ABOUT TANZANIA

TANZANIA OVERVIEW

The United Republic of Tanzania is located in eastern Africa on the Indian Ocean between Mozambique and Kenya and includes the island of Zanzibar. Its largest city, Dar es Salaam, is located along the eastern coast on the Indian Ocean. The capital Dodoma lies west of Dar-es-Salaam. The population is estimated at 60,445,249 million (2019). ), There are over 120 different ethnic groups in Tanzania but the main language here is Swahili and English.

Tanzania covers an area roughly 947, 303 km2 (365,756 sq mi). The terrain includes coastal plains, a central plateau, and highlands in the north and south. It is home to Mt. Kilimanjaro (the highest point in Africa), Lake Victoria (the second largest lake in the world), and the Great Rift Valley. The climate varies from tropical along the coast to temperate in the highlands.

Tanzania is regarded as an excellent safari destination, largely due to its many world class opportunities for game spotting. Tanzania is home to many of the best and biggest parks in Africa more than 20 game parks and more than 43 game reserves, and some of the most varied and unique landscapes that you’ll ever see. From grasslands to woodlands, rock formations, and mountain peaks, there’s no question that Tanzania features some amazing opportunities for sightseeing, and photo hunting alike. These varied ecosystems are also ideal conditions for one of the most quintessential aspects of any great safari: African animals.

No safari would be complete without a glimpse of a few of the “Big Five” or the chance to see some lesser known, but equally fascinating animals. Fortunately, Tanzania doesn’t disappoint. Home to the Great Wildebeest Migration, each year, Tanzania sees millions of animals make their way across the land in search of water and fresh pasture. Wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle make the arduous journey, and brave the raging Mara River filled with waiting crocodiles.

But the great migration isn’t the only aspect of Tanzania that’s worth seeing. Herds of grazing animals mean that predators won’t be far away. In Tanzania, you’ll have the opportunity to see lion, cheetah, leopards, and hunting dogs. If you’re curious about what this beautiful country has to offer, read more about best Tanzania safari destinations.

As African Diurnal Safari and Tours, we are here to help you experience the best travel experience all around Tanzania and East Africa. Regardless of your status, or where you come, we’ll ensure you get the moment of your life. We’ll help you create memories that you will cherish forever.

Best time to visit Tanzania

The best time to visit Tanzania is during the Dry season, from late June to October, when wildlife viewing is generally at its best. The wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is usually during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February and March. 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.

Weather and climate in Tanzania

Tanzania has a pleasant, tropical climate but has large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. The hottest and most humid part of the country is the coast. Other low-lying areas, such as the western and southern parks, are also hot but less humid. The rest of the interior is much milder and cools down significantly at night. Tanzania has a distinct Dry and Wet season. There is very little rainfall during this period and humidity is very low. It cools off at night; be sure to pack warm clothing because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold, especially in the northern parks.

June, July, August, September and October, Afternoon temperatures are usually between 20°C/68°F and 30°C/86°F and vary greatly according to altitude and location. Most days have a fine, clear sky and sunny weather. During most of the Wet season, afternoon temperatures are consistently hot (a bit above or below 30°C/86°F) but it is colder above 1,300m/4,265ft. Mornings are cold in most northern parks due to the high altitude.

  • November and December – ‘Short rains’ – A period of about a month of short rains which occurs sometime between November and December. Its timing is unpredictable and, in Northern Tanzania, it can even happen in October. The rains will rarely interfere with your safari.
  • January and February – The northern parks and coastal areas tend to have a break in the rainy season. The other parks don’t really experience a dry spell.
  • March, April and May – ‘Long rains’ – These are the wettest months. It tends to rain heavily almost every day, although not often for the whole day. Humidity tends to be high, especially in the hotter southern and western parks.

TOP CITIES TO START YOUR TANZANIA SAFARIS

MWANZA CITY

Mwanza is a part of the city on the shore of Lake Victoria in Northern Tanzania; the second longest city in Tanzanian after Dar es Salaam, the city is ringed by green hills. The city is known for unusual rock formations like Bismarck Rock near the Kamanga Ferry Terminal. The population of Mwanza Region according to 2012 records is about 2.775 million and the big tribe of Mwanza is Sukuma tribe.

Mwanza city is the best town to start your safari adventure; the city makes a good base from which to explore the nearby Rubondo Island National Park and the western parts of the Serengeti. Rubondo Island National Park offers pleasant day hikes and bird watching around the lake shore. Mwanza’s proximity to the western Serengeti just two hours drive to Serengeti National Park through the Ndabaka gate in western Corridor of the Serengeti. You can make a day trip safari then back to Mwanza in the evening, also offers an overnight safari with the combinations of multiple game parks like Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara then straight to Arusha town or Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA).

It’s a necessary stop for visitors who want to experience a less bust part of the park and see the magic of the Serengeti without the parade of safari vehicles and seasonal crowds. Mwanza is also the centre of the Sukuma tribe, the largest tribe in Tanzania, who have inhabited and farmed the region for centuries.

The Museum in Mwanza known as Bujora village is an open-air museum where, among other things to do when visiting in Mwanza, you’ll see traditional Sukuma dwellings, the grass house of a traditional healer, blacksmith’s tools and a rotating cylinder illustrating different Sukuma words for counting from one to 10. It is the site of the well-known Bulabo Dance Festival in June, where dancers compete using a variety of animals as props.

ARUSHA CITY ("A" TOWN)

Arusha is a city in East African’s Tanzania located off the base of volcanic Mt. Meru. It is a gateway to safari destinations to African highest Park, 5895m Mt. Kilimanjaro laying some 100-kilometres northeast. The city, which has a population of 270,485 (2002 census), was established in 1900 as a minor German military garrison for the colonial administration. Arusha was once a trading place for the domestic Wameru and Waarusha tribes but today it is Tanzania’s safari and tourism center. The “Geneva of Africa” consists of picturesque street markets, craft shops, museums, Makonde carving workshops, restaurants, street cafes and bars.

