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When is the Best Time to Visit Tanzania for Safari? – 2024 Month-by-Month Guide

Updated: Feb 18

After admiring Tanzania's incredible wildlife from afar, you've decided to plan a trip to the best safari in the world. Now comes the next question – when is the best time to visit Tanzania for safari?



Tanzania offers a diverse range of safari experiences, from witnessing the Great Migration to exploring the iconic Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. With seasonal variations in sightseeing, wildlife, and weather, it's important to properly time your safari adventure.


Read on for an updated 2024 guide on the best time to visit Tanzania for safari!


Tanzania's Weather and Seasons

Understanding the weather and seasons in Tanzania is essential for planning your perfect safari experience. Located in East Africa, Tanzania's climate is shaped significantly by the rains, which play a crucial role in shaping the environment and wildlife behavior.


Tanzania experiences two primary seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. Each season offers unique safari opportunities, with the dry season generally considered the best time to visit Tanzania for wildlife spotting.


The dry season, which typically runs from June to October, is characterized by sunny days and cool nights. During this time, the vegetation is sparse, making it easier to spot animals congregating around water sources.


The migration season, from August to October, is a highlight of the dry season, as thousands of wildebeest and other animals move through the Serengeti in search of greener pastures.


On the other hand, the rainy season, which usually takes place from November to May, brings lush landscapes and abundant food for wildlife. The calving season in February is a particular draw for visitors, as it offers the chance to witness newborn animals taking their first steps into the world. While the rainy season can make some roads and parks less accessible, it also means fewer tourists and lower prices for accommodations.


In addition to the main dry and rainy seasons, Tanzania also experiences several shoulder seasons: January, March, June, and July. These transitional months offer a mix of weather conditions and can provide unique safari opportunities. For example, the months of January and March can be an excellent time for birdwatching, as migratory birds flock to Tanzania's national parks. Similarly, June and July offer cooler temperatures and the chance to see animals in their natural habitats without the peak season crowds.


Choosing the best time to visit Tanzania for safari depends on your personal preferences and interests. Whether you want to witness the Great Migration, observe the calving season, or explore the country during the shoulder seasons, you can expect great safari experiences in Tanzania all year round.


Tanzania Weather & Safari Sights: Month by Month Breakdown

Let's dive into a month by month breakdown of what to expect when planning your Tanzania safari, taking into account the weather, wildlife viewing, and other factors.


January: Shoulder Season (Warm, Slight Rain)

In January, Tanzania experiences warm weather and occasional rainfall. Tanzania weather in January is fairly humid, ranging from around 26 to 30 degrees Celcius. Being the shoulder season, you can expect less tourists in the national parks. Wildlife viewing is also good, with a chance of spotting hunts and other action — albeit without the spectacle of the annual Calving Season or Great Migration. Birdwatching enthusiasts can also enjoy the presence of migratory birds in Tanzania's national parks.


January is also a good month to hike Kilimanjaro or visit Zanzibar — a beautiful island known for its white sand beaches, azure waters, and lush resorts.


February: Calving Season (Warm, Rainy)

February kicks off with the first of Tanzania's yearly events — the Calving Season. You'll have a chance to witness thousands of newborn animals taking their first steps. There's lots of drama during the Calving Season, as predators like lions, cheetah, and hyenas try desperately to pounce on the young prey.


Like January, Tanzania weather in February is generally warm with occasional rainfall. Sites like the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti are filled with vivid colours and lush, green grass — the perfect backdrop for the beginning of the Circle of Life.


March: Shoulder Season (Rainy)

March begins Tanzania's long rainy season. While the weather can be unpredictable, wildlife viewing remains excellent as animals take advantage of the abundant food sources. Hiking Kilimanjaro and visiting Zanzibar are still possible, although it's essential to be prepared for rain. Park crowds are generally lower during these months, with more accommodations available. Birdwatching opportunities continue to be excellent as migratory birds remain in the country.


April, May: Off-Peak (Very Rainy)

April and May are the peak of Tanzania's rainy season. While generally not a popular time to visit, this can be a fun season for adventurers — think wild, muddy game drives and national parks with few tourists but tons of birds and beasts.


June, July: Shoulder Season (Dry)

June and July mark the beginning of Tanzania's dry season, with cooler temperatures and clear skies. Wildlife viewing can be exceptional, as you can enjoy the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire without the peak season crowds. Hiking Kilimanjaro and visiting Zanzibar are both enjoyable during this period, with favorable weather conditions. Park crowds are moderate, and birdwatching opportunities remain excellent.


August, September, October: Great Migration Season (Dry)

August to October are considered the peak months for Tanzania's dry season, with the best weather conditions for wildlife viewing. The Great Migration reaches its peak during these months, offering unforgettable experiences for visitors.


Late September and October are especially ideal for a chance to witness the Great Migration — with thousands of wildbeest and zebra crossing the Serengeti. You'll attempt to see the epic Mara River crossing, where endless herds cross the treacherous river and try to dodge the jaws of hungry crocs and angry hippos.


Hiking Kilimanjaro and visiting Zanzibar continue to be popular activities, with perfect weather for outdoor adventures. Park crowds are generally higher during this time, but the migration season's unique experiences make it well worth it. Birdwatching opportunities remain excellent, with a variety of species present in Tanzania's national parks.


