The Best Time to Visit Tanzania
It’s an hour to dawn as your safari vehicle bounces down a dirt road into the bowels of the Ngorongoro Crater, what remains of a two-million-year-old volcano explosion that’s now home to one of the most concentrated numbers of large predators on Earth.
Your guide had recommended an early start, to get that first glimpses of undisturbed wildlife. Let’s do it, you said.
It’s early June, an exceptional time to visit, when the long rains have ceased and the larger crowds haven’t yet arrived. But today there will be crowds, just not human ones: crowds of wildebeest, queues of elephants, traffic jams of gazelle and hyena, perhaps even a show-stopping tank of a black rhino to round out your Big 5 list.
The fog clears as you reach the floor to reveal a lush, circular caldera. To your left you immediately see a pride of lionesses pawing down the road, all sinew and muscle, towards a herd of nervous wildebeest. Two hyenas track them, licking their chops for breakfast. This all happens in the first ten minutes, and you’re there for it all, as you wait for drama to unfold. Perfect timing.
Timing is Everything
Let’s be real: a visit to Africa might only happen once in a lifetime. Taking a trip to the Serengeti, to Zanzibar, to Kilimanjaro, this is all stuff that dreams are made of. So why not plan your African trip during optimal conditions? Why not set yourself up for success? Now, we can’t control the weather, but we can choose to avoid times of prolonged rain or intense heat, to make safaris and scuba trips as enjoyable as possible.
Luckily, Tanzania is a joy year-round. There’s really not one season in the no-fly zone. If you plopped down into the country for a random week of adventure, chances are you’ll have an experience of a lifetime. Though there are obvious benefits to traveling during the high season (dry, cool, less dust), there are also clear benefits to the low season (fewer people, lower prices). To address this, let’s review Tanzania’s travel seasons, then break down optimal times to visit by activity. Deal?
June-October – Tanzania’s Peak Season: Get ready for a full blast of wildlife from June through August, peaking in July. Here, you’ve chosen Tanzania’s winter. The rainy season has ceased and everything is cool and dry. Air breathes clean and watering holes are charged for primetime wildlife watching. The great wildebeest migration is in peak form, too. It’s also summer break in the northern hemisphere, which translates to family trips and larger crowds. Regardless, Tanzania’s national parks are huge and Easy Travel guides know all the private spots. A second-high season peaks around the holiday months, December and January.
March-May – Tanzania’s Low Season: During this time the region’s autumnal months can bring hot temperatures and sustaining rains. Still, there are great advantages for traveling during the off-season, (source), including fewer travelers and discounted safari packages. Here’s one account of traveling in the Serengeti during the low season. (source).