There are direct and one-stop flights from overseas to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro (near Arusha) and Zanzibar Island. Arusha town is the starting point for Tanzania’s most popular Northern Safari Circuit. Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) is situated 46km/29mi east of Arusha. Tanzania’s main airport is Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) located 13km/8mi southwest of Dar es Salaam. The latter is the entry-point for visitors to the southern parks.
Moving on from Arusha or Dar es Salaam you can fly or drive between reserves or you can opt to do a bit of both. Some domestic flights out of Arusha will leave from Kilimanjaro International Airport, but most flights to reserves leave from the much smaller Arusha Airport (ARK) located 8km/5mi west of town. However you choose to travel, in most cases your local tour operator will pick you up from the airport and arrange all further transportation as part of your safari package.
Tanzania has a pleasant tropical climate but has large regional climatic variations influenced by several factors, including altitude. Temperatures drop by about 3.5°F per 1000ft you climb. The hottest and most humid part of the country is on the coast. Other low lying areas, such as the western and southern parks, are also hot but much less humid. The rest of the interior is much milder and cools down significantly at night. Tanzania is too close to the equator to experience a real winter and summer. There is, however, a dry and wet season.
June to October – Dry Season
- June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration.
- Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers and there is less vegetation.
- There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain. Skies are clear and most days are sunny.
- Even though most tourists visit during the dry season, the parks still don’t feel crowded, except for the Seronera area in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.
- Mornings and nights get cold. It’s recommended to bring warm clothing for morning game drives in open vehicles during the months of June, July and August.
November to May – Wet Season
- Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti. This is an excellent time to see predator action.
- The scenery is green and beautiful. It’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks.
- Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you’ll still see plenty and most northern circuit parks offer good year-round game viewing.
- Migratory birds are present and birdwatching is at its best.
- Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.
- March to May is the peak of the wet season.
- Most big wildlife has migrated out of Tarangire NP and game viewing in Katavi, Selous and Ruaha is clearly better during the dry season.
Health & Safety
Tanzania is, overall, a safe country to visit. This is even more so if your visit is primarily an organized safari. Almost a million tourists visit Tanzania every year and most visits are trouble-free. There have been several terrorist attacks in the past, but the last one, where a hotel was bombed, was in 2002. Unfortunately, terrorism has become part of life and it is very difficult if not impossible, to safeguard against it. Fortunately, incidents are very rare and the chance of being a random victim is almost negligent. As with many third-world countries, theft and muggings are relatively common, but most incidents are in cities like Dar-es-Salaam and Arusha. Walking alone around the city is not recommended. An overnight stay at a reputable hotel or an organized visit to one of the many attractions in or around the city is fine.
High risk throughout the country except in high altitude mountains over 2000m including Ngorongoro crater rim, Mt Kilimanjaro and parts of the Eastern Arc Mountains. Most safari parks are high-risk zones. The highest risk of transition is in the rainy season from November to May. See websites below for more detailed advice.
Vaccinations are recommended, see the websites before for more detailed immunization advice.
Australia – www.travelclinic.com.au
Canada – www.iamat.org – Vaccinations / Malaria
Ireland – www.tmb.ie
New Zealand – www.iamat.org – Vaccinations / Malaria
United Kingdom – www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
United States – wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel