Best time to go to Tanzania & Zanzibar

Avoid the March to early May rainy season. All other times of year are, quite literally, fair game.
The best times to see Tanzania’s wildlife and Zanzibar’s beautiful beaches happily coincide. Travel in July to September to catch the river crossings of the Great Migration and for Spice Island sunshine. Try June or September to avoid the biggest safari crowds, or head south – the southern national parks are quiet all year round. Outside peak season, January and February offer generally dry weather and wildlife emerges to make the most of the topped-up waterholes. In Zanzibar, water visibility can be up to 20-30m. Just avoid the March to early May long rains, when wildlife disperses, water silts up and Zanzibar experiences daily downpours and high humidity.

Serengeti Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
15
28
81
FEB
15
28
100
MAR
15
28
121
APR
16
26
137
MAY
15
25
68
JUN
13
25
23
JUL
13
25
9
AUG
14
26
19
SEP
14
27
34
OCT
15
28
51
NOV
15
27
100
DEC
15
27
97

Is a Tanzania & Zanzibar holiday for you?

Go to Tanzania & Zanzibar if...

... you’re fascinated by cultural as well as natural heritage. Maasai villages dot the landscape around the Ngorongoro Crater, the Serengeti and Selous, while tours of Zanzibar’s Stone Town and spice plantations highlight unique Swahili-Arab-Indian influences. Choose carefully and ask questions, though – some of these experiences are not as authentic as they could be. ... you’re on honeymoon. Once-in-a-lifetime wildlife adventures coupled with days relaxing next to the Indian Ocean make for a blissful start to married life. And you can always up the memory-making adventures with spine-tingling walking safaris, mobile wilderness camps and world-class scuba diving. ... you want more than an all inclusive beach resort. These exist on Zanzibar, but the island’s real charm lies beyond just its beaches. Take time to explore Stone Town’s cultural heritage, and eat at its night time food markets, tour local spice plantations and ride a dala dala into Nungwi village for a taste of real local beach life.

Don’t go to Tanzania & Zanzibar if...

... you don’t like flying. Realistically the best way to travel between Tanzania’s national parks and reserves and Zanzibar is by light aircraft – taking off and landing at small airstrips along the way is all part of the adventure. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you take to the skies.
... you can’t cope without social media. Internet connections operate at snail’s pace in the Serengeti and Selous but you’ll be too busy watching for wandering wildlife to check your phone anyway. And Zanzibar’s beaches are so perfect you’ll forget anywhere else exists.
... you only have a week. Wildlife marches to its own drum, so maximise your chances of seeing the Big Five (and beyond) and give yourself time to truly unwind by spending at least 10 days in Tanzania and Zanzibar. Remember that Swahili proverb (see the introduction to this guide if you haven’t already), relax and let Tanzanian time take over.

Our top Tanzania & Zanzibar Holiday

Tanzania Selous safari holiday & Zanzibar

Tanzania Selous safari holiday & Zanzibar

Off-the-beaten track safari experiences & paradise beaches

From £1950 10 days ex flights
Tailor made:
This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Tanzania & Zanzibar or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Tanzania & Zanzibar tips from our holiday reviews

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do – and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Tanzania and Zanzibar travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday – and the space inside your suitcase.
We went in December and the scenery was really beautiful because it rained a bit once in a while. It was nice and green, but it was extremely humid and hot.
– Natalie Lefevre
“We underestimated the cold at Ngorogoro - either stay in a lodge or take more warm clothes.” – Joanna Chambers

“I was worried about days without electricity but it really wasn't an issue. Our two teenagers never even missed their phones. My husband never had to check in with work. Bring books! Be prepared to relax.” – Deirdre Kloski

“We went in December and the scenery was really beautiful because it rained a bit once in a while. It was nice and green, but it was extremely humid and hot. If you cannot stand this very well, it's probably better to go in another season.” – Natalie Lefevre
Written by Sarah Faith
Photo credits: [Page banner: Atosan] [Beach, Zanzibar: Jenn] [Maasai woman & baby: mahaz] [Natalie Lefevre quote (giraffes): Jenn]
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