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Best Time to Visit Tanzania (Month by Month Guide 2024)

My experience visiting Tanzania for safari was nothing short of life-changing. However, it’s essential to visit at the right time of year, depending on what you want to do and see.

This guide will help you to quickly and easily choose the very best time to visit Tanzania for you!

Cheetah with three cubs in the Masai Mara, Kenya during the wet season in November
Time of year affects how many baby animals you’ll see. Big cats give birth throughout the year whereas many herbivores give birth during January and February.

My personal favourite month to visit Tanzania is September. The weather is incredible, it’s less busy and it’s also better value than August. The Mara River crossing, part of the Great Migration, is in full swing in Northern Serengeti.

What’s more, big cat spotting is out of this world! If you fancy a challenge, you can climb Kilimanjaro in September too as part of your Tanzania Itinerary and then relax in Zanzibar at the end!

As a starting point for finding your perfect month to visit, I’ve put together a visual guide to the best time to visit Tanzania below.

This visual guide gives you a country-wide overview of the months, including weather, costs, wildlife events and hiking. As you’ll see, every month has something special to offer.

Infographic showing the best times to visit Tanzania for safari, Zanzibar, birding or hiking Kilimanjaro. The best time for all activities is January & February or July to September.
A Tanzania-wide visual guide which covers all 12 months, showing their relative cost, weather, wildlife and suitability for Zanzibar and hiking. Later, we’ll go into more details on how this varies on a park by park basis.

The best time overall for safari, seeing the big five and visiting Zanzibar (for some much deserved relaxation) is the long dry season from June to October.

For seeing baby animals, lush landscapes, hiking Kilimanjaro and visiting Zanzibar, the short dry season of January and February is fantastic.

To witness the Mara River Crossing – the highlight of the Great Migration, where millions of wildebeests cross the crocodile-infested river – the best time is mid-June to September and mid-October to mid-November.

The Important Role of the Rains

The variable timing of the rains dictate the timings of most of the natural events in Tanzania. If the rains arrive a little early, the natural events will happen earlier and, conversely, if the rains come a little late, the natural events will happen later.

Ella McKendrick on safari with an Elephant in the background in Serengeti, Tanzania

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Roaring lioness Serengeti Tanzania
Roaring lioness sat next to her partner during mating season. Lions mate multiple times at regular intervals for a few seconds at a time

Month by Month Breakdown

Tanzania has something incredible to offer visitors in every month of the year and I’ve laid out what to expect below. I’ve combined similar months together to avoid getting overly precise due to the variable timings of the rains.

The timing of the rains dictate the timings of most of the natural events in Tanzania.

Treat these as a good general guide, whilst remembering the beauty of nature that it’s unpredictable and untameable.

For each month, I’ve provided the pros and cons, along with what you can expect in terms of weather, wildlife viewing, birdwatching, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.

A couple of giraffes in Serengeti National Park
A couple of giraffes in Serengeti National Park

January and February in Tanzania

Short dry season

January and February are Tanzania’s Short Dry Season. The parks are swathed in green from the preceding wet season.

Showcasing the calving season and related big cat activity, it’s a fantastic time to visit Tanzania at lower prices compared to the long dry season. Due to the weather, it’s also a great time to incorporate Zanzibar into your trip. Last but not least, It’s also the best time of year to hike Kilimanjaro as it’s dry and warm.

January and February

Pros

  • Lower prices vs peak
  • Baby animals
  • Big cat activity
  • Migratory birds
  • Best time for the coast inc. Zanzibar
  • Best time to hike Kilimanjaro
  • Parks less busy

Cons

  • Wildlife viewing is slightly harder due to lush vegetation (a good guide is important)
  • Some accommodation may close out of peak season, esp. in the south
  • Short showers possible but usually at night
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in January & February - green landscapes and calving in southern Serengeti.
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in January & February

What Weather & Temperatures can I Expect in January and February?