Arusha is your gateway to the safari adventures that can be found on the famed northern circuit, Arusha is a dynamic and bustling city where Africa and the west collide in a dizzying, fascinating fusion. With a domestic airport (Arusha) and an international airport (Kilimanjaro) it’s also the perfect place to launch your adventures to Serengeti, Dar Es Saalam, Zanzibar, or even neighboring countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, or Uganda.

DAR ES SALAAM CITY

Dar es Salaam, formally known as Mzizima is the largest city and business Centre in Tanzania and one of the safest largest cities in East Africa as its meaning depict itself “Heaven of Peace” derived from Arab language. The open-air village grew Museum has recreated the traditional homes of local and other Tanzania tribes and hosts tribal dancing. Its part of the National Museum which offers Tanzania history exhibits including the fossils of human ancestors found by anthropologist Luis Leakey.

The region has a population of 4.36 million as of the official 2012 census; it is the most populated among the 30 regions of Tanzania, accounting for 10 percent of the total Tanzania Mainland population. Located between latitudes 6.36 degrees and 7.0 degrees to the south of Equator and longitudes 39.0 and 338.33 to the east of Greenwich, Dar es Salaam is bounded by the Indian Ocean on the east. Dar is flat and is bordered on the East by the Indian Ocean. Dar es Salaam is certainly not at the top of the list of places to see for most visitors to Tanzania. It is often a necessary stop on their way to Zanzibar, Arusha, Mwanza. The northern safari circuit or home, that being said, Dar es Salaam has its charm.

Dar es Salaam can be easily accessed by national and international flights through Julius K. Nyerere International Airport (JKNIA) 40 minutes’ drive to the city centre. Local and International flights to Dar es Salaam includes KLM, Qatar Air, Precision Air, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airline, Air France, Uganda Airline, Rwanda Air, South African Airline, Turkish Airlines, Emirates, Egypt Air to mention a few. Also for some of African countries Dar es Salaam can be reached through road from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Mozambique etc, as well as Railway through the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA).

BEST TANZANIA SAFARI DESTINATIONS

Our customized tours and packages holidays can include multiple destinations to ensure you get the most out of your Tanzania safari holiday and other East Africa destinations.

SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

The Serengeti is 14,763 square kilometers, which to give some perspective, is larger than Ohio, Belgium or Wales. The Serengeti National Park, or Serengeti Park, or just Serengeti, was founded because the area was used for hunting lions and this led to a vast depopulation of the animals. The British colonial administration in Tanzania created a partial game reserve of around 3.2 square kilometers (800 acres) in 1921 and made it a full game reserve in 1929. This was the foundation of what will one day become known as the Serengeti National Park, which was officially established in 1951. In 1981 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while the migration is lauded as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The Serengeti National Park is where safari goers come to truly experience an African safari, the park is featured on many National Geographic shows, the park is rich with wildlife, endless plains and sunrises and sunsets that make the heart go wild. The park is known for its huge wildlife populations. White-bearded wildebeest, zebras and gazelle migrate annually during the great migration from the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the grasslands of the Maasai Mara in Kenya in search of fresh grass and water.

Of all the unforgettable places you can visit in Africa, the Serengeti has that certain something. It’s impossible to forget the Serengeti. The wide open plains where wildebeest and zebra are so often seen, the unbelievably stunning sunsets, and the annual migration are all sights to behold while visiting here.

Best time to visit Serengeti

All Year around, The dry season (from late June to September) offers the best wildlife viewing in general- with the wildebeest migration as its absolute highlight. The timing of the migration varies every year (the best chance of seeing it is during June and July) while the wildebeest calving is from late January to March.

Weather and climate in Serengeti

The climate in Serengeti is usually moderate and pleasant. It never gets very hot, but it is consistently cool to cold at night and in the early mornings. Don’t forget to take warm clothing. Serengeti’s Dry season is from June to October. There are two Wet seasons. The ‘short rains’ are from November to December, and the ‘long rains’ are from March to May. During the Wet season, it rarely rains all day, but afternoon thundershowers can be expected.

NGORONGORO CRATER & OLDUVAI GORGE

Ngorongoro Crater is the main highlight of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania. Considered to be the 8th natural wonder of the world, the Ngorongoro Crater is a geological phenomenon of unparallel proportions. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979 and one of Africa’s greatest conservation areas, the flat, open plain within the immense caldera of an extinct volcano contains a population of approximately 25,000 large animals including the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, which live permanently in the crater.

The crater formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself some two to three million years ago, creating a nature enclosure measuring is 610 m deep and a floor which covers an expansive 260 km. Within this crater lies every type of ecosystem, including ravine forests, open plains, freshwater and alkaline lakes which attract a number of wildlife and Africa’s Big Five which can be seen on a Tanzania safari.

Olduvai Gorge known as the cradle of mankind, it is one of the most prominent paleoanthropologist sites in the world. Some of the findings here have shaped our understanding of early human evolution. At Laetoli, west of the Ngorongoro Crater, are humanoid footprints, preserved in the volcanic rock. They are thought to be over 3.6 million years old and represent the earliest signs of mankind so far that has been found in the world.

Best time to visit Ngorongoro Crater

Wildlife viewing inside the Ngorongoro Crater is superb at all times. However, grass on the crater floor is short in the Dry season (June through September) and this makes animal spotting easier. The scenery is lush and spectacular in the Wet season months (from November to May).

