When is the best time for a safari in Tanzania?

best tour operator in tanzania

By William 2023

The best time for a safari in Tanzania depends on where you plan to go and what you hope to see. In general, the best time to visit Tanzania is during the dry season, which runs from June to October in the northern part of the country and from December to March in the south. During the dry season, the weather is generally more predictable and the animals are easier to spot because the vegetation is not as dense.

when is the best time for safari Tanzania

The Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater are popular destinations for safaris in Tanzania, and the dry season is the best time for safari in Tanzania. During the dry season, the grass is short and the animals are concentrated around the remaining water sources, making them easier to spot.

The wet season in Tanzania, which runs from November to May in the north and from April to November in the south, can also be the best time for safari in Tanzania, especially if you are interested in seeing the great wildebeest migration. This annual event takes place in the Serengeti National Park and involves the movement of millions of wildebeest and zebras across the savannah in search of grass and water. The wet season is also a good time to visit if you are interested in birdwatching, as many species of birds are attracted to the abundant food and water sources that are available during this time.

when is the best time for safari Tanzania

The seasons in Tanzania

January – March

These early months of the year are typically the hottest time of year in Tanzania (peaking in February). This season is generally dry, and is one of the most popular times for safaris. Parks may feel a bit crowded, especially around the New Year.

Animals may be seen crowding around rivers and lakes for water, as other sources dry up.

Tarangire National Park is especially popular during this time, as zebras and gazelles come to the Tarangire River for water, and are soon followed by predators, such as lions and leopards, making this a major destination to spot all kinds of wildlife.

when is the best time for safari Tanzania

March – May

Mid-March through May is the “long rainy season”, marked by nights and mornings of rain. Typically, the sun makes an appearance in the afternoon and evenings are serene and peaceful.

The rains make everything lush, and green and the animals are lively and active in the parks, with adequate sources of water everywhere.

However, some rough roads in the parks may be impassible, due to flooding or deep mud. Main roads in the parks are typically fine, and several parks, and Ngorongoro Conservation Area, have many sections of road which are paved and will not have any issues with driving.

This season sees significantly fewer tourists, and nearly all of the accommodations offer discounts for the low season. Guests who don’t mind rainy mornings have shared that their safari during the rainy season felt like an intimate, secluded adventure because they felt like they had the whole park to themselves to watch the incredibly active animals in the damp, green forests.

safari Tanzania

June – September

This period is considered the “cold” season in Tanzania. While for locals, the weather is cold (and you will see people wearing winter coats and hats), those visiting from other climates find the weather pleasant and fresh. Bring a jacket for chilly mornings, but afternoons are nice and generally sunny, and the weather is dry during this time.

This is another popular travel season in Tanzania, with many visitors in the national parks.

If you’re not a fan of hot weather, this is the ideal time to visit during Tanzania’s dry season. This is also a common time for viewing the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park.

October – December

The short rains generally fall sometime between October and December, and the weather gets warmer as the end of the year approaches.

October is also the time when the jacaranda trees across East Africa bloom – a truly beautiful spectacle of trees crowned with purple flowers. In December the Flame Trees blossom, turning a vibrant red just before Christmas.

Christmas is a popular time for tourists to visit Tanzania and often the short rains have stopped by mid-December as well. Many visitors plan something special to mark the holiday season, such as summiting Mount Kilimanjaro to commemorate the day. Hotels and lodges may serve a special holiday meal for guests.

The weather in December is usually considered ideal, however, parks and accommodations may feel more congested than other times of the year.

when is the best time for safari Tanzania

Dry Season: Advantage and Disadvantage

Advantage:

  • Favorable weather
  • Abundance of Wildlife
  • Scenery looks like many images of Africa; vast, dry grasslands and animals around watering holes
  • Holiday Seasons, and when most visitors have time-off
  • Good weather for an evening swim in the swimming pool at your hotel/lodge
  • Suggested time for a family vacation or honeymoon
  • Popular tourist time

Disadvantage:

  • Parks may feel more crowded/busy
  • Accommodations are full-price (no discounts)
  • The end of the dry season may be dusty – bring a bandana or handkerchief to help.

Rainy Season: Advantage and Disadvantage

Advantages :

  • See Africa in a new way! Tropical climate with green forests and active animals
  • Photographers especially enjoy capturing wildlife during the rainy season, and the contrast of colors looks amazing.
  • Guests may receive low-season discounts
  • Parks are not crowded and guests feel they are on a private adventure

Disadvantage:

  • Some park roads may be inaccessible
  • Likely to experience some wet days – but it does not rain all day and typically there is the significant sun at some point each day
  • Bring a rain jacket and shoes that are water-resistant for your comfort
  • In some parks the animals are more dispersed during the rainy season
Arusha National Park Williamson Adventures

The Great Migration

One of the biggest attractions in Tanzania is the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park. Each year, this natural phenomenon draws tourists from all over the world to witness the colossal movement of animals across the Grumeti River. It is one of the reasons the Serengeti is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is the largest migration of animals on the planet. The Great Migration occurs annually, even continually across the entire area of the Serengeti.

