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What’s the best time for a safari in Tanzania? We share the best times of the year to visit according to weather, prices, crowds, and wildlife viewing chances in our guide.
Learn the overall best, cheapest, least busy, and worst times to visit Tanzania for a safari below!
What’s the Best Time for a Safari in Tanzania?
- Overall best time: July to September
- Cheapest time: November to March
- Least busy time: March to May
- Worst time: November to December
Tanzania is home to Serengeti National Park, African’s highest mountain in Kilimanjaro National Park, and tons of opportunities to spot Africa’s “Big 5” game (elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos).
It’s one of East Africa’s most incredible places for a safari – when you come at the right time of year. So what’s the best time for a safari in Tanzania?
We’ll discuss the best times for a Tanzanian safari in detail below, but let’s hit the highlights to see the best, cheapest, least busy, and worst time for a safari here.
The overall best time for a safari in Tanzania is between the months of July and September. This is the balmy, pleasant winter and Tanzania’s long dry season with the best wildlife viewing opportunities.
The cheapest time of year for a Tanzanian safari is from November to March, or the summer months. This period is the low or green season when wildlife viewing is more difficult with taller grasses and greener landscapes.
The least busy time of year to go on safari in Tanzania is March to May, known for the “long rains.” It’s hot, muddy, and the rainiest time of year here.
The worst time for a safari in Tanzania is November to December, during the “short rains.” It’s very warm, rainy, and hard to view wildlife with the taller grasses and lush greenery at this time of year.
With these general periods in mind, let’s take a closer look at the best time for a safari in Tanzania and what you can expect during each season.
Read next: Best Time for a South African Safari in 2023
Here’s the Best Time for a Safari in Tanzania
Going on safari in Tanzania can be the trip of a lifetime if you know the best time to go and when to avoid planning your trip.
Whether you’re planning your trip based on the best overall time to go, budget, or crowds, keep reading to see the perfect time of year for your trip goals!
Overall Best Time for a Safari in Tanzania
From July to September, Tanzania experiences its driest weather and best opportunities for wildlife viewing.
July to September is Tanzania’s long dry season, with the area getting around 0.3 inches of rain each month. It’s perfect for safaris and temperatures are comfortable.
Expect balmy highs ranging from 72F (July) to 77F (September) during this time of year. It can get chilly in the early morning and night, so prepare by packing layers to keep warm.
The highlight of going on safari in Tanzania between July and September are the amazing opportunities for wildlife viewing.
This period is by far your best chance to glimpse “the big 5” – African elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, and rhinos. There are hundreds of other animals you’ll be able to spot this time of year!
On the downside, prices are higher and booking must be done further in advance since this is Tanzania’s peak safari season. You’ll deal with more crowds, but for the best wildlife viewing chances, it’s worth it.
Cheapest Time for a Safari in Tanzania
The cheapest time for a safari in Tanzania is November through March during the summer green season. Expect more rain, hotter temperatures, and greener landscapes.
The greener landscapes and taller grasses of Tanzanian summers are great for creating picturesque views, but they also reduce your wildlife viewing opportunities during this time of year.
While you’ll reap the rewards of going on safari during the summer with cheaper safari prices, fewer crowds, and better safari booking availability, it’s not the best time to catch views of the big 5 animals in Tanzania.
Instead, consider a shorter safari and leave time to hang out on Tanzania’s beaches, explore the town, and visit the nearby tropical islands Zanzibar and Mafia.
Check out our price guide to learn more about African safari costs!
Least Busy Time for a Safari in Tanzania
March to May is the least busy time for a safari in Tanzania. This is one of Tanzania’s off seasons, prone to “long rains.”
The long rains or masika in Tanzania are part of the area’s regular climate pattern, dumping huge amounts of precipitation on the area from March to May.
As a result, fewer people come out for a safari at this time of year. If you want the fewest crowds, best booking availability, and lower prices, March to May can be the perfect time of year to come.
But it’s also important to consider the downsides of traveling during this time of year to see if it’s worth it for you.
Lush greenery and tall grasses obscure wildlife viewing on safari, you may see more baby animals than adults, and hot temperatures and rain can make safaris less comfortable.
Worst Time for a Safari in Tanzania
November and December are the worst time for a safari in Tanzania because it’s hot, rainy, muddy, and harder to view Tanzania’s amazing wildlife.