The weather in January and February is excellent, spanning Tanzania’s short dry season. There is a chance of some short showers. However, these are usually at night. The parks are transformed to green from the short rains which usually occur from mid-October to mid-December.

Tanzania locationDaytime temperaturesNighttime temperatures
Coastal Areas (e.g., Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar):28°C to 32°C (82°F to 90°F)23°C to 25°C (73°F to 77°F)
Northern Safari Circuit (e.g., Arusha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro):25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F)15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F)
Southern and Western Tanzania (e.g., Selous, Ruaha, Katavi)30°C to 35°C (86°F to 95°F)20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F)
Typical temperatures in Tanzania in January & February

What are the Costs Like and How Busy are the Parks in January and February?

Prices are good at this time of year – January and February are classed as low / shoulder season along with October and November. Parks are quieter compared to the peak season making for excellent wildlife viewing.

Wildlife Viewing and The Great Migration in January and February

In January and February, the Great Migration calving season is underway on the Ndutu Plains in southern Serengeti which creates related big cat action as they hunt the new arrivals to feed their families.

Wildlife viewing is slightly more challenging compared to the long dry season, due to the dense vegetation brought to life by the preceding long rains. A good guide is essential but once you spot wildlife, the lush vegetation and lighting makes this one of the best times of year for photography.

Birdwatching in January and February

January and February are exciting months for birdwatching in Tanzania as this period coincides with the northern hemisphere’s winter, prompting many migratory birds to seek warmer climates in Africa.

You can expect to witness the arrival of various migratory bird species from Europe and Asia, such as the European Bee-eater, White Stork, Barn Swallow, Yellow Wagtail, Common Sandpiper and Osprey.

Hiking Kilimanjaro in January and February

Late December to early March is the best time of year to hike Mount Kilimanjaro. The weather is relatively dry, and the temperatures are milder compared to other times of the year. The skies are usually clear, offering stunning views and photo opportunities. It’s worth noting that the higher elevations of the mountain can still reach sub-zero temperatures, especially at night.

Zanzibar in January and February

Zanzibar is excellent at this time of year – clear skies, calm waters, and comfortable temperatures. The sea is excellent for swimming and water visibility is at its best for diving and snorkelling, allowing you to explore Zanzibar’s magnificent coral reefs and marine life.

Young leopard cub in the Serengeti National Park
Baby leopard cub in the Serengeti National Park

March, April & May in Tanzania

Long rainy season

During March, April and May, Tanzania experiences its long rainy season, commonly known as the “long rains.”

This period is characterised by more frequent and heavier rainfall compared to other times of the year. The rain rejuvenates the landscapes which become lush and green. It’s a great time to visit Tanzania on a budget. However, you will have to contend with intermittent and sometimes heavy rainfall, often in the afternoons.

March, April & May

Pros

  • Lowest prices of the year
  • Baby animals
  • Parks least busy
  • Migratory birds
  • Birds breeding and various courtship displays

Cons

  • Wildlife viewing is harder due to lush vegetation and more water sources
  • Some Northern accommodation closed and most in the South
  • Afternoon showers or thunderstorms
  • Feels close due to warm temps & high humidly
  • Flooding possible in some parks
  • Kilimanjaro hike not recommended but some like the challenge of the snow capped summit
  • Zanzibar not recommended
  • More mosquitos so higher Malaria risk
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in March, April & May - lots of baby animals but lush and green landscapes makes game spotting harder.
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in March, April & May

What Weather & Temperatures can I Expect in March, April & May?

The long rains span March, April and May, making them the wettest months of the year in Tanzania. The rain typically comes in the form of afternoon showers or thunderstorms, which can last for several hours. Central and northern locations, such as Serengeti and Tarangire National Park usually experience more rainfalls compared to coastal regions.

The long rainy season is characterised by high humidity levels, especially in coastal areas. The combination of warm temperatures and humidity can make it feel quite close.

