There are two factors to consider when choosing a time to visit Tanzania – the wildlife and the crowds.
For the best wildlife viewing, visit Tanzania during the months of December through February, and July through September.
To avoid the crowds, visit in March, April, May, November or early December.
For those sensitive to heat, we recommend going on safari from May through August, which are the coolest months.
BEST TIME TO CLIMB KILIMANJARO
June through October is Kilimanjaro’s dry season and also the busiest time to climb. December through February is also a busy time on the mountain although there tends to be more rain and snow. Clear skies are more likely from June to October, as the cloud cover burns off above the tree line. Because Kilimanjaro is such a large mountain, it has its own weather pattern – it often rains on Kilimanjaro when it is not raining elsewhere. You should prepare for rain and have your rain gear with you at all times while on the mountain. The coldest temperature experienced at the summit is around -30C. The lower elevations can be quite hot, so pack for a wide range of temperatures.
Late March through late May is the rainy season and visitors need to be prepared with suitable wet-weather gear. Directly after the rainy season (or long rains) is a wonderful time to visit Tanzania’s national parks due to the abundance of wildflowers and vegetation. This is also a great time to go on safari because there is less dust and tourist numbers are minimal.
July through October is Tanzania’s dry season and the peak season for tourists. It’s the best time to view wildlife as grasses are virtually nonexistent; however, it is usually dusty and can be quite cold at higher elevations, such as the Ngorongoro Crater.
Tanzania’s ‘short rains’ occur from late October through mid-December, a time when there are usually fewer tourists in the national parks. December through March is Tanzania’s “summer” and many people visit at this time for optimal wildebeest migration viewing. Please note that the migration’s movement follows the rainfall so its exact location is difficult to predict.
Tanzania has a pleasant tropical climate with large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. Temperatures drop by about 6.5°C for every 1,000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft). The hottest and most humid part of the country is on the coast. Other low lying areas, such as the western and southern parks, are also hot but much less humid. The rest of the interior is much milder and cools down significantly at night. Tanzania is too close to the equator to experience a real winter and summer. There is, however, a Dry and a Wet season.
Dry season – June to October
There is virtually no rainfall during the whole winter and humidity is very low. When water becomes scarce wildlife will gather around predictable water resources.
- June, July, August, September & October – These are the coldest and least humid months and the most pleasant time of year to visit the coastal areas. There is very little rain in most of the country. Afternoon temperatures are usually between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F and vary greatly according to altitude and location. Most days there will be a fine, clear sky and sunny weather. It cools off at night; be sure to pack warm clothing because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold—especially in the northern parks.
Wet season – November to May
During most of the Wet season, afternoon temperatures are more consistent throughout the country (around 30°C/86°F) but will be colder above 1,300m/4,265ft. Morning temperatures are more moderate, but still cold in most northern parks due to the high altitude. It is advisable to pack a windproof jacket and warm sweater for early morning game drives in open vehicles.
- November & December – ‘Short rains‘ – A period of about a month of short rains occurs sometime in November and December. Its timing is unpredictable and, in Northern Tanzania, it can even happen in October. The rains will rarely interfere with your safari.
- January & February – The northern parks and coastal areas tend to have a break in the rainy season with less rain around this time, but the exact timing of the dry spell is unpredictable. The other parks don’t really experience a dry spell. In Selous, Ruaha and Mikumi the rain gradually builds from November to its peak in April. Gombe, Mahale and Katavi have one continuous Wet season.
- March, April & May – ‘Long rains‘ – These are the wettest months. It tends to rain heavily almost every day, although not often for the whole day. It is often cloudy, especially in the northern parks. Humidity tends to be high, especially in the hotter southern and western parks