A Guide To Seasonal Travel In Tanzania : Tanzania is a stunning destination, a masterpiece bordering the Indian Ocean in the east, Kenya and Uganda in the north, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo in the West and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique in the south. This spectacular tourist destination is endowed with the state-of-art attractions making it a must-visit country for every safari-goer.
This marvelous country is home to magnificent attractions including the majestic Kilimanjaro Mountain, the highest peak in Africa; Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world and the world-famous Serengeti which hosts the world’s magical event, yes the Great Migration, an annual circular movement of about 1.5 million wildebeest, 250,000 zebras and 200,000 gazelles from the southern part of Serengeti to the northern part.
All these and other off-the-beaten path attraction draw the attention of over 1.4 million visitors per year from every corner of the world. Since Tanzania is merely blessed with uncountable attractions, a visitor has to be specific on the time he/she will visit this beautiful country. And indeed, the choice of the time depends on one’s holiday, budget and what he/she wants to explore.
There are two main seasons in Tanzania which are dry season and wet season. Here is a summary about these two seasons and the significance of planning your trip in these seasons;
The dry season;
The dry season commences in June to October. During this time, there is little or no rains at all. Thus, rough roads in the parks are very passable since there is no muddy and the vegetation is thinner. Malaria is unlikely to affect the visitors during this season since mosquitoes are very few. Animals gather in surviving water sources giving you a chance to observe them in large herds close to water sources. All accommodation facilities are open in the dry season. However, during the dry season most parks become crowded. You are required to book early to avoid competing with others. You have to choose a season based on what you want to see.
The wet season;
the wet season starts from November to May receiving heavy rains leading to blockage of some roads due to accumulation of muddy and silt. High number of mosquitoes is reported during this season. Due to impassability of many roads, this season receives the smallest number of tourists causing the closure of many accommodation facilities. However, from January to March the migratory birds settle in the forests and shores for breeding. Therefore, this is the best time for birders and ornithologists to visit.
Wet season receives low number of visitors and the cost of safari services is minimum. This season is wonderful if you have family and you want to cut the cost of a safari.
For birdwatching, the best time is between January and March when the migratory birds are settled for breeding.
The best time to visit Tanzania
For Climbers and Hikers; Being to the majestic Kilimanjaro Mountain and its little wild brother, Mount Meru alongside with other splendid mountain ranges, makes Tanzania a hotspot for hiking, trekking and climbing activities. If you are not a fan of high peaks like Kilimanjaro (5895m) and Mount Meru (4566m), other spectacular mountain ranges like Usambara Mountains, Udzungwa Mountains and Mount Ol Doinyo Lengai. The best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and Meru is during the dry season when the routes to the summit are easily passable.
However, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro through the Lemosho route, is superb during the wet season because vegetation is green and some animals can be spotted in this wonderful route.
For Birders; Birding is one of the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is obtained in different national parks in Tanzania. Unlike other activities such game viewing which are best achieved in the dry season, birding is achieved in the wet season. Some bird-watching sites for birders and ornithologists include Tarangire, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara and Arusha national parks.
For instance, Tarangire is a best best-watching site with the largest avian population which always convert mammal watchers into bird-watchers, possibly due to the presence of beautiful colorful birds. The best time to visit the park for birding activities is from November to April. At this time, most of the bird species are breeding making them less nomadic. The Eurasian and north African migratory species nest during wet season and becomes semi-resident in the Tarangire. So it is easier to spot most birds with their breeding plumage at this time.
Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area are homes to endemic bird species like Ashy starling and rufous-tailed weaver. Lake Manyara and Lake Natron hosts the massive population of pink flamingos and other water birds worth watching.
For Wildlife Viewers; An unforgettable wildlife adventure safari, consider planning a trip during the dry season which starts from June to October every year. However, if you are interested in trekking the Great Migration, some important events happen in the wet season. For example, between January and February the herd gives birth to about 500,000 calves. This event takes place in the southern part of Serengeti, particularly in the Ndutu area and it worth watching. You can also encounter other animals like Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, antelopes and felines in this part of Serengeti.
The rough roads of the parks like Nyerere National Park are usually accumulated with muddy in the rainy season making it difficult to pass through. Therefore, game drives are rewarding in the dry season than in the wet season.
During the dry season, most animals accumulate near to the water sources like rivers, lakes and swamps. So, stunning views and encounters are usually observed close to the sources of water. For instance, during dry season, a large population of elephants move closer to the Tarangire river, a lifeline of the Tarangire National Park. At this time, large herds of Cape buffalos, antelopes, wildebeest and zebras go after water in the Tarangire river and its tributaries. Similarly, hunting animals like lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and wild dogs also gather close to this river for water and easy predation.
For Camping; Camping prices differ from time to time depending on the season of your travel.
What are the best seasons for safari in Tanzania?
There are four main seasons namely high season, mid-season, peak season and low season.
High Season. The high season always starts from June to August. During this time, the parks and other destinations receive large number of tourists. Such large number of visitors drives the cost of the safari packages and accommodation services high. For instance, the accommodation facilities are costlier in this season so do the entrance fees. If you are book a safari during this season, you must be aware of the higher prices of accommodation facilities which you will encounter.
Mid-season. This one starts from around September to October when the number of visitors begin to decline. During this time, you will enjoy little discount in accessing accommodation services including tented camps, private campsites, hotels, lodges and others.
Peak Season. This season is between December and March when the prices of safaris go up during the Christmas and New Year Holidays so do the prices for camping. In this season, accommodation facilities like hotels, lodges and tented camps try to surprise their clients with packages or supplements for holidays. These supplements can be camping gears and other things.
Low Season. This is the rainy season when most park roads are impassable due to accumulation of mud. Most of seasonal campsites and mobile camps close during this season. The remaining ones drops the price in order to attract as many visitors as possible. Low season is between April and May.
Generally, during dry season (June-October), most destinations are visited by many tourists thus causing a little competition in the camping areas. If you want a good budget safari without breaking your bank account, consider planning your trip in the wet season especially between April and May. You will also enjoy the spectacular views of wild animals and birds in less crowded destinations.
For Chilling in the coolest breezed beach; Tanzania is home to nicest beaches that are found in the Northern Coast and Southern Coast as well as the idyllic beautiful sandy beaches in the Zanzibar archipelago. The best time for beach holiday is throughout the year though a visit during the dry season is superb.
Tanzania has every reason to be visited by any dedicated safari-goer whose intention is get lost in the Mother Nature of the splendid destinations situated in every corner of Tanzania. Consider planning a Tanzania safari tour. You won’t regret it.