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April

Weather

There is a chance of heavy rain during April and lighter showers can be expected for a few hours every day or every other day. However, when it does rain, it will usually clear in 1-2 hours and more then likely the rain will be localized. It is rare that rain clouds will settle over a large area for an extended period of time. The highest amounts of precipitation are historically seen in April for most parts of East Africa though not in the Southern Serengeti. The greatest amounts of precipitation are historically recorded in March in the Southern Serengeti. This is the season of the so-called ‘long rains’, which simply does not mean much of anything in the Serengeti and is more applicable to other areas in East Area. There is a risk that the heavier rains will pose an inconvenience on game drives. This risk is mitigated by the fact that it tends to rain less on the Serengeti plains where the best wildlife viewing is located during April. Additionally, we believe the month April offers the finest game viewing opportunities out of the entire year. We strongly recommend longer duration safaris during April. We view the extra night or two as insurance against the potential of sour weather having a negative impact on any one day.

Rain falls in different amounts over various locations throughout Northern Tanzania. The Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Lake Manyara receive higher rainfall then many areas of the Serengeti. There is a steep rainfall gradient in the Serengeti from the dry southeast to the wet northwest. The winds that bring rain blow from the east. The Ngorongoro Highlands block much of the rain from reaching the eastern and southern plains of the Serengeti. However, the western and northern parts of the Serengeti receive a much greater amount (2-3 times more) of participation as compared to the southern and eastern Serengeti. The wetter western and northern Serengeti areas are affected by Lake Victoria. This means that in the southern Serengeti where you should ideally focus your April safari, the rains should not be an issue and it will rain substantially less then the other areas of the Serengeti and Tanzania.

Temperatures are pleasant with an average high of 83 degrees and an average low of 60 degrees. However, the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater can get quite cold at night and in the early morning. Visitor numbers drop off dramatically at the beginning of March and by April the parks are completely empty of tourists. April and May see the fewest visitors of any month and lodging costs are substantially reduced. There is hardly anyone around in the parks, wildlife concentrations are at their highest in the Southern Serengeti, and the landscape is a lush green. April is certainly one of our favorite times to take a safari!


Seasonal Wildlife Highlights

Serengeti National Park

Northern Serengeti (Woodlands)
Not recommended during April.

Western Serengeti (Woodlands)
Not recommended during April.

Central Serengeti (Plains/Woodlands Border)
April Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 1 - 2 Days
April Wildlife Highlights: Leopard, Lion, Giraffe, Impala, Buffalo, Hippo


The Central Serengeti offers superb game viewing year round due to the abundance of resident animals. Specifically, the Seronera River Valley in the Central Serengeti is a ‘must see’ on every safari regardless of the specific month of travel. Game viewing is better during the dry season (June - October) but during the wet season and including April there is still plenty of resident animal action. Resident herbivores include impala, buffalo, hippo, warthog, topi, hartebeest and giraffe. Resident carnivores include lion and leopard.

There are 12 documented resident lion prides just within a one-hour game drive radius from Seronera. All these prides do shift east and south in their territories during the wet season but they are still reachable though not in the same numbers found during the dry season. The Seronera Valley in the Central Serengeti is also one of the best areas in Africa to spot the elusive leopard. You will likely encounter this majestic cat in the branches of the sausage trees that dot the banks of the Seronera River.

Heavy rains may be an issue in April in the Central Serengeti. We generally recommend campsites (if you are keen camping) in the Southern Serengeti where it generally rains less in April.

Eastern Serengeti (Plains)
April Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 1 - 2 Days
April Wildlife Highlights: Cheetah, Hyena, Eland Migration, Thomson’s Gazelle Migration


The Eastern Plains of the Serengeti are extremely seasonal. During the dry season, you will likely encounter only a few hearty Grant’s gazelle. However, the eastern plains come to life in the wet season including April and offer incredible game viewing for certain species of animals. A day trip at the minimum should be included in every green season itinerary.

The GOL Kopjes, located on the Eastern Plains, boasts the highest concentrations of cheetahs in Africa during the wet season. The majority of the cheetahs in the Serengeti are migratory in that many of them follow the Thomson’s Gazelle migration to the eastern short grass plains during the wet season and then back to the Central Serengeti (plains/woodland border) during the dry season.

