Tanzania Weather in January: Travel Tips for First-Timers

Tanzania Weather in January: Travel Tips for First-Timers

By Edward | Updated Feb. 21, 2024

In January, Tanzania receives low rainfall in the north near Kenya and heavy rain in the south. Most of the country has hot or very hot weather. The rainfall lessens at the end of the month. January is a good time to go to wilderness areas and see the beautiful lush landscape and animals. You could do high altitude hikes too.

Read on for our travel advice and weather information including average temperatures, rainfall, and humidity, and travel tips…

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Tanzania Weather in January: Overview

Averages:

  • Temperature range: 19–31°C (65–87°F)
  • Rainfall: 7 cm (3 inches)
  • Rainy days: 7
  • Sunshine hours/day:7 hours

January is a good month for touring in the north since there is low or moderate rainfall.

Weather of Tanzania's Major Cities in January

Tanzania City Temperature Rainfall
Dar Es Salaam (Largest city, travel hub) Hot Moderate
Arusha (Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater) Hot Low
Serengeti (Wildlife safaris, Maasai culture) Hot Moderate
Zanzibar (Beaches, island resorts) Very Hot Low
Tanzania City Daily High Temp. Daily Low Temp.
Dar Es Salaam (Largest city, travel hub) 32ºC (90ºF) 24ºC (75ºF)
Arusha (Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater) 28ºC (82ºF) 10ºC (50ºF)
Serengeti (Wildlife safaris, Maasai culture) 29ºC (84ºF) 16ºC (61ºF)
Zanzibar (Beaches, island resorts) 33ºC (91ºF) 24ºC (75ºF)
Tanzania City Rain (cm) Rain (in)
Dar Es Salaam (Largest city, travel hub) 8 3
Arusha (Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater) 5 2
Serengeti (Wildlife safaris, Maasai culture) 8 3
Zanzibar (Beaches, island resorts) 7 3

Since there is low to moderate rainfall, you can go to northern wilderness areas and see the animals. Tanzania is said to have the greatest concentration of big wild animals in the world.

Northern Tanzania: The various famous northern attractions such as the Serengeti, Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, Lake Victoria and the Ngorongoro Crater as well as Arusha have warm to hot temperatures and moderate rainfall. This makes it a good month to visit to see the animals and lush scenery.

Southern Tanzania: January is part of the wet season with heavy rainfall. In general, it is not a good time to tour the south because the popular southern natural parks such as Ruaha and Nyerere are hot, humid, and have heavy rainfall. It usually rains in the afternoons. Mosquitoes are a problem.

The Best Places to Visit in Tanzania in January

Since January is in a moderate tourist season, there is not much crowding. The vegetation is lush all over the country. The Serengeti is green, and the road conditions are good for seeing wildlife.

Top things to do in January include enjoying savanna and wilderness areas, going to the beaches, and touring in Dar Es Salaam.

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1. Dar Es Salaam — Tour the Highlights

Dar Es Salaam is the big capital with 6 million people, and it has the largest airport in Tanzania. Many tourists arrive through its airport to go to the natural parks in the south. It fairly sunny, hot, and with moderate rainfall, which lessens at the end of the month.

Places to go Dar Es Salaam: The National Museum explains Tanzanian history and culture. Bongoyo Island is a protected island offshore for a natural get away.

Natural highlights around Dar Es Salaam: Pugu Hills Forest Reserve (1 hour's drive).

2. Serengeti — Spot the Wildlife

January is a good time to see the animals give birth and graze in the green, lush Serengeti. The weather is good for safari. It is warm, sunny, and comfortable at night, and there is low rainfall. It rains about 13 days each month. You can watch migrating birds too.

Like the adjacent Maasai Mara, the Serengeti National Park is where the Maasai people live. Many people want to tour both parks, however crossing the border is somewhat difficult. The Serengeti is about 20 times bigger with a more diverse habitat.

Transport: It takes about 3½ hours to drive to the Serengeti from Maasai Mara's tourist hubs plus additional time at the border. From Nairobi, it takes about 7 hours. From Arusha Airport, it takes about 9 hours.

3. Mount Kilimanjaro — Hike

Mount Kilimanjaro is Africa's highest peak at 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) and one of East Africa's most iconic images. For beautiful scenery, you could hike on it. Even though there is some rainfall from the northeast monsoon, January is considered one of the good hiking months.

Guides lead groups up the mountain for multi-day hikes. It is not considered to be a difficult climb for people who are acclimated and in shape because the slope is gentle. It might snow on the peak, but the snow does not hamper hiking.

You can walk through the range of ecological zones from rain forest, to alpine meadow, to glaciers. You might see buffaloes, leopards, monkeys, and even elephants during a hike.

4. Arusha National Park — Hike, Sightsee, Safari

Arusha National Park is in the middle of a stretch of national parks across Kenya and Tanzania. You could use nearby Arusha as a base for excursions. The guesthouses and hotels are considered to be among the best in Tanzania. People wanting to ascend Meru or Kilimanjaro or see the natural areas typically stay in Arusha.

The second highest mountain in Tanzania, Mount Meru, is only 70 km (44 miles) from Kilimanjaro. It is another tall volcano (4,566 meters, 14,980 feet). It too has an easy sloping ascent, and it also has great scenery. People usually hike it in 3 or 4 days.

January is one of the better months for hiking, and you could hike on the trails through extensive forests and see giraffes and other wildlife. The park is an hour and a half from Kilimanjaro International Airport. Driving from Nairobi to Arusha National Park takes 5 hours.

5. Arusha — Resting, Food, and Excursions

Arusha is a little town called the Safari Capital. People visiting the region stay and rest there and use it as a base for excursions. It has luxurious lodges and hotels and a domestic airport. The weather is mild. Temperatures range from 30°C (85°F) to 17°C (63°F), and average rainfall is 6 cm (2 inches).

There is a large expat population. There are many things to do such as dining at gourmet restaurants and going to the nearby huge natural preserves for excursions.

Transport: Driving from Nairobi takes 5 hours, and driving from Kilimanjaro International Airport takes an hour.

Moderate Tourist Season: Touring Advice for January

January is in a moderate tourist season in Tanzania, so there are few crowds at the natural parks and good deals on accommodation and flights. If you are wanting to come when prices are moderate and the land is green and lush and when there are fewer tourists, January is a good month for your tour.

We recommend you tour in the northern Tanzania in January for better weather conditions, better nature preserves, and more things to do.

Public holidays in January:

  • January 1 every year is New Year's Day, a public holiday.
  • January 12 is Zanzibar Revolution Day, which is celebrated in Zanzibar.

What to Wear in January

Throughout the country, especially in the south where it is rainier in January, mosquitoes could be a big nuisance. We recommend a hat, long-sleeved shirt, and light trousers or a long dress to avoid mosquito bites and sunburn. Carry mosquito repellent. A mosquito net might be handy.

You will need a jacket for the highlands. Bring winter clothes for the higher mountains. Bring rain gear or umbrellas. To avoid alarming the animals, wear neutral-colored clothes.

Monthly Weather in Tanzania

Recommended Tours for Tanzania in January

A private tour is recommended. Our travel experts who know the local conditions are good at optimizing your comfort, enjoyment, safety and speed of travel, and so are our private drivers and local guides.

At Global Highlights, we recognize that you may want some private time with your traveling companion(s) while doing things such as hiking in a wilderness preserve or going on safari. So, we are flexible to do as much itinerary tailoring and expert arranging as you would wish to make the best trip for you.

Contact us to begin a tour inquiry.

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