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    Weather and climate in the Serengeti National Park Tanzania

    11 minutes read
    weather and climate serengeti

    The weather and climate in the Serengeti comprise many seasonal disparities—particularly in the Serengeti National Park. That’s why it never gets too hot in the Serengeti, even in the dry season, making it an ideal safari destination! The Serengeti National Park experiences a typical dry season from May to August, a warmer and dry season in September and October, and a wet season and a hot season from November to April. This article will break down the weather and climate in the Serengeti—Tanzania’s most treasured national treasure! Browse our Serengeti Tours.

    What is the weather and climate in the Serengeti like?

    Weather and climate in the serengeti

    The weather and climate in the Serengeti are very uncertain. It can be hot in one minute and cold and rainy afterwards. That is why we have created this guide to help you plan for your trip to the Serengeti.

    While the weather and climate in the Serengeti play a vital role in your trip, so do several other aspects that will play a part in your experience and your game viewing.

    So, let us break down the seasons for you.

    Weather and climate in the Serengeti: the temperatures

    Temperature-in-serengeti

    Min: 13 °C

    Although African destinations are widely known as scorching hot places, the Serengeti National Park and the Serengeti’s climate itself are lovely and moderate. It rarely gets uncomfortably hot, and its temperatures usually drop during the evenings and early mornings.

    The minimum temperatures and maximum temperatures differ with the seasons. The Seronera area infrequently transcends 37 °C on a hot afternoon during the rainy season and hardly ever falls below 13 °C on a cold early morning during the dry season.

    The average highest daily temperature shifts with elevation—from 15°C around the crater highlands to about 30°C close to Lake Victoria. Due to its altitude, the Serengeti National Park is considered an incredible island in a much warmer territory.

    This is only one of the reasons why the Serengeti is so special.erage highest daily temperature shifts with elevation—from 15°C around the crater highlands to about 30°C close to Lake Victoria. Due to its altitude, the Serengeti National Park is considered an incredible island in a much warmer territory.

    The weather and climate in the Serengeti: Rainfall periods in Serengeti

    Tanzania - rainfall gradient - weather and climate in the serengeti national park tanzania

    The weather and climate in the Serengeti charts claim two rainy periods in Serengeti National Park—the short rains from November to December. These are the first to break the clutch of the dry season.

    Embarking on a trek to its summit is an exhilarating adventure, offering breathtaking views and a sense of accomplishment. Whether you’re an experienced mountaineer or a first-time climber, the climb Kilimanjaro adventure provides an opportunity to push your limits and experience the grandeur of this iconic peak.

    Although it seldom rains for the whole day, it rains on most days, turning the landscape green—the reason why it’s often dubbed the green season.

    The weather and climate in the Serengeti: Rainfall gradient

    Tanzania - rainfall periods in serengeti - weather and climate in the serengeti national park tanzania

    The weather and climate in the Serengeti charts claim two rainy periods in Serengeti National Park—the short rains from November to December. These are the first to break the clutch of the dry season.

    However, these rains are unforeseen and are unlikely to intrude on your safari experience. The long rains follow the short rains from March— the wettest month.

    Although it seldom rains for the whole day, it rains on most days, turning the landscape green—the reason why it’s often dubbed the green season.There’s a rain gradient from the arid southeast plains (400 mm yearly) to the much wetter northwest close to the Kenyan border and the Masai Mara, with up to 1,200 mm per year. The rain of the Ngorongoro Crater Area and the Meru-Kilimanjaro mountain crest generates low drizzle on the Serengeti plains. The average rainfall is around 1000 ml per year. This rainfall ensures that the massive herds of wildebeest have ample food as they migrate.

    Prevailing south-easterly winds dragging wetness off the Indian Ocean are forced to ascend over these highlands. However, diverting winds can bring moisture back inland from Lake Victoria, neutralizing this effect and yielding this rainfall gradient.

    Wet Seasons Vs. Dry Seasons: Cyclic Patterns in the Serengeti Climate

    In the Serengeti, climate swings revolve around the dry and wet seasons. From June to October, the dry season ushers in an era of coolness and clarity, offering exceptional opportunities to witness wildlife in their natural habitat.

    The wet season, spanning from November to May, is known for its bouts of rainfall, both short and long, bringing forth a fresh, renewed landscape. This season is particularly fascinating, as it serves as a beacon for massive wildlife migrations across the Serengeti plains.

    Climate Influence on Wildlife: The Role of Weather in Animal Migration

    The Serengeti’s intricate weather system significantly impacts wildlife behaviours, mainly with phenomena like the Great Wildebeest Migration. Minor shifts in climate can stimulate a ripple effect, prompting these magnificent creatures to embark on a vast journey across the region’s plains, driven by the quest for water and greener pastures.

    The departure of these animals, traversing terrestrial hurdles, presents a gripping drama of survival and determination. For visitors, witnessing these natural events unfolds the primal synchronization between wildlife and their ecosystem, a spectacle that stands as a testament to Mother Nature’s grandeur.

    When is the best time to pay a visit to the Serengeti?

