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Visit Tanzania in summer to witness the beauty of this East African country in all its glory. This is the perfect time to explore Tanzania’s much-famed game safaris, conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, and enjoy the pristine beaches of Zanzibar. Summer in Tanzania is characterized by clear skies and relatively dry weather, offering visitors plenty of opportunities to enjoy the country’s natural beauty, wildlife, and attractions in a comfortable setting. From Big Five game safari in Serengeti National Park to hiking the scenic Machame Route to the cultural tour of the Unesco-listed Stone Town of Zanzibar, a Tanzania tour during summer has a lot to offer.
- Dominic Heige
- From Greece
Located close to the equator in the Southern Hemisphere, Tanzania experiences a varied climate across the country. Coastal areas are generally hot and humid, while higher altitude areas are arid, cool, and dry. Summer in Tanzania runs from December through March, marked by clear skies and sunny weather with little rainfall. Temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C depending on the location and altitude. For instance, in high-altitude areas like Arusha, the Ngorongoro Crater, and Serengeti, days are relatively temperate with cooler nights.Tanzania also has two rainy seasons. The first longer rainy season lasts from March to June, and the second short rainy season occurs during October and November. The short rainy season in summer sees lighter, less reliable rains.
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For a more detailed seasonal overview, check out our guide on the best time to visit Tanzania.
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Summer in Tanzania is considered the peak tourist season. Here are a few reasons to justify why most travelers prefer a trip to Tanzania in the summer.
Perfect wildlife spotting season: Tanzania experiences clear skies, little rainfall, and warm to hot temperatures during summer, making it a perfect time for wildlife spotting. Dry and sparse vegetation during this season also makes spotting wildlife in national parks and game reserves easier. To ensure the best experience, book a guided safari on Lake Manyara National Park safari or Serengeti National Park safari. With a bit of luck, you may even spot all of the Big Five: lion, leopard, African elephant, black rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo.
Cultural festivals: Tanzania is home to a diverse range of ethnic groups, such as the Maasai and Sukuma, who have their unique cultures and traditions. In summer, you can witness and participate in traditional ceremonies, dances, and celebrations specific to the season. For instance, the Maasai hold a traditional jumping dance known as "adumu," which is a significant ritual for the tribe. Similarly, the Sukuma tribe celebrates "Shilivaha," a festival that marks the end of the harvesting season. Kilimanjaro Marathon, the Zanzibar International Film Festival, Mwaka Kogwa Festival, and Sauti za Busara Festival also take place during the summer months.
Beaches and water sports: Tanzania boasts a stunning coastline with pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. The summer season is an ideal time to explore the best beaches in the Zanzibar archipelago and engage in water sports like snorkeling, diving, and deep-sea fishing.
If you are considering a trip to Tanzania, we recommend looking at our Tanzania guide.
Tanzania has many incredible places to explore during summer, from popular national parks to off-the-beaten-track hidden gems. Here are some top destinations to visit during the summer season:
1. Serengeti National Park
Tanzania's most famous national park, Serengeti is known for its abundant wildlife and the annual wildebeest migration event. December sees the arrival of millions of wildebeest to the grassy plains of this park.
Major attractions: Great Wildebeest Migration, Big Five game drive, bird watching, and camping.
- Summer is the dry season in Serengeti, which means wildlife such as lions, elephants, and zebras.congregates around the water sources, making it easier to spot them.
- Since the summer is a popular time for tourists to visit Serengeti, there are usually extensive service and accommodation options, including luxury lodges, tented camps, budget-friendly hostels, and campsites.
- Serengeti can get quite crowded during the summer months, which could make the wildlife viewing experience bothersome.
Vast grassy plains, open thickets of woodland, and dense forests teeming with game make the untamed wilderness of the Selous one of Tanzania's top destinations. Dominated by the Selous Game Reserve (now renamed Nyerere National Park), Africa's largest game reserve, this is one of the best places to enjoy various game-viewing activities in summer.