Weather and climate in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro conservation area has a mild, temperate climate. The area experiences two Wet seasons. From October to November are the ‘short’ rains, followed by the ‘long rains’ from March to May. Rainfall is usually experienced in the form of short showers. The crater never gets very hot during the day, but the crater rim gets cold, and it can freeze at night. Warm clothing for early morning game drives is a necessity.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a vast area with altitude ranging from 1,027 to 3,522m (3,369-11,555ft). Most people only visit the Ngorongoro Crater. They spend the night in a lodge or campsite on the crater rim and visit the crater floor for wildlife viewing. Both the rim (about 2,300m/8,530ft) and floor (about 1,700m/5,577ft) are at higher altitudes and are colder than the overall conservation area. Temperatures drop by about 6.5°C for every 1,000m you climb (or 3.5°F per 1,000ft). The difference is more noticeable during the night. Afternoons on the crater floor will be pleasant, but it can freeze on the crater rim at night. The rim also receives quite a lot of rain.

MOUNT KILIMANJARO NATIONAL PARK

Undisputed on its majesty, this freestanding mountain is the highest peak in Africa Kilimanjaro is also one of the world’s highest volcanoes, and it’s the highest free-standing mountain on earth covered about 5,895meters, rising from cultivated farmland on the lower levels, through lush rainforest to alpine meadows, and finally across a lunar landscape to the twin summits of Kibo and Mawenzi. Kilimanjaro’s third volcanic cone, Shira, is on the mountain’s western side. The lower rainforest is home to many animals, including buffaloes, elephants, leopards and monkeys, and elands are occasionally seen in the saddle area between Kibo and Mawenzi.

A hike up Kili lures around 25,000 trekkers each year, in part because it’s possible to walk to the summit without ropes or technical climbing experience. Non-technical however does not mean easy. The climb is a serious (and expensive) undertaking, and only worth doing with the right preparation. There are also many opportunities to explore the mountain’s lower slopes and to learn about the Maasai and the Chagga, two of the main tribes in the area. Mount Kilimanjaro lives forever in the hearts of those who have climbed it.

Best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro

It is possible to trek Kilimanjaro all-year-round. However, certain months are characterized by colder weather, more rain and potentially loads of snow on the summit.

There are two distinct trekking seasons which constitute the best time to climb Kilimanjaro. They are January-March and June-October.

January-March is generally colder than June-October and there is a higher probability of encountering snow on the summit. For some this might be seen as a negative, but the benefits of a January-March trek is that the slopes are often quieter at this time of the year.

The June-October trekking season coincides with the summer holidays in Europe and North .America and hence certain routes are often quite busy.

March, April and November are the wettest months on Kilimanjaro, and not ideal of trekking. Snow fall and cold temperatures are common during December-May.

Weather and climate in Mount Kilimanjaro

There are four distinct climatic zones on Kilimanjaro – the rainforest zone (~800m-3,000m) is warm and humid. Rain is common in the zone, particularly during the wet season and temperatures average around 12-15 degrees Celsius at 2,870m. The second zone is often called the low alpine area (~3,000m-4,200m) and is a semi-arid zone where average temperatures range between 5-10 degrees Celsius at 3,630m. The high alpine zone (4,200m-5,000) is desert-like. Here temperatures average around the freezing point at 4,970m, and at the summit in the glacial zone (above 5,000m) temperatures average around -6 degrees Celsius.

 

Although the summit temperature doesn’t sound too cold, wind chill is a major factor. You are almost guaranteed relatively high winds. Moreover, the effects of cold temperatures at high altitude are more pronounced as your body expends more effort trying to get your skin and vital organs well-oxygenated in an oxygen depleted environment. This results in vasoconstriction near the extremities (like your hands, feet and nose) and means that you will feel the cold a lot more at high altitude. In other words -6 degrees Celsius can feel like -20!

MOUNT MERU

Mount Meru the second highest mountain in Tanzania, standing tall at 4566m, Its  located in Arusha National Park and offers some of the most spectacular scenery and wildlife diversity of any mountain in Tanzania. Mount Meru is a challenging trek due to its steepness, but is a great way to acclimatize before attempting Mount Kilimanjaro. Climbers are accompanied by an armed ranger due to the abundance of wildlife on the lower slopes. Mount Meru also has some historical significance to it, whereby some have suggested that it was the resting place of Noah’s Ark when it came to rest after the biblical flood receded. Mount Meru is a great trekking option for those who want to take on a climbing challenge and get the sense of being out in the wild, but are not quite ready to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro.

Best time to climb Mount Meru

The best time to climb Mount Meru in Tanzania is between October and February. But also June to September, while it is colder then the summit is reached by a narrow, barren ridge, which provides stunning views of the Ash Cone lying several thousand feet below in the crater.

Weather and climate in Mount Meru

Arusha’s mild climate sees average daytime temperatures ranging from 21°C/70°F to 26°C/79°F. The Dry season (June to October) is the coolest time of year, getting downright chilly before sunrise. Run up if you’re doing an early game drive. The Wet season (November to May) has two periods of rainfall with a dry spell in between. But it’s only during the so called ‘long rains’ (March to May) that downpours might hamper your safari.

TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

Tarangire National Park is a national park in Tanzania’s Manyara Region, it covers an area of approximately 2,850 square kilometers (1,100 square miles).. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses the park. The Tarangire River is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season, during the dry season; thousands of animals migrate to the Tarangire National Park from Manyara.

 

One of the outstanding features of Tarangire is the vast number of enormous baobab trees. These giants also known as the upside-down tree are a strange and beautiful sight in themselves. The park is very famous for its massive number of Elephant, baobab trees and lions climbing trees.

Best time to visit Tarangire

The middle and end of the Dry season, from late June to October, is the best time for wildlife viewing in Tarangire National Park. Most of the animals migrate out of the park during the Wet season, and wildlife viewing is considerably less productive.

Weather and climate in Tarangire

Weather in Tarangire is temperate and enjoyable. Wet seasons consist of: ‘long rains’ (March to May) and the ‘short rains’ (November to December). It usually rains in the afternoon and seldom for the entire day. It rarely gets too hot, but the evenings and mornings tend to get cold. Warm clothes for early morning game drives are recommended.