November, December: Shoulder Season (Rainy)

As Tanzania transitions from the dry season to the short rainy season, November and December bring a mix of weather conditions. Wildlife viewing remains excellent, as animals continue to congregate around water sources.


Hiking Kilimanjaro and visiting Zanzibar are still possible, although visitors should be prepared for occasional rain. Park crowds begin to decrease as well. Birdwatching opportunities continue to be excellent as migratory birds start to return to Tanzania's national parks.


What's the Best Time to Visit Top Safari Parks in Tanzania?


It's also good to know the best time to visit Tanzania's top safari parks, which each offer unique experiences. Let's explore the best times to visit Tanzania's most iconic safari parks: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Park.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is famous for the Great Migration, which occurs from August to October. This is when thousands of wildebeest, zebras, and other animals travel across the park in search of greener pastures. However, the Serengeti offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities year-round. The birthing season in February is another highlight, with thousands of baby animals being born each day. Shoulder seasons in January, March, June, and July can also be great times to visit, as the park is less crowded, and wildlife is still abundant.


Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is a unique safari destination, with a high concentration of wildlife within its volcanic walls. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from June to October, when animals gather around the limited water sources, making wildlife spotting easier. However, visiting during the shoulder seasons in January, March, June, and July can also provide excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and fewer crowds.


Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is known for its large elephant population and diverse birdlife. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from June to October, when animals congregate around the Tarangire River. Visiting during the shoulder seasons can still offer rewarding experiences, with the chance to spot a wide range of wildlife and witness the park's stunning landscapes.


Best Times for Specific Tanzania Experiences

Depending on your interests and priorities, there is an ideal time to visit Tanzania for each specific experience. From combining safari and beach vacations to witnessing the Wildebeest Great Migration, hiking Kilimanjaro, and bird watching, the ideal time for each experience varies. Let's explore the best times for these specific experiences in Tanzania!

Tanzania and Zanzibar for Safari and Beach

If you're looking to combine a Tanzania safari with a relaxing beach getaway in Zanzibar, the best time to visit both destinations is during the dry season, from June to October. During this period, the weather is favorable for wildlife viewing in Tanzania's national parks and soaking up the sun on Zanzibar's pristine beaches.


The shoulder seasons of January, March, June, and July also work, as they offer a good balance of weather conditions and fewer crowds.

Wildebeest Great Migration

The Wildebeest Great Migration is one of the most spectacular wildlife events in the world, occurring from August to October. During this time, millions of wildebeest, zebras, and other animals journey through the Serengeti in search of water and grazing land. If witnessing this incredible spectacle is a priority for your Tanzania adventure, plan your visit during the migration season for the best experience.


Hiking Kilimanjaro

For those looking to conquer Africa's highest peak, the best time to hike Mount Kilimanjaro is during the dry season, from June to October, as well as the shoulder seasons of January and March. These months offer clear skies and more stable weather conditions, making for a safer and more enjoyable trek. Additionally, with fewer crowds on the trails, you'll have a more immersive experience in the mountain's stunning landscapes.


Bird Watching

Tanzania is a paradise for bird lovers, with over 1,000 bird species found in the country. The best time for bird watching depends on the species you're interested in observing. The dry season, from June to October, offers excellent bird watching opportunities as migratory birds flock to Tanzania's national parks. The shoulder seasons of January, March, June, and July also provide fantastic bird watching experiences, with various species present during these transitional months.


Conclusion: When is the Best Time to Visit Tanzania for Safari?

Throughout the year, Tanzania offers extraordinary safari experiences, from witnessing the Great Migration to exploring the iconic Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater.


While every month and season has its unique pros and cons, here's our JAMBO recommendation for the best time to visit a Tanzania safari:

  1. Overall best months: August to October (Great Migration), February (Calving Season)

  2. Next best for wildlife viewing: Shoulder seasons of January, March, June, July

  3. Unpredictable, but can be very wild: Rainy season in April, May


If you want to take the guesswork out of your trip, plan your Tanzania safari with JAMBO.

Our team carefully tests every site and activity to curate the best safari itinerary for your wildlife adventure — with bucket-list activities, hidden gem experiences, and every part of your journey in complete comfort and ease.


Check out our Great Migration Safari, and our Calving Season Safari here.



 

ABOUT JAMBO

Founded by a bunch of passionate travellers just like you, JAMBO is adventure travel at its best. We believe that travelling to epic destinations should be easy and enjoyable — with amazing local experiences and minimal discomfort, hassle, or stress.


It's also important for us to work with the local community, finding trusted partners who know their country like the back of their hand. That's a huge inspiration behind our name, JAMBO (meaning Hello in Swahili), a simple yet powerful word that can make any stranger smile! ​It's how we want to experience the world — diving headfirst into new cultures with fellow travellers and guides-turned-friends.  


WHY TRAVEL WITH JAMBO?


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Our guides are true locals of the country, who don't just know everything about their home, but are also extremely passionate about sharing their country with you.

We believe this is the best way to experience a place, with hidden gem activities and accommodations that are owned and run by trusted local hosts.


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When you travel with JAMBO, you can immerse in extraordinary experiences while being comfortable, safe, and stress-free, even in the world's wildest destinations.


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We're travellers like you, and we try out every experience to curate the most epic, all-rounded itinerary. Our JAMBO tours are lovingly crafted from the best tried-and-tested activities, put together into a dream trip!

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Always filled with magic moments that make you feel alive.


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