Best time to visit Tanzania for a safari

Best time to visit Tanzania for a safari

Best time to visit Tanzania for a safari: One of the frequently asked question about Tanzania safaris by tourists is the best time to visit Tanzania for a safari, Tanzania is a popular safari destination in East Africa boosting many national parks and attractions luring tourists from all over the world to go for a Tanzania safari. The best time to visit Tanzania depends on many factors with weather and climatic conditions as the overall of other factors.

This article answers the frequently asked question of when is the best time to visit Tanzania for a safari.

best time to visit tanzania

Weather

Tanzania is situated within the tropic of Capricorn which influences the little varying temperature range throughout the year with average temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius during day and usually drops to 15 degrees Celsius at night. Tanzania is typically warm during days and cool in the evening throughout the year and the temperatures drop below the freezing point on Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru

Tanzania weather conditions comprises of dry and wet season,

Dry season

The dry season in Tanzania is experienced in two seasons that is from June to October, in this period

  • June and July are the best months for watching the wildebeest migration
  • August and September is the best time for watching Wildebeest River crossing in northern Serengeti national park.
  • The skies are more clear and they days are sunny.
  • morning are cold as well as nights
  • Less or no amount of rainfall is received.

Dry season in Tanzania is a peak season with many tourists crowding the parks.

Wet season

Wet season in Tanzania is received in two distinct rain seasons that are long rains and short rains, the longs in Tanzania are received from November to May. In the wet season the scenery in the park is green and the parks are less crowded, due to less crowds in the parks prices are fair most especially accommodation.

Tanzania Safari season and travel advice

Tanzania experiences two safari seasons that are peak/high season and low or green season, each of these seasons has various characteristics.

Peak/high season

Peak/high season in Tanzania is experienced in June to October which is a long dry season, this season is characterized of

  • highest rates
  • cool and dry weather
  • high crowds in the parks
  • good photography conditions
  • fewer migrant birds are present
  • fewer baby animals are around

Visiting Tanzania’s destinations in the peak season requires booking in advance.

Low or Green season

Low/green season is experienced in the period of January – March and November to December, this period is characterized of

  • low rates
  • hot and occasionally wet weather conditions
  • Lots of new born babies are around
  • Lots of migrant bird are present which makes it a perfect time for bird watching
  • Landscapes in the parks are green with best light of the year for photography

Visiting Tanzania in the period does not require booking too far in advance.

Best time to visit Serengeti national park

Serengeti national is the most popular national park and Tanzania safari destination with an exceptional game activity throughout the year including the wildebeest migration, most tourists visiting Serengeti national park visit in order to view the wildebeest migration. Wildebeest migration in Serengeti national park is experienced in periods of May – June and late January to March which is also the best time to view this incredible happening.

May – June

In the period of May – June, the wildebeest migration is best sighted in the western regions of Serengeti national park and northerner section of the park for river crossings. Wildebeest migration in the western regions of the park is best sighted at Singita Faru Faru lodge and Ubuntu migration camp, in the northern region of Serengeti national park, the migration’s river crossing is sighted around camps like Lamai Serengeti, Olakira Migration camp and Serian’s Serengeti North.

Late January – February and March

This period is the carving season in the wildebeest migration which happens in the southern region of Serengeti national park, carving season is an action-packed experience of wildlife action as lions, cheetahs and other predators such as hippos and crocodiles attack the newly born calves. The exciting game action is best sighted at Kimondo migration camp and Lake Masek Tented camp.

For other safari activity in Serengeti national park, the best time to visit the park is in the dry season from June to October, dry season is usually a peak season thus the park being crowded and accommodation fees be high. For travelers trying to avoid crowds and visit Serengeti national park on a budget, the best time is late march and April, this period is a wet season and the park is almost empty.

Time table for sighting wildebeest migration events in Serengeti national park.