LAKE MANYARA NATIONAL PARK

Lake Manyara National Park is located in Northern Tanzania, west of Arusha. The lake stretches for 50km along the base of the 600 meter high Great Rift Valley escarpment. Lake Manyara National Park is 330 square kilometers and when the water is high the lake stretches to 200 square kilometers of water.

 

Access to the Lake Manyara National Park is by air or road. There are daily charters and scheduled flights. The flights connect onto the Serengeti and Ngongoro Crater. The drive is an hour and a half from Arusha on a tarred road. If driving, the ethnically diverse market town of Mto wa  Mbu is worth a visit. Lake Manyara National Park offers day and night game drives, canoeing (when water levels are sufficiently high), cultural tours, mountain bike tours, abseiling and forest walks on the escarpment outside the park. The dry season – July to October – is good for large mammals. June to November is excellent for bird watching, canoeing and walking.

Best time to visit Lake Manyara

Watching wildlife in Lake Manyara National Park is good all year, but at its best from late June to October, during the Dry season. However, this very scenic park is at its most beautiful during the Wet season, from November to May, when the vegetation is lush and waterfalls cascade down the escarpment.

Weather and climate in Lake Manyara

The climate in Lake Manyara National Park is mild and temperate. Average temperatures are consistent throughout the year. It is very rarely hot enough to be uncomfortable, but it is almost always cold during the evening and early morning. Taking warm clothing along on early morning game drives is recommended.

 

Manyara’s Dry season is from June to September. The Wet seasons consist of ‘long rains’, which occur from March to May, and ‘short rains’ occurring from October to November. It rarely rains the whole day.

ARUSHA NATIONAL PARK

This comparatively small park is covering only 137 square kilometers. It is often bypassed, since visitors on a limited itinerary understandably want to see the more famous attraction. It is situated a short distance from Arusha itself, making it easy to visit on a day or a half-day trip. The park has several completely different habitats within its confines, from a flamingo fringed soda lake to dense forest, a crater floor like a miniature Ngorongoro and Mount Meru itself. You will not see the enormous herds or predator of the plains here, but there are numerous monkeys, birds, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, warthog, gazelle and zebra, and even elephant may be spotted here.

Best time to visit Arusha National Park

You can practically freeze at night in Arusha during the drier months (June to October) when the occasional cold front sweeps through. But that’s the only real challenge of visiting at this time. The wildlife watching is at its best, and the sunshine at its brightest. The wetter months mainly appeal to those keen to see the arrival of migratory birds.

Weather and climate in Arusha National Park

Arusha’s mild climate sees average daytime temperatures ranging from 21°C/70°F to 26°C/79°F. The Dry season (June to October) is the coolest time of year, getting downright chilly before sunrise. Run up if you’re doing an early game drive. The Wet season (November to May) has two periods of rainfall with a dry spell in between. But it’s only during the so called ‘long rains’ (March to May) that downpours might hamper your safari.

OLDONYO LENGAI MOUNTAIN (MOUNTAIN OF GOD)

Is an active volcano located in the north of Tanzania and is part of the volcano system of the great lift valley in Eastern Africa. It is located in the Eastern Rift Valley south of both Lake Natron and Kenya. The Oldonyo Lengai size is about 2962 meters (9711ft). The name Oldonyo Lengai means “the mountain of God” in the Maasai language of the native people. The volcano is the only active volcano in the part of the Rift Valley and is often referred to as the strangest volcano on Earth. The primary activity is only trekking.

Best time to visit Oldonyo Lengai

Lengai Mountain can be visited all year around together with Lake Natron although during the rainy season it’s difficult to hike the mountain as it’s slippery and shower to hike, the best months to visit Lengai mount and Lake Natron are the coolest one from June to August.

Weather and climate in Oldonyo Lengai

Average temperatures in Oldonyo Lengai (Lake Natron) vary very little. Considering humidity, temperatures feel very enjoyable all year with a very low chance of rain or snow throughout the year. The area is among the most temperate in the 95th percentile for pleasant weather compared to tourist destinations worldwide. The hottest months are January, March, and then February.

 

If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Lengai mountain and  Lake Natron  is generally late January where highs are regularly around 84.5°F (29.2°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 59.5°F (15.3°C) at night.

LAKE NATRON

Lake Natron is located in northern Tanzania close to the Kenyan border in the eastern branch of African’s Great Rift Valley. This lake supports an expected 2.5 million birds as their only breeding ground. This spectacle is a sight to behold hundreds of thousands of fabulously pink head flamingos come to feed blue-green algae on the lake. The size of the lake is about 260 square. The major attraction here is a salt lake, large Flamingo populations, Oldonyo Lengai Mountain, Engaruka rains and Engare Sero waterfalls.

Best time to visit Lake Natron

The best months to visit Lake Natron are the coolest one from June to August. Dry season is perfect for walking and trekking around the lake.

Weather and climate in Lake Natron

Average temperatures in Lake Natron vary very little. Considering humidity, temperatures feel very enjoyable all year with a very low chance of rain or snow throughout the year. The area is among the most temperate in the 95th percentile for pleasant weather compared to tourist destinations worldwide. The hottest months are January, March, and then February.

 

If you’re looking for the very warmest time to visit Lake Natron  is generally late January where highs are regularly around 84.5°F (29.2°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 59.5°F (15.3°C) at night.

LAKE EYASI

Lake Eyasi is a seasonal shallow endothermic salt lake on the floor of the Great Rift Valley at the base of the Serengeti Plateau. Just south of the Serengeti Plateau and immediately southwest of the Ngorongoro crater in the crater highlands of Tanzania, The Lake is elongated, orientated southwest to northeast, and lies in the Eyasi-Wembere branch of the Great Rift Valley. The major attractions in Lake Eyasi, the Hardzabe bushman live in the Lake Eyasi region as the Datoga and Mbulu tribes. The alkaline water of Lake Eyasi is also famous for its large flocks of pink head flamingo; also you will have a walking safari around the villages.

