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    How much rain does the Serengeti get?

    10 minutes read
    amount of rain in serengeti

    The Serengeti climate is usually moderate and pleasant. In fact, during the hot season, it never gets too hot but is invariably chilly at night and in the early mornings. So, don’t forget to bring warm clothing.

    The dry season commences in June and ends in October—followed by two wet seasons. The short rains start in November and end in December; the long rains begin in March and end in May.

    During the wet season, it rains infrequently all day, but thundershowers can be expected in the afternoon. So, how much rain does the Serengeti receive? Let’s find out!

    The wet season in the Serengeti

    The serengeti

    November and December are unpredictable periods. The rains occur between October and December but will unlikely interrupt your safari experience.

    1. November & December (short rains)

    Tanzania - rain in november december - how much rain does the serengeti get?

    January and February are a dry stretch between short and prolonged rain. However, the precise timing is unpredictable.

    2. January & February

    Tanzania - best time to pay a visit to serengeti - how much rain does the serengeti get?

    January and February tend to be a dry stretch between short and long rain. However, the precise timing is unpredictable.

    3. March, April & May (long rains)

    Tanzania - rain in march april may - how much rain does the serengeti get?

    These three months are the wettest, with plenty of rain on most days but not all day. It’s also often cloudy. In April and May, cold fronts might bring colder peak temperatures.

    Rainfall gradient in Serengeti

    Tanzania - rainfall gradient in serengeti - how much rain does the serengeti get?

    Rainfall patterns in the Serengeti are stable; rainfall amounts to approximately 900/1,000 millimeters annually. In the north, it bears 1,400 mm; in the southeast, it drops below 800 mm in the particularly arid area.

    MONTHS

    INCHES

    MILLIMETRES

    DAYS

    January

    3.1

    80

    14

    February

    3.9

    100

    14

    March

    5.1

    130

    18

    April

    6.1

    155

    22

    May

    3.5

    90

    18

    June

    1.4

    35

    8

    July

    0.6

    15

    6

    August

    1.2

    30

    7

    September

    2.2

    55

    7

    October

    2.8

    70

    10

    November

    4.5

    115

    17

    December

    4.1

    105

    16

    YEAR

    38.6 inches

    980 mm

    157 days

    The rainy season, as cited, runs from November to April and is divided into two, with an interim period in January and February—which isn’t very dry. Moreover, from October to December, it’s the short rainy season; from March to May, it’s the long rainy season in the southern part.

    Hence, in January and February, the rains subside, though not very noticeably. The monthly rainfall is still between 80 and 100 mm.

    Here’s the Serengeti’s average precipitation.

    Maximum and minimum temperatures in Serengeti

    Tanzania - maximum minimum temperature in serengeti - how much rain does the serengeti get?

    As stated above, the average temperatures in the Serengeti are approximately 27°C (80°F) at its highs and 14°C (57°F) at its lows. Furthermore, the Serengeti National Park’s climate is subtropical, with a dry and moderately cool season from May to August.

    A warmer and quite dry season falls into the Serengeti during September and October, and a rainy and relatively hot season from November to April.

    The Serengeti National Park is located at an altitude of 1,100 and 2,000 meters, equating to 3,600 and 6,600 feet. This altitude seasons the heat, so even though it’s just south of the Equator, it usually gets cool at night, or even colder in the most elevated areas and the excellent season.

    However, the sun can be extreme, requiring appropriate protection, such as sunscreen, hat, etc., mainly when it passes through the peak at mid-day, around mid-March and late September.

    The table below shows the average temperatures in Serengeti National Park, located at an altitude of 1,400 meters, or 4,600 feet.

    Why visit Serengeti National Park?

    Tanzania - why visit serengeti nationa park - how much rain does the serengeti get?

    The Serengeti National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife, but most especially for the Great Wildebeest Migration. This iconic natural phenomenon involves two million mammals—particularly wildebeests and zebras—seeking rain-ripened grass for fresh grazing.

    These animals move the entire year between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in Kenya for fresh grass to graze. Predators like hyenas and big cats can still be found within the Serengeti National Park.

    Most animals execute a circular migration, lingering in the Serengeti from November to June and moving to the Masai Mara from July to October—particularly in August and September. During this period, these animals migrate to the north because the dry season in the Serengeti is more extreme than in the Mara, which is located closer to the Equator and thus remains wetter and furnished with lusher pastures.

    During January and February, the animals are dispersed south of the Serengeti, at the site of the Olduvai Gorge, which is found north of the Ngorongoro crater. It’s a semi-arid zone with low grass, and predators such as hyenas and lions are easy to spot.