The Eastern Plains are also the main wet season range of the giant eland migration. Additionally, you will likely find large clans of hyenas numbering up to 30 individuals in a single group. Hyenas are semi-nomadic and ‘commute’ to the Eastern Plains during the wet season from their den sites located in the Central Serengeti.

East of the Serengeti way out beyond the GOL Kopjes are the Eastern Plains of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Hundreds of thousands of migratory wildebeest range both the southern and eastern plains. You will likely encounter thousands of wildebeest from the GOL Kopjes, east through Angata Kiti and into the Salei Plains by the active volcano Mount Lengai. This is an extremely beautiful and remote area of the Eastern Plains and if you are adventurous enough to visit you will be rewarded with superb off the beaten track game viewing.

April is a particularly good time to visit the Eastern Plains.

Southern Serengeti (Plains)
April Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 2 - 4 Days
April Wildlife Highlights: Wildebeest Migration and Zebra Migration, Lion, Cheetah, Elephant


The southern Serengeti steals the show in the wet season including April. The life giving rains that generally begin in mid November and last through early May trigger the great wildebeest migration into the plains of the South Serengeti and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area. April is the best month for game viewing in the Southern Serengeti.

The green season is a wonderful time to be on safari in the southern Serengeti and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Rain means game in the Serengeti and wildlife should be prolific on the Southern Serengeti Plains. The southern plains encompass a massive area so it’s best to locate yourself in more then one area if time allows. The wildebeest migration will most likely be spread across the now green plains of the northern NCA and the southern Serengeti. There should be thousands of young wildebeest calves on the green plains ranging from 2 - 3 months old. Along with the migration, predators should be abundant. There should be good cheetah sightings though not to the extent seen on the Eastern Plains. Lions should be easily visible, both resident prides and the nomads which have followed the migration from the woodlands. Elephants can also be found in the Southern Serengeti in the patches of woodland that dot the plains including the woodlands around Lake Ndutu and Kusini.

The massive wildebeest herds are usually located just south of the Serengeti border in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. There will undoubtedly be smaller herds actually within the Serengeti proper but the main herds should be located in the extreme south. This makes Olduvai Camp and Ndutu Lodge in a prime position to catch the herds. Kusini Camp is also an excellent choice. More Serengeti National Park Information.

Ngorongoro Crater
April Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 1 - 2 Days
April Wildlife Highlights: Black Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Cheetah


The Ngorongoro Crater, described as one of the wonders of the world, is an amazing natural sanctuary not to be missed. Game viewing here is among the very best Africa has to offer and is excellent at any time of year. The crater is very small at only about 10 miles across. With just one game drive in the Crater, it is possible to circumnavigate the crater several times and see all the main highlights. However, every safari we offer includes two separate game drives in the Crater over a course of two days including one early morning 6AM drive. The goal on the early morning game drive is to be the first person in the Crater that day. Animals are generally more active in the morning, which makes the early morning game drive option an excellent choice.

The crater is not a self-contained ecosystem and some animals do migrate in and out of the surrounding NCA but not in any significant numbers to warrant tailoring your itinerary. The main factors for planning are weather and visitor numbers. In April, the crater will be lush green and visitor numbers will be at their lowest. More Ngorongoro Crater Information.

Tarangire National Park
Not recommended during April. More Tarangire Information.

Lake Manyara National Park
April Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 0 - 1 Day
April Wildlife Highlights: Elephant, Baboons, Giraffe, Impala, Birding


Game viewing is generally fair to good in Lake Manyara at any time of year. However, Lake Manyara does not offer the abundance of wildlife nor quality of wildlife viewing experiences found in the other parks of Northern Tanzania. Similar to Ngorongoro Crater, seasonal wildlife patterns are not significant enough to warrant tailoring your itinerary.

Lake Manyara is a beautiful little park and is famous for its tree-climbing lions, elephants and large troops of baboons. The park is home to an amazing variety of birds and animals considering its small size. A short visit to this serene park will greatly diversify your safari experience as the lush green jungle habitat is of stark contrast to the other parks you will visit during your safari.

We find that a quick day visit to Lake Manyara before either heading back towards Kilimanjaro or on the way from the Crater to Tarangire is sufficient and ideal for most travelers. The park gate is just a few feet from the main road and this combined with the fact that the park is small allows for quick and rewarding forays into the park. A one to four hour visit to Lake Manyara makes a superb addition to any safari itinerary. More Lake Manyara Information.

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