Best time visit Lake Eyasi

It is also possible to go on a hunting trip with the Hadzabe or to visit the other tribes. Almost any time of year is a good time to visit Lake Eyasi with only April and May being questionable as they are when the long rains occur.

Weather and climate in Lake Eyasi

The temperature is almost always warm but being cooler in the evenings through early morning, and the weather rain patterns in the region greatly affect the depth of the lake, which ranges from mostly waterless during the dry season to quite deep as the rains come into the area.

MKOMAZI NATIONAL PARK

Mkomazi National Park is located in Northern Tanzania split between Kilimanjaro and Tanga administrative regions. The park borders on the west the Tsavo National Park in Kenya. The Zange entrance gate lies 112 km (69 miles) from Moshi, 550 km (341 miles) from Mwalimu J. K. Nyerere International Airport – Dar es Salaam, 142 km (88.7 miles) from Kilimanjaro International Airport, 120 km (75 miles) from Kilimanjaro National Park and 6 km (3.7 miles) from the town of Same. Together with a sister park in Kenya, Mkomozi National Park forms one of the largest and most significant wilderness conservation areas in Africa. A haven for elephant and the dwindling black rhino. Previously decimated by overgrazing and poaching the area was rehabilitated by the George Adamson (of born free same) wildlife preservation trust and now offers visitors a glimpse into African’s past glory.

Best time to visit Mkomazi

Late June – early September is the best time for large mammal and bird watching. Scenic beauty is at its peak during March – June.

Weather and climate in Mkomazi

The climate in Mkomazi is usually dry and warm to hot. The warmest months are October to April, and the coldest months are May to September. There are two Wet seasons. The ‘long rains’ are from March to May, and the ‘short rains’ are from November to December. Rains are very frequent during the rainy season but generally do not last all day.

USAMBARA MOUNTAINS

The Usambara Mountains of northeastern Tanzania in tropical East Africa comprise the easternmost ranges of the Eastern Arc Mountains. The ranges of approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) long and about half that wide, are situated in the Lushoto District of the Tanga Region. They were formed nearly two million years ago by faulting and uplifting, and are composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks. They are split into two sub-ranges; the West Usambaras being higher than the East Usambaras, which are nearer the coast and receive more rainfall.

 

Different from the classic picture of East Africa – savannah – this is a lush and green area. The natural vegetation of sub Montana forest supports a wide variety of flora and fauna, much of which is endemic and for which the area is renowned both nationally and internationally. It is considered an international ‘hot spot’ for bio-diversity. The East Usambaras are particularly well known for bird life, with over 350 recorded species. The Usambaras are a bird-watching paradise. Abundant and diverse species can be spotted and according to experts, the Usambaras is one of Africa’s best bird-watching locations.

 

There are many endemic plant and animal species in the Eastern Arc Mountains – more than 2000 plant species of which about 25% are endemic. Out of the 276 tree species 50 are endemic! The East Usambara Mountains are the closest to the sea (only about 40 km) and due to moist climate the number of endemic species is remarkable. There are 16 tree species which can be found in the East Usambaras only. The forests of the East Usambaras have many rare species in all groups of animals, except mammals. High level of endemism is found amongst mollusks, amphibians and reptiles. The East Usambaras have been compared to Galapagos Islands with regard to diversity of endemic species.

Best time to visit Usambara Mountains

The best time to visit is from June to November, after the rains and when the air is clearest. Although the climate is comfortable year-round, paths get too muddy for trekking during the rainy season from March through May.

Weather and climate in Usambara

The Climate of the East Usambaras differs from much of the rest of Tanzania. Rain can and does fall at any time of the year although there is a seasonal pattern. Tanzania has a hot, dry season in December-March, and a cooler, dry season in May to October. The ‘short’ rains occur in November and ‘long’ rains in April-May. The climate on the coast can be hot and humid; however, because of the altitude (800-1400m), the East Usambaras are cooler and wetter than the surrounding lowland. The rainfall averages over 1,500mm a year with an average temperature of 20C.

RUAHA NATIONAL PARK

Ruaha National Park in Tanzania is part of the Rungwa-Kizigo-Muhesi ecosystem which covers 45 000 square kilometers. The name Ruaha originates from the Hehe word ‘ruvaha’ which means ‘river’. The park history dates back to 1910. In the years after various reserves and wetlands were incorporated into Ruaha National Park. Today it is the second largest Park in Tanzania and East Africa – with an area of about 22,302.26 square kilometers. The park serves both wildlife and human settlement – downstream there is farming activity and the hydroelectric power plant which supplies the country with power. Ruaha National Park has a high diversity or plant and animal life including elephant, buffalo, wild dogs and various species of antelope. The park is accessible by air and by road. The park offers game viewing, walking safaris, and bird watching and bush meals.

Best time to visit Ruaha

The heat is less intense in the Dry season (May to October), though plenty of dust is kicked up as you move around the park. This is also when the resident animals are more often glimpsed, unable to hide in the sun-withered bush. Safaris can get uncomfortably steamy in the wetter months, and some roads may be inaccessible at this time.

Weather and climate in Ruaha

Due to Ruaha being near the equator, temperatures don’t change much from month to month. The area is at its coolest during the Dry season (May to October), which doesn’t say much when the average afternoon temperature is around 27°C/81°F. The Wet season (November to April) piles on the heat and the humidity, with the rainfall at its heaviest early in this period.

