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
Kilimanjaro’s dry season, and also the busiest time to climb, is June through October. 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 after 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 long rains, it’s a wonderful time to visit Tanzania’s national parks due to the abundance of wildflowers and vegetation. It 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 high/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 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.
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 – Afternoon temperatures are usually between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F and vary greatly according to altitude and location. Most days have 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. These are the coldest and least humid months and the most pleasant time of the year to visit the coastal areas. There is very little rain in most of the country.
Wet season – November to May
During most of the Wet season, afternoon temperatures are more consistent throughout the country (a bit above or below 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 advised 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 which occurs sometime between 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.