Winding through the heart of the Selous Game Reserve is the glistening Rufiji River, spreading a spidery network of channels, lakes, and swamps that create one of the most diverse ecological systems in East Africa.
Major attractions: Rufiji River, boat safari, and bird watching.
- The dry and sunny weather with pleasant temperatures during the day makes it an ideal time for outdoor activities such as game drives, bird watching, and boat safaris.
- Since the summer months are relatively dry, fewer mosquitoes and bugs are around.
- It can get quite hot during the day, which may not be suitable for some travelers.
3. Mount Kilimanjaro
The summer season in Tanzania is the perfect time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. Although it can rain during summer, the chances are quite low.Temperatures are also mild for trekking up the mountain trail. Dry weather also means a safer route.
Major attractions: Uhuru Peak, Rongai Route, Machame Route, Lemosho Route.
- Clearer weather conditions in the summer months make for higher visibility from atop Uhuru peak, which provides stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.
- Peak tourist season means availability of more guides, porters, and support staff, as well as well-maintained trails.
- The trail could be crowded around this time.
4. Lake Manyara National Park
Lying at the towering Rift Valley escarpment base, Lake Manyara National Park is a melting pot of diverse fauna and flora. Summer is a fantastic time to experience this hidden gem when this vast grassy floodplain is teeming with wildlife, including buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra. The park also offers spectacular views of the jagged volcanic peaks that rise from the endless Maasai Steppes.
Major attractions: Lake Manyara Treetop walkway and Lake Manyara flamingo colony.
- The summer months are generally drier, with mild temperatures and less rainfall, which makes exploring the park and enjoying outdoor activities such as camping more comfortable.
- The roads and trails in the park are easier to navigate.
- Lake Manyara is known for its over 400 bird species, a bird watchers’ paradise.
- Boat safaris may be limited during the dry season, as the water levels are low.
- Peak season can lead to higher costs for accommodations, park fees, and other expenses.
Summer in Tanzania is the perfect time for enjoying many outdoor activities around the country. But remember that the country can still experience some rainfall and temperatures can be stiflingly hot during the day. So it is important to pack appropriately and plan your activities accordingly. Here are some of the top activities that you should not miss while traveling in Tanzania during summer.
- Wildlife safaris: Tanzania has some of the world's best wildlife reserves, including Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire national parks. The dry season is an excellent time for wildlife safaris in these parks, as the vegetation is thinner and animals come out to gather around the water sources.
- Beaches and water sports: Tanzania has many beautiful beaches, especially in the Zanzibar archipelago. Visit Zanzibar for water sports like swimming, snorkeling, and diving. You will find the water temperature and visibility at their best during summer.
- Hiking and trekking: There are many beautiful hiking and trekking trails around Tanzania, including the Usambara and Uluguru Mountains, which can be enjoyed during the dry season. Summer is a popular time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, as the weather is favorable and the trails are well-maintained.
- Plan in advance: Summer is the peak tourist season in Tanzania, so planning your trip well in advance is recommended. Book your accommodations, flights, and activities as early as possible.
- Pack appropriate clothing: Tanzania can be hot during the day, but temperatures can drop at night, especially in higher elevation areas like Mount Kilimanjaro, so bring lightweight, breathable clothing as well as warmer layers. Also, do not forget to pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat for protection from the sun.
- Stay hydrated: Tanzania can be hot and dry during the summer, so staying hydrated is essential. Drink plenty of water but make sure it is clean.
- Respect local customs: Tanzania has a rich culture and customs, so respecting them is important. Dress conservatively, particularly when visiting religious sites and seek permission before photographing individuals.
Tanzania is a fantastic year-round destination with many incredible things to see and do. That said, summer is one of the best times to visit the country, as the weather is excellent and you have a better chance of spotting wildlife. Summer is also perfect for other outdoor activities like trekking and beach visits.
If you need help planning a customized trip to Tanzania, you can always contact our local travel experts, who can devise a tailored itinerary to suit your needs.