UDZUNGWA MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

The Udzungwa Mountains is one of the southern circuit National Park and its 45 kilometers south of Mikumi. A rainforest area covering 1,000sqkm has been declared as a conservation area. The area has spectacular mountain scenery, waterfalls and rare vegetation not found anywhere in the world. The ancient rainfall will shoe you several species which are unique to the area, such as Iringa red colobus and the Sanje Crested Mangabey monkeys. You’re like here also with a magnitude of nature, primates, birds, butterflies and you get an impression about what these forests mean to research and traditional medicine.

Best time to visit Udzungwa

The Udzungwa Mountain National Park is the best place to visit all year round because both the dry season and wet season has its own charm. But comparatively the national park offers a great view of migrated birds in the wet season. However, the roads are muddy and difficult to hike as well as camping is not available inside the park.

 

The dry season has less water so easy to spot the wild animals. The dry season offers a great view of the sunrise as well as its easy to hike and can go camping. But the dry season offers fewer birds and the temperature becomes quite hot in the mid-day.

Weather and climate in Udzungwa

Depending on the month of travel, the average high temperature range from 77-86 F (25-30 C), but at times, it has also peaked close to 95 F (35 C) during the humid, short rain season, like other locations in Tanzania, Udzungwa Mountains Park has a rainy season and dry seasons.

MIKUMI NATIONAL PARK

Mikumi National Park is located in the north of the Selous Game Reserve in Morogoro. Ulugulu Mountains border it in the North and Rubeho Mountains to the South- East. The main feature in the park is Mkata river floodplain. The park was extended to the border of Selous in 1975 and gazette in 1964 during the construction of Morogoro- Iringa highway. The park shares the eco-system with the Selous Game Reserve and Kilombero Game Controlled Area. With 3,230 square kilometers coverage, Mikumi National Park is well –known Park in Tanzania. The park is very famous for its population of elephants, giraffes, buffalo, zebra and sable antelope. Predators include lions, leopards, wild hunting dogs and black-backed jackals and more than 400 species of birds have been recorded here.

Best time to visit Mikumi

Wildlife viewing in Mikumi is fine throughout the year, but the best time is from late June to October (the Dry season). At this time vegetation is thinner, and animals gather around waterholes. The end of the Dry season (September and October) is particularly rewarding as big herds of animals come to drink at the last sources of water.

Weather and climate in Mikumi

The climate in Mikumi varies from warm to hot and humid, with little change through the year. The warmest months are October to March, and the coolest are June to August. Mikumi’s Wet season runs from November to May. Rains occur almost daily, usually in the afternoon, but seldom last long. The Dry season is from June to October.

NYERERE NATIONAL PARK & SELOUS GAME RESERVE

Home to some of the most breathtaking wildlife’s left on the African Continent and far from the crowds which visits the Parks in the North of Tanzania. Nyerere National Park was established in November 2019 from part of the legendary Selous Game Reserve. As the largest National Park in Africa, Nyerere National Park covers an immense area of over 30,000 square kilometers. The park, which encompasses the mighty Rufiji River, is home to a diverse range of wildlife with huge populations of Hippo and Giraffe as well as Elephant, Buffalo and Lion among many others and together with the remaining part of Selous, Nyerere National Park is the last true stronghold for African wild dog.

Best time visit Nyerere & Selous Game Reserve

Wildlife viewing in Nyerere National Park and Selous Game Reserve is best from late June to October. It is Dry season and wildlife is easier to spot since animals gather at water sources and vegetation is thinner. The scenery is lush and green in the Wet season, from October to May, but afternoons can be unbearably hot. Many lodges close from March through May.

Weather and climate in Nyerere National Park

The climate of Nyerere National Park can be described as warm to hot and humid. Being so close to the equator, temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the year. The period of October through March consists of the warmer months, while June to August is cooler. The Wet season occurs from November to May. It rarely rains all day long.

KATAVI NATIONAL PARK

The beauty and charm of this remarkable park is its remoteness, resulting in fewer visits in comparison to other parks in Tanzania. Yet, it is Tanzania’s third largest park, with an ecosystem stretching into numerous forest and game reserves, it totals 25,000Km2 of rich wildlife.

 

The Katavi National Park is open from June to February; it enjoys two distinct seasons. From June to October it is the dry season, where the animals are concentrated around the seasonal rivers and lakes, which are rapidly drying. This forces the wildlife into becoming more condensed, especially the hippo population, which have become forced to share the ever shrinking pools of water. The hippos forego their territories and pile up next to one another in an attempt to find some relief from the burning sun. The crocodiles go into hibernation inside caves excavated from the riverbank mud walls. Large herds of elephant and buffalo stay near the rivers to ensure they have enough to drink. The grass becomes a high dusty vision of gold all across the plains, a great place for the lions, hyenas and other predators to skulk knowing their prey is at a big disadvantage. This is truly Africa in the raw.

 

Then the rains usually from mid November to the beginning of June, The grass becomes green and lush almost as soon as the first drops of moisture hits the earth. New grass shoots appear as if by magic and the game spreads throughout the park enjoying the new life injected into the invigorated land. The bird population increases with migrants flocking to take advantage of this abundance of water and food. It is a beautiful time to visit, especially for birders. From the end of February until June the camps close as the rain becomes heavier and the black cotton soil makes the roads impassable.

Best time to visit Katavi

It’s best to visit Katavi in the Dry season (May to October). Unlike during the wetter months, you won’t get cooked by the temperature, savaged by mosquitoes, or have to negotiate boggy tracks. Most importantly, the drier months are when animals congregate on the floodplains to get a drink, and the thin vegetation won’t shield them from your view.

Weather and climate in Katavi

Katavi is a hot place in the Dry season (May to October), except for the evenings when the temperature sinks along with the sun. Not by much, though – nights average a warm 17°C/63°F. The Wet season (November to April) is when things get really uncomfortable, with high levels of heat, plus humidity thanks to the brewing rain.

