- Can anyone mental snapshot encapsulates the Tanzania experience.
- A solitary tusker feeding on acacia-studded plains in the spectacular shadow of snow-capped Kilimanjaro.
- Thousands upon thousands of insanely baaing Wildebeest as they plunge through the crocodile-infested waters of Grumeti River on their annual migration through the Serengeti.
- What about a pride of well-fed Lions lording it over the grassy floor of the majestic Ngorongoro crater.
- Perhaps its image that tend to spring to mind when one thinks of SAFARI ADVENTURE.
Tanzania has a tropical climate along the coast but is more temperate in the highlands. Still, the range of temperatures in Tanzania is fairly limited and usually hot, running from 25-30°C (77-86°F) on the coast while the rest of the country apart from the highlands run from 22-27°C (71-81°F).
April – mid-May = Long rains (Green Season)
June – September = Cool season
November – December = Short Rains
October – March = Hottest season
With 16 national parks, several game reserves and 40 conservation areas dotting the landscape, nearly 40% of Tanzania’s land area has been designated for protection. This makes Tanzania a great place to view the nearly 400 species of mammals, over 1,100 species of birds, 275 species of reptiles and 130 species of amphibians, some of which can be seen nowhere else in the world. It is said that one fifth of Africa’s large mammals reside in Tanzania. Combine this with the Tanzanian government’s leading approach to conservation and you have one of the most sought-after ecotourism destinations in the world.
Tanzania has a population of around 47.6 million (UN, 2012). Native Africans constitute 99% of the population, including some 120 distinct ethnic groups, none of which represent more than 10 percent of the population. Tanzania’s settlement began with the original Bantu settlers from southern and West Africa, but its location on the Swahili Coast meant it also became a destination for Arab traders from Shiraz in Persia and Oman, as well as for traders from southwest Asia and India by 900 A.D. Later on, the Portuguese, Germans and the British all left their cultural mark before Tanzania gained its independence in 1961. Now, unlike in some African countries, most people here identify as Tanzanian first and foremost, as opposed to their tribal affiliation.
In 2014, well over a million people visited Tanzania from all over the world. A member of the East African Community and a regular United Nations contributor, Tanzania is a politically stable, democratic country. Most Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people who are eager to help visitors experience their homeland. There is a thriving hospitality scene run by Tanzanians, expatriates and foreign investors. Most accommodations have watchmen and in coastal areas or on the islands, Masai warriors often keep lookout for seaside resorts. However, whenever you travel, a little common sense goes a long way. Keeping valuables in the hotel lockbox and not walking alone at night — whether you are in the city or in the bush — can help ensure a safe and pleasant visit.
Located in East Africa along the Indian Ocean between Kenya and Mozambique, Tanzania contains many different habitats and is known for its varied geography, which includes deep fresh and saltwater lakes, sweeping plains, forests, deserts and Africa’s highest point, Mount Kilimanjaro (5,895 m or 19,341 ft).
Northeast Tanzania is mountainous and includes Mount Meru, an active volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro, a dormant volcano, and the Usambara and Pare mountain ranges. West of those mountains is the Gregory Rift, which is the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley. On the floor of the rift are a number of large salt lakes, including Natron in the north, Manyara in the south, and Eyasi in the southwest.
The rift also encompasses the Crater Highlands, which includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Ngorongoro Crater. To the west of the Crater Highlands lies Serengeti National Park, which is famous for its lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceroses, and buffalo, as well as the annual Great Migration of millions of white bearded wildebeest.
Further northwest is Lake Victoria on the Kenya–Uganda–Tanzania border. This is the largest lake in Africa by surface area — 49% of it lies within Tanzania — and is traditionally named as the source of the Nile River. Southwest of this, separating Tanzania from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is Lake Tanganyika. This lake is estimated to be the deepest lake in Africa and second deepest lake in the world. The western portion of the country consists of flat land that has been categorized by the World Wildlife Fund as part of the Central Zambezian Miombo woodlands ecoregion.
The coastal plains, which have lush, tropical vegetation, are home to East African mangroves and mangrove swamps. The coast is where you find Tanzania’s largest city and former capital, the cosmopolitan Dar es Salaam. Just north of this city and into the Indian Ocean lies the Zanzibar Archipelago, a semi-autonomous territory of Tanzania famous for its distinct Arab-influenced culture.
The Masai Steppe in the north is 213 to 1,067m (698 to 3,500ft) above sea level. The center of the country is marked by a large plateau, which is part of the East African Plateau. The southern half of this plateau is grassland within the Eastern Miombo woodlands ecoregion, the majority of which is covered by the huge Selous Game Reserve. Further north the plateau is arable land and includes the national capital, Dodoma.
Best Time to Visit Tanzania
The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The Southern and Western Circuit Parks are best visited during the dry-season (June to October), unlike the more popular Northern Circuit Parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception, since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the dry-season as well.
|Best time to go:||June to October (All parks), June-July and January-February (Serengeti for the wildebeest migration & calving)|
|High Season:||July to March (northern circuit parks; they get crowded), July to October (southern and western circuit parks; they don’t really get crowded any time of the year)|
|Low Season:||April and May (northern circuit parks still get quite a few visitors unlike the southern and western circuit parks, where many lodges close down)|
|Best Weather:||June to October (Little to no rainfall)|
|Worst Weather:||March and April (Peak of wet season)|
June to October – Dry Season
- June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration.
- Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers and there is less vegetation.
- There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain. Skies are clear and most days are sunny.
- Even though most tourists visit during the dry season, the parks still don’t feel crowded, except for the Seronera area in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.
- Mornings and nights get cold. It’s recommended to bring warm clothing for morning game drives in open vehicles during the months of June, July and August.
November to May – Wet Season
- Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti. This is an excellent time to see predator action.
- The scenery is green and beautiful. It’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks.
- Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you’ll still see plenty and most northern circuit parks offer good year-round game viewing.
- Migratory birds are present and birdwatching is at its best.
- Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.
- March to May is the peak of the wet season.
- Most big wildlife has migrated out of Tarangire NP and game viewing in Katavi, Selous and Ruaha is clearly better during the dry season.
Best time to go to Tanzania by major park
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good game viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Selous and Ruaha) are best visited in the dry season, from June to October.