Whether you are seeking a thrilling safari adventure or a trek up the iconic Mount Kilimanjaro, understanding the best time to visit Tanzania is crucial for an unforgettable trip. This article will guide you through the various seasons and help you plan your visit to this East African gem.
Tanzania Weather and Climate
Tanzania, located in the southern hemisphere, experiences seasonal variations that differ from those in the USA or England. While the USA and England have summer, Tanzania is in its winter season. Tanzania boasts distinct seasons, each offering its unique charm.
Dry Season (January to February & June to October)
Tanzania features two dry seasons, one from January to March and the other from June to October. These periods are widely considered the best times to visit Tanzania due to the ideal weather conditions they offer, including clear skies, minimal rainfall, and cooler temperatures.
These conditions set the stage for remarkable experiences such as safaris, hiking Mount Kilimanjaro, and enjoying beach getaways.
Green Season (November to December & April to May)
The months of November to December mark the "short rains" season. During this time, occasional rain showers are typical but are usually brief and do not significantly disrupt travel plans.
In contrast, March to May constitutes the "long rains" season, characterized by more consistent and heavy rainfall. Despite the rain, this season transforms the landscape into lush, green vistas with vibrant flora, creating a breathtakingly picturesque backdrop. It is the only time we tend to avoid if you're after safari, as heavy rains can disrupt wildlife viewing.
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Mi esposo y yo, tuvimos la oportunidad de visitar la hermosa ciudad de Xian, la muralla de la ciudad, los guerreros de terracota, el barrio musulmán, todo esto con la mejor guia del mundo mundial!!! Susana, quien aparte de ser super simpática, tiene un gran conocimiento de la ciudad, la historia de los lugares y monumentos y aparte está siempre al pendiente de cualquier cosa que necesites y va más allá par hacerte tener una experiencia excelente, nos quedamos con ganas de regresar. Gracias x todo!!More
Betty A, Feb 2024
Shanghai is an amazing mix of modern and historical China. Our guide Kris was great and very flexible when it came to completing the itinerary which was helpful considering the poor weather + visibility on the first day when we were supposed to visit Shanghai tower. Walking along the river front (bund) area was a big highlight for us.More
Explore49612084715, Feb 2024
We traveled to Shanghai in Jan/Feb 2024 with China Highlights. Shanghai is an amazing mix of modern and historical China. Our guide Kris was great and very flexible when it came to completing the itinerary which was helpful considering the poor weather + visibility on the first day when we were supposed to visit Shanghai tower. Walking along the river front (bund) area was a big highlight for us.More
Lydia, Feb 2024
Shanghai trip for Mihail
Me and my wife had a trip to China and part of it we spent in Shanghai. Our private tour guide was Kris Lee and I have to say he was very much up for the task. His knowledge of China's history was quite comprehensive and more than I could have expected. If only I could have that kind of memory. His level of English exceeded my expectations and that of course served us very well not only in understanding the Chinese culture, traditions, way of life, etc, but also allowed us to order meals, drinks, make purchases, ask whatever questions coming to mind, making us comfortable to experience the place without the inherent language issues we could have had otherwise. All in all Kris Lee is certainly an asset for any travel agency from ChinaMore
Mihail D, Feb 2024
Mi esposo y yo, tuvimos la oportunidad de visitar la hermosa ciudad de Xian, la muralla de la ciudad, los guerreros de terracota, el barrio musulmán, todo esto con la mejor guia del mundo mundial!!! Susana, quien aparte de ser super simpática, tiene un gran conocimiento de la ciudad, la historia de los lugares y monumentos y aparte está siempre al pendiente de cualquier cosa que necesites y va más allá par hacerte tener una experiencia excelente, nos quedamos con ganas de regresar. Gracias x todo!!
Daisy was our guide for 3 days in Dali. She was the best guide we have had in China. She was very warm. Just like a close friend. She was extremely knowledgeable about the culture and history of the area. She took many pictures of us even without our asking her to.Her English was excellent!More
David, Feb 2024
Daisy was an amazing guide
Daisy was an amazing guide. She took us to the old town, on a boat ride, and to Sha xi. She was very warm. She explained everything in detail and answered all of our questions. She made us feel very welcome.More
文 文, Feb 2024
1 Day in Beijing
Nice views, Not too much people, Jessi (guide ) so friendly and she have a great service & she knows the answer of all your questionsMore
Fernando J, Feb 2024
Zhangjiajie/ Spectacular scenery and great taste of local culture.
