When is the best time to travel Tanzania?
Good news - Tanzania is nice to visit year-round. The entire country has a pleasant tropical climate, but there are large regional climatic variations, mostly influenced by elevation. The hottest and most humid part of the country is the coast, with temperatures around 30C and little temperature drop in the evenings. Low-lying areas like Lake Eyasi and Moshi are also hot, but less humid.
How is the weather in Tanzania?
In general, the hottest time of the year is from November till March. The coolest months are from May to July, when it surely gets cold in the evenings at higher altitudes (Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha, Usumbara Mountains). Most of the rain falls between November and May, with the short rains in November and December, and the long rains from March to May. April and May are not a good time to visit the coast, as most lodges close down because of the rains.
When is high season in Tanzania?
Tourists come and visit Tanzania year-round. Peak season is around Christmas and July and August. Be sure to book our rental cars many months in advance. If you're not camping, you have to reserve your lodges in advance as well.The Ngorongoro Crater feels crowded at that time of the year.
When is the best time for game viewing?
The safari parks which are most seasonal in terms of game viewing are Serengeti, Selous and Tarangire.
The Serengeti is famous for its annual migration of millions of wildebeest and other plain grazers on the move to fresh grass and water, with predators like lions following in their footsteps. Whether it is worth planning your safari dates around the migration is a matter of choice. With the best will in the world, it would be practically impossible to coincide your few days in the Serengeti with the river crossing. Yet, dictated by local rainfall patterns, the migration does follow a pretty predictable pattern:
December - May: Southeast (Seronera, Ndutu)
May-July: Western corridor
July - October: Mara river
October -November: Lobo area.
Take note that the Western Corridor, Mara river and Lobo area are really far out from Arusha and going with a driver is highly recommended. In our experience, irrespective of season, the Serengeti always offers excellent game viewing opportunities. Read everything you need to know about the Serengeti in our Tanzania travel blog here.
Selous is a highly seasonal game-viewing destination and it tends to be hotter than any other reserve in Tanzania due to its low altitude. The optimum time to visit is during the dry season of June to September, when wildlife is abundant and temperates tolerable. Game viewing is just as good in October till early November, but it will be very, very hot. Roads tend to become impassable and lodges are closed during April and May.
Tarangire National Park lies within the Central Rift Valley, only 100 km southwest of Arusha. Tarangire is best known for its large herds of elephants. During dry season, the park is said to have the largest concentration of elephants in the world! Another striking feature of the park is the abundance of baobab trees. There are also some beautiful stands of acacia tortillis trees, the flat-topped acacias which are so reminiscent of films like the Lion King and Out of Africa. Animal concentration peaks between July till the start of the rains in November, early December. From November to May, much of the game leaves the park. Read more in our blog about this overlooked rival of the Serengeti.