Event of migration Time of the year
Calving or birthing season January to March
Intense big cat action January to March
Rutting

(period of sexual excitement, reproductive activity and mating battles between males)

January to March
Grumeti river crossing May to July
Mara River crossings July to September

Best time to visit Ngorongoro conservation area

Ngorongoro conservation area is one the most scenic destinations in Tanzania and a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the scenic Ngorongoro crater, the world’s largest unbroken volcanic caldera. The best time to visit Ngorongoro conservation area is the dry season in the period from June – October, this period is considered to be the best time of the temperatures are cooler with little chances of rain. No rain in this period results into thinner vegetation cover thus offering easy sights of the animals, in dry season Ngorongoro conservation area is usually crowded and tourists should expect prices to be high including accommodation fees.

As some tourists prefer less crowd in Ngorongoro conservation area and some want to traveler on low costs, the perfect time to visit is in the rain season/green season in t November to May. In this period good sights of animals are got though they are sometimes disrupted by afternoon showers, in wet season heavy rains in Ngorongoro conservation area are experienced in months of March, April and May.

Best time to visit Selous game reserve

Selous game reserve is an incredible Tanzania safari destination, the best time to visit this game reserve is in the dry season from June to November. This period is relatively cooler and offers excellent sights of big cat such as lions, leopards, wild dogs and many other animals, in this period there is less water in the reserve causing many animals to crowd around watering holes to drink water which are incredible sites to view these animals. Dry season in Selous game reserve is very crowded with tourists and prices are high

For budget tourists and tourists interested less crowded environment, the best time to visit Selous game reserve is in the period of March to May, this period is a rainy season and heavy rains are particularly received in March and April.

Best time to visit Tanzania islands (Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia Island)

Tanzania comprises of many islands including Zanzibar, Pemba and Mafia island which are the most popular islands visited by tourists on a Tanzania beach vacation safari. These islands are very beautiful and offer many amazing marine activities such as diving, snorkeling, kite surfing, boat safaris, and many more.

The best time to visit these islands for an adventurous beach vacation is in June to October, in this period the climate is cool and in the months of August and September the waters are clearer 25 meters and more. This period is an excellent period for snorkeling, diving, and viewing of marine wildlife such as whales, swimming and many more.

The period of December to February is also a lovely time to Tanzania islands such as Zanzibar, Pemba and others, this period is hot and dry with temperature range of 40 degrees Celsius.

Note: since Tanzania’s islands are dominated by Islamic believers, some restaurants are closed in celebration of the Muslim festival of Ramadan which occurs in the months of June and July.

Best time to visit Mountain Kilimanjaro

Climatic conditions on mountain Kilimanjaro varies throughout the year, mountain Kilimanjaro is a best spot for Tanzania mountain climbing safaris and the best time for visiting the mountain for mountain climbing is from July to October. In this period the skies are clear and the conditions are warm.

The period of April to May and November to mid-December is highly not recommended to visit mountain Kilimanjaro for mountain climbing.

Generally, the best time to visit other Tanzania parks such as Ruaha national park, Mahale Mountains national park, Katavi national park, Tarangire national park, Lake Manyara national park is the period dry season in the months of June to October.

Things to do in Zanzibar

Things to do in Zanzibar

Things to do in Zanzibar / activities in zanzibar : Zanzibar is an impressive Tanzania safari destination and an island located off the eastern coast of Africa on Indian Ocean, Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous region of Tanzania composed of Zanzibar Archipelago in Indian Ocean and lies in about 25-50 kilometers from the mainland. Zanzibar is made of 2 main islands “Unguja and Pemba Island” and other small islands with Zanzibar city as the capital and located on Unguja Island.

Zanzibar is a very historic site and relaxing destination for beach vacations, Zanzibar has a lot of activities to offers to tourists visiting the island for a safari and below are the things to do in Zanzibar.

things to do in zanzibar

Visit the stone town

Stone town is the old part of Zanzibar located on the western coast of Unguja the main island of Zanzibar Archipelago, stone town is also known as Mji Mkongwe a Swahili slag meaning old town and a former capital for the Zanzibar sultanate. Stone town is the central point of Zanzibar island situated off the coast and sheltered by harbor, formerly this town was a fishing village and later developed into a city.

