Best Time to Safari
While the safaris can be visited year-round, there are two main seasons in Tanzania a�� dry and wet. The main dry season typically runs from June till mid-November, with a break of short rains then picks up again in January through April. Traditionally from April through May is the period of long rains, although humidity would be lower and is the best time to avoid crowds and obtain better bargains, especially if on a budget. Areas of game viewing can still be found during the wet season.
In general, the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater, along with Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara National Park can be visited throughout the year. Below is a reference guide of what one would expect during the various months.
January to March
This is a superb time to visit the Serengeti. The Great Migration herds have reached just south of the park to get ready for calving in February. As hundreds of thousands of wildebeest are born in one month, this is an incredible opportunity to view dramatic interactions between predators and prey. Congregations of other wildlife like lion, cheetah and hyena can also be found in the Ndutu Plains. Around the Ngorongoro Crater the climate will be warm and pleasant, which makes the days quite comfortable.
April and May
This is when heavy rains set in and the migration starts to move into Central Serengeti and eventually toward the western region of the park. One would need to be prepared as access to roads may be limited due to weather conditions. However it is not rare to have a streak of sunshine with no crowds to compete with, especially around Ngorongoro Crater. This time of the year is generally low season and hotels may offer lower rates. Overall the scenery is green and beautiful, and birdwatching is best due to the presence of migratory birds.
June and July
As the dry season approaches, this marks the busiest time of the year especially in the Serengeti National Park. The migrating herds start to move toward Grumeti River where one can witness thousands of wildebeest crossing it. A sight not to be missed, lions, leopards and crocodiles in particular wait for easy meals as numerous wildebeest fight their way through the waters. Successful ones will move further into the north region of Serengeti and eventually toward the Mara River.A�The density of lion and cheetah in Serengeti Central in July to October is thought to be the highest in Africa, making for amazing game-viewing.
The huge elephant migration can also be found in Tarangire National ParkA�while other animals can be seen congregating around the Tarangire River. Early mornings tend to be colder and there are fewer mosquitoes around this time. Lake Manyara National Park offers consistent game viewing at any time of the year, but July through October can be considered its peak season. The Ngorongoro Crater, a very popular attraction will also start to get crowded around this time of the year.
August and September
The herds that have survived the first river crossing will have found their way to the north of Serengeti and crossed over the Mara River. They will now settle in the Masai Mara plains in Kenya for a while after an exhausting journey. The Mara is made up of magnificent rolling hills with rich grasslands to support the herds. Seasonal camps with their strategic locations near the Mara River can offer fantastic views to crossing points and also access to game viewing. Herds can also be seen on the Tanzanian side of the border in the Serengeti.
This is still a good time to visit Tarangire National Park as it remains the center of the regiona��s elephant migration.
The Wildebeest herds will begin their journey to move east through Masai Mara then back down into the Serengeti National Park. One would find the northeastern of the park an ideal location to catch all the action. Rain clouds will start to build up as dry season is coming to an end.
The elephants at Tarangire National ParkA�are at their largest around this time of the year.
The migration herds head south as the short rains begin, toward the Loliondo region although some may move more toward central of the park. The Loliondo area presents a variety of resident game and is excellent for people who enjoy walking. With dramatic landscape and scenery along with excellent game viewing, what more does one need? Rains are mostly short storms during the day and would not have a huge impact on the travelers. Some hotels may start to drop their rates but seasonal or migration camps may have more to offer.
The herds continue to head south back to the plains of Ndutu. The animals may prefer the Seronera area as it provides a constant water source, while Ndutu provides an abundant amount of grass plain. This time of the year one can see thousands of wildebeest and zebra settling on the southern plains while the Big Cats feasting on them. The cycle will start again come January.
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