Eine große Herde Gnus zieht bei Sonnenuntergang durch die Serengeti.

Best time to visit Tanzania

Climate, weather and tips for your trip to Tanzania

Climate, weather and tips for your trip to Tanzania

Are you dreaming of endless savannahs, majestic wild animals and breathtaking sunsets over Mount Kilimanjaro? Tanzania offers all this and much more. But when is the best time to visit this fascinating country? In our article, you can find out all about the best times to travel to Tanzania - whether you are planning a safari in the Serengeti, exploring the Ngorongoro Crater or enjoying the paradisiacal beaches of Zanzibar. Be inspired by our tips and experiences and plan your dream trip to Tanzania. Discover the best times for unforgettable experiences and get ready to experience the wild beauty of Africa! Read on and find out when you should pack your bags.

Written by: Anja Sterker Last updated at: July 9, 2024

Seasons and Climate in Tanzania

Tanzania, located in East Africa directly on the equator, offers a pleasantly warm climate year-round. Therefore, Tanzania can be visited throughout the year. Despite the constant temperatures, there are seasonal differences that can influence your travel experience. Unlike in Central Europe, the annual cycle does not follow the four classic seasons. Instead, the dry season and the rainy season determine when certain destinations are best for your visit.

Dry Seasons

June to October (Long Dry Season)

The months of June to October are considered the long dry season and are particularly popular among travelers. During this time, the days are sunny and the temperatures are pleasantly warm, usually between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. Nights can be cooler, especially at higher altitudes like the Ngorongoro Crater or Mount Kilimanjaro.


  • Perfect conditions for safaris: Since water sources in the national parks are limited, animals gather near the remaining waterholes, making wildlife viewing easier.
  • Fewer mosquitoes: The dry season reduces the number of mosquitoes, lowering the risk of malaria.
  • Ideal for hiking: Best conditions for climbing Kilimanjaro and other trekking adventures.

January to February (Short Dry Season)

The short dry season in January and February is also a good time to travel. Although not as dry as the long dry season, these months still offer good conditions for safaris and beach holidays.


  • Newborn animals: In many national parks, you can now observe numerous animal babies, which is particularly interesting for photographers.
  • Pleasant temperatures: Similar to the long dry season, the temperatures are warm and rainfall is minimal.

Rainy Seasons

March to May (Long Rainy Season)

The long rainy season from March to May brings heavy and prolonged rainfall. These months are less ideal for travel, as many roads become impassable and some lodges close.


  • Difficult road conditions: Muddy tracks and flooded paths can make travel difficult.
  • Lower visibility of animals: The lush vegetation and increased water sources spread the animals over larger areas.

November to December (Short Rainy Season)

The short rainy season from November to December is less intense than the long rainy season. There are often short, heavy showers followed by sunny periods.


  • Fewer tourists: Fewer travelers mean quieter parks and beaches.
  • Green landscapes: The landscape shines in rich green, which is particularly appealing for photographers.
  • Lower prices

Tanzania: Best Travel Time by Region

Tanzania offers an incredible variety of experiences that vary from region to region. To perfectly tailor your trip to your interests, it’s important to know the best travel time for each region. Whether you want to visit the legendary national parks, majestic mountains, or paradisiacal coasts – the following overview will help you keep track of when each destination is at its best:

Northern Tanzania: Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Manyara

Best Travel Time: June to October

The national parks in northern Tanzania, such as the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, and Lake Manyara National Park, are best visited during the long dry season from June to October. These months offer excellent conditions for safaris as the animals gather at the few remaining waterholes and the vegetation is less dense, making it easier to spot wildlife.


  • Great Migration: The famous Great Migration of wildebeest and zebras in the Serengeti takes place during this time.
  • High Concentration of Wildlife: In the Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park, many animals are concentrated in a small area.
  • Pleasant Temperatures: Warm, dry weather ensures comfortable conditions for safaris and hikes.

Kilimanjaro and Northern Highlands (Arusha, Mount Meru)

Best Travel Time: January to March and June to October

As the highest mountain on the African continent, Kilimanjaro stands at an impressive 5,895 meters. Various vegetation zones range from the rainforests at the mountain's base to the icy glacier peak. The trade winds from the Indian Ocean strongly influence the mountain climate. The best months for trekking Kilimanjaro are January and February, as well as June to October, when conditions are typically dry and clear. Snow and freezing temperatures prevail above the tree line from December to May.


  • Clear Skies: Better views of the peaks and breathtaking sunrises.
  • Dry Trails: Easier trekking and reduced risk of slipping.

Southern Tanzania: Nyerere and Ruaha

Best Travel Time: June to October

The less-visited but equally impressive national parks in southern Tanzania, such as Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) and Ruaha National Park, are best visited during the long dry season from June to October. These months offer optimal conditions for wildlife viewing and hiking.


