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The best time to visit Tanzania

 Best time to visit Tanzania

Tanzania Best Time to TravelOur clients always ask when "When is the best time to go to Tanzania in East Africa?", and the answer is often complex. This guide aims to help you understand the climate and migration routes to plan your trip to one of Africa's most amazing countries.

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Weather & Climate

Tanzania's widely varying geography of plains, lakes and mountains account for it's differing climatic conditions. In many places if can be quite cool at night. The coast and offshore Islands of Pemba, Zanzibar and Mafia have a hot, humid, tropical climate with cool sea breezes. On the mountain slopes of the north-east  the country enjoys an almost temperate climate for most of the year.

March to May is the long rainy season (called the "Green Season" by some hoteliers), when you can expect rain almost every day, especially from April onwards. In November to early December is a shorter rainy season with often showers in January as well. The rest of the year is hot and dry.

Tanzania Climate Graph

Best time to see the Great Migration

There is no actual "best time to view the migration", because game viewing in Tanzania is great all year round and the migration is always on the move.

During May and June millions of blue wildebeest and zebra, accompanied by predators like lion, cheetah and hyena, will cross the river and it is a spectacle not to be missed. Even if it is not possible to witness the migration one can still see vast herds grazing on the infinite grass plains.
Lions are always popular on safari in Tanzania during November to January as the animals enter to the Serengeti National Park. This is heaven for anyone wanting to see a big variety of game and includes lion, elephant, leopard, Thompson and Grant's gazelle, impala, hyena, cheetah, buffalo and many other beautiful antelope species.

Although the rain season can be very wet, cheaper rates are offered at the luxury lodges and fewer visitors travel in this period. The Serengeti national park roads however can very muddy during this time.

Oct-Nov

The migration starts as the Wildebeest move out of the Masai Mara and travel south via the north-eastern part of the park.

Nov-Dec

The Wildebeest arrive in well grassed Southern Plains of the the Serengeti.

Jan-Mar

Large, separated groups move through the Southern Serengeti, Ndutu area and Ngorongoro Crater. Calving Season in February.

Apr-May

The Wildebeest herds gather in huge columns traveling toward the Western Serengeti

Jun

They reach the central and western Serengeti and travel further north-west. Cross the Grumeti River

Jul-Aug

The Wildebeest migration reaches the Western Serengeti and Grumeto Reserves and cross Mara river in Jul.

Sep-Oct

The herds reach the Masai Mara and disperse throughout the northern Serengeti and Masai Mara

 Great Migration River Crossing

Dry Season vs Wet Season

November - MayJune - October
  • June - July considered best time to view the migration
  • Animals gather around waterholes & rivers
  • Less vegetation, means more visibility
  • Fewer mosquitos and mostly sunny days
  • Late Jan-Feb is  Calving season and predators are frequent
  • Beautiful green vegetation
  • Lower rates and less crowded
  • Migratory birds present
  • Rain showers are short between Nov-Apr
  • Busiest period of the year
  • Nights & Mornings are cold
  • March-May is peak for the wet season
  • Most big game migrate out of the Tarangire NP
  • Katavati,Selous & Ruahua game viewing is better in Dry Season

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