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    The best time to go on a safari in Tanzania

    12 minutes read
    best time to go on safari

    Experience the awe-inspiring sight of the Great Wildebeest Annual Migration in Tanzania. Over 2 million animals travel from the Serengeti National Park to Kenya’s Maasai Mara.

    This spectacle creates fantastic chances for you to see and capture these moments nature offers. But when is the best time for a Tanzanian safari? We’ll provide a breakdown of the ideal times for a safari, covering:

    • Month-by-month and season-by-season insights (wet season and dry season)
    • Highlights of each park
    • High and lowlights of each month
    • Booking tips for peak and budget-friendly periods

    Ready to unravel the mystery of your dream Tanzania trip? Let’s dive in!

    The best time to go on a safari in Tanzania: Season by season breakdown

    Wanting for an unforgettable adventure? Plan your visit to Tanzania, where nature narrates a mesmerizing story.

    Whether it’s the marvel of witnessing new life during the calving season or the breathtaking spectacle of the Great Migration, Tanzania offers an unmatched experience that brings the wild to life. We’ve carefully analyzed each season and month, helping guide you through the different experiences you may encounter during your visit.

    With this information, you can plan your journey strategically, aligning with the most thrilling natural events, such as the calving season or the Great Migration. When you visit Tanzania, you’re signing up for more than just a safari. You’re about to embark on the journey of a lifetime that delivers excitement, wonder, and awe at every turn.

    The best time to go on a safari in Tanzania: Visiting Tanzania in the wet season

    Tanzania - tanzania in wet season - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    People often wonder about the likelihood of rain in Tanzania. The answer depends on when you visit. Expect afternoon showers and downpours and fewer crowds during the rainy seasons. There are two wet periods: November-December (short rains) and March-May (long rainy season).

    1. November-December

    During the short rainy season, gentle rain showers rarely interfere with your travel plans. This time is ideal for a private safari, offering a unique Tanzanian experience.

    The often-overlooked period coincides with the return of the Great Migration herds of wildebeest from Kenya, providing prime wildlife viewing and game spotting opportunities. Parks in the northern circuit, notably Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, are at their finest during this underrated season.

    1. January-February

    The wildebeest calving season, also the birthing season, is a magnificent time to visit Tanzania. You can witness exciting predator action and exceptional bird watching, all amidst lush vegetation.

    Despite being the peak season for nature’s spectacle, it’s also the low season for tourism. This makes it a perfect period for budget-conscious travelers to explore this rich wilderness.

    2. March-May

    The long rainy season in Tanzania ushers in many birding opportunities, with many unique species appearing. This period provides a unique, less traditional safari experience with lower prices.

    Visitors can enjoy national parks like Lake Manyara in a less crowded atmosphere, providing an exclusive commune with nature. However, prospective visitors should be prepared for unpredictable weather that may alter travel plans.

    In summary, wet seasons provide the best birding opportunities, fewer crowds, and the lowest prices. Embrace the green season and enjoy Tanzania’s natural wonders.

    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

    The best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    1. June – July

    Hands down, this is 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.

    2. 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 two months.

    3. October

    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 see the magical thunderstorms 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, excellent 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, particularly in Tanzania with its northern circuit and southern circuit parks. Whether it’s your first time or you’re taking your fifth trip, the tropical climate and diverse ecosystems provide a unique adventure each time.

    There are still plenty of things that can make it even more special. The best time to visit these parks depends heavily on what you want to see and do. Each season, influenced by the tropical climate, has its unique attractions.

    Hence, planning is crucial to get off on the right foot because it could be the trip of a lifetime with proper timing and preparation. To assist in planning, here’s a month-by-month guide to help you determine the best time to visit the northern and southern parts for your dream safari.

    January

    Tanzania dream tour

    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 also have an easy time spotting the iconic Big Five that roams the crater floor.

    For those who 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!

    You can escape the crowds and high season prices on the Southern Tanzania Circuit. The lack of foot traffic at Nyerere and Ruaha National Park 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 complex, and the consistent downpours mean you’ll need help spotting wildlife.

    February

    Tanzania - serengeti in february - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    February is one of the warmer months in Tanzania, transitioning between the short wet season and the long rains. The temperatures during this month range from a comfortable 18°C (65°F) to a warmer 31°C (87°F) (source). Rainfall is typically moderate, with average precipitation of about 8 cm (3 inches) and approximately 4 rainy days for the month. There are also usually around 8 hours of sunshine per day.

