When is the best time to visit Tanzania

Tanzania map

If you’re planning a holiday to Tanzania you might be wondering when is best to go. Tanzania’s natural landscape is so spectacular that it has become one of Africa’s top tourist destinations. Its main attraction is the varied wildlife that can be seen in the country’s miles of grassland. Tanzania also offers the amazing sights of Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria and some truly idyllic beaches. It also boasts a variety of World Heritage Sights. If you are considering travelling to this remarkable country, it is important you know when is best to travel to Tanzania.

When to travel to Tanzania

Instead of focusing on when exactly to travel to Tanzania, it is always a good idea to think about where to visit according to the season in which you’re planning your trip.

The inland climate is temperate, while the coastal regions are very hot and humid. The best period in which to visit Tanzania is generally the dry season, which is between May and October. It is best to avoid the rainy season, which runs from March to May. There is another season known as the ‘short rains’ from November until mid-December. This is a very interesting time to visit the country, as the colours of the landscape are breathtaking and there are less tourists. However, everything depends on what activities you want to include in your holiday. For a safari, the dry season is best, although you will only be able to see the wildebeest and zebras of the Serengeti during the rainy seasons. The hottest months in Tanzania are January and February. Take this into account if you’re not accustomed to high temperatures.

Scuba-diving and snorkelling

Fans of scuba-diving will find a true paradise in Tanzania and will find it hard to leave. Here you can see turtles, manta rays, barracudas and sharks in the coral reef. If you are looking to go snorkelling it is best to avoid the period between March and June, as the weather can be unpredictable with frequent electrical storms.

Lake Victoria and the North

when to travel to Lake Victoria

When should you travel to Tanzania if you want to visit the North? The climate in this region is also hot but is not usually so overwhelming. The dry season is best for visiting this region, however, it is best to visit the Serengeti Park during the rainy season to see zebras and wildebeest. In the North you can visit the Victoria river, the Rubondo and Mwanza national park, and Mwanza, the country’s second biggest city.

The Southern plateaus

The plateaus of South Tanzania can be visited during the dry season. The region offers many great excursions. You can visit the Ruaha or Mikumi national parks where you can see elephants and lions. The Kitulo national park is particularly worth visiting for its rich floral landscape, and the Udzungwa for its diversity of bird species and beautiful waterfalls. 

The West

The flora and fauna of Western Tanzania creates some amazing landscapes that are a must-see, preferably when travelling during the dry season. The Kalambo waterfalls are a crucial sight, and of course you wouldn’t want to leave without taking a boat trip on Lake Tanganyika. If you want to see chimpanzees, you will have to head into the Mahale mountains or Gombe’s national parks. The Katavi reserve is the third largest national park in Tanzania and the least visited, despite its vast grasslands and its beauty.

Central Tanzania

In central Tanzania you can find Dodoma, the country’s capital. As well as boasting some interesting architecture, there are also many opportunities to see some prehistoric cave art, such as in Kondoa or in Mount Hanang. If you are planning on visiting this region, the best period to visit is outside rainy season. The climate in this region is semi-arid, which means very hot. When this heat combines with the humidity of the rainy season the atmosphere becomes difficult for tourists.

Dar Es Salaam and the coast

The coast has an equatorial climate, with high temperatures and high levels of humidity. The hottest months are from December to March. It is also a good idea to avoid the rainy season between March and May. It is important to take into account that even during November and December it can rain a lot, so always go prepared. Dar Es Salaam is the biggest city in Tanzania where Indian, Arabic and African cultures all come together.

The Zanzibar archipelago

best time to visit Zanzibar

This archipelago is formed by the islands of Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia. Much like the coast of Tanzania they have a hot and humid equatorial climate. However, between June and September, there is a refreshing breeze. The dry season is also an ideal time to visit the islands.