Tanzania is a great country to visit. Destinations like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Mt Kilimanjaro, Lake Victoria and Zanzibar offer some of the most amazing travel opportunities across Africa and they are all in one country!
The climate is tropical, so some periods are hotter, wetter or more humid than others, but generally whichever month you travel to Tanzania there is something wonderful to see and do!
Mafia Island: The best time to dive with whale sharks. Mafia Island can be reached from Dar es Salaam via a short flight. It's further out than Zanzibar, so gets less tourists and is far less commercialised. A real desert island!
Wilderbeest migration: Most wildebeest calves born in a short window around February in the south of the Serengeti. This concentrates the predators too, so there is amazing opportunities to spot the big 5 exerting their authority in the northern safari parks. Arusha is the closest house to the action, but safari's from Mwanza would no doubt take advantage of the spectacle too. There are also plenty of flights from Dar es Salaam to the northern circuits.
Sauti Za Busara Festival – The “Sounds of Wisdom” festival is the biggest music gathering in Tanzania (and probably a large chunk of Africa too!). It's held in Stonetown, Zanzibar and offers 4 days of Swahili music, theatre and dance, African rap & hip hop artists. Zanzibar can be reached from Dar es Salaam by boat or short flight. Arusha and Mwanza also offer direct flights.
Mafia Island: More opportunities to dive with whale sharks around Mafia and Pemba. These islands are both beautiful and a less touristy option than Zanzibar. Boats go from Zanzibar to Pemba if you wanted to visit both, and dive trips from Zanzibar would undoubtedly head towards Pemba if a whale shark had been spotted!
Climbing Mt Kilimanjaro / Mt Meru – this is the best time to trek in terms of clear conditions. It is also the month for runners – the Kilimanjaro marathon kicks off, as well as the Kilimanjaro triathlon. Arusha students.... take your trainers!
Wilderbeest migration: The migration starts and the animals begin to head north. It's early days, but it's still an interesting time to go on safari as wherever there are wilderbeest there are predators!
Wilderbeest migration: The area around Moru Kopjes and west of Seronera fills with moving columns, often containing hundreds of thousands of animals – joined by zebra, Thompson's and Grant's gazelles.
Dar es Salaam Goat races – a charity fundraising event attended by thousands. They started in 2001 and have raised millions for Tanzanian charities. It's become one of the "see it to believe it" events for travellers and can be easily visited from our Dar base.
Wilderbeest migration: The wildebeest congregate in the Western Corridor, often building up to a high density before crossing the Grumeti river. It’s not as impressive as the Mara River crossing, but it’s an amazing spectacle. This is easily reached from our Mwanza house, but visitors from Arusha on longer safaris will probably head to this area to witness the animals leaping through their first big obstacle.
Zanzibar: The dry season is the best time for Zanzibar trips.
The ZIFF (Zanzibar International Film Festival) also takes place if any students have an interest in film.... or parties. It sounds as if ZIFF is a good excuse for more beachside fun!
Rubondo Island: Lake Victoria's only park is best visited now. This could be your chance to see chimpanzees as well as many other animals. Mwanza has a ferry that heads out to the islands weekly, or you could fly.
Kigali: A top spot to track gorillas. Although in Rwanda, this is just a 1 hour flight from Mwanza and is an amazing opportunity to trek through the jungle and witness these magnificent creatures in their own habitat.
Southern parks: Many of the roads in the parks are not passable for much of the rainy season, which means safari is limited. By the June the roads have opened up a little, giving you access to more remote safari experiences. Unlike the northern parks you won't be in a chain of jeeps parked around a group of lionesses.... this feels really wild!
Zanzibar: More fine, clear sky and sunny weather. Bikinis and flip flops all round!
Rubondo Island: This is still a good time to head to Rubondo to see the chimps as the weather is perfect and the national park will have far fewer visitors than the northern circuits.
Kigali: Gorillas in the mist..... you could be trekking in Rwanda's jungles one minute and then watching a silverback beat his chest the next. One of the most amazing travel experiences.... and just an hour from Mwanza.
Southern parks: The dry season means that the game is more concentrated around the rivers that run through these vast parks, making it easier to spot game. You could see elephants, cheetahs, black rhinos, African hunting dogs, and plenty of hippos and crocodiles at Selous or Mikumi.
Zanzibar: Even more fine, clear sky and sunny weather.
Rubondo Island: Chimpanzees have only been released successfully in a few national parks in Tanzania - most of which are difficult to reach. Rubondo Island has a thriving population and it's a boat trip away from Mwanza.
Kigali: Conditions are drier, which makes the long treks to track gorillas much easier. You will still have a long, hot mission to find the animals, but what's a blister or two when you show people your photos of baby gorillas just a few feet away. It's just a flight away from Mwanza and can be easily slotted into a weekend.
Southern parks: The Great Ruaha River in Ruaha National Park is the only permanent water source in the park..... it's the dry season, so where do you think the animals are? That's right.... a fly in safari to the wilds of Ruaha regularly features in "top 10" safari lists for a reason.
Wilderbeest migration: Although further north for students to travel, this is one of the best times to view the classic scenes of wilderbeest crossing the Mara River in their thousands. They then turn to head back down south. Mwanza and Arusha safari specialists will be able to tailor trips to incorporate this spectacle.
Tanzacat regatta - This is the largest open class catamaran event in Africa. 60 + catamarans will be racing across the shoreline of the city before heading over to Zanzibar.
Dar students find a bar with a view - a cold beer whilst you watch the coloured sails shoot past can be rather enjoyable!
Kilimanjaro / Mt Meru–This is another good time to trek in terms of conditions. There are no marathon runners this time either, so you can take things a little more leisurely!
Zanzibar: Yes, yes.... we know that Zanzibar has lovely clear skies and that it's the perfect island destination!
Kigali: Conditions are still good in Kigali for anyone keen to track gorillas. At 1 hour from Mwanza this could make for the most memorable weekend trip!
Southern Parks: Game gets progressively better towards the end of the end of the season as the water holes and rivers dry up and the game concentrates around water.
Zanzibar: Does summer never end for islanders.... well it does this month. It's still gorgeous now though.
Diwali: the Hindu, Sikh and Jain "Festival of Light" takes place. You can expect fireworks and street parties to celebrate, particularly in parts of Dar.
Wilderbeest migration: The herds of the wildebeest migration arrive back on the short-grass plains of the Serengeti in their thousands. It's another good time to go on safari.
This is a good month for most things - it's on the cusp of peak season and so there are still deals to be had, but if the weather is in your favour your trek up Kili or trip to Zanzibar will be just as good as the full dry season.