    While rainfall can occur, it’s more common at night, and February in Tanzania generally offers a mix of warm weather and occasional rain showers. In higher altitude areas, such as Mount Kilimanjaro, the temperatures stay relatively cool, averaging around 24°C (75°F). In other areas, like Kwangwazi, the average temperatures can reach up to a very warm 35°C (95°F).

    Moreover, it’s worth noting that despite any rain, February is deemed a good month for tours in the north, especially for witnessing the wildebeest calving season in the southeastern Serengeti

    March

    Tanzania - ruaha january - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    During March in Tanzania, the heavy rains of the long rainy season begin. While the downpours don’t last the entire day, they are 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

    Tanzania - serengeti in april - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    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 spotting big cats and herbivores harder.

    May

    Tanzania - serengeti in may - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    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

    Tanzania - nyerere national park in june - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    June in Tanzania 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 excellent 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 crossing the treacherous river 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

    Tanzania - mahale in july - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    July in Tanzania 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!

    Go to Mahale Mountain National Park or Gombe Stream National Park for chimpanzee trekking. 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.

    August

    Tanzania - ngorongoro in august - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    As the watering holes start to dwindle, August in Tanzania 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. You can take advantage of the unique walking, boating safaris, and night game drives in August.

    Again, August is a popular time to visit Tanzania. Make sure to leave your flight, accommodation, and safari bookings to the last minute!

    September

    Tanzania - kilimanjaro in september - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    If water levels are reasonable, you can even catch a river crossing!

    Another good reason to visit Tanzania in September is the trekking conditions.

    With no rain, climbing Mount Meru and Kilimanjaro is easier, and you’ll have clear visibility over Tanzania’s rolling landscapes. Look 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

    Tanzania - mahale in october - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    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 Mount Meru’s top and watch for leopards and hyenas at dusk and dawn.

    November

    Tanzania - serengeti in november - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    November in Tanzania marks the start of the shorter rainy season in Tanzania. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan an epic safari adventure – you must know where to go.

    Travel 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. Fewer safari vehicles on the plains give you an intimate game-viewing experience.

    December

    Tanzania - ruaha december - the best time to go on a safari in tanzania

    If you want to end 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 greaThe short rainy season starts to dry out during December in Tanzania. During this time, Tanzania’s tourism picks up. Travelers flock to Tanzania for Christmas and New Year safari adventures.

    t 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.

    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.

    Frequently Asked Questions - Tanzania safari FAQs

    1. When is the best month to visit Tanzania?

    The prime months for a safari visit to Tanzania are June and July. During this time, the dry season creates excellent conditions for wildlife viewing, with animals congregating around available water sources.

    It’s also the time when the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti is at its peak. This natural spectacle is thrilling as millions of wildebeest and other animals trek across the plains.

    2. When is the best time to see the great migration in Tanzania?

    Tanzania experiences two rainy seasons. The shorter “Vuli” rains happen from November to mid-January, and the more prolonged “Masika” rains occur from mid-March to May. Despite the showers, these periods bring about vibrant landscapes and abundant birdlife.

    3. What is the rainy season in Tanzania? 

    Tanzania experiences two rainy seasons. The shorter “Vuli” rains happen from November to mid-January, and the more prolonged “Masika” rains occur from mid-March to May. Despite the showers, these periods bring about vibrant landscapes and abundant birdlife.

    4. How hot is it in Tanzania in July?

    Despite Tanzania’s equatorial location, July temperatures are pretty comfortable. The country experiences a max average temperature of around 70 °F / 21 °C. The temperate climate, driven by altitude variances and the Indian Ocean, encourages wildlife activity, enhancing your safari experience.

    5. What is the best park to visit in Tanzania for a safari?

    The best park for a safari largely depends on your interests. However, Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as a top choice. 

    It’s famous for its abundant wildlife, particularly during the Great Wildebeest Migration. Ngorongoro Crater, another highly recommended destination, offers a unique landscape with a fantastic array of wildlife.

    6. What should I pack for a safari in Tanzania?

    Pack lightweight, breathable clothing in neutral or muted tones that blend with the environment for your safari in Tanzania. Remember a warm jacket for cooler evening temperatures. 

    Other essentials include a sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, binoculars, and a camera. It’s also a good idea to carry insect repellent and personal medication.

    7. Is it safe to travel to Tanzania for a safari?

    Yes, it’s generally safe to travel to Tanzania for a safari. The country is politically stable, and the locals are known for their friendly hospitality. 

    However, as with any international travel, staying aware of your surroundings and respecting Tanzania’s local customs and rules is recommended. Consulting with a trusted travel agency can ensure all safety precautions are in place for your trip.
    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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