Best Time To Go To Tanzania


About Tanzania

Best Time To Go To Tanzania

East Africa’s second largest country, Tanzania is one of the most captivating and diverse African safari destinations. Boasting a remarkable array of national parks and game reserves, ranging from the expansive and world-renowned Serengeti National Park to the wild and secluded hidden wilderness gem of Katavi National Park, Tanzania has it all!

Few destinations in Africa can rival Tanzania’s sheer diversity and abundance of wildlife and vast and varied landscapes. From the classic savannah destinations of the Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater to the stunning beaches and coral reefs of Zanzibar, a Tanzania safari delivers one massive and unforgettable experience after another.

Not to mention all the off-the-beaten-path gems you’ll get to discover like chimpanzee trekking in the untouched rainforests of Mahale and Rubondo, or crowd-free game viewing among the beautifully wild and unique landscapes of Nyerere (previously Selous) and Ruaha.

Offering guests, avid wildlife and nature enthusiasts, eager adventurers, and keen travelers so much to do, see, and explore, it’s no surprise people travel from all around the world to experience EVERYTHING Tanzania has to offer.

Tanzania Overview

Best time to go

June – October (All parks) | June – July & January – February (Serengeti National Park for the wildebeest migration and calving)

Best Weather

June – October (Little to no rainfall & mild temperatures)

Worst Weather

March and April (Peak of Tanzania’s Wet season)

High Season

July – March (northern circuit parks get crowded) | July – October (southern & western circuit parks don’t get excessively crowded any time of the year)

Low Season

April & May (northern circuit parks still get quite a few visitors) | Many lodges & camps in the southern & western circuit parks close down


947,303km² / 365,756mi²


1170m / 3839 feet | Highest point of elevation is Mount Kilimanjaro at 5,895 meters/19,341 feet


East Africa

Famous for

Great Wildebeest Migration | African Big 5 | Vast diversity of wildlife & birdlife

Dry Season

June to October

Wet Season

November to May

When To Go To Tanzania

Most safari areas in Tanzania enjoy a relatively constant year-round tropical climate, consisting of lovely warm days and cool evenings – The perfect balance!

However, as Tanzania is made up of such a large diversity of landscapes, each one vastly different from the next, you can expect an equally diverse climate, surroundings, and conditions from every distinct landscape or wilderness area.

Despite many safari areas within Tanzania enjoying a wonderful year-round tropical climate, other regions do not share the same fortune. Temperatures are known to drop far below freezing on the famous Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, whereas, in complete contrast, Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast and lakeside regions are notorious for their exceptionally hot and humid conditions.

Essentially, Tanzania has two distinct seasons:

  • Dry Season (Winter): June to October
  • Wet Season (Summer): November to May | Tanzania’s wet / rainy season can be further divided into two categories, the ‘long rainy season (long rains)’ which takes place from April to May, and the ‘short rainy season (short rains)’ during November and December.

Generally, Tanzania’s main rainy season (the long rains) produces tropical downpours in the afternoons and many safari camps and lodges close down as a result. The short rainy season on the other hand is known for its occasional brief showers, allowing several safari camps and lodges to stay open. Not to mention the game viewing is absolutely incredible during this time.

Despite Tanzania being one of the top, and undoubtedly the most thrilling, year-round African safari and wilderness destinations, each season offers visitors, travelers, and enthusiastic explorers something unique, extraordinary, and exciting to experience.

That begs the question, when exactly is the best time to go to Tanzania?

The answer is largely dependent on what you’re most eager to experience on your bucket-list trip to Tanzania!

Best Time To Go To Tanzania

With that being said, the best time to go to Tanzania and embark on an exhilarating Tanzanian safari depends on where in Tanzania you would like to go, what you’d like to explore, experience, and discover while you’re there, as well as what adventures, safari activities, and off-the-beaten-track pursuits you’d like to enjoy on your trip.

**Tip: For first-time safari goers, the best time to go to Tanzania is typically during its dry season, June – October, as wildlife are far easier to track and spot, resulting in exceptional wildlife sightings and encounters.