MAHALE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

The Mahale National Park is one of the Tanzanian National Park located to the south of Kigoma town, it is bordering Lake Tanganyika. The world largest second deepest Lake and least polluted in 1980 covering an area of 1.613 km. Mahale National Park is very famous in the western circuit with various attractions. These include chimp trekking, hiking, camping safaris, snorkeling and sports fishing in Lake Tanganyika.

Best time to visit Mahale

It is possible to track chimpanzees all year in Mahale Mountains. However, the chances of finding them improve towards the end of the Dry season (from July to October) when the chimps favor the lower slopes. If you have two or three days, your chance of seeing them is reasonable at any time of the year.

Weather and climate in Mahale

Due to its location close to the equator, the climate in Mahale ranges from warm to hot and humid. This doesn’t change much throughout the year. Average temperatures are about 27°C/81°F during the day. Evenings cool down to about 17°C/63°F. Mahale’s Dry season is from May to October. The Wet season is from November to April. The rains come in the form of afternoon thunderstorms and seldom last the whole day.

GOMBE STREAM NATIONAL PARK

Gombe Stream National Park, located on the western border of Tanzania and the Congo, is most famous for Jane Goodall, the resident primatologist who spent many years in its forests studying the behavior of the endangered chimpanzees. Situated on the wild shores of Lake Tanganyika, Gombe Stream is an untamed place of lush forests and clear lake views. Hiking and swimming are also popular activities here, once the day’s expedition to see the chimpanzees is over.

 

Gombe Stream’s main attraction is obviously the chimpanzee families that live protected in the park’s boundaries. Guided walks are available that take visitors deep into the forest to observe and sit with the extraordinary primates for an entire morning — an incredible experience and one that is the highlight of many visitors’ trips to Africa. Besides chimpanzee viewing, many other species of primates live in Gombe Stream’s tropical forests. Vervet and colobus monkeys, baboons, forest pigs and small antelopes inhabit the dense forest, in addition to a wide variety of tropical birdlife.

Best time to visit Gombe

The chimps tend to stick to the lower slopes of the escarpment during the drier months (May to October), so this is the best time to track them. And hiking through the forest is certainly easier when the tracks are firm and dry. By contrast, in the Wet season (November to April) you’re more likely to slip, and the chimps require a lot more effort to find.

Weather and climate in Gombe

Gombe has a pleasant, relatively cloudless Dry season (May to October) and a humid, stormy Wet season (November to April). One of the best things about the drier months is the absence of cold nights. The coolest it gets is around 15°C/59°F, which isn’t bad. A lot of water can get dumped on the park when the rains come, but these usually arrive late in the day and don’t last long.

LAKE TANGANYIKA

Lake Tanganyika is the world’s longest (660km), deepest in Africa and second-deepest in the world (more than 1436m) and second-largest (by volume) freshwater lake. At somewhere between nine and 13 million years old, it’s also one of the oldest. Thanks to its age and ecological isolation its home to an exceptional number of endemic fish, including 98% of the 250-plus species of cichlids. Cichlids are popular aquarium fish due to their bright colors, and they make Lake Tanganyika an outstanding snorkeling and diving destination.

 

It occupies the southern end of the Western Rift Valley, and for most of its length the land rises steeply from its shores. Its waters tend to be brackish. Though fed by a number of rivers, the lake is not the centre of an extensive drainage area. The largest rivers discharging into the lake are the Malagarasi, the Ruzizi, and the Kalambo, which has one of the highest waterfalls in the world (704 feet [215 meters]). Its outlet is the Lukuga River, which flows into the Lualaba River. Lake Tanganyika is situated on the line dividing the floral regions of eastern and western Africa, and oil palms, which are characteristic of the flora of western Africa, grow along the lake’s shores. Rice and subsistence crops are grown along the shores, and fishing is of some significance. Hippopotamuses and crocodiles abound, and the bird life is varied.

 

Many of the numerous peoples (predominantly Bantu-speaking) living on the lake’s eastern borders trace their origins to areas in the Congo River basin. The lake was first visited by Europeans in 1858, when the British explorers Sir Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke reached Ujiji, on the lake’s eastern shore, in their quest for the source of the Nile River. In 1871 Henry (later Sir Henry) Morton Stanley “found” David Livingstone at Ujiji. Important ports situated along Lake Tanganyika are Bujumbura (Burundi), Kalemi (Congo), and Ujiji and Kigoma (Tanzania).

RUBONDO ISLAND NATIONAL PARK

Rubondo Island is one of the game parks on Lake Victoria. The park is located on the Southwest of Lake Victoria, and it has 456 bird species. Rubondo Island also protects another 11 islets, none much large breeding ground for both migratory and fish species, Tilapia and Nile perch. The animals found in Rubondo Island include sitatunga, elephant, Giraffe, Hippos, Crocodiles, Chimpanzees and black faced velvet monkey.

Best time visit Rubondo

The Park is open and operates the whole year through with the peak/high season from July to February (The best time for game viewing) and low season that commences on March through June.

Weather and climate in Rubondo

With an average low and high temperature ranging from 66 -80 F (19-27 C), Rubondo Island Park offers a pleasant climate throughout the year with humidity primarily in the forests that covers the majority of the park, and the most comfortable months are June through September.

LAKE VICTORIA

Lake Victoria with a surface area of 68,800 sq km (26,600 sq mi), Lake Victoria is Africa’s largest lake. In addition, it’s the largest tropical lake in the world, and the planet’s second largest freshwater lake. Only North America’s Lake Superior is larger.

