Why Travel Here
Tanzania is a country that does nothing by halves, whether it’s a question of the epic scale of its wild places, the standards of its luxury safari lodges, or the quality of the wildlife experiences.
Like Kenya, Tanzania offers travellers the chance to combine both bush and beach experiences without the need for additional ink in their passports: the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba offer fascinating history, chilled beach time and excellent diving.
Tanzania’s almost synonymous with the Great Wildebeest Migration, the annual event which draws tourists to the Serengeti in the same unerring way that it calls to the itinerant antelope.
While the Serengeti’s endless sea of grass offers scope for the grandest of safari ambitions to be played out, it’s by no means the only wildlife-viewing hotspot in the country.
The ‘lost world’ of Ngorongoro Crater offers an uplifting descent into an extinct volcano, while Tarangire’s baobab trees compete with local elephant for lens time.
Benignly frowning down on the plains of northern Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro issues its silent challenge to more adventurous travellers. Southern Tanzania offers ample opportunities and space to leave the beaten path, and experience safari at its most authentic.
On the map
Through The Year
East Africa’s four-season meteorological pattern follow the East African pattern. The long dry season, from June to October, is many people’s first choice – game is more concentrated, and incredibly so in the case of the Great Wildebeest Migration. November sees the green flush that results from the short rains, followed by a shorter dry season from December to March, with the longer of the two annual rainy seasons typically bracketing April and May.
The long, dry season is understandably the most popular time to visit Tanzania – particularly for visitors heading to the Serengeti, as this is when the migrating wildebeest arrive and must cross the Grumeti River to continue their journey. Rain is extremely unlikely to interfere with the viewing at this time of year – although probably only a serious downpour could distract from the drama. Meanwhile, lower rainfall thins out the vegetation in Mahale, making chimpanzee easier to see.
The so-called short rains typically begin and end during November, and mark the end of the peak season for Tanzania safaris. The rains prompt an immediate response from the savannah, which seems to turn green overnight, and makes for a lovely backdrop for images of resident wildlife after the migration has moved on. Seasonal showers fall on Zanzibar and Pemba, but with the humidity being manageable, they don’t preclude adding some beach time to November itineraries.
A shorter dry season between two wetter ones, this period offers an experience that’s similar in many ways to the longer dry season, only without the premium prices. Migratory birds flock to Tanzania at this time, making it ideal for special-interest and birding safaris. Most marvellously of all, Lake Manyara flushes pink with returning flamingoes, and the southern Serengeti echoes to the mass bleating of hundreds of newborn wildebeest before the long trek resumes.
During the long rains, visitors to Tanzania would do best to stick to the mainland, where they can enjoy being in the presence of the young of many species, or marvelling at the floral carpets in the Ngorongoro Crater. Southern Tanzanian skies are illuminated by electric storms, and new greenery delights the resident herbivores.