Tanzania locationDaytime temperaturesNighttime temperatures
Coastal Areas (e.g., Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar): 28°C to 30°C (82°F to 86°F)22°C to 24°C (72°F to 75°F)
Northern Safari Circuit (e.g., Arusha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro):25°C to 28°C (77°F to 82°F)15°C to 18°C (59°F to 64°F)
Southern and Western Tanzania (e.g., Selous, Ruaha, Katavi)28°C to 32°C (82°F to 90°F)20°C to 23°C (68°F to 73°F)
Typical temperatures in Tanzania in March, April & May

What are the Costs like and How Busy are the Parks in March, April & May?

The long rains are the best time to visit Tanzania on a tight budget and being low season, the parks are quiet. It’s worth noting that many of the accommodations in southern parks close over this period. However, most of the accommodation in the more popular northern circuit remains open. Flooding is also possible at some national parks.

Wildlife Viewing and The Great Migration in March, April & May

Wildlife viewing in the long rains can be more challenging as water is more abundant compared to the dry season and as such there is less activity around the water holes. Also the blooming vegetation in the lush green national parks provides more hiding places for wildlife. On the flip side, the rains bring fresh vegetation and the parks are teeming with life and many animals give birth during this time.

Birdwatching in March, April & May

March, April and May offer unique opportunities for birdwatching due to the increased presence of migratory bird species, lush vegetation, and fewer crowds.

The wet season, also known as the green season, coincides with the breeding season for many resident bird species in Tanzania. This means you have the chance to observe various courtship displays, nest-building, and other breeding behaviours.

During the wet season, you can witness the departure to their breeding grounds of some of the birds from Europe and northern Asia who spent the winter in Tanzania. You will also see other migratory species arriving in Tanzania at this time.

Hiking Kilimanjaro in March, April & May

For most people, it’s not recommended to climb Kilimanjaro from late May to early June as the trails become slippery and muddy. The heavy rainfall and poor conditions make hiking much more challenging and increase the risk of accidents. Furthermore, the summit, which is already very cold, even at the warmest times of year, is now snow-capped. The Marangu Route especially should be avoided.

The wet season can result in cloud cover which makes it hard to take photos and experience the panoramic views for which Kilimanjaro is famous.

Tour companies still conduct hikes at this time of year for those who relish the additional challenge of the snow-capped summit. The other benefit that draws some people to climb at this time of year is that the trails and campsites are extremely quiet.

Zanzibar in March, April & May

Whilst there will still be some sunny moments to enjoy, be prepared for heavy rainfall especially in April. Rainfall often comes in the form of intermittent downpours.

Mosquito activity is at its highest in the rainy season, making malaria precautions particularly important. Some accommodation and services close over the wet period.

On the positive side, this time of year offers a budget-friendly and quieter Zanzibar experience.

Yawning Hippo in Central Serengeti
Yawning hippo in central Serengeti

June & July in Tanzania

First half of long dry season

June is the start of the long dry season which spans 4.5 months and marks the start of the Great Migration. Whilst both June and July are classed as high season, July is typically busier and more expensive than June.

Both June and July are very popular months to visit Tanzania for safari, to hike Kilimanjaro and for relaxation in Zanzibar.

June & July

Pros

  • Fantastic weather
  • Amazing wildlife viewing
  • Wildebeests crossing Grumeti River
  • Perfect time to visit Zanzibar
  • Good time to hike Kilimanjaro
  • Lowest mosquito levels and reduced malaria risk

Cons

  • High peak season prices
  • Parks are busy

Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in June & July - vegetation thins out making game spotting easier
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in June & July

What Weather & Temperatures can I Expect in June and July?

June and July are part of the long dry season in Tanzania, which means you can expect mostly clear skies and minimal rainfall. The weather is generally cooler and more comfortable compared to the wet season.

Coastal areas and islands like Zanzibar experience pleasant weather during June and July. The sea is calm and clear, making it a good time for water activities, such as diving, snorkelling, and relaxing on the beaches.

