WHEN TO GO TO TANZANIA ON SAFARI: THE CLIMATE AND THE BEST TIMES OF YEAR
In considering a Safari or a trip in Tanzania, no doubt you have questions about the best time of year and the weather you will find ihnen. For example:
- How does the Tanzania climate change during the year?
- What’s the best time of year for your trip and which areas are best for visiting at that time?
- Which times might be best to avoid, both for weather and for high tourist influx?
All these are considerations to keep in mind when planning your trip, above all to align your wishes and timing possibilities with the Tanzania climate in order to enjoy to the fullest all Tanzania can offer while you are there.
The primary issue will be how the seasons and the rains during the year in the different areas of Tanzania affect animal movements.
THE CLIMATE AND SEASONS IN TANZANIA
Tanzania lies several degrees south of the Equator, and the extent of its tropical climate is determined above all by altitude.
First to note is that the highland areas (for example the National Park of Ngorongoro) and the mountainous areas (for example Kilimanjaro) enjoy lower temperatures than the country average as well as a lower humidity relative to the plains, coastal areas, and islands of Zanzibar and Pemba.
Second, throughout Tanzania the official seasons are marked as Wet/Green (from middle or end November to middle or end May) and Dry (from middle or end May to middle or end November). That said, during both seasons there are rainy periods, much heavier of course in the Wet Season, so let’s look closer.
- From end December to end March, we can expect warmer temperatures and occasional relatively light rains.
- From end March to beginning June, the monsoon rains (called Masika in Swahili), with a peak usually in April but sometimes beginning in latter March and/or extending into May. These are long, heavy rains prevalent especially in the afternoons.
- From June to end October, the dryest season in absolute, with cooler temperatures everywhere and along the coast a fine southerly wind (Kusi in Swahili).
- From end October or mid November into December, infrequent brief showers.
That said as a general picture, let’s look at the various areas:
- In the far north two Wet Seasons unite to give frequent rains in January and February.
- In the lower north and east (excluding Lake Victoria), less intense rains from end October to beginning December and much heavier monsoon rains from end March to beginning June with high point in April.
- In the west, Wet Season from November to end May.
- In the south and southeast, Wet Season also from November to end May.
THE BEST TIMES TO VISIT TANZANIA
The best times consequently are the dry months of July, August, and September, which are typically cooler, sunnier, and with very infrequent rains. Also from end December through February are good especially on the coast where the temperatures are slightly higher than inland. (Note, however, that December, January, July, and August are months of highest tourist influx, thus our advice is to reserve flights, lodging, and safaris well in advance.)
The months at the edges of the rainiest seasons (March, June, October, December) are worth considering as well, of course preparing for some rain during the day, particularly in the parks.
Lastly, because of Tanzania’s tropical climate, the country actually may be visited year round, even in the cooler monsoon months of April and May, provided adequate preparations are taken. In point of fact, these green rainy months yield the highest concentrations of animals for viewing.
WHERE TO GO AND WHEN
In consequence of the above, let’s now look at the most well known destinations, specifying the best times of each for visit or Safari.
- National Parks of North Tanzania: Arusha, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Tarangire, as well as Lake Manyara are best seen in the dry months July into October, when the scarcity of rain brings the animals to the rivers and permanent lakes. Also good from December through March. In fact Serengeti is especially advisable from end December to March, which are the months of the Great Migration when the herds move from north to south attracting a great number of predators, and also in May and September when the gnu cross the Rivers Grumeti and Mara heading towards Kenya while seeking to avoid the frequent crocodile attacks. And February is good near the plains of Ndutu where it is possible to observe the birthing season.
- Ngorongoro and its Craters are good year round, but particularly advisable during the mating season in the wet months of April and May.
- The National Park of Ruaha is best seen in the dry months from July to November, also from January to April for viewing the numerous bird species.
- Zanzibar (Unguja Island) is best either from December through March when temperatures are warmer, about 30 degrees Centigrade or 86 Fahrenheit as highs, or from July into October when temperatures are a bit cooler, highs nearer 26/79.
- Pemba Island is best from July through September.
- Lake Victoria likewise July through September.
- Lake Natron is best from June into October.
- Trekking on Mount Kilimanjaro is best from December through February, also from July through September if prepared for colder temperatures.
- The coastal areas are most pleasant from December through March when high temperatures reach 30/86, also from July to October with lower highs of 24/75 and stronger breezes.
- The southern parks are best seen from May to November.
If you have questions on any of the above, or if you are interested in other destinations, please feel free to email us at email@example.com or telephone / WhatsApp us at +39-344-1880809 (we do speak english).
It will be our pleasure to assist you. Likewise, you are most welcome to make contact if you wish to discuss our designing a special tour for you.
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Texts by Tanzania Private Tours. Trips and Safaris throughout Tanzania. Reproduction prohibited. ©2020
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