When to Travel
People in different parts of the world are often keen to know they will be experiencing warm sunshine and blue skies whilst spending their money on a trip of a lifetime and getting away from their own, less exotic climate! There are never usually guarantees but with parts of Africa, you will mostly find you are looking to cool down a little. However it offers great contrasts and best of all, the Indian Ocean is always like a warm bath!
Tanzania's climate is equatorial and can be tropical. There are variations caused by altitude but throughout the year temperatures don't really vary too much. However, there are definitely seasons for the rain! Coastal areas are usually hot and humid and you will find heavier rainfall. Light sea breezes cool the air on the beaches.
Tanzania has two rainy seasons: a longer rainy season from March up to the end of May and a shorter rainy season between November to mid December. The hottest time is from December to March and the coolest months are June, July and August. In high-altitude regions, like Kilimanjaro and Ngorongoro Crater highlands, temperatures can fall below freezing. In terms of towns, you can find Arusha is a lot less humid than Moshi, with Dar-es-Salaam, as a main city, being quite overwhelmingly hot/humid throughout many months of the year.
So, a popular questions is always, when is the best time to travel and ensure you see/do everything you want?
The best time to travel depends on the region you want to visit and the animals you wish to spot. Some reserves have a good game viewing all the year. Others are not so inhabited during the dry season.
When considering the Northern Circuit on Safari, (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara, Arusha), there remains a concentration of animals throughout the year, including the rainy season. It's up to your driver/guide to explore the areas and to give your time. During wetter times, when the grasses are longer, it can be more difficult to spot crouching predators or those animals taking cover but it's still incredible to observe.
In the dry season (July through to October) animals are concentrated around water reservoirs. The grass is shorter and the animals are more easily seen, as well as the hunting activities! From November to June the land becomes greener and the grass grows once more.
When considering the Southern Circuit (eg. Selous, Ruaha, Udzungwa Mountain National Park, Mikumi) the dry season is from July through to the end of October. During the rainy season it does become more difficult to spot the larger animals across the plains as they take shelter.
Another important question is often 'When is the Great Migration?'. An overview is given below but please contact us for updates and more detailed information:
- January/February/March - Ngorongoro and Southern Serengeti
- April - Central Serengeti
- May/June- Central and Western Serengeti
- July - Western and Northern Serengeti/Masai Mara
- August/September/October - Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara
- November - Nothern Serengeti and Ngorongoro
- December - Ngorongoro and Southern Serengeti
With regard to Mountain Trekking and in particular, Mount Kilimanjaro, it really is possible to trek throughout the year. Mid-December through to March are the warmest months and with this you can experience some of the clearest, bluest skies during the day and the indescribably clear African sky at night. For those who prefer to go at a time that attracts less tourists, the months of April and early May are still good to climb but you will likely need to prepare for extra rain/snow. By late June, July and August, the temperatures at night become cold (but you are well equipped to deal with this comfortably!) and the clear skies remain, particularly above 3000m. Therefore, the views are spectacular. September and October bring a warmer climate, less rain and milder weather. This is also a time when there are less people on the moutain. During the shorter rainy season of November to mid-December there can be short bursts of thunderstorms but the evenings will clear. Heavier snow can gather as you near the summit.
The main thing to consider at all times is your spirit for adventure and adaptation to your environment. Whatever the weather/time of year, we can put something together that best suits the environment as much as possible.