    Between February and March, most animals in the Serengeti give birth to their young and become directly able to move alone and head west towards the Lake Ndutu area.

    The long rainy season starts in March. The animals follow the bolts of lightning, which indicate thunderstorms, and move to the north in pursuit of green pastures. They enter the Serengeti and head towards the west Seronera swamps, approaching Lake Victoria.

    Moreover, between May and June, they start to mate and continue to the north, leading to the Grumeti River, which they must cross. They push towards the Masai Mara in northeast Tanzania in June and July.

    Then, they stay in the Mara from July to October, moving around and looking for available pastures. Meanwhile, they return to the Serengeti from late October to December and move southward.

    Getting you there

    The average annual rainfall in the Serengeti is 900 mm. The weather is usually pleasant and moderate, with 25°C / 77°F.

    It also rarely rains from early morning to midday, even though it is a rainy season. The weather is also fair during the warmer season, but it’s best to bring some protection, like sunscreen and a hat.

    It’s also best to wear light clothing to feel comfortable amid the sun’s heat, but also bring clothes for cold temperatures as the air cools during the night and can get very chilly.

    If you plan to visit the renowned Serengeti National Park, a local tour operator like Easy Travel can make everything easy. We offer tailor-made tours for Serengeti and other parks in Tanzania that can be arranged according to your preferences.

    Contact us today, and let’s discuss the Serengeti experience you’d like to take!

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. What is the weather like in the Serengeti?

    The weather in the Serengeti is typically characterized by a mix of hot and dry conditions, especially during the dry season, and occasional rainfall during the wet seasons. It experiences two distinct rainy seasons, contributing to its diverse climate patterns. The region’s weather can vary depending on the time of year and specific location within the Serengeti ecosystem.

    During the dry season, spanning from June to October, visitors can expect clear skies and sunny days, ideal for wildlife viewing and outdoor activities. However, preparing for colder temperatures during the chilly early mornings and evenings is essential, particularly if embarking on early morning game drives or excursions.

    2. When are the rainy seasons in the Serengeti?

    The Serengeti encounters two main rainy seasons: the extended rains from March to May and the brief rains from November to December. Throughout these times, substantial rainfall occurs, revitalizing the terrain and fostering vegetation growth, which is critical for sustaining the varied wildlife populations.

    These rainy seasons are vital for the Serengeti ecosystem, as they replenish water sources and create lush grazing areas for the migratory herds of wildebeest and zebra. Despite the rainfall, travelers can still enjoy remarkable wildlife sightings during the wet season, as many predators are more active during this time, drawn by the abundance of prey.

    3. What are the temperatures like in the Serengeti?

    Temperatures in the Serengeti can vary depending on the season and time of day. During the dry and warmer season, typically from June to October, temperatures can soar during the day but drop considerably during the cold early morning and evening hours.

    The lowest temperatures typically range between approximately 10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F), while the highest temperatures can soar to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) or even higher.

    Visitors are advised to pack layers of clothing to accommodate these temperature fluctuations and ensure comfort throughout the day. Additionally, staying hydrated and wearing sun protection is essential, especially during the warmer daytime temperatures in the Serengeti.

    4. Is it cold in Serengeti in the early morning?

    Yes, it can be pretty cold in the Serengeti in the early morning, especially during the dry season and at higher elevations such as the Crater Highlands. It’s advised to dress in layers to stay warm during chilly mornings while on safari or exploring the region.

    During cold early mornings, the crisp air adds a sense of adventure to wildlife sightings, making it an ideal time for game drives or hot air balloon safaris. Being prepared with warm clothing ensures visitors can fully enjoy the magic of dawn breaking over the vast Serengeti plains while staying comfortable.

    5. How many rainy seasons does the Serengeti experience?

    The Serengeti experiences two rainy seasons—the long rains (March to May) and the short rains (November to December). These rainy periods are crucial in sustaining the ecosystem by replenishing water sources and supporting vegetation growth, which maintains the diverse wildlife populations.

    During these rainy seasons, the landscape transforms into a lush green paradise, attracting an abundance of herbivores and predators alike. Wildlife enthusiasts can witness the dramatic cycle of life as newborn animals take their first steps on the verdant plains of the Serengeti.

    6. What are the characteristics of the dry and warmer season in the Serengeti?

    The dry and warmer season in the Serengeti, typically occurring from June to October, is characterized by hot and dry conditions during the day, with temperatures often reaching their peak in the afternoon. However, temperatures can drop significantly during the cold early morning and evening hours, necessitating warmer clothing.