Tanzania locationDaytime temperaturesNighttime temperatures
Coastal Areas (e.g., Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar):25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F)20°C to 24°C (68°F to 75°F)
Northern Safari Circuit (e.g., Arusha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro):20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F)10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F)
Southern and Western Tanzania (e.g., Selous, Ruaha, Katavi)25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F)15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).
Typical temperatures in Tanzania in June & July

What are the Costs like and How Busy are the Parks in June and July?

June is the start of the high season and as such costs are high in June. Moving into the peak of the high season, costs are slightly higher again in July and peak in August.

In June and July the number of safari trucks in the park does start to increase, however, the parks are still not as busy as the peak month of August.

Compared to other popular safari destinations such as Kenya, the higher costs of a Tanzania safari and the vast size of the parks such as the Serengeti, helps to ensure Tanzania’s parks never get too overcrowded.

Wildlife Viewing and The Great Migration in June and July

June and July, along with the rest of the dry season, are considered excellent times for wildlife viewing in Tanzania. The lack of rain means the vegetation is less dense, making it easier to spot animals. Animals tend to congregate around water holes in the dry conditions which leads to associated big cat activity as they hunt the congregation of prey.

Late May and early June marks the beginning of the Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest and zebras start their journey from the southern plains to the northern Serengeti in search of fresh grazing.

From early May to late July the wildebeests are usually crossing the Grumeti river in Tanzania’s Western Corridor.

Birdwatching in June and July

June and July are arguably not quite as good for bird watching as Jan – April and Nov – Dec. However, there is still plenty of birdlife to see –  many migratory bird species from Europe and Asia are still present in Tanzania during these months.

June and July coincide with the breeding season for many resident bird species in Tanzania. This means you have the opportunity to witness courtship displays, nest-building, and other breeding behaviours.

Clear skies and minimal rainfall provides excellent conditions for bird spotting.

Kilimanjaro in June and July

Compared to the December to March Kilimanjaro season, the June to October season is equally dry but cooler in temperature.

Early June, whilst being better for hiking Kilimanjaro than March to May, can still be a little cold and the skies are still a little cloudy which can hide the amazing views which Kilimanjaro is famous for. Therefore, mid to late June and July are preferable.

If you want to play it safe for your Kilimanjaro hike, opt for July through to September.

Zanzibar in June and July

June and July is a great time to visit Zanzibar – the weather is dry with minimal rainfall with temperatures around 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F). You can expect sunny and clear skies, making it a great time for outdoor activities.

It’s a good time for snorkelling as the sea is usually calm and visibility underwater is excellent.

A mother baboon with her two babies in Tarangire
A mother baboon with her two babies in Tarangire

Ella McKendrick on safari with an Elephant in the background in Serengeti, Tanzania

Embark on the Safari of Your Dreams

Save time and ensure an incredible safari experience by getting quotes from my recommended local safari companies

I’m here to make booking your perfect safari quick, easy and risk-free.

Join the rapidly growing tribe of over 250 travellers who’ve booked their dream safari using my insider tips and recommendations.

It takes under 60 seconds to fill out the form and in under 48 hours you will receive multiple, no-obligation proposals from my favourite local tour operators with glowing online reviews.

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August & September in Tanzania

Second half of long dry season

August and September form the second half of the long dry season and feature one of the earth’s greatest wildlife spectacles, where millions of wildebeests cross the crocodile-infested Mara River as part of The Great Migration.

August is the most popular month of the year to visit Tanzania which makes it the most expensive and busiest. September is my favourite month to visit Tanzania as it comes with all the benefits of August whilst being a little quieter and prices are not quite so high.

August & September

Pros

  • Fantastic weather
  • Amazing wildlife viewing
  • Wildebeests crossing Mara River
  • Great time to visit Zanzibar
  • Good time to hike Kilimanjaro
  • Lowest mosquito levels and reduced malaria risk

Cons

  • High peak season prices
  • Parks are busy
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in August & September - great game viewing and resident birds show breeding displays.
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in August & September

What Weather & Temperatures can I Expect in August & September?

