East Africa’s Wet and Dry Safari Seasons – Summer is peak safari season in East Africa – But wildlife encounters can occur all year round.
East Africa’s Wet and Dry safari seasons – Every traveler loves East Africa – but the best safari time is to avoid the rainy season and swept beaches – where everything goes open savannah, you will need to be in the right place at the right time.
East Africa can be visited at any time of the year, but there are East Africa’s wet and dry seasons. Each has its advantages and each destination has its best moments, not least in the Masai Mara Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park where the seasonally Great Wildebeest Migration takes place.
When you choose to go on an East African Safari, it’s now time to choose where to travel to in East Africa. If your dates are flexible, you can plan your East African Safari better by understanding East Africa’s seasonal trends.
Great Adventure Safaris has split the year up into three periods to coincide with the main phases of the wildebeest migration and the rainy seasons.
December to March
Do expect warm temperatures and short rains. Game viewing safaris in the Serengeti National Park, diving in Zanzibar, and Mountain Gorilla trekking in Uganda and Rwanda are excellent choices this period.
This is summer in East Africa and temperatures are warm and pleasant with an average high of 28°C and an average low of 15°C. The rains from early November to late March are usually scattered and localized with short-lived downpours. There is often heavy rain in late March.
Where to visit:
- Serengeti National Park
In the mid-November rains begin, the zebras and wildebeest herds move onto the Southern and Eastern plains of the Serengeti National Park and the Northern Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. If you want to see predators in action, the February calving season provides plenty of drama and the best safari experience.
- Lake Nakuru
For keen bird watchers, Kenya’s Rift Valley lakes are at their peak in January and February. Flamingos gather at Lake Nakuru in their hundreds of thousands and the pink mass they create is a pinch making your birding day wonderful.
- Mountain Kilimanjaro
For the best conditions to climb to Africa’s highest peak is to go during warm and dry January and February. This will give you the best mountain climbing ever making your East African Safari memorable.
- Mountain Gorilla Trekking
Late December to early March sees the driest weather in Uganda and Rwanda Mountain Gorilla treks are easier and the views are better. Though Mountain Gorilla trekking is done all year round it is much easier in the dryer months than in the wet months. Bwindi Impenetrable is a tropical rain forest where weather is unpredictable and it can rain at any time.
The best time to visit Zanzibar beaches is between late December and early March. During this time the temperatures are a little higher than during the cooler and drier late June to October period but it is less crowded and you will get better deals on accommodation and airfares.
April to June
Don’t be put off by the long rains; safaris are still good in the Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and Masai Mara Game Reserve. It’s also less expensive and popular destinations are less crowded making more space for yourself during your East African Safari.
The long rains arrive and heavy showers can be expected for a few hours every day or so. Avoid the hot and humid East African coast at this time.
Where to visit:
- Southern and Central Serengeti National Park
The zebras and wildebeest herds form huge, noisy columns in preparation for their trek, the months of April, May, and June are the best months for game viewing safaris in the southern and central Serengeti National Park and the northern Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area.
- Ngorongoro Crater
For the best experience of Africa’s Big 5 game viewing safari, the Ngorongoro Crater is excellent year-round and the main factors for planning your trip to this safari destination are weather and visitor numbers. From April to June the crater will be lush and green and you will have much of the place to yourself and the best safari experience.
July to November
From July to December mild temperatures and classic dry-season game viewing safaris make these months a popular time to visit East Africa. Book accommodation and tours well in advance, especially if it’s the Great Wildebeest Migration you want to see.
October to December there are short rains in Tanzania and central Kenya notwithstanding; these months are mostly dry and sunny forcing animals to gather at permanent water places. July to September offers the most pleasant weather in East Africa, especially along the coast.
- Calving Season in the Great Migration
- Driest months for Gorilla Trekking
- Peak whale shark viewing season near Mafia Island