Stone town is a very remarkable historical and heritage town with diverse influence of Swahili culture and unique mixture of Arab, Persia, Indian and European elements, because of this the town was designated as A UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Stone town offers a number of activities travellers can engage while on their visit, these activities include

  • taking a walk in the narrow amaze of streets in which you are bound to get lost due to the resemblance of the streets, guided walking tours in the stone Town are usually 3 hours of walking and admire various aspects of the town filled with culture and unique architecture.
  • Visit the birth place of Freddie Mercury, Freddie mercury was a famous British singer, song writer, record producer and lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. Freddie Mercury is considered to be one of the greatest singers in the history of rock Music. Though he is of British nationality, Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar and if you are a fun of Queen Band you will be excited to visit the birth place of the icon.
  • Visit the old port, while visiting Stone Town there is a chance to visit the Old Port which is one of the oldest building. Old Fort is a unique historic master piece built Omani Arabs.
  • Other sites to visit in Stone Town include House of Wonders, slave museum and many more.
  • visiting stone town zanzibar

Boat trip and snorkeling in Zanzibar

Zanzibar Island is a perfect destination of boat trips and snorkeling on the fresh waters of Indian Ocean, Zanzibar has many sites from where a travellers can book a boat for boat trip and the boat comes with an experienced escort.  A boat trip on the waters of Indian Ocean offers excellent sights of marine animals such dolphins as they swim in the waters, protruding coral reefs and the distant islands. If you are interested in touring the marine life below the surface of the waters, snorkeling is a perfect activity for you. Snorkeling at Zanzibar Island comprises of many snorkeling spots and the best of them is Mnemba Atoll on the coast of Mnemba, snorkeling at this coast is a chance for divers to get up-close with the beautiful coral reefs, various fish and marine life such as dolphins, green turtles and sea stars.

Try local dishes

At Zanzibar Island there are a variety of local dishes which will blow your mind and attempt you to try them, Zanzibar is a popular destination for various local dishes but the most popular spot on this island to try out local dishes is the stone city. Some of the local dishes to try out in Zanzibar include

  • Zanzibar pizza – this pizza is more different from normal pizza as it resembles pancakes or pupusa, this pizza is offered with chicken or beef and they usually include egg, cheese, onion, bell peppers and Mayo.
  • Biryani and pilau – Biryani and Pizza is a signature traditional rice dish on Zanzibar Island and Tanzania, Biryani is prepared separate from the meat and sauce and when they are finished cooking. These dishes are combined and served with an amazing sauce. Pilau is cooked all together with the ingredients in the same cooking pot and served with meat or choice.
  • Urojo soup – Urojo soup is a flour-based soup with flavors of mango and lemon flavors, this soup also includes potatoes and served in three ways that are cubed, fried mashed potatoes and potato shavings. This soup is served with lots of spices and meat.
  • Zanzibar tea – Zanzibar tea is a famous tea on this Island, this tea is prepared with a blend of species.

While in Zanzibar you can also learn how to prepare these dishes, cooking class on a daily  and the session will make you fall in love with local dishes on this island.

Spice tour

A spice tour in Zanzibar is one of a kind experience offering you an insight about the spices found on this island and how they grow, Zanzibar is also referred to as Zanzibar Island because of the various spices grown and present on the Island. As the early settlers arrived at Zanzibar, they discovered that the soils and climatic conditions perfectly supported spice growing and as they settled on the island they established famous growing various spices.

Spice tour in Zanzibar is done on foot and offers a visit to numerous spice farms, learn how to grow spices, processing them and taste a variety of them. Spices grown on Zanzibar Island include cloves, black pepper, cloves, nut Meg and many more.

zanzibar spice island

Visit Jozani forest

Jozani forest is a famous primate destination in Zanzibar famous for red colobus monkeys and endemic species to Zanzibar, Jozani forest is protected in Jozani Chwaka Bay national park of 50 square kilometers. This forest is a home to about 1000 Zanzibar red colobus monkeys which are rain forest species, these species are only found in Zanzibar and are also known as Kirk’s red colobus named after Sir john Kirk. Sir John Kirk was a British resident who started brought the famous Zanzibar red colobus monkeys to attention of zoological science.