August and September, along with June and July, are part of the dry season in Tanzania, which means you can expect mostly clear skies and minimal rainfall. The weather is generally cooler and more comfortable compared to the wet season.

Coastal areas and islands like Zanzibar experience pleasant weather during August & September. The sea is calm and clear, making it a good time for water activities, such as diving, snorkelling, and relaxing on the beaches.

Tanzania locationDaytime temperaturesNighttime temperatures
Coastal Areas (e.g., Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar):25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F)20°C to 24°C (68°F to 75°F)
Northern Safari Circuit (e.g., Arusha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro):20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F)10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F)
Southern and Western Tanzania (e.g., Selous, Ruaha, Katavi)25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F)15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).
Typical temperatures in Tanzania in August & September

What are the Costs like and How Busy are the Parks in August & September?

August and September are in Tanzania’s high season, which means costs are high relative to the low and shoulder seasons. September is usually better value than August as it’s not as busy as August, which is the most popular month of the year to visit Tanzania, in part because it fits with school holidays.

The parks have the highest volume of safari trucks in August. However, compared with other popular safari destinations the parks are still not busy enough to spoil the experience. One of the benefits of going on safari in Tanzania is that because the prices are typically higher than other safari destinations, it avoids overcrowding in the parks, which leads to a better game viewing experience. Tanzania also has some absolutely huge national parks, such as the Serengeti which also helps avoid it feeling too crowded at peak periods.

Wildlife Viewing and The Great Migration in August & September

Late July, August and September are some of my favourite months for wildlife viewing because the Wildebeest Mara River crossing is in full swing in the north of the Serengeti. This is arguably one of the most incredible wildlife spectacles on earth as millions of wildebeests cross over the crocodile-infested waters in search of fresh pastures.

Birdwatching in August & September

August and September are not quite as good for bird watching as Jan to April and Nov to Dec. However, there is still plenty of birdlife to see –  many migratory bird species from Europe and Asia are still present in Tanzania during these months.

Kilimanjaro in August & September

Compared to the The December to March Kilimanjaro Season, the June to October season is equally dry but cooler in temperature.

August and September are both popular months to climb Kilimanjaro. However, you will find September slightly quieter.

Zanzibar in August & September

August and September are a great time to visit Zanzibar – you can expect sunny and clear skies, making it a great time for outdoor activities.

Aug & Sept are a good time for snorkelling in Zanzibar as the sea is usually calm and visibility underwater is excellent.

Eid – al – Fitr takes place around 19th August. This is a four day Islamic festival which celebrates the end of the fast. It’s the biggest event of the year and people give each other gifts. Some restaurants may be closed over the 4 day period.

Tanzacat Open is a sailing competition including the “Zanzibar Raid” which takes place in late September to early October. The event is organised by the Dar es Salaam Yacht Club.

Cape buffalo in Ngorongoro Crater
Cape buffalo in Ngorongoro Crater

October, November & December in Tanzania

Short rainy season

Mid-October through to mid-December are Tanzania’s Short Rains period. Prices are lower compared to the preceding period as this is classed as shoulder season and parks are quieter. 

Whilst there are some rains in the afternoons, there is still great game viewing in the northern parks and it is one of the best periods for big cat spotting. During mid-October to mid-November the wildebeests cross back over the Mara River in the north of the Serengeti as part of the Great Migration.

October, November & December

Pros

  • Lower prices vs peak
  • One of the best times of year to see big cats (November especially) due to birthing season for some herbivores
  • Great wildlife viewing as the number of tourists is much lower
  • Wildebeests crossing back over Mara River from Kenya to Tanzania
  • Dec is good for hiking Kilimanjaro
  • Migratory birds arrive in Dec

Cons

  • Some rains, often in the afternoon
  • Some unpredictable rain in Zanzibar in mid-October to mid-December
  • October & November too wet for hiking Kilimanjaro
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in October, November & December. Wildlife viewing is great especially in northern parks. Vegetation becomes denser.
Visual guide showing what to expect in Tanzania in October, November & December.