For a short period (approximately 2 months each year), herds of wildebeests and other ungulates are in Kenya. Usually, around July and August, they migrate there  with an epic river crossing, risking crocodiles and other predators to return to the fresh grass of the Maasai Mara. Herds spend the remainder of the year in Tanzania, mostly in the Serengeti or the corner of Ngorongoro Conservation area. This is where they will mate, birth their young and enjoy the lush grasses of the Serengeti for approximately 10 months of the year.

What causes the animals to continue to move around? The migration is spurred by basic survival instincts – herds of wildebeests, gazelles, impalas, elands, and zebras seek adequate water and greener grass. As the weather changes from dry to wet, the animals move to get to better sources of food and hydration – and they are continually followed by their impressive predators, lions, cheetahs, and leopards.

 

Migration safari in serengeti

There are different portions of the Great Migration available to witness throughout the year;

February is calving season, with thousands of baby wildebeests born each day! Witness the miracle of new life – and the wonder of the ability of a baby wildebeest to run shortly after birth during this time.

March and April mark when the herds begin to congregate in the Seronera area of Serengeti, offering some spectacular photo opportunities of massive numbers of animals, peacefully grazing in a beautiful setting.

In May, the herds begin to move northward, forming impressive columns of animals marching in sync, they may congregate at the Western Corridor as they find a safe place to cross the Grumeti River. In this way, visitors have a chance to see the high density of animals that move together for migration – a truly incredible aspect of nature to witness with your own eyes!

July through to early September visitors are likely to witness the amazing migration of animals and the adrenaline-pumping Mara River crossing. The animals rush through the dangerous waters, moving in massive numbers in hopes of reaching the other side. This is the stuff of National Geographic (who do regularly film this phenomenon), but the energy and power of nature is intimately felt when witnessing live, not watching through a television screen

You will leave with a renewed appreciation for Africa’s wildlife and raw aspects of nature that humanity has not interfered with. How incredible that this annual cycle has been occurring for probably a millennia, and we are still able to appreciate and witness it, even today!

 

Migration safari in serengeti

There are two river crossings that occur during this yearly cycle of migration: the Mara River and the Grumeti River. The names are used to indicate the direction the animals are heading:

The Grumeti River crossing often occurs during May and June, as the herds enter Kenya.

The Mara River crossing is the movement of herds from Kenya back into Tanzania, and often happens during July and August.

As you can see, the Great Migration is an ongoing spectacle in Serengeti National Park. There is something to see and experience at nearly every time of the year. If the Great Migration of Serengeti is on your bucket list to witness, this is certainly a chance to make your dream come true!

When is the best time for safari in Tanzania?

Overall, the best time for safari in Tanzania will depend on your interests and what you hope to see. If you are interested in seeing the great wildebeest migration, the wet season may be the best time to visit. If you are interested in seeing a variety of wildlife and enjoying more predictable weather, the dry season may be the best time to visit.

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best tour operator in tanzania

About the Author

William is a Tanzanian Safari and Kilimanjaro expert motivated to write about his Safari and Kilimanjaro Trekking experience because of his passion for adventures. Through his stories and articles, William sought to inspire others to experience the thrill of adventure and to appreciate the beauty of  Africa around them.