As the first months of Tanzania’s rainy, hotter summer season, November and December create less-than-ideal conditions for safaris.
Animals aren’t easily visible in greenery and tall grasses in summer. Average highs are in the 80s and the area gets nearly 9 inches of rain in this 2-month period known as the “short rains.”
Rains happen randomly throughout the day from November to December, and while they’re lighter, they can really put a damper on a safari.
On the bright side, you’ll benefit with lower prices, fewer crowds, more booking availability, and spotting plenty of baby animals at this time of year.
What’s the High Season in Tanzania?
Tanzania’s peak or high season is the winter from June to October. This is the dry season in Tanzania when rainfall falls its yearly minimum at around 0.2 to 0.7 inches per month.
The high season in Tanzania is when tourists arrive in droves in time for the best wildlife viewing opportunities on safari.
During the winter high season, Tanzania sees the Great Wildebeest Migration, the green vegetation and grasses dry out to improve wildlife viewing, and high temperatures fall to a comfortable 72F to 81F.
The high season is full of perks and benefits for travelers, but there are also some downsides to traveling to Tanzania during the winter.
You’ll pay higher prices starting around July, when the Great Wildebeest Migration begins and safaris explode in popularity.
Since more people are booking safaris and hotels, you’re more likely to run into crowds and lines just about everywhere outside of the deep bush.
Conditions can be dusty and windy at this time of year with very little rainfall. In addition, the mornings and nights are a bit chilly – around 55F to 57F during the high season.
What’s the Low Season in Tanzania?
Tanzania’s low season is the summer from November to March. This is the rainy or green season for Tanzania, which receives the most rainfall of the entire year in these few months.
Rainy summer is Tanzania’s low season for a few reasons. One is the incessant rain creating difficult safari conditions and a lot of mud.
Another issue is that all that precipitation encourages fast, lush plant and grass growth. The greenery makes it much harder to spot wildlife on safari.
In addition, you’re more likely to see baby animals and birds than the “big 5” game most people come here to see.
Still, if you enjoy birding or want to benefit from the much lower prices at this time of year, it can be a good time to visit.
Another benefit is that with less-than-ideal safari conditions, heat, and rain, fewer people book safaris during this time so crowds are sparse.
If you can handle the conditions, you may enjoy the less-crowded atmosphere and open booking availability at this time of year.
What Should I Pack on Safari in Tanzania?
Planning a safari in Tanzania at the best time of year puts you one step closer to experiencing all this area has to offer! What items should you pack for a Tanzanian safari?
Here’s a look at what you can’t forget to put in your luggage for a Tanzanian safari.
1. Layered Clothing
Tanzania’s climate is mostly comfortable and mild, but chilly and hot periods make dressing in layers a must.
Bring a light rain jacket, sweatshirt, shorts, pants, and t-shirts with short and long sleeves to prepare for any temperature while you’re there on safari.
2. Sun and Bug Protection
The hot sun and incessant buzz of flying bugs can make a Tanzanian safari a lot less enjoyable without the right preparations.
Pack sun protection – sunscreen SPF 50+, hats, SPF clothing – and bug spray to make your visit more comfortable.
You’ll also be protecting yourself against threats like the Tsetse fly and malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
3. Walking/Hiking Shoes
While on safari, you may spend most of your time in a vehicle, but walking and hiking will definitely be part of your trip. Make sure you’ve got comfy shoes for the occasion!
Good, supportive tennis shoes or lightweight hiking boots are ideal for safari trips. Make sure your shoes are breathable and pack comfortable socks.
Give new shoes a trial run before your trip to ensure they don’t cause pain or lead to blisters.
4. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is essential for your Tanzanian safari and can help you treat minor injuries while you’re far from any hospital.
A basic first aid kit should have various-sized bandages, medical tape, gauze, scissors, and antiseptic for disinfecting.
Consider adding sting relief products, anti-inflammatory OTC meds, anti-diarrhea OTC meds, and a tourniquet for a more robust kit.
You’ll definitely need a daypack to carry your safari supplies and gear easily. You can even use your backpack as a carry-on for your flight to Tanzania to save packing space in your stowed luggage!
Don’t choose a large backpack – it just needs to fit your compass, binoculars, water, a first aid kit, extra sunscreen and bug spray, and maybe an extra jacket or pair of socks.