 

The lake’s shores vary in aspect. The lake’s southwestern coast is backed by precipices 300 feet (90 meters) high, which give way on the western coast to papyrus and ambatch swamps marking the delta of the Kagera River. The lake’s deeply indented northern coast is flat and bare. A narrow channel leads into the Kavirondo Gulf, which has an average width of 16 miles (25 km) and extends for 40 miles (64 km) eastward to Kisumu, Kenya. The Ugandan cities of Kampala and Entebbe lie along or near the northern coast. At the lake’s southeastern corner is Speke Gulf, and at the southwestern corner Emin Pasha Gulf. Of the numerous islands in the lake, Ukerewe, north of Speke Gulf, is the largest, with wooded hills rising 650 feet (200 metres) above the lake. It is densely populated. At the lake’s northwestern corner are the 62 islands of the Sese archipelago, some of them of striking beauty.

 

The search by Europeans for the source of the Nile led to the sighting of the lake by the British explorer John Hanning Speke in 1858. Formerly known to the Arabs as Ukerewe, the lake was named by Speke in honour of Queen Victoria of England. A detailed survey of the lake was made by Sir William Garstin in 1901. Plans for gradually raising the level of the lake’s waters were completed in 1954 with the construction of the Owen Falls Dam (now the Nalubaale Dam) on the Victoria Nile at Jinja, Uganda. The dam provides hydroelectric power on a large scale and made the lake a vast reservoir. A second dam, Kiira, was later constructed 0.6 mile (1 km) from Nalubaale. It was completed in 1999 and began producing hydroelectric power the next year.

 

The Lake Victoria region is one of the most densely populated in Africa; within 50 miles (80 km) of its shores live several million people, nearly all Bantu-speaking. There are local steamer services around the lake.

BURIGI CHATO NATIONAL PARK

The Burigi –Chato National Park is situated close to the border of Lake Victoria, boarder of Rwanda and is surrounded by the wondrous waters of the kagera River and Lake Burigi. One of the special features about the wild life of this park is that one of the largest antelopes of the world the statuesque Cape eland is found here Burigi – Chato National Park the typical grasslands of the African Savannah.

 

Burigi-Chato National Park also involves the other ecosystems of Rwanda Akagera National Park and Uganda’s Kikati game reserve, rangeland are to the north of the Katungo River and the lake Mburo National park. This National Park is set among the pictorial beauty of the lakes and the riverside which is a delight for the eyes of any tourist. The National Park has a wide collection of wildlife and some of them are elephant, buffaloes, antelopes, lions, leopards, zebras, giraffes, chimpanzees, gorillas and chimpanzees.  Some rare species of birds are also found in the Burigi-Biharamulo, Kimisi, Ibanda and Rumanyika National Park and some of them are fish eagles, papyrus ganolek, and bizarre shoebill stork.

SAANANE ISLAND NATIONAL PARK

It’s the second smallest Island which is a National park in Lake Victoria, and it covers an area of 2.18 square Kilometers, comprises of three islets and aquatic environment. The islets lie on the southern part of the main Island. This park is a beautiful place where you can get a view of Mwanza city, the park is located 2km Southwest of Mwanza city centre, which lies in the Gulf of Lake Victoria (Latitude 2.5 S and Longitude 32 E).

 

The park made a record of being the first ever National Park to be located within the City and the smallest National Park in both Tanzania and East Africa. The Park is the home of mammals like Impala, Rock Hyrax, Velvet Monkeys and Wild Cats. The presence of “De-brazas Monkey” underscores its potential as the only Park in the country inhabiting the species.  Reptiles are also dominant; they include crocodiles, Monitor Lizards, Agama Lizards, Pancake and Leopard Tortoises, Snakes particularly Python. The aquatic part of the Park inhabits a variety of fisheries life, mainly Tilapia and Nile Perch.

Best time visit Saanane Island

All year round, birdlife is most varied and scenery greenest over Nov-March. June-August is the dry season and great for picnics, game viewing and rock hiking.

ZANZIBAR & ISLANDS

Zanzibar is part of the East Africa nation of Tanzania. It is archipelago in the Indian Ocean that is 25- 50 km off the coast of Tanzania. The archipelago consists of 2 large islands and many smaller islands. The two large islands are Unguja (Zanzibar Island) and Pemba. The capital of Zanzibar, located on the island of Unguja is Zanzibar city and its old quarter known as Stone Town, is a world heritage site. Zanzibar’s rich history has been influenced by the Arabs, Persians, Indians, Portuguese, British and local tribes from Africa mainland and this shows in the architecture.

 

Zanzibar is characterized by beautiful sandy beaches with fringing coral roofs and the historically significant stone town. Its brilliant white beaches are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean and provide the perfect place to relax, soak up the sun and take a break from some busy sightseeing. Zanzibar main industries are species and tourism. It is still sometimes referred to as the Spice Island because of the significance of its production of cloves of which it’s a world leader and also nutmeg, cardamon, and pepper. The ecology is of note for being the home of the endemic Zanzibar Red colobus monkey, not to maintain the diverse marine life found on the islands surrounding coral reefs.

Best time to visit Zanzibar

The best time to visit Zanzibar is from June to October during the cool, dry months of spring. Another popular time to visit this tropical island is from December to February when it’s hot and dry. Generally the main rainy season, or the ‘long rains’, last during March, April and May. Afternoon tropical downpours are the norm – which can be heavy on any of the islands. The humidity is high and daily temperatures reach the low-mid 30°s.

 

The long dry season, when rainfall is fairly unusual, lasts throughout June, July, August, September and October. Temperatures vary hugely with altitude and location, but it’s usually a fine, clear sky and sunny weather – it’s a great time to visit Zanzibar. During November and December there’s another rainy season: the ‘short rains’. These are much lighter than the main rains and less reliable.

Weather and climate in Zanzibar

The climate is tropical, hot all year round, with two rainy seasons: one more intense, known as the “long rains” season, from March to May, with the peak in April, and the other less intense, known as the “short rains” season, between mid-October and December. Total annual rainfall is about 1,600 millimeters (63 inches) in Zanzibar and 1,900 mm (75 in) in Pemba. April and May are the wettest months, when downpours can be really strong and cause floods. However, some short thunderstorms can occur throughout the year.

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