Skip to Content

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Zanzibar in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Zanzibar in 2024

When's the best time to visit Zanzibar?

The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season from June to October when the weather is warm, sunny, and ideal for outdoor activities. This period also aligns with Tanzania’s peak tourism season, offering clear skies and pleasant temperatures. Although prices may rise, it’s a great time to enjoy the beautiful beaches and calm seas, with October marking the transition to the rainy season.

Zanzibar has a lot to offer, from incredible food, pristine beaches, culture, and history, to name a few. While the prospect of a vacation to this exotic Indian Ocean Island is alluring, identifying the ideal time to visit can be challenging.

As a visitor, you want to ensure your interests and expectations align with what’s offered at any given time. We’ll show you the best time to visit Zanzibar for foodies, beach bums, and history buffs so that you can make the most of your stay.

We’ll also warn you of the worst times to visit if you’re looking for peace and relaxation. Keep reading to find out more!

Overall Best Time to Visit Zanzibar

Aerial view of a resort, the beach, and a coastline taken during the best time to visit Zanzibar

Denis Belitsky/Shutterstock

The best time to visit Zanzibar is during the archipelago’s dry season, which runs from June through October. During this time of the year, the weather is warm and sunny, with clear skies and low humidity, making it perfect for outdoor activities.

It also coincides with Tanzania’s peak tourism season, which includes the great wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park. June in Zanzibar marks the start of the long dry season and the end of the island’s wettest season.

The skies are typically clear, and daytime temperatures reach around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). If you want to enjoy water sports during your trip, this is the ideal time as the sea water is relatively calm.

July, the dry season has already set in, with the sun hanging a little longer in the sky. The island also sees many tourists coming to escape the European winter. Prices for accommodations, flights, and car rentals may soar during this period, but it’s still the ideal time to visit Zanzibar.

August and September follow the same trend- high temperatures, sunshine, and beautiful blue seas. The summer season is still at its peak, with hotels registering full occupancy rates.

October marks the end of the dry season and the beginning of the rainy months in Zanzibar. You may experience a temperature drop and light rain intermittently throughout the day. However, don’t let this deter you from visiting Zanzibar this month.

Cheapest Time to Visit Zanzibar

Long expansive stretch of beach pictured at dusk with a sailboat in the background taken during the cheapest time to visit Zanzibar

Denis Belitsky/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to visit Zanzibar is from March until May and November. It’s the off-peak season on the island as most tourists seek other warmer destinations.

During these months, expect reduced hotel rates, flights, rental car costs, excursion fees, and food prices. You’ll also find fewer crowds of tourists at popular sites like Stone Town.

March marks the start of the long rainy season that lasts until May. It’s the wettest time of year in Zanzibar, so pack your rain gear. On the plus side, humidity is lower, so it won’t feel as hot outside.

Locals are also less preoccupied with tourist activities, allowing you to engage, interact and see more of what Zanzibar offers. Take advantage of the lower prices at local markets to purchase souvenirs such as handmade crafts, spices, textiles, or jewelry.

November, like March through May, is another excellent time to save money and explore Zanzibar. It signals the onset of what the locals call “short rains.” During this period, hotel, flight, and car rental rates hit their lowest point, allowing you to stretch your budget.

Least Busy Time to Visit Zanzibar

Aerial view of Paje Village in Zanzibar pictured during the least busy time to visit with no visitors on the beach

Marius Dobilas/Shutterstock

The least busy time to make a trip to Zanzibar is from March through May. This may be the best time if you’re looking for peace, tranquility, and relaxation on your vacation.

The island receives very few tourists during these months due to the long rainy season. It also coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, which usually falls in the same period (March to April).

Most major attractions, such as Stone Town’s old city, have few visitors and are calm and easy to navigate. Plus, the jubilant moods accompanying this festivity add to an unparalleled experience. Expect shorter lines at attraction sites, uncrowded beaches, and lower prices for accommodations.

With fewer visitors, you can explore independently and get closer and personal with local culture. Many attraction sites will also offer discounts to help promote tourism during the slow season.

However, expect only a few hotels and restaurants to operate as most take advantage of the low tourist traffic to do significant renovations and train staff.

Some smaller airlines may also have reduced flights, so plan by booking your tickets in advance. Also, outdoor activities might not be available due to unpredictable weather conditions.

Worst Time to Visit Zanzibar

Dark storm cloud over Zanbiar pictured during the rainy season, the overall worst time to visit


Due to heavy rain and stormy weather, March through May are the worst months to visit Zanzibar. During this period, you’ll experience more downpours and less sunshine than at other times of the year.

Because the island is still underdeveloped, anticipate the roads to be slippery and unusable. You may even experience occasional power outages in most facilities.

Most social amenities such as shops, eateries, and restaurants will close due to the low demand during these months.

Expect few local guides for hire as most take time off with their families and friends. There are also few products on offer from local vendors and stores, making shopping difficult.

Tourist activities and tours that would typically be a highlight during other seasons, such as snorkeling or fishing trips, can’t operate during this time. Boats have difficulty navigating the choppy waters, which may result in canceled excursions.

Beaches also become inaccessible due to high waves and potential flooding. Due to Zanzibar’s poor sewage system, waterborne illnesses like typhoid and bilharzia are more prevalent.

As a visitor, this puts you at risk of contracting these diseases if you’re not careful about your surroundings. While the island has pleasant temperatures year-round, ranging from 82°F to 93°F, it’s best to avoid this particular season.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Zanzibar?

Stone Town in Zanzibar pictured during the best time to visit with an open-air market with people walking around

STONE TOWN, ZANZIBAR – February 15, 2016: Local people on a street in Stone Town. Stone Town is the old part of Zanzibar City, the capital of Zanzibar, Tanzania/Koverninska Olga/Shutterstock

👍 Best Time to VisitJune-October
💲 Cheapest Time to VisitMarch-May & November
🗓️ Least Busy Time to VisitMarch-May
👎 Worst Time to VisitMarch-May

The overall best time to visit Zanzibar is June through October (archipelago dry season). The warm weather allows you to enjoy all your favorite outdoor activities.

For more budget-friendly options, March through May and November are great times as they fall in the long and short rainy seasons. However, if you’re looking for the least busy period, March through May is your best bet.

It falls in the long rainy season, therefore less crowd. The worst time to visit the island is during the long rainy season from March through May. Now that you’re up to date on the various periods to visit Zanzibar, start planning your trip!