    Tanzania - best time in serengeti - weather and climate in the serengeti national park tanzania

    If you have yet to learn, the Serengeti is always full of surprises all year round. So, it typically will be fine what time of year you go there.

    However, these rains are unforeseen and are unlikely to intrude on your safari experience. The long rains follow the short rains from March— the wettest month.

    You can experience many wonders in this stunning location, particularly in the Serengeti National Park with its diverse wildlife, amazing landscapes and thrilling activities. However, if you want to pick the best time to visit the Serengeti for Wildebeest Migration, you can use the table below as a reference or learn more here.

    ParksJanFebMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
    Wildebeest Migration in Southern SerengetiExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
    Calving Season in NdutuExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
                 
    Big Cat ActionExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
    mating battles between malesExcellentExcellentExcellent
    River Crossing at Grumeti River in Western SerengetiExcellentExcellent
    River Crossing at Mara River in Northern SerengetiExcellentExcellentExcellentExcellent
    Wildebeest Migration in Central SerengetiExcellentExcellentExcellent

    Furthermore, it’s also particularly excellent to visit during January since the average temperature on the mainland varies from a moderate temperature (16 °C) to a warm temperature (29 °C), which is ideal for exploring the Serengeti.

    Birds, wildlife and game drives at the Serengeti National Park in January

    Tanzania - birds wildlife game drives - weather and climate in the serengeti national park tanzania

    In the Serengeti National Park, there are many things that you can do all year round! Even if it’s rainy season, you can still enjoy various activities, such as game drives and observing diverse wildlife and birds in the Serengeti. The great thing about bird watching is that each weather pattern is connected to a particular bird species.

    Even if it’s the wet season, it doesn’t mean there will be entire rainfall days. Rainfall usually starts in the afternoon, and you can enjoy the clear sky and fair weather conditions from day to midday.

    Getting you there

    The Serengeti is a vast and fantastic place to discover various wildlife and bird species and experience thrilling game drives and other excellent activities. This African wildlife haven is active all year round, with particular best visiting times, as shown in the table above. However, cloudy weather won’t hold the beauty of Serengeti back.

    If you’re considering going to the Serengeti, Easy Travel can arrange everything for you ahead of time, from your accommodation, activities, fees, and even food! We’ll also give you a reliable and knowledgeable guide to make your Serengeti experience memorable and informative! 

    Please contact us today and check out our Serengeti tours.

    Frequently Asked Questions - Weather and Climate in the Serengeti (FAQs)

    1. What is the climate like in the Serengeti?

    Hot and dry conditions generally characterize Serengeti’s climate. However, it experiences considerable seasonal variations throughout the year. It comprises two predominant seasons: wet and dry.

    The dry season stretches from June to October and has less rainfall. Conversely, the wet season runs from November to May, marked by frequent rain showers. Both seasons present unique opportunities for visitors to experience the expansive Tanzanian plains’ diverse beauty and natural wonders.

    2. When is the wet season in the Serengeti?

    The wet season in the Serengeti spans from November through May. This season typically ushers in ‘short rains’, brief showers that occur predominantly in November and December. After that, the ‘long rains’ come around, characterized by more intense and prolonged rainfall from March to May.

    Notably, rainfall usually only persists during the day, and the sun often breaks through. The rejuvenating effect of the rains transforms the dry plains into verdant landscapes teeming with new life. This rainfall attracts massive migrating herds, providing vibrant scenes of animal life.

    3. When is the dry season in the Serengeti?

    The dry season in the Serengeti spans from June to October. During this time, temperatures tend to dip slightly, and there’s typically little to no rainfall. As a result, the landscape transitions from lush green to a more barren appearance.

    However, this is an optimal time for wildlife enthusiasts, as the decreased vegetation offers better visibility. Animals, huge herds, congregate around the limited watering holes to quench their thirst. This behaviour makes for easier wildlife spotting, enhancing the safari experience for travellers.

    4. How does the weather in the Serengeti affect the Great Wildebeest Migration?

    Weather patterns heavily influence the Great Wildebeest Migration. As the dry season sets in, wildebeest instinctively move in search of sufficient grass and water supplies. With the onset of rain in the southern regions, the herds subsequently migrate northwards in pursuit of rejuvenated grazing lands.

    This cyclical journey is vital to their life cycle, impacting their survival and reproductive success. It becomes evident that the Serengeti’s weather holds a powerful sway over these herds’ migratory paths and timing. 

    Therefore, understanding the linkage between weather patterns and the Great Wildebeest Migration is vital to fully comprehending this natural spectacle.

    5. What is the average temperature in the Serengeti during the dry season?

    During the dry season in the Serengeti, the average temperature falls between 20 to 30 degrees Celsius. The daytime is usually warm, but it’s not uncommon for mornings and nights to experience cooler temperatures.

    On rare occasions, it may even get somewhat chilly. The stable weather, featuring warm sunny days under clear skies, makes it an ideal time to observe wildlife in their natural habitat.

    The mild, comfortable temperatures encourage animals to roam, allowing for excellent wildlife viewing. It’s a favourable time for safari-goers to marvel at the Serengeti’s remarkable biodiversity.