    The dry and warmer season is perfect for wildlife viewing since animals congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot. During this season, travelers can enjoy clear skies and uninterrupted views of the expansive savannah, perfect for capturing stunning photographs of wildlife against the backdrop of the golden sunset. Planning safari activities for the cooler mornings or late afternoons are recommended to maximize wildlife sightings while avoiding the intense midday heat.

    7. Does the Serengeti experience rain shadow effects?

    The Serengeti does experience rain shadow effects, particularly in the drier southeastern plains. Highland areas such as the Crater Highlands to the northeast create a rain shadow effect, resulting in lower rainfall totals in certain parts of the Serengeti ecosystem.

    As a result, travelers may notice variations in vegetation and wildlife density between these regions, adding to the diversity of experiences within the Serengeti. Despite the rain shadow effect, the southeastern plains still offer incredible opportunities for wildlife viewing, particularly during the dry season when animals congregate in the remaining water sources.

    8. When does the wetter northwest region of the Serengeti receive rainfall?

    The more humid northwest area of the Serengeti typically sees rainfall during the extended rainy season (March to May) and the shorter rainy season (November to December). These intervals deliver essential precipitation to the region, nurturing vegetation and bolstering the diverse wildlife communities.

    During these rainy seasons, the northwest region of the Serengeti transforms into a lush and vibrant landscape, attracting migratory herds and a plethora of wildlife. Travelers visiting during these periods may witness dramatic scenes of animals grazing on fresh greenery, offering unparalleled wildlife photography and observation opportunities.

    9. What are the rainfall patterns in the Serengeti from November to December?

    November to December marks the short rainy season in the Serengeti, characterized by sporadic rainfall and shorter duration than the long rains. While not as intense as the long rains, the short rainy season still contributes to the overall moisture levels in the region, supporting vegetation growth and wildlife.

    During this time, travelers may encounter occasional rain showers interspersed with sunny intervals, creating unique and dynamic safari experiences. The short rainy season offers a glimpse into the Serengeti’s ever-changing ecosystem, with opportunities to witness the landscape transition from dry savannah to verdant plains.

    10. How does the weather differ between the wetter northwest and the dry southeast plains of the Serengeti?

    The weather in the wetter northwest region of the Serengeti tends to be more humid and receives higher rainfall totals than the drier southeast plains. Highland areas in the northwest contribute to this disparity, creating microclimates within the Serengeti ecosystem.

    As a result, visitors to the wetter northwest region can expect lush vegetation and abundant wildlife. At the same time, those exploring the drier southeast plains may encounter a more arid landscape with scattered vegetation. Despite these differences, both regions offer unique safari experiences and opportunities to witness the diverse ecosystems of the Serengeti.

    11. What is the weather like in the Crater Highlands of the Serengeti?

    The weather in the Crater Highlands of the Serengeti can be cooler and more temperate compared to the surrounding plains. Due to its higher elevation, the Crater Highlands may experience cooler temperatures, especially during the dry season and cold early mornings.

    The cooler temperatures in the Crater Highlands provide a refreshing contrast to the heat of the surrounding plains, offering a comfortable environment for travelers to explore the area’s unique landscapes and diverse wildlife. You can enjoy various activities like hiking and birdwatching while experiencing the tranquility of this elevated region within the Serengeti ecosystem.

    12. How much rain falls in the Serengeti during rainy periods?

    The amount of rainfall in the Serengeti during rainy periods can vary, but it typically ranges from moderate to heavy precipitation. The long rains from March to May bring more sustained rainfall than the shorter, intermittent showers of the short rainy season from November to December.

    13. What should I expect regarding weather conditions when visiting the Serengeti during the rainy season?

    During the rainy seasons in the Serengeti, visitors can expect sporadic rainfall and occasional thunderstorms. While the rain can make certain areas muddy and challenging, it also brings about lush vegetation and vibrant landscapes, making for unique and picturesque safari experiences.

    14. Can I expect rainfall during my visit to the Serengeti if I travel from the Indian Ocean region?

    Travelers journeying to the Serengeti from the Indian Ocean area, particularly during the extended rainy period spanning from March to May and the shorter one from November to December, may experience rainfall. It’s crucial to anticipate diverse weather conditions and pack appropriately for your safari expedition.

    15. What are the minimum and maximum temperatures typically recorded in the Serengeti?

    In the Serengeti, minimum temperatures can vary from approximately 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit) during the dry season, while maximum temperatures can soar to over 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher during the day. These temperature ranges may fluctuate depending on the time of year and location within the Serengeti ecosystem.

    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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