Best time for safari in Tanzania
Tanzania as a coastal country experiences different weather conditions in the different parts of the country at different times of the year. If you plan in visiting Tanzania for an all-round safari, then there is no right time and that is why the activities that you decide to carry out while on your safari highly determine the best time to visit the country for a fun filled trip.
The country experiences two major seasons that is the dry and wet season all year round that is the wet season and the dry season. If this is your first time to visit the country, then the best time is during the dry season (June to October) especially of you are into game drives and the wet season (November to April).
The best time for visiting the different National Parks entirely depends on the activities that you want to carry out while there. For example if you want to go game viewing, then the best time is during the dry season which is generally experienced from May to October and for all those that love birding, the best time is during the wet season which is also known as the green season and this is experienced from November to April with the heavy rains coming in the months of March and April.
The best time to visit some of Tanzania’s most famous tourist destinations has been summarized below so that you can plan your trip accordingly.
Visiting Tarangire National Park
The best time for one to visit the Tarangire National Park is from June to October during the dry season can be referred to as the peak season due to the large number of tourists that visit the park. This is because it will be easy for you to view the animals as they congregate around the waterholes.
The dry season, this comes with pros and cons for example animals migrate into the Park increasing the number of animals you will see, Malaria is on the low during this period due to less mosquitos and the weather is quite friendly for a game drive. However due to the heat, you will have to dress appropriately in light clothes to abate the heat.
The green season, also known as the wet season, this is experienced between the months of November and April. This is the best time for birding as many migratory birds fly into the Park during this period, you will also get to see some of the wildlife calving and the safari costs during this season are low due to the heavy rains experienced. Note that this is not the best time for game viewing as most of the animals migrate when the rains start. The months of March and April have the heaviest of rains and if possible, you should avoid them.
Visiting Katavi National Park
Located in a dry reserve in Tanzania, Katavi national Park is a home to quite a large herd of wildlife and bird species making it a perfect destination for a safari. The best time to visit the Katavi Park is during the dry season although you can also visit during the wet season for those that love birding.
November to April, these months come with heavy and mild rains in Katavi making it a bad time for all those that love game drives. It becomes very difficult to view the animals as most of them migrate to other areas when the rains come but it is the best time to go for birding. The costs are low, some accommodation facilities close during this period due to flooding and there is a high chance of getting malaria.
May to October, this comes with the dry season and the best time to visit the National Park. The animals can easily be seen during the dry season due to limited water and thin vegetation and the roads are passable as compared to the wet season.
Visiting Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National park is best known for the annual wildebeest migration where you will see wildlife crossing from Serengeti to Masai Mara and this happens after the onset of rains in the Park.
June to October, this is the best time for you to see the wildebeest migration especially between June and July. Animals can easily be seen during this time because most of them converge around the few waterholes that are found in the Park. It is also easy to drive through the Park because the roads are passable and not flooded.
November to May, these months come with the wet season and it is the best time for one to go birding and see animals during the calving season. Malaria is on the rise during this season with the increase of mosquitos, some accommodation facilities also close and the roads become impassable. It is the best time for tourists who love birding and do not like huge crowds.
Visiting Ngorongoro National Park
The dry season which is experienced from June to October is usually the best time for you to visit the Ngorongoro National Park. During this period, there is little or no rain which leads to limited waste sources and the thinning of vegetation and this makes it easy for you to spot the animals. Most of the animals in Ngorongoro can easily be viewed from the crater side.
The wet season also known as the green season is experienced between November and May. This period has fewer tourists and best for birders. Migratory birds from the different parts of the world increasing the number of bird species to watch. Some accommodation facilities close during this period and the cost on most of the services rendered are on the low. It is extremely difficult to see the animals during this season since they are always scattered across the National Park due to the availability of enough pasture and water.
Visiting Mountain Kilimanjaro
Mount Kilimanjaro is best hiked during the dry season which is experienced from July to October. During this period, the slopes are not slippery, the weather is conducive for a hike and it is easy to navigate the mountain because you can easily see where you are heading to unlike during the wet season which sometimes comes with fog. The wet season is experienced in the months of November to April and you should not try to climb Mountain Kilimanjaro during this period. The Mountain is surrounded with fog, wet slopes and not forgetting the ice making it hard for you to hike.
Note that the weather around Kilimanjaro drastically changes all the time and therefore before you plan for a hike trip, first ask your tour operator to find out if it’s the right time to do so.
Visiting Ruaha National Park
Just like most of the National Parks in Tanzania, the best for you to visit Ruaha is during the dry season which is experienced from June to October before the green season comes around in the month of November till April. The dry season is best for game drives because you will be able to see various animals all converged around the same water source whereas the best time for birding is during the green season which sees the migratory birds flying in. during the green season, humidity is high and the same applies to temperatures, so you should pack accordingly.
Visiting Selous Game Reserve / Nyerere National Park
Selous Game reserve is best known for being a home to the wild dogs and these can easily be spotted during the months of June to November which is the dry season. Other wildlife can also easily be spotted due to the sparse vegetation during this time and most of them can be seen converging around the waterholes due to much heat. This season has a lot of activities that can be carried out and for those that do not like crowds, this is not the time for you to visit Selous.
The west season comes with the migratory birds and the calving of many animals and this happens in the months of March to May with the heavy rains being experienced in March and April. Although the activities during this time are limited, the costs for the safari are greatly limited due to the closure of some of the accommodation facilities.
When to Go To Zanzibar Island
Zanzibar is a big Island which is filled with the most beautiful Islands on the East African coast and is the perfect place for a getaway safari for singles, couples and families. Surrounded with other smaller islands, Zanzibar also experiences two seasons that is the wet season and the dry season.
The best time to visit Zanzibar is between June and October with the best climate is experienced in August and September and most activities are carried out during this period for example snorkelling, relaxing at the beach, playing beach soccer, exploring the old towns found along the coast and many more others.
The wet season starts in March and ends in May and this is a time that you should not visit Zanzibar if possible. Zanzibar has a lot of holidays that they celebrate and the most important one is during the fasting period of Ramadan. During Ramadan, most activities are put on hold and that is why you should ask your tour operator about this period before booking.
The difference between the low (green season) and peak season (dry season)
This will help you decide on the best time for you to plan for your safari to Tanzania.
- The peak season is crowded whereas the low season has a few tourists around.
- The Peak season is from June to October and the low season is from November to April.
- You need to book in advance during the peak season and you need to book late when it comes to the low season.
- The peak season has cool and warm weather whereas the low season is humid with hot conditions.
- The peak season is good for animal viewing whereas the low season is good for baby animals and birding.