When to Visit Tanzania
Tanzania’s proximity to the Equator causes it to have two seasons – a dry season, and a wet season. Both seasons are hot – the wet season usually having higher temperatures – and in order to decide when to travel to Tanzania, the first question you should ask yourself is what do you want to see/do? Below is some basic information about the seasons – but keep in mind that Tanzania is quite large (twice the size of California), so conditions vary depending on location.
- Dry Season (June – October): During these months, count on clear skies and lots of sun. It rarely rains, and in general, it’s a fine time to visit Tanzania—especially if you’re hoping to catch the wildebeest migration which occurs during June and July. Overall, most animals are easier to spot since they congregate around the limited sources of water and what little vegetation is able to grow during the dry season. Mosquitoes are not a problem during this season, so that’s another plus to traveling to Tanzania during the dry season!
- Temperature-wise, you’ll obviously encounter much cooler temperatures if you’re climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro than if you’re in the capital city of Dar es Salaam or on the islands of Zanzibar. The average high in Dar es Salaam in the middle of dry season, early August, is 74°F and the average low is 63°F. August and September are the most popular months for climbing Kilimanjaro, and meanwhile, in Zanzibar you can expect August and September to have average daily highs in the low 80°s.
- Wet Season (November – May): The benefits of traveling during these months are that prices will be lower, the landscape is lush and green and the migratory birds will be around. If you’re worried about getting wet, visit sometime between November and February (January and February are great months for catching the wildebeest calving season) because by March, the short afternoon showers will become longer and more like downpours. The rainiest months are March and April, so if possible, try to avoid traveling to Tanzania in those months especially if you plan on hitting up the islands!
- January and February are the warmest months of the year in Zanzibar, and the average daily high is 84°F. February is the warmest month in Dar es Salaam with an average daily high of 86°F. Mornings and evenings are slightly cooler, but seldom do the temperatures dip below 70°F unless you’re at an unusually high elevation.
What to Pack for Your Travels in Tanzania
First and foremost, make sure you have all of your paperwork (passport, visa, copies, itineraries, etc.) squared away. We always recommend packing as lightly as possible, but even more so for trips to Tanzania where you’re often shuttled from place to place on smaller planes and vehicles. The heaviest item(s) you pack should be your hiking boots, or if you’re a photographer, your camera equipment.
1. Hair Accessories and a Hat
Since many camps and lodges use generators that run for a limited number of hours each day, it’s best not to rely on hair dryers and flat irons when it comes to your beauty routine. You’ll want a hat anyway (protection from the elements) so that’s probably your best bet when it comes to styling your locks on an African safari!
2. Electrical Converter and Plug Adapter
If you do bring styling tools, remember that voltage in Tanzania is 230/240, so you’ll need to pack a voltage converter if your tools are not dual voltage. For all electronics that need to be plugged in, you’ll need a plug adapter. The power sockets used in Tanzania are type D or G depending on where you are in the country, so you’re best off bringing both.
3. A Big Lens
If your goal is to get amazing close-up wildlife shots, you’ll want to buy, borrow or rent a large lens. Yes, you can use your smart phone to take photos, but you’ll sacrifice when it comes to quality and sharpness.
Travel Tips for Visiting Tanzania
Although we offer adventure vacations to several countries in Africa, our Tanzania Serengeti Vacation is one of our all-time favorites. Whether or not you travel with our expert guides, we want to share a few pointers that may help make your Tanzanian experience even more epic and enjoyable!
1. Conservative Clothing is Your Friend
While there’s no official dress code, if you want the locals to respect you and welcome you into their culture, it’s best to avoid short shorts and sleeveless tops. Tanzanians are incredibly warm and worth knowing, so trust us, you’ll want to make friends with them!
2. Have Tip Money Handy
Tips are very important to those working in the service industry in Tanzania. So you’re not caught off guard when you’re looking into the eyes of a porter, waiter, driver, etc., carry small bills. USD is fine!
3. Tote Around TP & Hand Sanitizer
If you’ll be spending time out in the “bush” or in rural villages in Tanzania, you need to know that most bathrooms will not have toilet paper or water for hand-washing. Always keep a tissue or two in your pocket, and carrying around a bottle of hand sanitizer is highly recommended!