    6. What kind of weather can I expect in the Serengeti during the wet season?

    A blend of weather patterns characterizes the wet season in the Serengeti. It sees a mix of quick, light showers interspersed with bouts of heavier, sustained rainfall. The aftermath of these showers is stunning, transforming the landscape into lush, green plains.

    However, it’s not all about rainfall; most days this season remain warm and sunny. In the intervals between showers, outdoor activities can be enjoyed under the backdrop of a revived, radiant Serengeti. 

    The freshly bathed plains and the play of sunlight and clouds can make for breathtaking views.

    7. How does the changing weather impact wildlife visibility in the Serengeti?

    With its vibrant Maasai culture, majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, the incredible Serengeti National Park, lush coffee plantations, and an array of adventure sports, West Kilimanjaro is an unparalleled destination for travelers in 2023/2024.

    On the other hand, wet periods encourage the growth of tall grasses and foliage. Animals spread out to graze, which might make spotting them slightly challenging.

    8. What kind of clothing should I pack for a visit to the Serengeti?

    Your packing list for a trip to Serengeti can significantly vary based on the time of your visit. During the dry season, temperatures can rise during the day; thus, lightweight clothes are recommended. However, the evenings can cool off, so it is a good idea to pack some warm layers.

    If you visit during the wet season, essentials include a waterproof jacket and shoes to protect against potential rain. But irrespective of the time of the year, the African sun can be intense, so a hat and sunscreen are must-haves for protection. 

    It’s also advised to carry bug-repellent and suitable footwear for walking on uneven terrains.

    9. How have climate changes affected the Serengeti ecosystem in recent years?

    Climate change brings about alterations in the Serengeti’s ecosystem that can disrupt its natural rhythms and balances. Variations in precipitation, including the timing, intensity, and duration of rain, can profoundly affect animal migrations, a phenomenon for which the Serengeti is famous.

    These shifts in weather patterns can lead to animals migrating earlier or later than usual, which may impact their survival due to the availability of food sources. More intense heat waves may result in the drying up of critical water sources, further threatening wildlife populations and posing significant challenges to the survival and adaptability of the species within this delicate ecosystem.

    10. How does the weather vary across different regions of the Serengeti?

    The central and southern parts of the Serengeti mainly experience hot, dry conditions and are characterized by expansive open grasslands. These regions support large herds of grazers like wildebeest and zebras, along with the predators that follow them. 

    Visitors planning their Serengeti safaris are advised to consider this variety of climatic zones and corresponding wildlife diversity. This careful planning can optimize their exploration, allowing them to appreciate each region of the park’s unique attributes fully.

    11. Does the Serengeti experience any extreme weather events?

    In general, the Serengeti’s weather is pretty stable. It does not frequently experience extreme weather events. However, prolonged dry periods or intense heat waves can occur. Also, heavy rainfall may cause minor flooding during the wet season.

    These natural fluctuations play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of the Serengeti’s ecosystem, often triggering migration and animal breeding patterns. Visitors need to be aware of these conditions, as they can impact wildlife viewing opportunities and accessibility to specific regions within the park.

    12. What months are typically the hottest and the coldest in the Serengeti?

    The hottest months in the Serengeti are usually between December and March. This is when temperatures might rise above 30 degrees Celsius.

    The coldest months are from June to September, during the dry season. But remember, “coldest” in the Serengeti still means temperatures around 18 to 22 degrees Celsius.

    13. How does rainfall affect travel within the Serengeti?

    Rainfall can affect travel in the Serengeti by muddy and challenging some roads. Additionally, heavy rain can lead to temporary closures of certain parks for safety reasons. 

    However, tour guides and park authorities are well-prepared for these conditions. They ensure visitor safety while still offering a wonderful trip. 

    Travelers, however, should remain flexible with their itineraries to accommodate any unexpected changes due to weather or park accessibility.

    14. Is the role of the weather in the daily life of the Serengeti's indigenous communities?

    The weather greatly influences the daily life of Serengeti’s indigenous people. They rely on weather patterns for farming and livestock rearing. For instance, the arrival of rain signifies the beginning of the planting season.

    Extreme weather events, like droughts, can seriously affect their food security. Therefore, understanding and adapting to these weather changes is critical for indigenous communities’ survival and sustenance in the Serengeti.

    15. How can future climate changes impact tourism in the Serengeti?

    As the climate shifts, the iconic cycles of the Serengeti, especially the world-renowned animal migrations, may not align with the seasons as they have historically. Climate change can disrupt the predictable patterns of rainfall and dryness that dictate the movement of vast herds in search of sustenance.

    If extended droughts become more common, the availability of resources for wildlife would decrease, leading to possible declines in animal populations and a change in the types of vegetation that cover the plains. These alterations might transform the Serengeti’s landscape, affecting both the ecosystem’s integrity and the experience for visitors.

    Nonetheless, the inherent resilience of the Serengeti’s flora and fauna and the sheer scale and variety of its natural wonders will continue to draw people from around the globe. Even with these changes, the Serengeti will remain a place of breathtaking natural beauty and a testament to the untouched wilderness.

    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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