When it comes to visiting Tanzania, timing is everything. The dry seasons from December through March and June through October are hands-down the best times to go.
During the dry seasons, you’ll avoid the heavy rains that can wash out roads and trails. You’ll also have the best chance of spotting wildlife on game drives since the animals congregate around dwindling water sources. The drier air also means smaller crowds of mosquitoes, so you can comfortably be outside without constantly swatting at bugs.
The December through March dry season coincides with Tanzania’s summer, so temperatures will be hot but not unbearably scorching. June through October is Tanzania’s winter, so temperatures are mild and comfortable. Either dry season is ideal for a Tanzania adventure.
If budget is a concern, consider visiting during the shoulder months of April-May or November when the rains are slowing down or just starting up. You may get some afternoon showers, but you’ll also benefit from lower prices for lodging and smaller crowds as the peak season winds down.
Whenever you decide to visit this stunning African nation, you’re in for a memorable trip. With a bit of advance planning, you can make the most of Tanzania without breaking the bank. Save time, save money, and enjoy every wild moment.
How to Get Around Tanzania on a Budget
Getting around Tanzania doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are a few ways to save on transportation:
- Take public transit whenever possible. Daladalas are local busses that can get you almost anywhere for next to nothing. Just be prepared for crowded conditions and sometimes long wait times.
- Rent a car only when needed. Driving yourself around Tanzania can be tiring and dangerous if you’re not used to the conditions. Opt for busses, trains and taxis in cities and between close destinations. Only rent a vehicle for longer trips to national parks or secluded areas. You’ll save a bundle by not paying for a car every day of your trip.
- Bargain for the best taxi fare. Taxis are the most convenient way to get around cities, but negotiate the price before getting in to avoid paying too much. Ask hotel staff for reasonable fares to your destination so you’ll know if the driver is overcharging. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a cabbie unwilling to lower their price. There are always other taxis!
- Take advantage of budget airlines. For long distances, flying is often the cheapest option in Tanzania. Airlines like Fastjet and Precision Air offer affordable fares, especially if you book in advance. One-way tickets can sometimes be found for under $100 US.
With some savvy planning, you can traverse Tanzania without spending a fortune. Take it slow, enjoy the journey, and save your money for the experiences that really matter!
Must-See Tanzania on a Short Trip
Focus on the North
For a short trip, prioritize the northern circuit over the southern and western parts of Tanzania. The north is home to Tanzania’s most famous attractions like the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Mount Kilimanjaro.
See the Great Migration
Between July and October, witness one of the greatest natural wonders of the world – the Great Migration. Over 2 million wildebeests, zebras and antelopes travel over 500 miles across the Serengeti and Masai Mara in Kenya. The spectacle of hundreds of thousands of animals on the move at once is a sight you’ll never forget. The Grumeti and Mara rivers are popular places to see the herds cross.
Explore the Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Roughly 12 miles wide, the crater is a natural enclosure for approximately 25,000 animals including the ‘Big Five’ – elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, lions and leopards. It offers one of the best opportunities for spotting wildlife in their natural habitat. You can easily see this area in a day trip from Arusha or Moshi.
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro (optional)
For the ultimate challenge, climb Africa’s tallest mountain, the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro. At over 19,000 feet high, scaling the snow-capped peak is a strenuous multi-day hike, but reaching the summit at sunrise is a life-changing experience. The climb is suitable for adventurous beginners in good shape, though altitude sickness can affect even the most experienced hikers. If a trek is too difficult, you can still get amazing views of the mountain from its base.
Focusing on these northern highlights will give you a memorable taste of Tanzania’s stunning scenery and wildlife in a short amount of time. A one week trip is ideal for seeing the migration and exploring Ngorongoro Crater and Kilimanjaro area at a relaxed pace.