Nestled on the southeastern coast of Africa, Tanzania provides a vibrant natural environment and fascinating culture to visit on your next vacation. Tanzania lies on the Indian Ocean between Kenya to the north, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Malawi and Mozambique to the south.
Folks flock to Tanzania throughout the year for unbeatable wildlife viewing and tremendous hiking, and other natural sightseeing.
While the great outdoors is the biggest draw for tourists to Tanzania, visitors will also enjoy the friendly and welcoming people and local festivals in this African nation. Tanzania holds many amazing things to discover.
This country hosts a busy season and a slower season for visitors to decide if they want to enjoy a bustling trip or a secluded getaway. Like many exotic locations around the world, tourists should review guidelines and considerations before traveling to Tanzania.
Why You Should Visit Tanzania
Tanzania’s tropical climate provides a delightful range of temperatures and climates, depending on the place and altitude you are visiting. Tanzania boasts incredible experiences for every adventurer.
If you have always wanted to go on a safari, Tanzania provides the perfect place. Most of the country consists of 17 game reserves, including three enormous game reserves called the Rungwa Game Reserve, Kizigo Game Reserve, and Muhesi Game Reserve.
In fact, Tanzania is often found at the top of our list of the overall best safaris in Africa!
These three largest reserves make up 17,000 square miles of Tanzania’s thrilling landscape. Game reserves provide protected areas for wildlife and foliage to flourish. This conservation effort is open to the public and does provide opportunities for tourists, with sightseeing safaris.
A dazzling array of animals roam free in these lands, providing an unbeatable chance to see these unbelievable species. Tanzania boasts the ability to see the “Big Five” of the African game: rhinos, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and lions.
In addition to seeing wildlife like elephants, rhinos, and lions, these conservation areas also protect valuable ecosystems. Many of these reserves support several different types of ecosystems.
From grassy savannas stretching as far as the eye can see to dense riverine forests near sources of water, there’s all different types of enviroments. Essential birds, insects, and other small animals thrive in these protected areas and contribute to the health of the overall environment.
Near the northern border between Tanzania and Kenya rises the unmistakable Mount Kilimanjaro. This snow-capped volcanic mountain lies near the equator, making it an amazing site.
It is unusual to see snow in Africa, but this largest peak on the continent makes it possible. Mt. Kilimanjaro rises more than 19,000 feet in altitude. This mountain is also the world’s largest free-standing mountain, as this peak is not part of a larger mountain range.
Climbers can achieve this feat over five to eight days of mountain climbing. Visit the larger Mt. Kilimanjaro National Park that surrounds this peak, as it is a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site since 1987.
Unique species like the blue monkey live on the mountain, which is an extinct volcano, except for its largest of the tree peaks, Kibo.
Enjoy the tropical climate of Tanzania on its many famous beaches. This nation provides an interesting opportunity to experience where African and Arab nations collide.
Zanzibar, an archipelago off the eastern coast and one of the most stunning locations in Tanzania, is a Muslim country. Zanzibar beckons you with thrilling deserted islands and remote sandbars to explore.
See the ruins of the former sultan’s palaces and plantations or see where their slaves lived in isolated caves. The history of these islands is tremendous, as a notable location for early explorers to stop and trade.
In addition to the island location of Zanzibar, other beaches boast delightful places to view distinct wildlife or simply relax. Enchanting Tanzania continues to amaze tourists with the untouched beauty of its coasts and waterways, inviting visitors to swim, snorkel, or dive in these natural wonderlands.
Coastal temperatures are hot and humid, with frequent chances for rain, providing a break from the dry expanses of interior Tanzania.
Overall Best Time to Visit Tanzania
Plan to visit this dynamic African country during the extended dry season. Trips from July to September provide an opportunity to enjoy fantastic weather and see spectacular wildlife responding to the ancient influences of Mother Nature.
July begins cool and dry, making it an ideal time for travelers to visit. Because the dry season is beginning, wildlife emerges from their isolated grazing or hunting grounds to gather the ever-diminishing forms of water and food.
