A Monthly Guide

A Month by Month Guide to Tanzania

Much like Kenya, its primary counterpart for safaris in East Africa, Tanzania represents a destination which can be visited at any time of year, although certain times of year are better than others depending on what one is looking to get out of their safari.

Game viewing conditions are typically at their best during the dry season, especially in the national parks in the south and west of the country. It’s always wise to consider the entire country when thinking about your safari, as the lesser renowned parks can be equally as impressive, yet much quieter and a fair bit more cost effective than Tanzania’s more well known safari areas.

Of course, with most of the iconic Great Migration taking place across the Serengeti’s sprawling plains and rugged kopjes, it’s the best destination in Africa to catch a glimpse of that amazing wildlife spectacle; the greatest natural show on earth.

Tanzania has so much more to offer though than the Great Migration and with an abundance of wildlife across the country, varied landscapes and a wide range of safari activities on offer, as well as moving cultural elements, Tanzania will leave you wowed at every turn regardless of the time of year you visit.


Some parts of Tanzania are truly fantastic to visit in January, however, other parts of the country yield mixed results.

Whilst there is a small chance of rain in the Serengeti and other parts of Northern Tanzania, it usually stays away and this is an incredible time of year for game viewing. The mega herds of the Great Migration are now back grazing on the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti, gearing up for calving season and this is when the first young start to be seen. As the migratory herds have made their way back to the Southern Serengeti, this is also the time of year when territorial wildlife, such as big cats, have been eagerly awaiting for several months. With their food source replenished and an abundance of prey, January represents a spectacular time of year for predator activity.

The southern parks are better to be avoided at this time of year, as the temperatures can be high and the foliage can be thick, making wildlife tougher to spot in the Ruaha and Nyerere National Parks.

When it comes to the coast, Zanzibar is really pleasant at this time of year. Like the mainland, very little rainfall and warm to hot temperatures can be expected, so conditions are perfect for a relaxing coastal stay.

February follows very much the same pattern as January, however, game viewing and predator activity starts to ramp up as more young are born as calving season gets into full swing. Daytime temperatures continue to be warm, but not uncomfortably so, and rainfall is still at a minimum, making February a truly excellent time to visit Tanzania.

Like January, the parks are less crowded in February than at other times of the year, and lodge prices are close to their lowest, making February a truly attractive time to visit Tanzania. Many people, from safari experts to first time safari goers alike, would consider calving season a more fascinating time to see the Great Migration river crossing season. With game viewing at a premium, especially predator activity, along with the vibrancy and abundance of newborn life, combined with favourable lodge rates, February is one of the most highly recommended times of year to visit Tanzania.

Whilst the start of March continues in the same vein as January and February, the long rains start to set in towards the end of the month.

In the Serengeti, calving season peaks but comes swiftly to an end, and the mega herds will start to make their way northwest towards the more fertile feeding grounds of the Grumeti reserve. Across Northern Tanzania, the scenery is lush, flowers are in bloom and the ever increasing moody skies create an incredible backdrop for photography.

March is a wonderful time for birdwatchers, as one can expect to see not only the migratory birdlife from Europe and North Africa, but also experience the nesting and breeding season of the resident birds in Tanzania.

Towards the end of the month, the rainfall will start to become heavier which can disrupt safaris. However, rates are among their lowest, making March a truly attractive time to visit, especially during the first half of the month.

April represents the peak of the wet season in Tanzania, as the long rains have now fully set in.

Whilst the wildlife is still there, it is a transitional period for the Great Migration as the herds are on the move through the Grumeti Reserve and Western Corridor, making their patterns less predictable at this time of year, and creating more groups of smaller herds that splinter off from the mega herds. The camps in the southern Serengeti are now closed, and much like the Great Migration itself, the mobile camps are repositioning themselves and getting ready to reopen in the Northern Serengeti in advance of the Great Migration arriving.

