The best time to visit Tanzania and where to stay
One of the commonly asked questions by any holidaymaker visiting Tanzania especially for the first time 'Is when should I go to Tanzania?' and to be honest this questions is somewhat tricky considering the fact that different parts of the country offer different tourists attractions in different seasons of the year. For that reason I can say that Tanzania can be visited all year round however, the most recommended time is from late June to the month of October (the dry season). During those months most of the countryside is dry, the vegetation is thin and most of the sources of water have dried out so the animals tend to congregate around the remaining water sources this offering better and easier views of wildlife. nonetheless, I have to inform you that during that time, majority of the wildlife sanctuaries are crowded with large numbers of tourists, so in case you are not comfortable with the large crowds then you are advised to visit during the green / wet season that begins in March to the end of May, or opt for the short dry season that starts in December to h end of Feb.
Below we have highlighted the best time to visit the most popular national parks and reserves in Tanzania and we hope it will be helpful as you plan to visit this beautiful destination
Serengeti National Park
This is the most popular game pack in Tanzania and it has one of the highest populations of wildlife all year round however the best time to visit is during the dry season which begins in June through July to the end of September. For tourists visiting the park at this time and are interested in watching the wildebeest migration the best places to see the animals is in the Western parts of the park especially in the month of May and June when the well-known river crossing is happening. You can choose to spend nights at any of the following accommodations: Ubuntu migration camp, or Singita fura fura lodge.
The annual wildebeest migration is among the most remarkable wildlife spectacles in the world and a very popular tourist activity so in case you're planning to travel around this time we highly recommend that you book with your tour agents in advance to guarantee the availability of your accommodation on your desired travel dates
From late January to March the pregnant female wildebeests are giving birth to their calves this is known as the Calving Season. It happens within the southern part of the Serengeti and several predictors including lions and cheetahs are on guard to feast on the more than 200,000 calves that are born at that time. Some of the recommended accommodations include Lake Masek Tented Camp, or Kikondo Migration Camp
From the month of March to April is the rainy (wet or green) season. At this time of the year there are no tourist crowds in Serengeti and this offers holidaymakers a more intimate wildlife experience. During this time there are short but heavy downpours which normally last utmost one hour. Despite this there's more availability of accommodation and the good news for bird lovers is that several migratory species of birds are flying into the Serengeti
Best time to visit Zanzibar Island
This water adventure destination can best be visited from the month of June to October when it's dry and cool. The months of August and September offer the finest water clarity that ranges from 25 meters and more; making it the best time for scuba diving, snorkeling as well as whale viewing. An important thing to know however is that during the months June plus July some of the restaurants on the island might be closed due to the Ramadan Muslim festival. For that reason it is always very important to make a detailed search before making your reservation
From December to February the time is similarly considered ideal for visiting the archipelago since it is hot and dry with temperatures at times reaching about 40 degrees Celsius. In March, April and May, the wet season is running; the water clarity is not good and humidity is a challenge to many. A Beach holiday on the Zanzibar Island can be combined easily with a wildlife Safari on the mainland of Tanzania.
Best time to visit to visit the Ngorongoro crater
Here the best time to visit is during the dry season which runs from June to October when the temperatures are cool and there is minimal or hardly any rain. Shortage of rain implies that vegetation cover in the crater is thin and even animals species like the Black rhino which are known to be shy can easily be seen at this time of the year. the disadvantage of travelling during this season is that the number of tourists in the crater is very high creating a big crowd
From November to May is The Green or rainy season and there are fewer tourists however even visiting the crater at this time is still considered to be good time since the rains present as shot showers in the afternoon. The months of March, April and May receive the heaviest rain. Migratory bird species visit the crater at this time of the year and due to the abundance of vegetation and water the animals are more spread out across the crater making it a bit more challenging to find them, however this should not deter you from visiting the crater. allow me to add that even during the green season the Ngorongoro crater still offers remarkable views of wildlife with very few destinations matching up to it. Some of the recommended accommodations during this time include the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge or The Highlands.
Best time to visit Tarangire National Park
Similar to most of Tanzania's national parks Tarangire can best be visited during the dry season which begins in June to November. Because of the scarcity of vegetation and water most of the wildlife converges around River Tarangire. It is no doubt that during this time of the year the pack is crowded with several tourists, and some of the recommended accommodations include Sanctuary Swala and Oliver's Camp.
The rain begins later on in the year with March and April receiving the most the heaviest rains. At this time the vegetation is thick and there is great availability of water which causes the animals to disperse all over the park consequently making game viewing not as rewarding as it is in the dry season. For tourists that don't like crowds this is a good time to visit the park and in addition you will enjoy spectacular views of different migratory bird species. a safari in Tarangire national park can easily be combined with any of the popular game parks along the northern Safari circuit of Tanzania
Best time to visit Selous game reserve
From June to November the Selous game reserve is experiencing its dry season and this is the best time to watch the big cats as well as the rare African wild dogs. During this season there are fewer surviving water sources and the animals tend to converge around them in big numbers thus bringing predators together with their prey. Actually animals like lions can easily be seen them. From June to August the African Wild dogs tend to den so they can easily be seen at the time
From the month of March to May is considered to be the rainy season with the heaviest rains falling in March and April. At the time of the year the animals spread out across the vast plains of the game reserve making game viewing rather challenging. Some accommodations do shut down in this season and a number of roads might be inaccessible the good news however is that several migratory birds are flying in and a number of them are birthing.