Dry Season in Tanzania

Reasons To Visit Tanzania During The Dry Season

Prime time for wildlife sightings as game viewing is at its peak
June & July are the prime months & heart of the Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration in the Western Corridor | The BEST months to see the magnificent wildebeest migration
Optimal visibility for wildlife sightings due to sparse vegetation
Wildlife are far easier to spot as they congregate around water sources, waterholes, and rivers
Clear skies with mild-moderate day-time temperatures & minimal rain
August & September are the best months to see the spectacular wildebeest river crossings in the northern Serengeti
Fewer mosquitos due to the low rainfall & the risk of malaria is at its lowest
The Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park is at its best during the dry season
Best Time To Go To Tanzania

**Tip: While Tanzania in its entirety offers great wildlife sightings and game viewing throughout its dry months (June – October), not to mention the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater which boasts incredible wildlife viewing right throughout the year, Tarangire and Tanzania’s southern and western circuit parks are regarded as the best visited during the dry season.

Some of Tanzania’s Southern circuit parks include Ruaha National Park, Mikumi National Park, Selous Game Reserve, and Nyerere National Park. Whereas Gombe National Park, Katavi National Park, and Mahale National Park are a few of Tanzania’s top Western circuit national parks.

Wet Season in Tanzania

Reasons To Visit Tanzania During The Wet Season

Lush greenery & surrounding scenery due to high rainfall
Tanzania & its surrounding parks & national reserves are filled with new-born wildlife
Bird watching is at its best as migrant birds are present & in breeding
Prime time for predator action & sightings due to the wildebeest calving & abundance of new-born wildlife
Despite wildlife being easier to spot in the dry season, Tanzania’s wet season boasts equally remarkable wildlife sightings, especially in the northern circuit parks
Tanzania’s wet season coincides with its low season, meaning lower rates all around and less crowded parks, resulting in optimal crowd-free wildlife and birdlife sightings
January & February is the best time to see the wildebeest calving in the Southern Serengeti, making it a very special time & a truly remarkable sight to see
Except for March, April & May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers & seldom interfere with your trip and safari experiences
Best time to go to Botswana

Weather & Climate

Tanzania has a pleasant, tropical climate, but, at the same time, experiences large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors including altitude, location, landscape, and surrounding conditions. The hottest and most humid part of Tanzania is the coast and coastline. Other low-lying areas, such as the western and southern parks, are remarkably hot, but less humid than the coast. The rest of Tanzania’s interior is much milder and cools down at night – this combination makes it far more pleasant in terms of temperature.

Dry Season

Winter: June – October

  • Average day-time temperatures: +/- 20°C/68°F – 30°C/86°F
  • Mild – moderate day-time temperatures
  • Little to no rainfall & the land gets drier| Due to the low rainfall permanent water sources become a place for animals to gather, making them easier to spot
  • Humidity is very low
  • It cools off / temperatures drop significantly at night & late afternoons & early mornings can be particularly cold/chilly | If you go on a night, late-afternoon, or early morning guided 4×4 open vehicle safari or game drive be sure to pack/take along warm clothing. This is always advisable, regardless of where in Tanzania you are, but is especially important in the northern parks of Tanzania
  • Dry season in Tanzania is typically known for its fine, clear skies and sunny weather – a great time to visit & explore everything Tanzania has to offer

**Interesting fact: Although the average mid-day / afternoon temperatures during Tanzania’s dry season typically ranges between 20°C/68°F – 30°C/86°F, these temperatures may vary greatly according to factors such as altitude and location.  It’s useful to remember that the higher the altitude, the cooler it will be.

Wet Season

Summer: November – May

  • Average day-time temperatures: +/- 30°C/86°F – 40°C/104°F (only in extreme conditions)

While Tanzania’s primary wet season takes place during November to May, its wet / rainy season can be further divided into two categories, the ‘long rainy season (long rains)’ which takes place from March to May, and the ‘short rainy season (short rains)’ during November and December.

