While the wildlife in Africa is extraordinary year-round, there are rules of thumb when deciding when to go.
Travel is inextricably hooked to the weather – to any place, at any time – and Africa is no different. When divining the best time for safari in Tanzania, travel experts will say, “Well, it depends on what wildlife you’re interested in seeing.” But since the draw is the massive herds of elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and rhino, plus the hippo, zebra, wildebeest, eland, and gazelle, among others, the best time to go to Tanzania to experience optimum game viewing is from July to October.
While the Great Migration is technically year-round, visitors to Tanzania from July to September and into October have a Serengeti safari experience beyond words. The Ngorongoro Crater southeast of the Serengeti National Park is also home to an abundance of wildlife and birdlife.
This time period is the dry season when the least dense grasses and bushes make for the best sightings of wildlife – no one is hiding, because they can’t. The roads in and out of the reserves are in prime condition, too. But best of all, these months correspond with the Great Migration in Africa when herds of animals in the thousands go on a pilgrimage in search of better grazing land. Zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles cross the Mara River en route to Kenya, on the lookout for predators along the way, that are themselves very much a part of the game-viewing action. Migratory birds are also along for this wildlife caravan.
In July, migration begins in the north of the Serengeti and heads toward Kenya, while elephants begin to congregate in Tarangire. The July humidity is still low. Things get drier in August, the dense bush dries out, and animal spotting gets even better. In September, the animals – and the people – still tend to be in the north, so the parks in the southern Serengeti are less crowded yet still active. In October, the migration arrives in Kenya, but the game viewing in central Serengeti is still rewarding, as is the parkland in the country’s south end.
What happens the rest of the year?
Prices drop, for one thing. November is still great, but with lower rates – a very popular time to travel. The wet season lasts from November to March. While there is a lot more rain, the birdlife is incredible, as migratory species arrive back to their common lands. The rainy season is also the calving season when visitors will see herds of animals with their offspring in tow. March brings fewer sightings, but extremely good rates for travel to Tanzania. April and May are to be avoided due to the heavy rain.
And in June? The cycle begins again, a circle of life that you definitely should experience at least once in your lifetime. Whatever time of the year you end up making the trek to Tanzania, the
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