When planning a trip to Tanzania, it is important to decide what time is best for you to travel. There are several parts of the country that can be visited all year, and yet, there are some items on your itinerary that might be affected by weather or migratory patterns. For example, visiting the Ngorongoro Crater is easy to do year-round since it is in the northern part of the country. However, depending on where you are in the country and when can affect what the wildlife is up to or if they are simply in another part of the country.
Another important thing to factor in is what travel documents you need for your trip. Understanding what the costs of the Tanzania visa is, or simply knowing what the common wait times for the visa are can make planning your holiday more enjoyable. Read below to get a better understanding of the best times to travel to Tanzania, as well as the process for obtaining the visa.
July and August are the peak season, and for a reason; the weather is perfect for animal spotting. There is also a large migration each year at roughly this time when the wildebeest cross the Mara River. Many tourists come to this river every year in hopes of catching these magnificent animals crossing the river all at once in an impressive frenzy. It is a sight to behold for sure. Of course each year there are slight changes to the migration patters of the animals, so consulting your tour guide is very handy.
It is not only the wildebeests crossing or spending time at the river. This is the perfect time to spot elephants, zebras, rhinos, hippopotamus, lions and many other types of animals as well. In the dry season, animals concentrate around waterholes and riverbeds, so it is much easier to spot wildlife throughout all of Tanzania.
There are many other reasons why the dry season is so popular. For example, this time of year, there are much fewer mosquitoes because of the dry weather. This can be a huge plus when factoring travel with family. Although there are fewer mosquitoes, it is important to still look into whether you should take malarial medicine with you. Most EU and UK government authority websites recommend travelling to Tanzania with malaria medicine throughout the entire year.
The weather is also generally cooler throughout the country during this time of year. It may be handy to wear layers and pack warmer clothes for early mornings and late evenings. The plus side is that the climate tends to be dry and skies tend to be clear and sunny throughout the country. Also, the foliage is less dense because of the arid weather. Which makes it an ideal time for animal spotting.
Although the official peak is July and August, these perks can be obtained roughly between June and October. The weather is basically dry, and the animals are still easy to spot. So if you are not specifically travelling to watch the migrations, you can still enjoy the good climate, superb wildlife spotting, and sunny skies while possibly avoiding larger crowds and peak prices.
Wet and dry seasons
Tanzania experiences a major wet season is from March to May, and the major dry season is from June to October. Then there is a short wet season from November to December, followed by a shorter dry season in January and February.
November through February can be a common time for snow birds from the Northern Hemisphere to come to Tanzania and enjoy the beaches and coasts. Because Tanzania is just south of the equator, it is a great place for people from colder, northern climates to come and enjoy the warmer weather. The rains in March through May are especially heavy on the coast, which makes it difficult to travel there if you really want some sun and clear waters.
The mini dry season is an ideal time to travel if you would like to do some spectacular bird-watching. Also, wildebeest calving season is from January to March in the southern plains. Hundreds of calves are born each day, which as an amazing sight to behold.
From November through February, the average temperature throughout the country is from 30 — 32° C. Of course, in some spots, these temperatures will vary. In cities with higher elevations, you will experience temperature drops well below 10° C.
When to avoid the wet season
Certain travel experiences can be enjoyed year round. For example, Northern Circuit reserves such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro usually have wonderful wildlife sighting throughout the year. However, there are a few reserves in the southern and western parts of the country that experience a significant drop in animal sightings because the animals tend to migrate north at that time.
The rains tend to affect the western and southern parts of the country more. Roads become washed out and because the parks are so enormous, the animals spread out, which makes spotting them much harder. Therefore, safari-going is still definitely possible in the wet seasons, but tends to remain more manageable in the northern part of the country.
Of course, one of the most popular things to do in Tanzania is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. While it is technically possible to climb the mountain all year, it is important to factor in that particularly bad rain can make your chances of reaching the summit much more difficult and maybe impossible. The seasonal rains can make the routes slippery and hard to navigate.
Climbing in the dry season is more widely recommended. And it is helpful to remember that climbing during the shorter dry season in January-February will be a bit warmer because it is summer there.
Apply for the Tanzania Visa
The Tanzania visa can easily be applied for online from the comfort of your own home. There is no need to visit any embassies or worry about in-person interviews. The process has been made rather simple, but do keep in mind that once the visa has been applied and paid for, it might take up to a month to receive the approval. So it is important to plan and apply for the Tanzania visa with plenty of time to spare. After the visa has been approved, you much print the visa and take it with you on your trip. With this visa, it is possible to spend a maximum of 30 days in Tanzania.