Generally, Tanzania’s main rainy season (the long rains) produces tropical downpours in the afternoons and many safari camps and lodges close down as a result. The short rainy season on the other hand is known for its occasional brief showers, allowing several safari camps and lodges to stay open. Not to mention the game viewing is absolutely incredible during this time.

  • During most of Tanzania’s wet season, afternoon temperatures are consistently hot, however, it is significantly colder above 1,300m/4,265ft (the higher the altitude, the colder it becomes)
  • Mornings are particularly cold, especially in most of Tanzania’s northern parks due to the high altitude
  • High humidity (especially in the southern and western parks)
  • High rainfall | March, April & May are the wettest months in Tanzania, with the heavy rainfall often disrupting wildlife viewing and safari experiences
  • November and December, regarded as the short rainy season (short rains)’, is known for its occasional brief showers. The rain will rarely interfere with your wildlife and safari experience, allowing for great game viewing and incredible sightings
  • The main rainy season, or ‘long rainy season (long rains)’ which takes place from March to May, are the wettest months of the season, characterized by frequent afternoon tropical downpours and storms. These rains are significantly heavier than the November & December’s ‘short rains’. It tends to rain heavily almost every day during this period, however, the rain rarely persists / continues for the entire day. It is often associated with high levels of humidity, especially in the hotter southern and western parks.

Tanzania Safari Circuits

Best Time To Go To Tanzania

Tanzania primarily consists of three different safari circuits / regions – the northern, southern, and western safari circuits – all covering a vast range of destinations and wilderness areas, each of which has its own unique wildlife and birdlife population and diverse ecosystems.

Northern Circuit Parks

  • Serengeti National Park
  • Ngorongoro Crater
  • Kilimanjaro National Park
  • Lake Manyara National Park
  • Tarangire National Park
  • Arusha National Park
  • Olduvai Gorge
  • Mkomazi National Park

Southern Circuit Parks

  • Selous Game Reserve
  • Ruaha National Park
  • Mikumi National Park
Add-ons to the Southern Circuit
  • Udzungwa Mountains National Park
  • Saadani National Park
  • Zanzibar: The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of over 50 islands and the best known island is Unguja or Zanzibar

Western Circuit Parks

  • Gombe Stream National Park
  • Mahale National Park
  • Katavi National Park
  • Rubondo Island National Park
  • Lake Tanganyika

Tanzania Landscapes, Reserves & Vegetation

Best Time To Go To Tanzania

Positioned between the two arms of the Great Rift Valley, Tanzania’s huge central plateau is bounded on the west by several of Africa’s great lakes, the north by mountains (including the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak) and the Indian Ocean in the east.

In terms of Tanzania’s surrounding scenery and vegetation, its landscapes mostly consist of vast grasslands, open woodlands, and savannahs, with pockets of rainforests that only exist in remote mountain ranges – This makes for a vast and varied assortment of landscapes and wilderness areas.

Premier Parks, Reserves & Attractions In Tanzania

Serengeti National Park
Ngorongoro Crater
Lake Manyara National Park
Tarangire National Park
Nyerere National Park
Ruaha National Park
Gombe National Park
Katavi National Park
Selous Game Reserve
Mount Kilimanjaro
Mahale Mountains National Park
Arusha National Park
Mikumi National Park
Mkomazi National Park
Saadani National Park

Wildlife & Birdlife

Tanzania is renowned for its exceptional year-round game-viewing, superb Big 5 encounters & famous Great Wildebeest Migration

Best Time To Go To Tanzania

Home to 20% of Africa’s largest mammals and deemed one of the top wildlife destinations in Africa, Tanzania is undoubtedly one of the continent’s premier game viewing destinations. To make things even more impressive, more than 25% of the country is given over to conservation and several of Tanzania’s wildlife and safari reserves rank among the biggest and best in the world. It’s no surprise people travel from all corners of the globe to experience all of Tanzania’s wilderness wonders.