  • Low Visitor Numbers: Quieter parks with fewer tourists, allowing for a more exclusive experience.
  • Excellent Wildlife Viewing: Animals are concentrated around the remaining waterholes, making sightings easier.
Tanzania safari: The wild south

Travel recommendation

Tanzania safari: The wild south

Western Tanzania: Mahale, Gombe, Katavi

Best Travel Time: June to October

The remote and wild regions in western Tanzania, such as the Mahale Mountains, Gombe, and Katavi National Parks, are best visited during the long dry season from June to October. These months offer the best conditions for chimpanzee trekking and safaris.


  • Chimpanzee Trekking: Optimal conditions for observing chimpanzees in Mahale and Gombe.
  • Pristine Nature: Less-visited parks provide an authentic and untouched wilderness experience.

East Coast and Islands: Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Pemba, Mafia

Best Travel Time: June to October and January to February

The coastal regions and islands like Zanzibar, Pemba, and Mafia offer beautiful beaches year-round. However, the best time for a beach holiday is during the dry seasons from June to October and the short dry season from January to February. Early in the year, temperatures soar above 30 degrees Celsius with numerous sunny hours. Conveniently, the European winter and summer holidays also fall within these periods. Take advantage of this opportunity and treat yourself to an island getaway under the palms.


  • Clear Water: Ideal for diving and snorkeling with excellent underwater visibility.
  • Sunny Days: Perfect for relaxing on the beach and exploring the cultural sites in coastal towns.

Would you like to go on game drives in search of the Big Five, conquer Mount Kilimanjaro or dive off the coast of Zanzibar? Here are your recommendations for Tanzania - travel times based on the most popular activities:

Safari and game viewing

The best time to travel to Tanzania for safaris in the north of the country is during the dry season in the southern winter. This is when the wild animals stop off in the vast plains of the Serengeti during the great migration. This means you can enjoy optimal viewing conditions for big cats and elephants, buffalo, rhinos and antelopes. If you are not afraid of the rainy season, you can also see numerous pachyderms in Tarangire National Park between March and May and in November. This is when the lodges are less crowded and offer accommodation at favorable rates.

Eine Elefantenherde, bestehend aus einem ausgewachsenen Elefanten und mehreren Jungtieren, steht am Ufer eines ruhigen Gewässers.

Eine idyllische Küstenlandschaft mit üppiger grüner Vegetation im Vordergrund, die sich bis zu einer ruhigen Lagune erstreckt.

Beach vacation and water sports

Are you looking for cloudless skies and midsummer temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius for your beach vacation? In January and February as well as between June and September, you can expect the best bathing weather on the Indian Ocean. Dive for exotic fish and corals in water temperatures of 25 to 29 degrees Celsius. The snorkeling and diving areas around the island of Zanzibar are perfect for this. Just as relaxing: relaxing in the shade of the coconut palms.

Adventure and outdoor activities such as mountain climbing

Tanzania has even more to offer than powder-sugar-fine sandy beaches and species-rich national parks. As one of the Seven Summits, Kilimanjaro is one of the seven highest peaks on earth. The glaciated five-thousand-metre peak is not only regarded as a legendary place of longing by mountain enthusiasts. Its diverse vegetation, which constantly changes during the ascent, casts a spell over outdoor fans. You can expect optimal weather for your mountain tour in the dry season from June to September.

Eine atemberaubende Ansicht des Kilimandscharo, dessen schneebedeckter Gipfel majestätisch gegen den tiefblauen Himmel kontrastiert.

Special events: Watch the great migration

Experience the great animal migration in the Serengeti National Park! This unforgettable experience is at the top of the wish list for many travelers from all over the world. The unique natural spectacle follows a similar schedule year after year. It reaches its peak for safari enthusiasts with the arrival of the huge herds of wildebeest, zebra and buffalo in the Serengeti Plains. The best time to experience this natural wonder of Tanzania is in June and July. You can find more detailed information on the Great Migration and where and when the wildebeest herds are located in our article "The Great Migration".

Would you like to find out more about the Serengeti National Park? Here you can find more information on the best time to visit the 15,000 square kilometer reserve.

Further tips for optimal travel planning

Would you like to save money when planning your trip to Tanzania? If you want to travel in the high season, you can secure the best prices by booking early. In addition to the main dry season from June to September, the period from Christmas to the New Year is also price-intensive. Don't forget to pack warm clothes for the sometimes chilly nights!

Cheap offers can be expected, especially in the rainy season. Give preference to the slightly less rainy season from October to November. The chances of dry days or at least longer periods without precipitation are better then than in the major rainy season. Another advantage of the rainy season with its consistently high temperatures is that packing is easier. Thin clothing is all you need to be prepared for all the vagaries of the weather.

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