The best time to visit Tanzania
Game viewing in Tanzania is at its best between June to October. To witness the Great Migration in the Serengeti, visit from May to July when the plains are fresh and green or November to March when the herds return to calve. The hottest months are from December to March. The rainy season occurs in April and May, there are often short rains in November and December and the driest season is June to October. The coast is hot and humid through the year. The Serengeti and especially Ngorongoro Crater can be cold at night throughout the year because they are on a high plateau.
The weather shows the average daily minimum and maximum temperatures in Celsius and the average monthly precipitation.
Tanzania enjoys a fairly temperate climate making it a great year round destination. However there are some extremes at high altitude. Given the size of the country it is hard to pinpoint when the ‘perfect’ time to go is so we will look at what the weather tends to do throughout the year and what you want to do when you visit Tanzania.
If you are coming to Tanzania for the sublime array of wildlife then we recommend a visit during the dry season (January to March and June to September). Reason being the vegetation is less dense so actual viewing of the animals is somewhat easier plus the animals tend to head to commonly known waterholes, rivers and lakes for refreshment. Conveniently the second dry season fits in well with the annual great migration which sees wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate north to the Masai Mara in Kenya which usually takes place from July to November. This is understandably one of the most popular times to visit Tanzania so if you want the great weather and easily found wildlife then maybe plan to visit between January and March – which is also calving season in the Serengeti!
The rainy season April to May and October to November are known as the rainy seasons in Tanzania. Although this can be a beautiful time to go; the vegetation is at its most lush and the crowds are certainly fewer; it can also mean that some roads are impassable and lodges may also be closed.
If you are looking to climb Kilimanjaro then there are a few things to bear in mind. The warmest months are January and February, however these also bring with them the largest numbers of trekkers. By March through to May the rains come making trekking potentially more challenging – however there are considerably less people on the mountain. June to August see colder temperatures but less rain and September and October are fairly dry with pleasant temperatures. November to December see the rains return but the temperatures still quite mild. Despite what the daytime temperature is, it can always get cold at night on the mountain and naturally the closer you are to the summit – the colder it will be!
The Great Migration
The endless plains of east Africa are the setting for the world’s greatest wildlife spectacle – the pounding of more than 6 million hooves during the Great Migration. From the Serengeti plains in Tanzania to Kenya’s Masai Mara over 1 million wildebeest, 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle and some 200,000 zebra, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators, migrate in a clockwise fashion over 1,800 miles each year in search of rain ripened grass.
The precise timing of this incredible event is hard to predict, as the path of the wildebeest migration is dependant on rain. The animals follow the path of the rain in order to feed off the new grass whilst also being close to a good water supply. If you'd like to time your trip to Tanzania or Kenya to watch this incredible event then here's our guide to the migration.
From December to February the wildebeest congregate in the Serengeti region. In the Serengeti an estimated 400,000 wildebeest calves are born during a six week period early each year - usually between late January and mid-March. From March to May/June, the wildebeest migration moves north following the rain, to the Lake Victoria region. From July to August the wildebeest migration heads east to the Masai Mara in Kenya, returning south across the Tanzanian border around November.