Best Time To Go To Tanzania

The famous African Big 5, rhino, leopard, lion, elephant, and buffalo, and most other sought-after and prominent African wildlife are easily spotted and highly prevalent in Tanzania and its multitude of landscapes and reserves. Other popular plains game and wildlife frequently seen roaming the reserves open plains, savannahs, riverbanks, and woodlands include, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hippo, cheetah, hyena, and an abundant variety of antelope.

In addition to its big game and being a stronghold for predators, Tanzania is renowned for its range of endangered, and rarely seen wildlife species, some of which include the critically endangered African wild dog, black rhino, chimpanzees, African white-bellied Pangolin, Lesser Kudu, and Thomson’s Gazelle, to mention a few.

Although it has suffered at the hands of poachers in recent years, the southern region of Tanzania is still renowned for its large numbers of Tanzanian Wildlife such as elephants and huge herds of buffalo.

Best Time To Go To Tanzania

Photo credit: flickr – Glorious flocks of Flamingos

The critically endangered East African black rhinos of Ngorongoro and Mkomazi, giant elephant tuskers of Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania, and abundant flamingos that visit Lake Manyara seasonally round out a wildlife experience in Tanzania unlike any other.

Serengeti National Park & The Great Wildebeest Migration

Best Time To Go To Tanzania - Great Wildebeest Migration

Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration

Spanning northern Tanzania, the world-renowned Serengeti National Park is not only Tanzania’s flagship conservation area, but one of the greatest national parks in Africa, if not the world. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Serengeti is regarded as one of the most celebrated global wilderness areas. The Serengeti National Park covers an immense 14 800 km² (5 700 square miles) on Tanzania’s northern border with Kenya, encompassing up to 50% of the wider Serengeti–Mara ecosystem – Making the Serengeti the most famous protected wilderness area in all of Africa. As Tanzania’s oldest game reserve, the Serengeti National Park not only boasts one of the oldest and most varied ecosystems on earth, but one of the world’s greatest concentrations of wildlife. Not to mention one of the most diverse.

The profound Serengeti National Park Great Migration is undoubtedly one of the Serengeti and Tanzania’s top wildlife attractions, attracting both local and international wildlife enthusiasts alike. Deemed a wildlife and natural phenomenon in its own right and one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in the world, no other destination on Earth can offer a wildlife encounter to match the annual Wildebeest Migration. Forming the centerpiece of most inaugural Tanzania safari itineraries, the Migration is a mind-blowing display of nature at her most extraordinary.

The Serengeti Great Migration sees millions of wildebeest, zebra, and antelope run the gauntlet of predators as they migrate around the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem. Traversing the open plains of the park in search of fresh grazing from seasonal rains, the millions of wildebeest, antelope, and zebra move northwards into the neighboring Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, after returning south to the Serengeti National Park once again.

Best Time To Go To Tanzania - Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration

Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration

The dramatic scenes of huge herds on the move, crossing rivers and vast plains, pursued by predators looking for their next kill, are the stuff nature documentaries are made of. Experiencing the annual Serengeti National Park Great Migration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience every avid safari traveler and eager wildlife enthusiast should have at the very top of their bucket list.

**Did you know that this awe-inspiring event is one of the last mass terrestrial animal movements left on the planet?

General Guideline: When to see the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park

(These guidelines are subject to change as per seasonal rainfall)

Best Time To Go To Tanzania - Great Wildebeest Migration

  Approximate time Region
Calving January to March Southern Serengeti
Intense Big Cat Action January to March Southern Serengeti
Rutting January to March Southern Serengeti
Grumeti River Crossings May to July Western Serengeti
Mara River Crossings July to September Northern Serengeti
On the Move October to December Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara

**Important Note: The above guidelines are approximate dates and places. The Wildebeest Migration is a year-round, circular journey and the river crossings cannot be predicted, although they generally occur between May and September.