As August arrives, wildlife viewing reaches its peak for the year. Enormous migration patterns begin, including the Great Migration. This yearly event provides the best illustration of nature’s circle of life.
Wildebeest provides the largest spectacle during this huge movement of wildlife from the dry south to locations of freshly grown grass in the north as the wet season begins.
More than two million wildebeest make the journey every year. Lively festivals combine with unbeatable wildlife watching for a well-rounded experience in Tanzania.
Events like the Festival of the Dhow Countries, the Zanzibar International Film Festival, and the Bagamoyo International Festival of Arts and Culture invite visitors to experience the dynamic way of life in Tanzania. Because the dry season gives tourists iconic experiences, visitors must anticipate much higher travel costs.
Also, availability is more limited for excursions like safaris and admission to the Serengeti. Be sure to plan your visit to Tanzania well in advance, especially if traveling during this peak season.
Cheapest Time to Visit Tanzania
For there to be an exciting dry season in Tanzania, a wet season must nurture the land and animals. From March to May, drenching rains cover this nation in sudden downpours.
Roads can become muddy and impassable, making more isolated adventures much more difficult. While the rainy weather can dampen spirits, birdwatchers will love this time of year.
Animals behave differently and provide different experiences for dedicated wildlife spectators during this season if you are willing to endure random and frequent downpours.
If you have typically visited during the summer and fall peak season, you will enjoy the lush greenery that pops up during this time of year. Because this weather does not appeal to many, the early spring and summer months provide the cheapest time for tourists to visit Tanzania.
Do your research to see which hotels close during the wet season or if the lodging offers slow-season discounts. Many outdoor activities can be unexpectedly canceled due to inclement weather.
Least Busy Time to Visit Tanzania
The wet season from March to May provides the least busy time to visit Tanzania. Because of the high probability of rain, visitors may shy away from traveling during the spring and early summer.
These months deliver a quieter experience in Tanzania, but not necessarily a less interesting or dynamic period. To prepare for the Great Migration later in July and August, many species give birth to their new babies during the slow, wet spring.
See baby wildebeest and more amazing creatures during this time of year. Birdwatchers will love to visit Tanzania during its slow spring season.
Thousands of migratory birds flock to this African nation to breed. The island archipelago of Zanzibar sees an explosion of birds people cannot easily see otherwise.
Worst Time to Visit Tanzania
The worst time to visit Tanzania proves to be a subjective question, depending on the type of adventure you are planning. Tourists interested in seeing wildlife migrate and be easily seen out in the open should plan to visit in the late summer and fall.
However, traveling to Tanzania from June to October provides a busy time for visitors, making it competitive to experience safaris and other incredible moments. If you are looking for a quiet and isolated visit, the worst time for you to visit is the jam-packed summer and fall seasons.
However, remember these wet months may provide different obstacles other than bustling groups of people. The wet season can prompt hotels to close and vendors to cancel safaris and mountain climbing excursions.
Things to Consider
Whether you are traveling to Tanzania for the first time or have visited before, it’s helpful to review lists of considerations for safe and fun travel:
Stunning photographs, cultural trinkets, and unforgettable memories should be the only souvenirs you bring home from your trip to Tanzania. Be sure your vaccination record is current to stay healthy while traveling in Tanzania.
Before traveling to any location on the African continent, the following immunizations are recommended:
- Yellow Fever
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
Travelers should review the timing recommendations for these vaccines to ensure they are fully covered by their shots before arriving in Tanzania. Typically receiving immunizations at least three months in advance of a trip is sufficient.
In addition to these standard vaccinations, review official sources like the Centers for Disease Control for the most up-to-date guidance on immunizations needed in Tanzania.
What to Carry With You
Tourists should always carry their passports, necessary visas, and other forms of verification at all times when traveling in Tanzania. Visitors recommend using cash in this African nation instead of traveler’s checks or credit cards.
Especially during the rainy season, carry an umbrella, raincoat, or another way to shield yourself from the relentless weather. While the rain rarely lasts all day long, the downpours can be hefty.