Zhangjiajie immediately went to the top of our list of natural attractions in the world. The landscapes are fascinating and unique. We really valued the guidance by China Highlights. Roger was good accommodating to our needs during the planning phase. In the actual trip Linda provided us with knowledgeable and passionate guidance. She was very personable and respectful at the same time. Her advice was critical to be able to see so much - as in every park or area there are multiple buses to move around. She showed us the best spots at the best time.Local restaurant selection was good. One piece of advice- make sure to specify how much spice you enjoy in your food. Local food can be quite spicy.More
Raul C Mexico city, Jan 2024
Private trip in Beijing and Luoyang
We spent 3 days in Beijing with Helen as our guide. We went to TianAnMen, Forbidden City and MuTianYu Great Wall to name a few. Helen took great care of us and is very attentive as I travel with my 60+ years old parents, from asking whether we need restroom breaks to making sure that our lunch were all according to our dietary needsMore
Iriana Iriana, Jan 2024
An excellent day with Linda
Linda (Ling ling)is a great tour guide,provide a lot of knowledge and history of the great wall,and took us to taste very delicious food too,we had a very good time with her!highly recommend her!More
Angeline Lim, Jan 2024
Great time in Beijing with Bruce
We stayed in Beijing for three days altogether. We went to the summer palace. the Tian'an'men square, the Forbidden City,the Temple of heaven and the Great Wall. Our tour guide Bruce is very friendly and speaks English fluently. He explained every scenic spot to us patiently and humorously. my family are very satisfied with his service.More
Mayra C, Jan 2024
Profesional and detail oriented
My last stop was Shanghai. I was greeted by Martin. It is pretty much a 1 day itinerary there. Martin took me to all the stops and introduced me to a cool tea house not on the agenda. With the extra time we had we also stopped Starbuck’s Reserve which is the largest in the world. Martin also helped me make reservations at the Old Jazz Club at the Fairmont Hotel.More
Megan Sandbothe, Jan 2024
We recently spent 4 days with Alvin hosting us throughout Huangshan, Tunxi and Hongcun. The scenery was spectacular, hotels quirky, food excellent and knowledge and passion from Alvin was so invaluable and also fun! Would highly recommend.More
Joanne, Jan 2024
Great couple days in Shanghai. Thanks to my guide Martin for showing me best of Shanghai. Great work by China team - trip very well organised.More
Steve P, Jan 2024
Amazing experience !!!
Great tour! Very flexible and our tour guide Chris was so amazing that he adjusted to our last time request there! I totally recommend this tour !!More
Victor A, Jan 2024
Private trip in Beijing and Luoyang
We spent 3 days in Beijing with Helen as our guide. We went to TianAnMen, Forbidden City and MuTianYu Great Wall to name a few. Helen took great care of us and is very attentive as I travel with my 60+ years old parents, from asking whether we need restroom breaks to making sure that our lunch were all according to our dietary needs. We had great 3 days in Beijing.We also visited Luoyang. Our travel advisor arranged a Business class seat for our high speed train to Luoyang. We were picked up at the station by our guide in Luoyang, Lisa. We then visited Dengfeng to see Songyang academy, shaolin temple, Luoyang grottoes. She also took care of us very well and very knowledgeable about the history.More
, Jan 2024
2 days in the mountains
Alvin was attentive and good company. He went to the extra effort to show us things we were interested in viewing and provided detailed information.More
Robert Fleming, Jan 2024
Amazing trip in China
Guides were Mark in Beijing, Jenny in Xi’an, Frank in Guilin/Yangshuo and Kris and Peter in Shanghai. I can’t say enough how wonderful each of them were to us. They worked very hard to give us a five star tour. The drivers were five star as well. Our hotels were very clean and wonderful with a great breakfast buffet each morning. Our guides would take us to a great locals place for lunch each day and then dinner we were on our own, but each guide would give us fantastic places to go. I know without a doubt our trip was exceptional due to booking with Liberman at China Highlights Tour Company.More
Mary Ann Brady, Jan 2024
China Highlights is Excellent
Jenny was the tour guide in Xian, showed us the terracota warriors found in 1974 by a farmer behind a mountain masoleum, with projected ongoing excavations for next 100 years. Made clay model terracota warriors.Jenny is very enthusiastic and bubbly, helped us all the way, from picking up us from train station to dropping us off at the airport.More
Brahma P, Jan 2024
Datong, China's best kept secret!
I've had multiple guides for different locations with China highlights but Joy was exceptional. She was easy to talk to, super knowledgeable and also amazingly organised. When visiting the Yungang grottoes not only did I get wonderful explanations of the symbolism of the cave carvings and history of the art styles but Joy even prepared a notepad for the commemorative stamps available there so that I had a souvenir to tax home with me.More
Kris, Jan 2024
Best Time for Wildlife Safari in Tanzania
The best time for a wildlife safari in Tanzania typically spans the dry season, which is from January to February and from June to October. During this period, the vegetation is less dense, and animals gather around water sources, making it easier to spot them.
The weather is usually mild and dry from January to February, and most of the safari crowds are absent. June to October is safari's high season, and Tanzania's major parks like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara are busy but weather conditions are fantastic.
