Tanzania is one of Africa’s top safari destinations. The wildlife viewing is out of this world and big cats are especially easy to see. All members of the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) can be found in various Tanzanian parks and reserves, and all five are present in the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Almost 40% of the country is protected and set aside for conservation, which means that it’s easy to go on a Tanzania safari for 2 full weeks and drive from park to park while rarely leaving the bush.
Tanzania has three safari circuits, and each one of them, in its own right, would make Tanzania a top wildlife destination. The popular Northern circuit with the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater offers one of the best classical safaris in Africa, especially if timed with the annual wildebeest migration. offers excellent wildlife viewing. There are three different safari circuits, and each one of them alone would make Tanzania a great wildlife destination. The Big Five and most other sought-after safari animals are easily seen. The black rhino is very rare throughout, with the exception of the Ngorongoro Crater.
The wildebeest migration is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife spectacles. At least two million ungulates – mainly wildebeest, but also zebra and gazelle – move around the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. The wildebeest calving season is also a very special time to visit. The large concentrations of wildebeest and their calves attract many opportunistic predators, and this is a good time to see some action. The Serengeti is famous for its abundance of big cats and the highly endangered African Wild Dog is relatively easy to find in Nyerere and Ruaha where their numbers are quite healthy. Gombe Stream and Mahale are Africa’s best chimpanzee reserves.
The Dry season (late June to October) is the best time for wildlife viewing. The Wet season (November-May) is often more beautiful and tourist numbers are lower. The best chance for seeing the wildebeest migration is during June and July. The parks in the Southern and Western circuit are less accessible in the long rains (March to May) and some lodges close in that period.
Weather and Climate
Tanzania has a pleasant, tropical climate but has large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. The hottest and most humid part of the country is the coast. Other low-lying areas, such as the western and southern parks, are also hot but less humid. The rest of the interior is much milder and cools down significantly at night. Tanzania has a distinct Dry and Wet season.
Arusha is the town closest to the most popular northern parks and has a comparably mild climate. The peak amount of rainfall in April is considerably less in most parks than in Arusha. The Ngorongoro Crater rim receives quite a lot of rain and is very cold during evenings and mornings due to its high altitude (about 2,300m/7,545ft). Lower lying parks, such as Manyara, Nyerere, Mikumi, Ruaha, Gombe, Mahale Mountains and Katavi, are slightly warmer than Arusha.
Dry Season – June to October
There is very little rainfall during this period and humidity is very low. It cools off at night; be sure to pack warm clothing because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold, especially in the northern parks.
Wet Season – November to May
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Tanzania is during the Dry season, from late June to October, when wildlife viewing is generally at its best. The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is usually during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the Dry season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round.
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration, and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good wildlife viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Nyerere and Ruaha) are best visited in the Dry season, from June to October.