Most safari areas in Tanzania enjoy warm days and cool evenings year-round. While temperatures drop to below freezing on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, the country’s Indian Ocean coast and lakeside regions are hot and humid.

Tanzania has two distinct rainy seasons:

  • April to May (the ‘long rains’)
  • November to December (the ‘short rains’)

Generally, the country’s main rainy season (the long rains) produces tropical downpours in the afternoons and many safari camps close. The short rains season sees the occasional brief shower, but safari camps stay open and game viewing is good.

Go to the ‘Climate’ section on our Travel Advice page for more information about Tanzania’s seasons.

Tanzania Safari High vs Low Season

High or Peak SeasonLow or Green Season
About June to October (long dry season)About January to March and November to December
Highest ratesLowest rates
Need to book well in advanceNo need to book too far in advance
Cool and dry weatherHot and occasionally wet weather
Not many baby animals aroundLots of baby animals around
Not many migrant birds to seeFantastic time for bird-watching
Most crowdedLeast crowded
Good photography conditionsGreenest, most scenic landscapes with the best light of the year for photography

The best time to go on a Tanzania safari depends entirely on what you want to see and experience:

  • The major national parks like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Tarangire deliver superb year-round game viewing, but visitor numbers peak from about June to October.
  • Mount Kilimanjaro: the best weather conditions in which to climb are between July and October or January to March.
  • If it’s a tropical beach holiday that you’re after, the best time to visit Tanzania’s coast, Zanzibar and other islands is between June and March. If you want to take your chances during the long rains (April to May), you could have a week of sunshine or a week of rain – but you’ll get low season rates.

When to See the Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti

EventApproximate Time
Calving or Birthing SeasonJanuary to March
Intense Big Cat ActionJanuary to March
Rutting (a period of sexual excitement, reproductive activity and mating battles between males)January to March
Grumeti River CrossingsMay to July
Mara River CrossingsJuly to September

Note: the above are approximate dates only. The Wildebeest Migration is a year-round, circular journey and the river crossings cannot be predicted, although they generally occur between May and September. Sometimes the herds stay put for two weeks, other times they could cross four times in one day!