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When is the Best Time to Visit Tanzania?

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Giraffe, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

A tower of giraffe

© Anouk Zijlma
Question: When is the Best Time to Visit Tanzania?
Answer: The best time to visit Tanzania is during the main dry season, from May to October. The rains make access to some of Tanzania's parks and reserves difficult, and trekking also becomes a little more cumbersome. Scroll down for more detailed information about when to go on safari in Tanzania, when to visit Zanzibar, when to trek Kilimanjaro, and more detailed climate information.

Best Time to Go on Safari in Tanzania
If you want to see the Great Annual Migration of millions of zebra and wildebeest unfold, head to Tanzania's northern parks - the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Areas. The best time to witness the migration is probably February - March when the wildebeest and zebra have their young. Not only can you enjoy seeing baby animals, but the predators are at the highest number too. Because the herds also concentrate in the south of the Serengeti, it's easy to plan your wildlife viewing in that area and find a safari company that offers lodging there. For more details see my Tanzania Safari Planner. The migration usually moves out of the Serengeti area by the end of June and doesn't return until December.

June to November is Tanzania's dry season and is the best time to visit all the parks, especially Tanzania's Southern Parks. They become more difficult to reach during the wet season and during the dry season the animals tend to congregate around permanent water and it isn't so hot and humid.

All of Tanzania's parks suffer from the rains which generally fall from March to May in the North, and from November to May in the South and West. Roads get washed out and given the sheer size of Tanzania's parks, the animals tend to spread out, and this makes wildlife viewing less satisfying (if you're looking for sheer numbers of animals).

December through March can get quite hot and humid, especially in Western and Southern Tanzania which makes it a little uncomfortable to spend a lot of time in the bush.

If you want to track chimps in Western Tanzania, the best time to go is the dry season, June - November for better access to the parks. However the wet-season (December to April) makes it a little easier to find the chimps since they don't have to roam too far to get water.

Best Time to Trek Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru
Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru are a stones throw away from one another, so the trekking seasons are basically the same. The best time to trek is January - March and September - October.

More information about:

Best Time to Enjoy a Beach Holiday in Zanzibar
The coastal city of Dar es Salaam and the islands of Zanzibar stay warm and humid year round with some humidity off-set by the Indian Ocean breeze. Rainfall can happen any month but the heavy rains fall from mid-March to May and November to January. Click here for average temperatures and rainfall in Dar es Salaam. One of the best times to travel to Zanzibar is during one of the cultural festivals that take place on the island: Sauti za Busara takes place in February, and the Zanzibar International Film Festival takes place in June. More about Zanzibar...

Tanzania's Climate and Average Temperatures
Tanzania lies just south of the equator and on the whole enjoys a tropical climate, except in the high mountains (like Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru) where temperatures can get below freezing, especially at night. Along the coast (see temperatures for Dar es Salaam), it stays quite hot and humid with heavy and reliable rainfall especially during the rainy season.

Tanzania has two rainy seasons, generally the heaviest rains (called Masika) usually fall from mid-March to May and a shorter period of rain (called mvuli) from November to mid-January. The dry season, with cooler temperatures, lasts from May to October. Click on the following cities for monthly average temperatures in: Dar es Salaam (south, coastal), Kigoma (western region) and Arusha (northern Tanzania, Serengeti and Kilimanjaro area).

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