When it’s not raining, this African country can deliver very high temperatures. As Tanzania lies near the equator, it boasts a tropical climate. During the day, visitors can expect hot and humid temperatures, especially near the coast.
Drier, hotter weather persists when visiting game reserves and other inland destinations. Carry sunscreen and a sun hat to protect yourself from the rays, especially in the late morning and afternoon. Tropical climates cool off considerably at night, especially in desert-like locations in the Serengeti.
Bring a jacket, sweater, or other light layers to keep you warm at night when the temperature cools off considerably. In addition to sunscreen, bug spray is also recommended for trips to Tanzania.
Diseases like malaria and yellow fever are contracted by humans via mosquitos. Avoid serious illnesses and daily annoyances alike by using bug spray to protect against mosquitos and other bothersome insects.
The views in Tanzania can’t be beaten. Be sure always to carry your camera and learn to use it! Wildlife photography doesn’t get any better than in this African nation.
Experiment with the advanced settings and other features of your camera before your trip, so you are familiar enough with your equipment to capture these unforgettable sights. Purchase a sim card to help you use your cell phone during your trip to Tanzania.
Mobile phones can’t connect to your typical cell phone service provider when you travel internationally.
Instead, you can purchase an affordable card to insert into your phone and allow you to use the Internet in another country. A sim card helps you maintain your independence while traveling by providing you with familiar, English-language resources to help you navigate the country.
Don’t want to do the research yourself? No worries. Check out our top picks for international SIM cards to buy before travelling abroad.
Tanzania is an African nation, straddling the African and the Arab world because of its geographic location. These truths can set up cultural differences travelers around the world must understand.
According to the United States Department of State and Bureau of Consular Affairs, Tanzania holds important considerations for travelers. Terrorist groups can attack in Tanzania and often target places where foreigners congregate, like embassies.
Violent crime like assault, mugging, and carjacking is common. Because of limited resources, police in Tanzania may not be equipped to respond quickly and help travelers.
People in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other sexual and gender orientations may experience harassment or violence. Evidence of members of the LGBTQ+ community being arrested and harassed, and even charged with crimes exists in Tanzania.
Those who identify as members of this community could experience forced examinations or other traumatic experiences based on a tourist’s sexual orientation.
Travelers in the LGBTQ+ community must travel with extreme care in Tanzania. Places like Zanzibar in Tanzania are majority Muslim regions. This means cultural considerations like the modest dress for women and no alcohol exist here.
Guests who wish to travel safely must learn the cultural traditions of these areas to avoid uncomfortable situations. All travelers should avoid public displays of affection here, especially LGBTQ+ individuals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about Tanzania through these frequently asked questions:
Is Tanzania a friendly country?
Yes! Millions of visitors travel to Tanzania every year and have a great time. Seek out organized travel groups to have the safest experience in Tanzania.
What food is Tanzania known for?
Like many African nations, a thick, starchy mixture called ugali is the staple food. Rice is also a popular food with spices like ginger, cinnamon, and cloves providing signature flavors.
Can you drink alcohol in Tanzania?
In the mainland Tanzania, alcohol is available in restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and other locations without restriction. As the islands of Zanzibar are Muslim nations, there is no alcohol available there.
What is the best currency to use in Tanzania?
The national currency of Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling. However, the United States dollar is widely accepted as well and is highly recommended for travelers to use.
Do you tip in Tanzania?
Tipping in Tanzania is not required but appreciated. If you choose to travel using a taxi or private car instead of public transportation, expect to tip your driver regularly.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Tanzania?
The best time to visit Tanzania is summer through fall for the mesmerizing mass animal migrations. This dry season provides unforgettable moments of wildlife action.
And the wet season is quieter, seeing bursts of foliage and tremendous bird-watching opportunities. In either case, before traveling in Tanzania, be sure to conduct extensive research to stay safe and healthy in this African nation.
Regardless of the time you choose to visit Tanzania, you’ll be greeted by amazing views, serenity that you can only find here, and friendly locals. So what are you waiting for — book your trip to Tanzania today!