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Weather and Climate of Tanzania

Tanzania’s weather and climate are marked by two hot and dry seasons and two rainy seasons – the main weather conditions that will affect your safari, beach holiday or mountain climb. As with many places in the world, it is getting more and more difficult to rely on predictions as weather patterns are changing. But to give you an idea, we have put together these guidelines on climate and weather in Tanzania.

Tanzania weather and climate Tarangire River


Located near to the equator, Tanzania has a tropical climate and experiences a long dry season and two rainy seasons. It also has regional climatic differences. Northern Tanzania experiences milder temperatures compared to the south, which can be hot and dry. However, the hottest and most humid weather occurs at the coast. At altitude, temperatures are mild year-round, but plummet at night.


Tanzania does not have a classic summer or winter period. Instead, it does have two rainy seasons and a five-month dry season. However, technically there are two dry periods in Tanzania.

The main dry season, from June to October, is the best time for game-viewing in Tanzania. The short rains, often unpredictable, arrive in November to December but have a lesser impact on a safari. A short dry period from January to February can be hot but beautiful. Daily heavy rain can be expected during the long rains that occur from March to May.


The dry season, from June to October, experiences the driest and mildest temperatures in Tanzania. Depending on where you stay, the temperatures range from 20°C (68°F) to 30°C (86°F). June is the coolest month and October the warmest month of the dry season. Temperatures start rising further in November and December. January and February are generally the hottest and most humid months. The wet season, from end of March to May, bring the temperatures down again. At altitude temperatures will feel much colder all year round.


The weather in Tanzania from January to February

January is the start of a short dry period between Tanzania’s two rainy seasons. At the coast, it is the start of the best snorkelling and diving season on the coral reef. Temperatures and humidity rise, but it makes for a beautiful beach break if you like hot temperatures. In the majority of the national parks temperatures settle around 27°C (80°F), but at altitude, like Ngorongoro Crater, temperatures will be much lower.

The short rains earlier in the year make the Serengeti National Park the perfect green nursery for thousands of wildebeest and by February the carving season is well underway.  It is a beautiful time to visit Tanzania with migratory birds in most of the parks. If high temperatures are your thing and you do not mind high humidity a visit to Zanzibar is a good option for you.

Safari vehicle crossing a puddle during the rainy season

The weather in Tanzania from March to May – Tanzania’s low season

The long rains (and low season) commence in March when it can be very hot in Tanzania. However, up until mid-March can be one of the best times to trek Mount Kilimanjaro. Halfway through March extremely moist air, brought inland by the south-east trade wind, collides with hills, craters and mountains, and is forced upwards where it condenses and rains heavily, often occurring in the afternoon.

Mountain pathways become very muddy at the beginning of April, making it not the best time to trek Kilimanjaro. Rain arrives in afternoon thunderstorms. Mount Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro Crater and even the Zanzibar archipelago receive very heavy rain during this period. Despite being one of the wettest months, the majority of accommodations in the northern parks remain open; however, some accommodations in the southern parks can close.

The wildebeest rut, or mating season, starts in May as long column of wildebeest wind northwards in search of grass. Towards mid-May the wildebeest begin to mass in the south-west corridor of the Serengeti National Park and they arrive at the Grumeti River, where ginormous Nile crocodiles lie in wait for the river-crossing to begin.

The weather from June to October – Tanzania’s high season

June is the start of the dry season and the best time to visit Tanzania. Temperatures are dry and pleasant. The great wildebeest migration will be fully underway by June. At altitude nighttime temperatures can plummet.

July is generally the best time to witness the famous wildebeest river-crossing at the Mara River. Throughout Tanzania the landscapes start to dry out and any water source becomes a magnet for wildlife. Chimpanzees at Gombe National Park are easier to see from the beginning of July until the end of the dry season.

August makes for extraordinary game viewing throughout Tanzania and large herds of elephants, numbering 200 to 300 individuals, can be seen in Tarangire National Park and the Ruaha National Park. It is the perfect time to see some rare animals, like the African wild dog and black rhino at Nyerere National Park.

September, like the other months of the dry season, is a great time to visit Zanzibar. However, what makes it even better is that it coincides with the period when turtles hatch on some of the beaches. Making this time of the year perfect for a post-safari beach getaway.

A trek up Mount Kilimanjaro in October will normally result in good weather. For hippo lovers, Katavi National Park in the west of Tanzania will give you the possibility of seeing large numbers. You will also easily spot 4 out of the Big Five here, with only the rhino being absent.

Remember to book early if you would like to visit during this period as it is the high season.

The weather from November to December

The short rains that start in November are very unlikely to impact your trip to Tanzania. Rain normally occurs in short bursts during the heat of the afternoons. It is a beautiful time to visit Tanzania and it marks the start of the returning migratory birds.

As the short rains continue into December the landscapes take on a flush of green. At the coast, divers have the chance to share the ocean with whale sharks. In general, this is a great time to visit Tanzania.

Southern Tanzania

The rainy season in Southern Tanzania lasts longer than in the northern part of the country. The dry season will usually last from June to November and gives way to a long rainy season. Heavy rains can start as early as December and last until March. It may still rain in April and May, but usually less heavy and less frequently. Some camps will close for some parts of the rainy season. Therefore, good planning is important.

Sunset Selous Game Reserve


The best weather for a safari in Tanzania occurs in the dry season. Some parks in northern Tanzania can get quite busy. For wildlife enthusiasts looking for a unique experience during this period, you could choose Nyerere National Park in the south. At this time of the year a diversity of wildlife can be found close to the Rufiji River. Game viewing is exceptional by 4×4, foot or boat.  Lion, buffalo, and elephants can all been seen. You can also see rare animals like the black rhino, wild hunting dog, and sable antelope. All of this, plus: Much fewer other people than in the north.

Lion paws closeup
Arno Snellenberg Tanzania Travel Expert
Tanzania-Experience safari vehicle

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