What Weather & Temperatures can I Expect in October, November & December?

Whilst there are some rains in mid-October to mid-December, these are often in the afternoons. Early morning game drives are usually dry and pleasant.

Tanzania locationDaytime temperaturesNighttime temperatures
Coastal Areas (e.g., Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar):25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F)20°C to 24°C (68°F to 75°F)
Northern Safari Circuit (e.g., Arusha, Serengeti, Ngorongoro):20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F)10°C to 15°C (50°F to 59°F)
Southern and Western Tanzania (e.g., Selous, Ruaha, Katavi)25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F)15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F).
Typical temperatures in Tanzania in October, November & December

What are the Costs like and How Busy are the Parks in October, November and December?

Mid-October through to the end of November are classed as shoulder season and prices are lower than high season, which runs from June to mid-October. However, mid-December prices start to increase slightly. Parks are much quieter vs peak season.

Wildlife Viewing and The Great Migration in October, November and December

Wildlife viewing is excellent in October, November and December – whilst spotting animals can be more challenging due to the dense green vegetation, the parks have far fewer vehicles which offsets this.

From mid-October to mid-November the Great Migration continues as around 2 million migratory wildebeests cross back over the crocodile-infested Mara River in the north of the Serengeti.

This period (especially around November) is one of the best months to see big cats as it can coincide with the beginning of the birthing season for various herbivores, which leads to exciting big cat action. Predators are attracted to these areas for easy prey. Birthing times can vary, depending on the timings of the rains.

Birdwatching in October, November and December

November kicks off the birding season in Tanzania. This is when migratory birds from Europe and Northern Africa start to arrive. A large number of the resident birds are nesting and in breeding plumage.

Kilimanjaro in October, November and December

October is cool and dry and is a popular time to climb Kilimanjaro.

November is wet which makes the hike more challenging. However, it’s not as wet as April and May.

December through to March is arguably the best period to climb Kilimanjaro due to warm and dry conditions.

Zanzibar in October, November and December

During mid-October to mid-December Zanzibar experiences unpredictable weather; however, storms and rainfall don’t usually last long.

The pros of visiting Zanzibar at this time of year are much lower costs and diving conditions are great, especially in November.

Two Cheetahs in the Serengeti, Tanzania
Although Serengeti has higher park fees – it’s well worth it for sightings such as these two cheetahs

Ella McKendrick on safari with an Elephant in the background in Serengeti, Tanzania

Embark on the Safari of Your Dreams

Save time and ensure an incredible safari experience by getting quotes from my recommended local safari companies

I’m here to make booking your perfect safari quick, easy and risk-free.

Join the rapidly growing tribe of over 250 travellers who’ve booked their dream safari using my insider tips and recommendations.

It takes under 60 seconds to fill out the form and in under 48 hours you will receive multiple, no-obligation proposals from my favourite local tour operators with glowing online reviews.

Get your free no-obligation safari quotes and my top safari tips and recommendations

Best Time To Visit the Top Safari Parks in Tanzania

Below I’ve provided guidance the best times to visit the most popular parks in Tanzania’s Northen Circuit.

Best Time to Visit Serengeti National Park

The very best time to visit Serengeti National Park is during the Wildebeest Mara River crossing – the highlight of The Great Migration.

Two million Wildebeests cross the crocodile-infested Mara River in Northern Serengeti around late July, August and September and then back again late October to early November. Times can vary slightly each year so August or early September would be the safest bet.

Visual guide showing the best time to visit the Serengeti is June to October
Visual guide showing the best time to visit the Serengeti

June to October (dry season) – as there is little to no rain in this period, the bush begins thinning out and the landscapes turn from green to orange. With water suddenly scares, animals start to congregate around water holes. Both these factors make wildlife viewing much easier in this period.

The sun shines and the weather is great during this period with temperatures around 25°C / 77°F.