A safari to Selous game reserve can easily be combined with other western and southern game parks such as katavi , ruaha or even taking a trip to the coast.
Best time to visit Mount Kilimanjaro
Although the weather conditions on the Kilimanjaro are somewhat uneven all year round, the most recommended time for hiking the mountain is from July to October when it is warm and the skies are clear. Well this is quite different from other seasons of the year particularly April to May as well as November to mid December when the area is experiencing rain for the trails are muddy, the fog is thick and the ice is thicker. Such months should be avoided because they not only register the least chances of summiting the mountain but also put the climbers' life at risk. We greatly recommend that when visiting Kilimanjaro you contact your ground operator for a detailed and more current weather prediction.
Best time to visit Ruaha National Park
The month of June to October is the most recommended time to visit the park. At this time it is dry the weather is cooler and the vegetation is thinner making game viewing easier. Similar to The Selous game reserve, the wild dogs in the park den from the month of June to August and big cats and lions can easily be seen. This season is also a very good time to engage in a walking Safari since the grass is shorter and the temperatures are more conducive. For people interested in engaging in walking safaris kichaka frontier camp and kwihala camp are the most recommended accommodations.
By the month of November, the rains have started and several migratory birds are flying in. this season goes on until March with the level of humidity being quite high. The majority of the accommodations in the park are closed due to poor accessibility for that reason we recommend that you contact your ground tour operator handler before making your reservation.
Top 10 destinations to visit in Tanzania
Tanzania is best known for its remarkable views of wildlife and having the highest mountain on the continent – Kilimanjaro; which make it a very popular destination. Below we have highlighted the top 10 tourist destinations you must visit on your next trip to Tanzania
- Serengeti National Park
This beautiful Park is most popularly known for its large number of big mammals across the African continent and it is rated among the top favorite holiday destinations in Africa. Serengeti is popular among holidaymakers especially for the wildebeest migration that takes place every year which includes nearly 2,000 animals majorly wildebeests and zebras. The month of May is considered to be one of the most favorable times to go to this park since it is very dry and the vegetation thin so the migrating herd starts matching in large numbers in search for fresh pastures
- Ngorongoro conservation area
The spectacular Ngorongoro crater was formed about 3 million years ago as a result of a volcano erupting and collapsing. The 600 and over high slopes of the crater form as an enclosure for the large number of wild animals living on the crater floor. This is among the few places on the African continent where you get an opportunity to see the black rhino. Unique about the crater is that the native maasai people of this area are allowed to graze their cattle on the crater floor hence sharing pastures with a different wild herbivores living here.
- Mount Kilimanjaro
The Kilimanjaro Mountain found in the eastern part of the country close to the border of Tanzania and Kenya is an inactive volcano standing at the height of 5892 meters above sea level. This is the highest mountain in Africa as well as the highest free standing mountain in the whole world. Despite its location close to the equator the summit of this mountain is covered by snow. It offers different routes along which its summit can be attempted. A very large number of mountaineers visit Mount Kili to take on this challenge
The beautiful island is an archipelago comprised of different Islands. It offers beautiful coastal beaches which makes it a perfect destination to enjoy a beach holiday. The island is surrounded with a colorful garden of corals which attracts different tropical fish and other Marine creatures making it an ideal destination for snorkeling and scuba diving as well.
For centuries this island has been a significant trading hub as well as a meeting point for different cultures including Arabs, Indians and Africans Stone Town is among the significant tourist attractions found on this island that offers beautiful ancient architecture, vibrant markets and very hospitable people.
- Lake Manyara
This National Park is best known for its rich birdlife. During the wet season the lake attracts as many as 300 different types of migratory birds among which are thousands of pink colored flamingos. When the dry season kicks in, most of the park areas are very dry and the few remaining water sources attract large mammals such as giraffes, hippos, wildebeests and elephants making it a perfect place to enjoy game drives
- Mafia Island
This Island is part of the Spice Islands and has a population of approximately 40,000 people. It is a very beautiful and peaceful place with instances of organized crime are hardly ever recorded. every year thousands of scuba divers, snorkelers, game fishers and holidaymakers interested in unwinding on white sand beaches visit this island which also prides in a variety a lavish hotels and resorts
- Tarangire National Park
This National Park is regarded as a bird watchers' Paradise thanks to its great diversity of more than 540 recorded here. The park is also well-known for its large population of elephants, the unique tree-climbing lions as well as the baobab trees. When you visit you won't fail to notice the massive termite mounds founding the park
- Selous Game Reserve
This is regarded as the largest designated wildlife reserve in the country it is home to a very large number of savanna animals living in very large numbers which cannot be compared to any other across the continent. However because of its large size, the animals are scattered across the vast plains. There are various activities that you can enjoy in this reserve among which are walking safaris, boat rides on River Fuji, helicopter tours and game drives.
- Ruaha National Park
This is the largest National Park in Tanzania. the park is home to a large number different animals including bat eared foxes, elephants, wild dogs jackals, giraffes, cheetahs, zebras, leopards and Impalas this is among the best destinations to give you an authentic up-close experience of wild Africa and this is mainly because most areas in the park are pristine and untouched. The remote location of the Park offers holidaymakers an opportunity to escape from the large crowd normally found in the more popular wildlife parks especially during the peak tourist season.
Also referred to as the Green Island it is found within the Indian Ocean and forms part of the Zanzibar archipelago. This is a very popular destination amongst divers who travel from different parts of the world to explore the breathtaking marine life that surrounds this island.