Tips for Planning Your Tanzania Safari

Best Time To Go To Tanzania

  1. Plan your timing carefully: if you want to see the Wildebeest Migration on your safari or enjoy the best beach weather in Zanzibar, make sure your itinerary matches your travel wishes.
  2. Book early for high season: Tanzania’s sought-after safari destinations and well-located camps at Wildebeest Migration hotspots get booked out early, often a year in advance.
  3. Choose your activities: morning and afternoon game drives are standard safari activities, but excursions like night game drives, guided bush walks and hot-air balloon safaris are only allowed in certain areas or camps.
  4. Expect other visitors in high season: Tanzania’s heavyweight national parks like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire can attract a lot of visitors from about June to October. Consider visiting during low or Green Season (about November to March) if you want to escape the crowds and still enjoy great game viewing.
  5. Go private: if it’s exclusivity you want, then head for one of Tanzania’s private reserves. The accommodation is superb, game viewing is as good as the main parks, and extra safari activities (see number 3) are occasionally offered.

Traveling To Tanzania

The best and most efficient way to travel to Tanzania is by air. Here is everything you need to know about Tanzania’s international airports, regional airports, domestic airlines and charter flights. Not to mention the Guided Safari Vehicle road transfers and game drives, as well as the boat transfers across Lake Tanganyika.

Main International Airports

Dar-es-Salaam International Airport is Tanzania’s main airport. It is the gateway to the Indian Ocean coast and Zanzibar, as well as Nyerere National Park (previously Selous) and Ruaha National Park. It is regarded as the main entry-point for visitors to the southern parks of Tanzania.

Tanzania’s second international airport, Kilimanjaro International Airport is situated 46km/29mi east of Arusha, the gateway of Tanzania’s most popular Northern safari circuit. Kilimanjaro International Airport serves the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park, and Lake Manyara National Park. However, to reach these premier safari destinations, you will need to transfer to the nearby Arusha Airport for charter flights that will take you to your desired destination. As most international flights tend to arrive at Kilimanjaro International Airport late in the day, an overnight stay in Arusha is usually necessary – its all part of your Tanzania adventure!

Regional Airports | Domestic Airlines & Flights in Tanzania

Arusha Airport is the primary regional airport and the main gateway to northern Tanzania’s safari destinations and airstrips. Arusha Airport is located approximately 30 kilometres (18.5 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport.

**Extra Information: When moving on from Arusha or Dar es Salaam, you can either opt to fly or drive between reserves. Some domestic flights out of Arusha leave from Kilimanjaro International Airport, however, most flights to the various reserves, national parks, and safari lodges leave / depart from Arusha Airport. While you can most definitely choose the mode of transport that suits you best, in most cases (depending on your trip organizer and/or trip package), a local tour operator will pick you up from the airport and arrange all further transportation and travel requirements as part of your safari package.

Domestic Airlines & Flights in Tanzania

Domestic and charter flights between parks and reserves are typically booked by tour operators as part of the tour package. Domestic flights can be booked with several domestic carriers, some of which include:

  • Air Tanzania
  • Precision Air
  • Regional Air
  • ZanAir
  • Safari Air Link
  • Coastal Aviation
  • Auric Air
  • Air Excel

Guided Safari Vehicle Road Transfers

Guided safari vehicle road transfers are a popular and thrilling way to transport guests to their specific luxury safari lodge and private reserve within Tanzania, as well as to move easily between camps, parks, lodges, and reserves.

These guided road transfers and game drives are typically conducted in closed 4×4 safari vehicles with big windows and pop-up roofs. Most safari destinations in Tanzania have extensive road networks and closed vehicles are therefore the norm when doing long-distance road transfers between airstrips, camps, and lodges. A closed 4×4 game drive vehicle generally has three rows of seating, with the pop-up roof hatch frequently being raised to allow guests to enjoy better game viewing as well as take photographs of the vast and unspoiled Kruger Park, its remarkable wildlife and birdlife, and stunning surroundings.

Those visiting destinations like Mahale will enjoy exciting boat transfers across Lake Tanganyika to their desired safari destination – making for an incredible and exhilarating experience you won’t soon forget.