There are fewer mosquitos at this time of year which reduces the risk of malaria.

Wildebeests crossing the Mara River as part of the Great Migration
The Mara River crossing is part of the Great Migration in Northern Serengeti / Southern Masai Mara around September. Watch out for the crocs!

The highlights of the one of the earth’s greatest wildlife specticles, The Great Migration take place during this period. The Grumeti river crossing takes place in Tanzania’s western corridor around May to July.

Around mid-July to September the famous Mara River crossing takes place in northern Serengeti as the wildebeests cross from Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya. mid-October to mid-November the wildebeests cross back over the Mara River into Tanzania again for calving.

The parks can get crowded at this time of year although due to the size of parks such as Serengeti and Tanzania’s higher costs they are never as busy as other safari destinations such as Kenya. Temperatures can drop to 14°C / 57°F at night.

A lioness with her cubs lazing in the mid-day sun in the Serengeti National Park
Lion cubs lazing in the mid-day sun in the Serengeti National Park

If you want to see baby animals and the related big cat activity then January and February are your best best as the wildebeests are calving in Southern Serengeti which attracts the big cats. November time is also excellent for big cats as other herbivores give birth around this time. Parks are also quiet in terms of tourists at this time of year making spotting easier although you do have to contend with denser vegetion.

Best Time to Visit Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater is great for safari all year round as most animals don’t migrate. The crater is probably one of the best opportunities you will have to spot the endangered black rhino in the world.

Visual guide showing the best time to visit Ngorongoro Crater is June to October or January and February
Visual guide to the best time to visit Ngorongoro Crater

The best time to see lots of baby animals in a lush and green environment such as zebras and wildebeests is the beginning of the year.

If you want to see as many animals as possible, visibility is best in the long dry season between June and October.

Birdwatching is excellent all year round. However November to April sees the arrival of the migratory birds from Europe and North Africa. This time of year is also breeding season for the resident birds which allows you to see them with their beautiful plumage.

black rhino
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the few places in the world which gives you the chance, if you’re lucky, to see the rare black rhino in the wild

The most spectacular landscape and flours are during the wet season. Lake Magadi’s higher water levels at this time draw in more flamingos.

There is usually afternoon showers in the short rainy season in November and December. However it’s quite easy to plan your safaris around the rain.

The heavy downpours in the long rainy season make safaris a little more challenging.

Ella McKendrick Ngorongoro Crater
Me on the viewing spot for the mystical Ngorongoro Crater in the background

Best Time to Visit Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is is part of Tanzania’s Northern safari circuit and is famous for its huge elephant population, rare tree climbing lions, massive red termite mounds, diverse birdlife and ancient baobab trees.

The best time to visit Tarangire National park is during the long dry season from late June to October. Migratory herds arrive in search of water due to the depleting water supplies which encourage animals to congregate around Tarangire River and the swamps of the river valley. Mosquitos and flies are at their lowest levels of the year so the risk of malaria is at its lowest too.

Local guides still recommend visiting at any time of year as the park always has something to offer.

Visual guide showing the best time to visit Tarangire is June to October.
Visual guide showing the best time to visit Tarangire

Tarangire’s migratory herds such as the Elephants, oryx and gerenuk, leave the park animals move up into the Masaai steppe during the short wet season in November and return at the start of the long dry season in June.

Elephants in Tarangire National Park
Elephants in Tarangire National Park

There is some unpredictability in terms of the exact arrival and departure dates of the migratory herds. If the long wet season finishes early then the migratory heads come to the park earlier and leave earlier. Conversely if the long rains finish late then the migratory herds arrive at the park late and leave later.

The shorts rains usually start around mid-October and breath life into the park. Many animals start giving birth to babies, vegetation turns a vibrant green and flours bloom. You will be able to see the resident animals such as antelopes and buffaloes.

Bird watching is at its best in the wet season when the migratory birds are present.