Jozani forests also inhabits other primate species such as Sykes monkey, bush babies, mammals like Zanzibar nocturnal tree hyrax and marine species such as dolphins, shark. Tuna and marlin. While visiting the Jozani forests travellers can participate in nature walks safaris and primate tracking on which they are to come in contact with the beautiful primates found in this forest.

Kite surfing

Zanzibar is a great destination for kite surfing expeditions, Kite surfing is amore of a sport activity involving standing on a small surfboard or kite board. The kite is drag by the wind while you holding onto the kite. Zanzibar has many kite surfing spots such as Paje, Nungwi beach, Jambiani beach and many more with Paje considered to be the best spot. For travellers with no experience in Kite surfing, lessons are offered by a plenty of instructors who will assist you at a very fair price.

The best time to go kite surfing in Zanzibar is in the period of January – February and June to September.

Eat at rock restaurant

Eating at rock restaurant on Zanzibar island is more than eating, it is an experience. This unique restaurant is situated off the coast of Pingwe siting on an actual rock and accessed by sailing on water, rock restaurant serves a wide range of dishes such as lobster, cigal, king prawns, octopus, calamaria on the grill, stewed rock lobster, homemade Tagliatelle served with small lobster, grilled fish fillet and many more.

Visit Prison Island

Prison Island on Zanzibar is a very tranquil destination to visit on Zanzibar, Prison Island is also known as Changuu Island was historically inhabited by the Arabs in 1860s and used as a temporary shelter for slaves who rebelled against the Arab rule. These slaves were kept at the island before being solved which explains the name prison island, this island was also used as a site to quarantine individuals who got sick with yellow fever epidemic. When the island switched from the hands of the Arabs to the British colonial rulers, the British colonial masters constructed a real prison which was later turned in to a restaurant.

prison island  tour

Following the introduction of giant tortoises on the island, Prison Island has become a peaceful sanctuary to the giant tortoise and one your visit to the island you are to encounter these giant creatures said to be over 150 years old. While on the visit, travellers can also participate in swimming, snorkeling and watch many bird species such as the amazing peacock. Prison Island is accessed on a 25 minute boat drive from Stone town.

 Diving 

Zanzibar is a perfect destination in Tanzania for diving safari experiences, Zanzibar Island comprises of many destinations offering diving such as Mnemba Atoll Marine reserve situated right off the north-east coast. Diving deep in the clear waters of Indian Ocean offers divers an opportunity to discover and encounter sea creatures such as turtles, emperor fish, sting rays, giant trevally fishy, lion fish and coral reefs.

Note: Divers interested in under water pictures should carry water proof camera and while diving do not touch the coral reefs because they are sensitive features and it takes them years to regenerate if disturbed.

Plants in Serengeti national park

Plants in Serengeti national park

Plants in Serengeti national park : Serengeti national park boasts of one of the oldest ecosystems on planet earth, it also doubles as the largest ecosystem on earth. The ecosystem that comprises of wildlife, Serengeti plants, grasslands ie savanna, hills (rock outcrops), forests among others. This diverse land mass occupies an area of 30,000 square kilometers  comprising of the plains of Masai Mara stretching to  Serengeti national park and encompassing the entire  ngorongoro conservation area with the most renown feature  in the ngorongoro being the Ngorongoro crater.

The Serengeti is also well known for hosting the annual wildebeest migration one of the greatest wildlife exodus ever recorded on earth, the event sees a movement of over a million wildebeest from the Ngorongoro to Serengeti national park and they cross over to Masai Mara national reserve in Kenya and later return.  The movement of the wildebeest is a circular state or clockwise state and it is triggered by weather and rainfall patterns. The migration does not only involve the wildebeest but other wildlife such as the zebras, elands and gazelles it’s only termed as the wildebeest migration because the wildebeests are the ones that constitute of the biggest percentage/ number.