6. Simple Toiletries
Of course, you’ll also need your toiletries and hygiene items for your trip, but simplify the list to the bare essentials.
Pack travel-sized shampoos, conditioners, and body wash or stick with small shampoo bars and bars of soap. A travel-sized deodorant, floss, and toothpaste with a sturdy toothbrush case should have your basics covered!
7. Waterproof Items
Even if you’re going on safari in Tanzania during the dry winter season, it’s still a good idea to pack waterproof protection for your phone, gadgets, and important papers.
A small or medium-sized dry bag and waterproof phone case are smart to pack for a safari. If a sudden downpour occurs while you’re in an open vehicle, the rain won’t ruin your things!
8. Binoculars and Compass
Going on safari is no fun if you can’t see the wildlife. While some may wander close to your vehicle, others will stay further back and require binoculars to see clearly.
Pack a good pair of binoculars, but know they don’t have to be expensive. A spotting scope is another great item to bring for wildlife viewing!
A compass could save your life if you end up lost inside the huge Serengeti National Park. Make sure to pack one and know how to use it!
9. A Good Book
If you’re going on safari in Serengeti National Park, you’ll spend a lot of time traveling from camp to camp and looking for wildlife.
A good book is a great thing to have when you’ve got downtime, especially while you’re traveling! Pick a book or two and stick them in your daypack.
From food and park fees to tips and souvenirs, you’ll definitely need cash for your safari in Tanzania. The local currency is the Tanzanian shilling, but most places accept US dollars.
Bring a mix of US dollars and Tanzanian shillings to be prepared in any case. You can exchange currency at Tanzanian banks, hotels, and currency exchange bureaus.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have some questions about the best time for a safari in Tanzania? Others did, too. Check out the most frequently asked questions to learn more about planning your trip at the perfect time of year!
What's the best month to go to Tanzania?
July may be the best month to go to Tanzania because it's warm (around 72F), dry, and gives you great chances to spot African wildlife on safari.
The Great Wildebeest Migration occurs in July and it's the ideal time to hang out on the nearby tropical island beaches of Zanzibar and Mafia.
What's the best month to visit the Serengeti?
June may be the best month to visit Serengeti National Park because it's just before the July rate-hike for peak safari season and still features cool, comfortable weather, little rainfall, and great wildlife viewing.
If cost isn't a concern, July is the best month to visit the Serengeti. This is when the Great Wildebeest Migration occurs, wildlife viewing begins its peak season, and temperatures are warm with cooler mornings and nights.
What's the best month to go on a safari?
Anytime between June and September is the best time for a safari in Africa, thanks to great wildlife spotting opportunities and cool, dry weather.
You'll pay higher prices for a safari during this peak time, so check out summer months (November-March) to lower your trip budget.
What's the best time of year to visit Tanzania and Kenya?
The best time of year to visit Tanzania and Kenya is June through September, when conditions are warm and dry with cooler mornings and nights. Wildlife is active and easy to spot on safari at this time of year.
While Tanzania is roughly 500 miles away from Kenya, the two areas experience similar weather patterns and June-September is the best time to visit both.
Which safari is better, Tanzania or Kenya?
Tanzania safaris may be better due to the sheer size and wildlife population in the Serengeti National Park. However, Kenya safaris are slightly cheaper and can be packed into a shorter trip.
If budget and a shorter trip length are your main priorities, go on safari in Kenya. For the best overall experience, go on safari in Tanzania.
The award-winning experts at Go2Africa know their stuff. Browse the best safari packages, custom-made just for you.
So, What’s the Best Time for a Safari in Tanzania?
Overall, July to September is the best time for a safari in Tanzania. The weather is pleasant, animals are easiest to spot with dry vegetation and shorter grasses, and there’s very little rainfall.
If budget is your main concern, the cheapest time for a safari in Tanzania is November to March. Note that these are the rainy summer months with greener vegetation and tall grasses blocking views of wildlife in some areas.
To avoid the biggest crowds, go on safari during the least busy time of year from March to May. It’s the wettest season in Tanzania with the same wildlife viewing issues as summer, so fewer people book safaris at this time.
Whatever you do, try to avoid going on safari in November or December in Tanzania. You’ll have a hard time spotting wildlife at this time of year with lots of greenery and tall grasses.
These summer months are the “short rains” season, bringing near-constant showers that make conditions muddy, humid, and hot.