The most challenging time to visit is during the long rains in March, April and May as there are regular heavy downpours normally in the afternoon.

Impala and a Baboon in Tarangire National Park
An Impala and a Baboon discussing the latest gossip in Tarangire National Park

Best Time to Visit Lake Manyara National Park

Due to lake Manyara expanding and flooding surrounding areas in recent years, the park is not as great as it once was. However, it’s still worth a visit as you can go on a traditional boat on the lake, and see game such as lions and elephants in the park.

The best time to visit Lake Manyara National Park is the same as the Serengeti with June to October being the best time.

Best Times to Visit Both Tanzania and Zanzibar for Safari and Beach

Fortunately the best times to go on safari in Tanzania correspond perfectly with the best times to visit Zanzibar. These are the long dry season from June to October and the short dry season from January to February.

Mafia Island, Zanzibar
Mafia Island, Zanzibar

Ella McKendrick on safari with an Elephant in the background in Serengeti, Tanzania

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Best Time to Visit Tanzania for the Wildebeest Great Migration

The best time to visit Tanzania for the wildebeest migration is late July to September when millions of Wilderbeasts cross the crocodile-infested mara river in the north of the Serengeti.

Other great migration events include:

Wildebeest migration and calving in the Southern Serengeti from January to mid-March.

Wildebeests crossing the Grumeti river as part of the great migration on Tanzania Western Corridor from May to July.

Wildebeests crossing back over the Mara river to the Kenya side around mid-Oct to mid-November.

Mara River crossing, Northern Serengeti
Mara River, Northern Serengeti. Once one Wildebeest jumps in as herd animals the rest usually follow

Best Time for Hiking Kilimanjaro

Kilimanjaro is made of various bands with the top being the Uhuru Peak which is always extremely cold. Visiting during the warmer periods makes the peak slightly less cold vs other times of year.

Visual guide showing the best time to visit Kilimanjaro is December to March or June to October if you don't mind it being slightly cooler.
Visual guide showing the best time to visit Kilimanjaro

The best time for hiking Kilimanjaro in Tanzania is actually very similar to the best time to visit Tanzania for safari and also Zanzibar. The best times is January to March which is the short dry period and the first 1/2 month of the long rains and mid-June to mid-October which is the long dry period and the first half month of the short rains.

Of these two fantastic periods for climbing Kilimanjaro, January to mid-March is the very best as the weather is slightly warmer compared to the later period.

Best Time To Visit Tanzania for Bird Watching

The best time of year to visit Tanzania for bird watching is November onwards when the migratory birds from Europe and other parts of Africa start to arrive all the way through to April.

During January through to April Resident birds breed and have best plumage

It’s worth noting that birdwatching is fantastic throughout the whole year in Tanzania.

Marabou stork - a large wading bird
At lunch in Ngorongoro we were visited by a Marabou stork – a large wading bird

Cheapest Time of Year to Visit Tanzania

Tanzania is not the cheapest safari destination so if you budget is really tight you might prefer to look at cheaper safari destinations such as Kenya. If however, you have your heart set on Tanzania and I completely understand why that might be the case, the cheapest time to visit would be during the long rains from March to April.

Typically most of the rain fall in the afternoon so you can usually schedule morning game drives to avoid the rain. Whilst many of the accommodations in the south close over this period, the more popular northen accommodations typically stay open and offer lower rates.

Eland in Tarangire National Park
A beautiful Eland, the biggest antelope in Africa. Tarangire National Park.

Ella McKendrick on safari with an Elephant in the background in Serengeti, Tanzania

Embark on the Safari of Your Dreams

Save time and ensure an incredible safari experience by getting quotes from my recommended local safari companies

I’m here to make booking your perfect safari quick, easy and risk-free.

Join the rapidly growing tribe of over 250 travellers who’ve booked their dream safari using my insider tips and recommendations.

It takes under 60 seconds to fill out the form and in under 48 hours you will receive multiple, no-obligation proposals from my favourite local tour operators with glowing online reviews.

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