has a max average temperature of 70 °F / 21 °C in July.
Ready to go on a safari in Tanzania?
In the end, it is up to you to choose when the ‘best time’ to go on safari is. We hope that our summary has helped you make your decision, but if you are still undecided and need a gentle shove in the right direction, be sure to contact our team of Tanzania specialists. It’s important to learn more about the best time to visit, and which National Parks should be on your itinerary.