Best time for Tanzania Safari Trips
A Tanzania safari is always an unforgettable experience . But, certain times of the year are better than others. To get the most out of your trip, it is important to know when the best time to visit Tanzania is.
To help you plan, here are the best times for Tanzania safari trips in Africa. We’ll show you when the best time is to visit Serengeti, Zanzibar, and the rest of Tanzania on safari.
Below are the best months for a Tanzania safari. These are the seasons boasting the nicest weather and they are the best times to watch animals in the wild.
3 Best times for Tanzania Safari Trips
1. The Dry Season - Best Months: June to September
The best time to visit Tanzania on safari is during the long dry season. So, the best months are June, July, August and September. During these winter months, it is not has hot and seldom rains.
This is the best time to see wildlife on Tanzania safari trips. It is also the best time to visit Serengeti National Park to view the Great Migration. The Great Migration (aka Wildebeest Migration) is at its peak from late June to August. But this is also the peak tourist season.
2. The Calving Season - Best Months: January and February
Experienced safari-goers often say the ‘calving season’ is the best time for Tanzania safari trips.
Many safari experts prefer this time of year because it’s less crowded. That’s not the main reason, though. The highlight of calving season is all the newborn and young animals. This is the time of year when many animals give birth, so you’ll see plenty of babies. Plus, the birding is exceptional and there are lots of predators on the prowl.
The best time to visit Tanzania for the calving season is from late January to February, even early March. This is the low season for travel. Thus, the safari prices are lower and it’s less crowded at this time of year. Southern Serengeti is the best place to see calves and baby animals galore.
3. The Shoulder Season - Best Months: October to February (excluding festive season)
The Shoulder Season is before and after the Christmas holidays. This is one of the best times to visit Tanzania. That’s because safaris are less crowded and the prices drop.
Shoulder Season is from October to February, excluding the festive season.
Over the Christmas holidays, the crowds arrive and the parks get busy. This pushes the safari prices up. The festive season is from mid-December to mid-January. It’s best to visit on either side of this short high season.
Shoulder Season falls in summer. That means it’s hot. It is also during the brief wet season in Tanzania.
Good news is the rainfall is occasional. So, it’s still a fantastic time for Tanzania safari trips. The short afternoon rain showers seldom interfere with your safari.
Nature is unpredictable, which can work in your favor. You may even catch the Great Migration in October. It all depends on the movements of the animals in the year you visit. There are, however, always fewer safari vehicles in the parks at this time of year.
Best time to visit Serengeti, for the Great Migration
Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s top safari destination. It’s one of the best national parks in Africa (with Masai Mara in Kenya). On most Serengeti safaris the Great Migration is the highlight. It’s the showstopper, one of the most magnificent wildlife spectacles on earth.
The best time to visit Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is thus during the Great Migration. It is an annual migration that takes place throughout the year. But, at certain times, it intensifies. In June, July and August, the Wildebeest Migration is usually at its peak in Tanzania. But, so are the safari prices, and crowds!
Mid-November to mid-December is another great time to catch the Great Migration in Serengeti. It is just before the Christmas holiday rush, so the popular parks are less crowded and the safari prices are lower. The only potential downside is the weather. November and December are in the short rainy season, so there are occasional showers and it’s hot at this time of year.
The least optimal time to visit Serengeti for the Great Migration is October. This is when the animals move north into Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.
Nothing beats a Tanzania safari to see Serengeti’s Great Migration, right? Almost. A Serengeti migration safari, combined with a tropical Zanzibar beach holiday is even better!
The best time to visit Zanzibar Island?
Zanzibar is one of Africa’s best beach destinations. It’s an idyllic archipelago of tropical islands lying off the coast of Tanzania. The perfect beach getaway!
The best time to visit Zanzibar is between June and early March
As with Serengeti safaris, the festive season (over Christmas holidays) is more popular. So, it gets busier and more expensive.
Does that mean the best time to visit Zanzibar coincides with the Great Migration in Serengeti Park?
YES! You can enjoy both, on one visit to Tanzania!
Best time for a Tanzania safari & Zanzibar holiday combined
The best time to visit Tanzania and Zanzibar together is from June to August.
In some years, early June is still rainy and too soon for the peak of the Great Migration. It all depends on mother nature. When the rains come and the animals migrate.
In summary, the best time for Tanzania safari trips is from June to September and mid-January to February, followed by October to mid-December. To narrow that down, the best time to see the Great Migration in Serengeti is around June, July and August.
That said, the Wildebeest Migration is a circular wildlife migration that you can see in different parts of Serengeti Park for most of the year.
Best time to visit Tanzania, beyond Serengeti?
The best time to visit Tanzania for wildlife safaris is during the dry season. From late June to October. Except for Katavi National Park, which is best visited in August, September and October.
The more remote national parks of southern and western Tanzania are even more seasonal than Serengeti and the other wildlife parks in northern Tanzania. If you are planning on visiting Tanzania’s Southern Safari Circuit, aim to travel between June and December. Many of the safari companies and lodges close during the long rainy season, so you’ll need to plan around the rains.
It’s best to visit the Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit from June to October. Other than Ngorongoro Crater, which is a year-round safari destination. For the other national parks in northern Tanzania (Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park and Serengeti National Park), the best time for wildlife safaris is in the dry season. From late June to October.
Best time to climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
The best time to climb Kilimanjaro is from September to October and from January to early March. June, July and August are also pleasant months for climbing Kilimanjaro, but it will be chillier.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, and the highest mountain in Africa. At an altitude of 19 341 ft (5 895 m) above sea-level, it gets cold higher on Mt Kilimanjaro throughout the year. The temperatures are at their lowest from June to August (even early September) so ensure you are prepared for the cold. When climbing Kilimanjaro between January and early March, the weather is warmer. Even then, it will still get icy as you climb higher.
When NOT to visit Tanzania and Zanzibar Island?
Anytime is a good time to visit Tanzania. Except April and May. That’s the peak of the long rainy season. The wettest months of the year. Even then, you can still enjoy a wildlife safari in Ngorongoro Crater and some other Tanzania parks. The major benefit of visiting Tanzania during the wet season is you’ll get the best prices and fewest crowds on safari. The challenge is many of the safari camps and beach resorts close during the peak of the long wet season.
For the Great Migration, October is not the best time to visit Tanzania. The migration moves across the border into Kenya, so Masai Mara would be better in October.
March is a great time to visit Tanzania and Zanzibar, if you don’t mind a bit of rain. At the start of the long rainy season, in late March, you’ll usually get some afternoon
rain showers and some clear days. On the upside, it will be less crowded and cheaper.
The short rainy season, from November to December, is not as wet as the long rains, bringing occasional showers. Safari lodges in Tanzania and beach resorts on Zanzibar Island stay open throughout the short rainy season. That’s because the rain showers are typically short and sporadic, seldom interfering with holiday activities.
The best time to visit Tanzania, in short
The best time for Tanzania safaris is from late June to September, January to February, and November to early December.
To see the Great Migration in Serengeti the best time to visit Tanzania is from June to August. November is also one of the best times, but avoid October.
The best time to visit Zanzibar for a beach holiday is from June to early March. To combine a Zanzibar beach holiday with a Tanzania Safari to see the Great Migration in Serengeti, then June to August (even November) is the best time. For a Tanzania wildlife safari (not focused on the Great Migration), add December, January and February to your list.
Now that you know the best time to visit Tanzania, view our Tanzania safari trips and find out more about Tanzania travel, or get multiple safari quotes for free to compare different African countries and destinations.