– Last Updated on: 1st December 2023
October is a fantastic month to visit Tanzania. Along the beautiful Swahili coastline, the weather is perfect for a tropical beach getaway or island hopping along the Zanzibar archipelago. Inland, safari goers will witness the dramatic final month of the dry season, where a vast array of wildlife never strays far from the last remaining water sources. At the same time, those with summit ambitions will relish trekking Mount Kilimanjaro or the wilder, less frequented Mount Meru in good weather. Or, combine any one of those options for a holiday of a lifetime. With world-class accommodation, exceptional hospitality and fusion food, you’re in for a treat.
Weather in Tanzania in October
Tanzania has a tropical climate, which means there are no winter and summer seasons. Instead, the country experiences two rainy and two dry seasons.
In general, October offers warm, pleasant, and dry weather in Tanzania. It marks the end of the dry season that started in June, making it an excellent time for a safari as the sparse vegetation makes it easier to spot various animals and birds along the river banks. The coastal regions are warm with low humidity, creating idyllic weather for a beach retreat.
Temperatures in Tanzania remain consistently warm in October. However, early morning game drives can get chilly, so it’s recommended to pack a warm layer that can be taken off as morning temperatures rise through the day.
If you plan to stay at altitude, temperatures and rainfall can vary significantly. For instance, if you visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ngorongoro Crater, you will spend the night on the rim of the largest unbroken caldera in the world. At 2300m above sea level, temperatures fall rapidly at night, and frost occurs regularly.
From mid to the end of October, Tanzania undergoes a transition period marking the start of the short rains in East Africa. However, the likelihood of precipitation is unpredictable and may not happen until November. In case it rains, it typically occurs in afternoon storms and should not affect your experience. To experience the end of the dry season in the midst of nature will awaken all of your senses.
Average temperature in Tanzania in October
In Tanzania, temperatures during October typically range from 25°C to 30°C (77°F to 86°F) along the coastline and inland. However, in higher altitude areas, temperatures can drop to 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F), which can feel quite chilly. Despite this, it will still be warm in the sun.
October marks the end of a five-month-long dry season that begins in June. During the dry season, the temperature gradually rises as each month passes until it peaks in October. Towards the middle to late October, trade winds bring in moist air, leading to a phenomenon known as the short rains. These rains last from November to mid-December, and temperatures remain relatively stable throughout this time, with no significant decrease in temperature.
Tanzania safari in October
Why is October so special for a safari in Tanzania? For the wildlife, October is a month of great challenge and hope. Five months have passed since the last rain gave life to Tanzania’s national parks, and the landscapes are at their driest. Yet the short rains that arrive, often unpredictably, in November are tantalisingly close.
At this time of year, water is scarce, forcing predators and prey into close proximity as they congregate near the remaining water sources. As rivers diminish to small trickles, herbivores seem to mass into mega herds, and large flocks of birds, such as Quelea and Bee-eaters, arrive in synchronised clouds to drink from muddy hippo pools.
Every day that passes without rain means that the herds of animals must travel long distances to and from the river in search of food. This results in the formation of well-worn tracks which animals of all sizes use to travel along. Warm winds whip up dust devils that spiral high into the sky, adding to the unique atmosphere of the season.
The Hamerkop, also known as the legendary “Lightning Bird”, is believed to bring rain and can be spotted pacing along the river’s edge as if performing a rain dance. At the same time, elephants, who are thought to sense the vibrations of distant storms through their large fleshy pads, communicate through rumbling calls and seem to announce the arrival of the rains.
Towards the end of October, storm clouds form, providing hope for the imminent respite to the parched land. Visiting Tanzania on a safari in October will allow visitors to witness the struggle of life, where the weak fall prey to predators and all living things await the coming rains in anticipation. Witness the end of the dry season and experience the dramatic sights, sounds, and smells of nature.
Locational highlights to see and do in Tanzania during October:
- The wildebeest in the northern Serengeti National Park migrate back south and cross the Mara River for the second time.
- At Lake Natron, thousands of breeding flamingos can be seen on the red waters, with the beautiful conical shape of Ol Doinyo Lengai standing tall in the background.
- Due to the dry river in Katavi National Park, hundreds of hippos are forced into cramped, muddy pools and countless crocodiles into riverbank caves.
- At Tarangire National Park, you will find some of the largest herds of elephants residing close to the banks of the Tarangire River.
- Migrating Humpback whales can often be seen off the islands of Zanzibar, Chumbe, and Mafia.
- You can also swim with beautiful Whale Sharks near Mafia Island.
- If you love trekking, October is still a good month to trek to the summit of Mount Meru or Mount Kilimanjaro.
- Lastly, enjoy the Art festival at Bagamoyo, which happens at the end of September or early October.
Cost of visiting Tanzania in October
October marks the end of the dry season and is also the final month of the high season in Tanzania. As a result, most properties and national parks charge high season rates during October. However, don’t be discouraged by the high season prices, as October is still a great month to visit. The main advantage of visiting Tanzania in October is that wildlife viewing is still at its best, and there are fewer visitors than during July and August, which means you can expect excellent sightings without the crowds.
To avoid missing out, it’s recommended to book your safari well in advance, as still quite a few people tend to plan their trip during this time. You can also experience an incredible wildebeest migration safari by visiting the northern Serengeti National Park in October. Witness the vast herds returning from the Masai Mara National Reserve and avoid the crowds that come with other months. Plan your safari in October for an unforgettable experience.
What to wear in Tanzania in October
By now, you will have discovered that October is a pleasant month to visit Tanzania, but you may be wondering what to wear. Here are our main tips:
- Keep it light, soft and simple.
- Soft, light-coloured clothing with long sleeves and trousers is recommended to shield from the sun and biting insects.
- Avoid camouflage and bright colours, including dark blue and black.
- Bring warm clothes for nighttime and early morning game drives.
- Sun protection, such as hats and shades, is highly recommended.
- If you plan to wear flip-flops, please bring closed shoes for game drives and sitting around the campfire at night.
- Pack your swimsuit for a refreshing swim in one of the many lodge pools.
- Pack something smart to enjoy a classic safari dinner.
- If you are visiting Zanzibar, it is customary to dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees in public places.
Going to Tanzania in October is a great option if you want to enjoy excellent wildlife sightings but see slightly fewer other tourists than between July and September. Be aware that the most popular safari destinations will still see a fair number of visitors though.
Get in touch with us to plan your Tanzania holiday in October!