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LCF20130907
LCF20130907
2023-08-30
7-Day Migration Safari with Williamson: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience! My friend and I had a 7-day migration safari (River Crossing) with Williamson Adventures exceeded our expectations. The captivating sights of wildebeest herds were absolutely breathtaking, a true testament to the wonders of nature. Our knowledgeable guide Raymond made the experience even more remarkable with his deep understanding of the wildlife and their behaviors. The seamless combination of the safari with a day trip to Materuni Waterfall and Coffee Tour added a perfect touch of cultural immersion. The lush greenery and the thundering waterfall were a sight to behold, and the coffee tour was enlightening. Williamson's team orchestrated a flawless journey, ensuring comfort and safety throughout. This safari was a life-changing experience, and I'm incredibly grateful to William and his team for making it so exceptional.
Vi_X
Vi_X
2023-08-30
Unforgettable experience in Tanzania The Ultimate Tanzanian Safari and Cultural Experience! I can't thank Williamson enough for the incredible 7-day migration safari adventure. Witnessing the Great Migration in person was an awe-inspiring spectacle, and Raymond Our Guide added an educational layer that deepened our appreciation. His passion for wildlife is contagious! The highlight was coupling this safari with a day trip to Materuni Waterfall and Coffee Tour. The waterfall's beauty left us speechless, and the coffee tour was a delightful insight into the local culture. The Accommodation during our safari experience was top notch, thank you William for organizing our trip and his team was amazing! I am going to miss Tanzania ❤️ # one of my best trip ever # amazing travel experiences # lots laughs & fun during the trip # unforgettable moments
Edson B
Edson B
2023-07-23
Incredible Safari in Tanzania We did a 5 day Incredible honeymoon safari with Williamson Adventures , we were researching good company for our safari It is our luck to go with them the communication was smooth, we exchanged so many texts until we reached the conclusion . The guide Allan was knowledgeable who knows alot about animals and plants his driving skill was exceptional on the rough road on the way to Serengeti national park , The accommodations were good during our safari we will recommend Williamson Adventures to our family and friends .
Juliane P
Juliane P
2023-07-21
Kilimanjaro 6 days Machame route My dad and I booked the Kilimanjaro 6 days Machame route and since the first contact with William I received all the information and help that we need and our conversation was easy. Our team at the Kilimanjaro hike was really friendly and helpful and our guides were perfect with us! Cannot recommend more I and have no words to thank enough all the team.
Ellen Karin R
Ellen Karin R
2023-03-19
Er du interessert i fugleliv såvel som dyreliv prøver du Williamssons adventures med Ian som guide Er du interessert i fugleliv i tillegg til dyreliv bør du be om å få Ian som guide. Han var kunnskapsrik om både fugler, dyr, fauna og stoppa opp på alle henstillinger og svarte tålmodig på alle spørsmål. Ian var også ein flink sjåfør. Vi var i alle nasjonalparkene, Tarangire, Serengeti, Manyara og Ngorogoro conservation area. Vi var på en fire dagers safari, og lunsjboksene, frokostene og middagene var fantastiske. Likeså med overnattingsstedene. Vi ble tatt vel i mot og tatt vare på. Denne safari er ett minne for livet, og kan anbefales på det sterkeste. I tillegg til kjempemange fugler og dyr fikk vi også sett alle fem store????
Jessica D
Jessica D
2023-02-06
Perfect Kilimanjaro trek, perfect safari, perfect Guide From the first day of emailing Williamson Adventures for a safari and Kilimanjaro quote we were answered in professional way with full of information about the tour in Tanzania.The Director William was helpful and well organized our Kilimanjaro trek and 5 days safari , we started hiking for 6 days machame , the team was very helpful and the porter were strong and friends they really supported us to carry our luggages and guide was very professional especially during the summit day we really appreciate them . After safari we went to safari where we saw many animals excluding rhino because the guide explained that they're now endangered sometimes it's hard to spot them although it was good experience, the food good and accommodation was superb with high comfortability. Thanks Williamson Adventures for making our trip unforgettable
Norbet h
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2023-02-02
Kilimanjaro Climb Experience! My husband and I booked 7 days Machame route Kilimanjaro mountain climb with Williamson adventures, we liked the experience from the day we started hiking up to last day at mweka camp. The tour was very organized and the team was extremely friendly . During the summit Day it's was really challenging for me but the guide and porter was really helpful and fun to be around , the food was delicious and plentiful so we really appreciate our chef , the tent were top quality and brand new so we slept in comfortable tents . I really recommend Mr William to arrange your Kilimanjaro mountain trekking if you wish to make it to the top of Kilimanjaro mountain. Best wishes from USA
Christensen H
Christensen H
2023-01-31
Unforgettable safari in Tanzania My Safari experience in Tanzania with Williamson adventures was really good since from the day we emailed them they were very cooperative , we had 8 days safari in Tanzania with them the guide was very detailed about Flora and fauna of Tanzania national park, I really liked Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater the most because of its scenic views and abundant of Animals, we managed to see all the big 5 during safari, the accommodations was nice and clean, we really thanks this company for making our journey in Tanzania unforgettable
Hannah P
Hannah P
2023-01-29
Best Wildlife Safari I did a 7-day safari in Tanzania and it was an unforgettable experience. The tour guide was knowledgeable about the wildlife, making each game drive a learning adventure. From the endless plain Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater, every stop was awe-inspiring. The accommodations and food were good and provided the perfect balance of comfort and immersion in nature. I would highly recommend to Williamson to plan your safari in tanzania . Thanks Williamson Adventurures for the nice hospitality
willegamba94
willegamba94
2023-01-25
7 day Kilimanjaro Climb Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro 7 days Lemosho was an experience of a lifetime. The trek to the summit was challenging, but the breathtaking views and sense of accomplishment made it all worth it. The scenery was absolutely stunning, from the lush rainforest at the base to the barren, lunar-like landscape at the summit. The guides were knowledgeable and supportive, and the porters were incredibly helpful in carrying our gear. The final summit push was grueling, but the sunrise from the top was truly unforgettable. Despite the physical demands, I would highly recommend Williamson Adventures for Kilimanjaro climb to anyone looking for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The sense of camaraderie among the climbers, the challenge of reaching the summit and the stunning beauty of the mountain made it an experience I will never forget.

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