Plants in Serengeti national park

The Serengeti national park plants s consisted of largely the savanna grassland land and dotted trees, some areas are forested therefore creating several vegetation patterns. The existence of the vegetation is as area is as a result of several factors and some of them include.

Rains: rains in Serengeti national park is largely responsible for the existence of the plants in Serengeti national park , the park receive rains in the months of  March to May and later the dry spell kicks off from June to October. However the months of November also do receive rains but they are short lived simply do not take long .The uneven distribution of the rains is responsible the various plant covers in Serengeti park.

Temperature: For the plants of Serengeti national park to behave the way they are, the temperatures are partially responsible the Serengeti Park plant growth. The park receives a temperature of 24- 27 degrees Celsius during the dry season and 14 – 15 degree Celsius during the wet season. Therefore this explains why the vegetation consists of short grass with scattered trees my like shrubs.

The general nature of the vegetation covering Serengeti is characterized with short grass which constitutes of almost ¾ of the parks land as well at the acacia trees that are dotted across the land. In total the overall plant population amounts to 314 plant species. Despite Serengeti national park having of the largest ecosystem in Africa and it had been consistent for years, the human interference   is starting to slowly have impact in it. Some of the human   interferences include human activities i.e.  Human settlements, agricultural practices among others.

The human interference at the Serengeti ecosystem has also brought in the existence of other plant species like the colonizing plants such as sesbania sesban, hibiscus hybrids, vernonia  poskeana,stringa asiatica and most of  them are found in unprotected area. The park also consists of weeds which such as argemone Mexicana, elionurus muticus they are not desirable by the livestock because they are not pleasant  to the animals.  The other tree species are used as territorial demarcation by wildlife such as lions, elephants, rhinos among others.

Besides the alien species and weeds, the most common plant species in Serengeti national park are acacia tortilis, acacia trees, the sausage trees ( kigelia), acacia dropanolodium .

Bigo Byamugenyi site

Bigo Byamugenyi site

Bigo bya mugenyi   referred by the local as “ fort of strangers” is yet another re-known historical and cultural site in Uganda, its history dates as far as the Bachwezi  group of people and their settlements in Uganda the bachwezi were also remembered as demi gods because of their disappearing tactics.  Bigo bya mugenyi is situated in current day mawogola country in western Uganda.

Bigo bya mugenyi is known for the woods, shrubs,  wild flowers, savanna grassland  and because the history of Bachwezi who  were believed to be the inhabitants of Bigo bya mugenyi  have no traceability in terms of origin, the site has remained a historical site being  studied about by the locals in social studies at a subject in Uganda’s primary schools, there it being preserved as the country’s historical site.

The  Bachwezi people  also known as the chwezi were  famous for their  mystical powers, exhibited in their disappearance tactics , they are said to disappear in the air leaving their marks on the rocks or on the surfaces the stand on . the most recent  traces of the chwezi is at the Amabere ganyina mwiru another yet a  popular attraction in fort portal city , the Kigere are said to be foot prints of the bachwezi which correlates with the assertion that they used to disappear and leave footprints back when they disappear in the air.

The cultural and historical site of bigo bya mugenyi spans an area of approximately 10kms squared. The people of chwezi  had a system of governance and they were rulled  or presided over by two kings namely king wamala and King Ndahura who was said to be the last king of the Bachwezi. When travelers are  tourist visit this historiall sites, they are meant to perform a cleansing exercise which  deems them clean  and free from any wrath of the local gods of chwezi people.

Bigo bya mugenyi cultural sites constitutes of several grass thatched hurts that is made, the areas is believed to be where the chweiz went and sought got their gods in persuit of blessings  ,  wealth and other  personal effects.

Adjacent to the cultural site exists other cultural sites such as Ndauwula  and nakayiwa, its also there that they made prayers to their gods in search for blessings. In the two sites the believed that their gods disappeared leaving two baskets at the door way. This historical site can be accessed from Sembabule town in about 60km.  Other activities one can possible do while on a trail to bigo by mugenyi is visiting the savanna areas with possibly owsome views