The heavy rainfall affects other parts of the country too, as the parks in the south of the country (Ruaha and Nyerere National Parks), as well as Zanzibar, are experiencing their wettest time of the year. The bushveld in the southern parks remains quite thick and most people prefer to avoid rain on the beach escape, it is not strongly recommended to visit Ruaha, Nyerere or Zanzibar at this time of year. That being said, among the camps and lodges in the Serengeti that remain open, there is still good game viewing to be had and prices are at their very lowest, so April can be an appealing time of year to visit for those who don’t mind getting a bit wet.

Whilst the start of May sees overall conditions being the same as they are in April, it is the last month of the “long rains” wet season, and it starts to dry up towards the end of the month.

It continues to be a time of transition for the Great Migration as the herds head north, however, some of the splinter herds are spread over the Grumeti Reserve towards the end of the month. The Grumeti reserve is an area that is home to some of the country’s most luxurious and sought after safari camps, so the increased wildlife in the area makes it one of the better times of year to visit for the more discerning safari goer.

Whilst the rainy season is coming to an end across the country, occasional rainfall can still affect parks in the south and west of Tanzania, as well as Zanzibar. Since park roads could remain boggy following the weeks of constant rainfall, and with the foliage in areas such as Nyerere and Katavi National Parks close to its thickest, it would be recommended to wait until June before considering travelling to areas of Tanzania that are away from the north.

The start of June brings with it the beginning of the dry season in Tanzania. The skies get clearer, temperatures in the morning and evening become cooler, and the wildlife spectacle becomes ever more impressive across the country.

In the Serengeti, the majority of the migratory herds have congregated across the central and western areas, with the first splinter herds making their way to the north. For those who are lucky enough to find themselves in the Grumeti at this time of year, there is the chance of seeing the first river crossings as some of the Wildebeest in the area will cross the crocodile infested waters of the Grumeti River.

With the commencement of the dry season, the bushveld in the Ruaha, Nyerere and Katavi National Parks starts to thin out, and water sources become more scarce, attracting wildlife to the water that remains and game viewing improves dramatically in these parks from June onwards.

In Mahale, things improve too as the chimpanzees tend to gather in larger groups closer to the shore of Lake Tanganyika, making for easier trekking to see these truly remarkable creatures.

Tanzania is always teeming with wildlife, however, game viewing across the country is brought to life as the dry season begins and with June being just before the peak season when the parks are at their busiest, it is a thoroughly rewarding time to visit.

Whilst June sees the start of the dry season, July is more closely associated with the start of the peak season.

Game viewing continues to be incredible as the massive migratory herds start to congregate in the northern areas of the Serengeti, Elephant sightings in Tarangire are on the rise and chimps in Mahale are becoming more active and venturing further towards the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The land across the country is becoming drier, temperatures continue to drop and wildlife becomes easier to spot, making July one of the best times of year for game viewing.

Since July is the start of the peak holiday season, it is the time of year when all camps are at their most expensive, the parks are at their busiest and most camps will be fully booked in July, so planning a safari in advance is essential if looking to travel at this time of year. Despite the price points being at their highest and the parks seeing their visitor numbers at their peak, it is still an exceptional time of year to visit due to the sheer quality of game viewing one will encounter in July.

Like July, August is an incredible month to be in Tanzania.

It is arguably when game viewing is at its best in the Serengeti, as the Kogatende and Lamai areas in the north of the park are simply teeming with Wildebeest at this time of year. Furthermore, it is the busiest month for river crossings, as the majority of migratory herds will make their intrepid journey across the daunting Mara River, with gargantuan Nile Crocodiles lying in wait. With the heightened number of plains game, predator activity becomes increasingly excellent in the northern Serengeti around this time.

In other parts of the country, as water sources dry up and wildlife is attracted to the little permanent water that remains, elephant sightings in Tarangire become truly majestic. One should also strongly consider heading to Tanzania’s lesser visited national parks such as Ruaha and Nyerere, which are much quieter than the parks in the north of the country, and start to experience their best game viewing conditions.