If you're traveling during Tanzania's 'green season', there's a chance of rain showers, but it is much quieter. During this period, the landscape transforms into lush greenery, and many animals give birth to their young, leading to increased predator activity. Birdwatching is particularly attractive during the wet season with the arrival of migratory birds.
The only time we don't recommend is April and May due to the heavy rainfall, which has the potential to disrupt wildlife viewing.
Enhance your safari with our guided tours. Our local experts have a deep understanding of wildlife behavior in all conditions.
Best Time to See the Great Migration in Tanzania
In Tanzania, the optimal time to witness the Great Migration is typically from late December to July, when the herds are concentrated in the southern and central regions of the Serengeti.
One of the key highlights of this phenomenon is the river crossings. You can observe the herds as they cross the Grumeti River in the western Serengeti between May and July, and subsequently, they migrate toward the Mara River in the north to cross into the Masai Mara between July and October.
The calving season, occurring from January to March, is another exceptional time to visit Tanzania. It's a period renowned for the bittersweet predator-prey interactions that take place.
It's important to note that the Great Migration is a cyclical movement between Tanzania and Kenya, occurring throughout the year. The herds can be observed year-round, but it's essential to check their precise location when planning your trip (refer to the migration map below).
To maximize your chances of witnessing this remarkable natural spectacle, we recommend booking a safari with an experienced guide who can help you track the herds and position yourself for the most extraordinary sightings.
Best Time to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
The two dry seasons in Tanzania, from January to March and June to October, are widely regarded as the best times to climb Kilimanjaro. During these periods, you can expect clear skies, minimal rainfall, and generally favorable weather conditions.
The short dry season from mid-December to March offers cooler temperatures and greater solitude. In contrast, the long dry season from June to October tends to be busier, particularly in July and August when schools are out. (Rest assured, our expert guides can help you steer away from the busier routes.)
The rainy season in Tanzania encompasses April, May, and November. Climbing Kilimanjaro during this time is not recommended, as the trails can be very wet, muddy, and snowy. However, if you do choose to trek at this time of year, you'll avoid the crowds on the trails.
Month-by-month Guide for Traveling in Tanzania
January is an excellent time to visit Tanzania, as it marks the beginning of the dry season, offering prime conditions for safaris and wildlife viewing. With daytime temperatures ranging from 25°C to 32°C (77°F to 90°F), you can expect sunny and warm days. A highlight in January is the calving season for wildebeest in the Serengeti, a spectacle not to be missed.
February continues to provide fantastic safari opportunities with warm and dry weather, with temperatures similar to January. Witness the Great Migration in the southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area during this month.
In March, the weather remains warm with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C (75°F to 86°F), but it's also the beginning of the rainy season. This can make some roads challenging to navigate. However, you can still enjoy the Great Migration and explore the stunning landscapes of the Ngorongoro Crater.
April sees the rainy season continue, but it's a great time to visit lesser-visited parks like Ruaha and Katavi, which boast lush green landscapes and fewer tourists. Daytime temperatures remain pleasant, between 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F).
The rainy season persists in May, but the rains start to subside toward the end of the month. This is an excellent time to explore off-the-beaten-path parks, enjoy lower prices, and experience fewer crowds. Daytime temperatures range from 23°C to 27°C (73°F to 81°F).
June marks the beginning of the dry season, with temperatures ranging from 21°C to 26°C (70°F to 79°F). It's an ideal time for safaris and wildlife viewing. Witness the wildebeest migration crossing the Grumeti River in the western Serengeti, an incredible spectacle.
Dry and cool weather characterizes July, with temperatures between 20°C to 25°C (68°F to 77°F). Continue exploring the Serengeti, with a chance to see the wildebeest migration in full swing. The annual Karatu Cultural Festival takes place in the Ngorongoro region during this month.
August brings dry and slightly warmer weather, with temperatures ranging from 21°C to 27°C (70°F to 81°F). It's peak tourist season in Tanzania, making it an ideal time for safaris. Consider visiting Zanzibar for its pleasant beach weather, or continue your safari adventure.
The dry season continues in September, with comfortable temperatures between 20°C to 27°C (68°F to 81°F). Witness the wildebeest migration moving toward the northern Serengeti and Maasai Mara in Kenya. This is a prime time for safari enthusiasts.
October is marked by dry and pleasant weather, with temperatures ranging from 21°C to 29°C (70°F to 84°F). Consider visiting the Ngorongoro Crater or Tarangire National Park for excellent wildlife viewing.
November brings the short rains, but tourism industry crowds are thinner. Daytime temperatures range from 23°C to 30°C (73°F to 86°F). Visit off-season parks like Selous Game Reserve for discounted rates and fewer tourists.
December marks the beginning of the short rains, but the weather is generally pleasant, with temperatures between 23°C to 31°C (73°F to 88°F). Spend the holiday season on the beaches of Zanzibar or enjoy safaris in less crowded parks. Christmas and New Year's celebrations are observed throughout the country.
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