With warm yet moderate days, and practically no rainfall, it is a wonderful time of year to spend some time at the coast and Zanzibar is the perfect idyllic coastal setting to unwind after a safari adventure on the mainland. It remains peak season, so the parks can be busy and costs are at their highest, but with perfect weather conditions and exceptional game viewing, August is a fantastic time to visit Tanzania.

Much like August, there are few better places in Africa for wildlife enthusiasts to be than Botswana in September. As temperatures remain low it is a great time of year to enjoy a more adventurous safari experience such as a mobile camping safari through the Moremi Game Reserve and Savuti Region, whilst those looking for a different side to Botswana can consider a visit to the Tsodilo Hills.

Found to the west of the Okavango Delta, these are Botswana’s highest point and offer a chance to see bushman rock art sites and to learn about the anthropology of Botswana. Water levels in the delta can start to recede depending on how high the flood levels have been, but all told it is still a great month, albeit likely the last one, where the full range of delta experiences are offered across all camps.

September remains a peak season month for pricing, but circuit discounts remain in place when booking multiple camps from the same brand.

Like the preceding months over the dry season, October presents ideal conditions in terms of game viewing and weather.

With it becoming warmer, yet still dry with no rainfall at the start of the month, this is perhaps the best time of year to include a visit to Zanzibar for that quintessential warm weather beach getaway.

With water sources at their lowest, wildlife congregates around the little water that remains and with the bushveld at its thinnest, it’s a time of year when game viewing is at its best. In particular, elephant sightings in Tarangire at this time of year are simply iconic. Whilst game viewing is still extraordinary in the Serengeti, some plains game and the predators they attract are active in the northern areas of the park, October is typically the month when the majority of migratory herds have crossed over to the more fertile feeding grounds of the Masai Mara in Kenya.

Nevertheless, with continuing dry conditions at the start of the month, and with the parks starting to become slightly quieter than the peak season months, October is one of the better times to consider planning a trip to Tanzania.

As October turns to November, it brings about the start of Tanzania’s second rainy season of the year. However, the rainfall at this time of year is characterised by isolated thunderstorms, usually in the afternoons, and doesn’t detract from incredibly exciting game viewing in the Serengeti.

Whilst the very end of the wet season represents great conditions and game viewing in the southern parks (Ruaha and Nyerere), as the short rains set in, water levels begin to rise and the foliage begins to thicken, it’s a time of that yields mixed results from a game viewing standpoint, and the heat can prove to be troublesome too.

The other area to be avoided in November is Zanzibar, as the rainfall is generally not ideal for a beach getaway.

In the Serengeti though, it’s a moving month as the massive migratory herds hurriedly make their way down the eastern side of the park, which is home to high numbers of predators (cheetah in particular), which results in excellent game viewing in this area in November. The other major plus point of travelling at this time is lodge rates are typically at their lowest, and the parks tend to be quiet.

For those who are happy to get a bit wet, November can be a great time to visit Tanzania as you are likely to encounter fantastic game viewing in the Serengeti, at a fraction of the cost of what it would be over the peak season months.

If you’re looking for a festive season safari for the ages, look no further than Tanzania. With lessening rainfall and ever improving game viewing, December is an excellent time to visit.

Massive herds of Wildebeest and Zebra start to make their way towards the short grass plains of the Serengeti, to feast on the freshly grown savanna. With the nearby Ngorongoro Conservation Area attracting an abundance of wildlife at this time of year too, December is a great month for game viewing in the northern part of Tanzania.

It’s a time of year for keen birders too, as more and more migratory birds from Europe and North Africa make their way across the Great Rift, adding vibrancy and vivid colour to Tanzania’s wild places. With dry and hot and dry conditions on the mainland as well as the coast, it’s a great time of year to head to Zanzibar, for some well earned rest & relaxation after an adventurous safari.

Whilst parks tend to get busier towards the end of the month and lodges put their rates up according to peak season demand, December is still an excellent time to visit Tanzania, especially for that quintessential “bush and beach” safari combination.

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