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When to Go on Safari

The ideal time to go on safari will differ for every individual as much of it comes down to personal taste and specific interests. It completely depends on what you want to see and do. Wildlife concentrations are extremely seasonal and careful planning is required to provide you with best experience possible. Many of the animals do move vast distances each month but we will always tailor your itinerary to your specific month of travel to assure that you are located in the best area for wildlife viewing. Some factors that may influence your decision on ‘when to go’ are as follows:

  • The parks and reserves you wish to visit
  • The length of your safari
  • Special animal interests
  • Lodging preferences
  • Group composition (family, couple or friends)
  • Safari style (adventure or luxury)
  • Personality (off the beaten path or main game circuits)

Based upon the above factors we can have an open and meaningful dialogue and provide you with some suggestions on the most optimal time for your safari. If you are limited to a specific travel time, we can always tailor your itinerary to meet your expectations and requirements regardless of the month of travel.

Wildlife viewing in Northern Tanzania is superb year round due to presence of large concentrations of resident animals. However and if you do have flexibility with your travel dates, the green season (late November to early May) can offer the overall best wildlife viewing. There is an old adage in the Serengeti that ‘rain means game’ and this definitely rings true during the green season. The reason the green season is advantageous is that the famous wildebeest and zebra migration is concentrated in massive numbers on the open Southern and Eastern Serengeti Plains. This in turn attracts large numbers of predators including lion, cheetah, hyena and jackal. Additionally, the plains are a beautiful shade of bright green, dust levels are minimal, animals are in the open and easy to spot and you are permitted to off road drive on the open plains. It’s a great season to get ‘off the beaten path’ and explore the remote corners of the parks. Please keep in mind that all green season months are not ‘created’ equal. Game viewing tends to be better towards the end of the green season (February, March and April) when the migration and all the large carnivores are at their highest densities. Late March to mid April is our favorite time for a safari!

The northward migration (mid May to mid June) and the southward migration (mid October to mid November) are also optimal times for a safari and wildlife viewing. Game viewing can be tremendous when the migration is on the move during these two periods! During the northward migration in late May, the great herds bottle neck at the Moru Kopjes attracting all the large carnivores. Late May is the time of the wildebeest rut and a synchronized mating pandemonium ensues as the migration comes together and marches off the plains. Male wildebeest madly dash about rounding up females and chasing off other males. After an 8.5-month gestation period, the synchronized calving takes place in early February. During the southward migration (mid October to mid November), the great herds stream through the woodlands and flood onto the plains as stunning thunderclouds form in anticipation of the approaching green season. It is an amazing spectacle to see hundreds and thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle thundering southwards with lion, cheetah and spotted hyena in close pursuit.

The dry season (July to October) is also a great time for wildlife viewing. Massive herds of elephants congregate around the Tarangire River in Tarangire National Park while resident herbivores (impala, buffalo, gazelle and giraffe) flock to the Seronera River in the Central Serengeti. The dry season is a great time for predators and especially good for viewing large prides of lions along the rivers. The migration is located in the remote woodlands of the Northern Serengeti and this is the time of the famous river crossings along the Mara River. Superb off the beaten path drives are available in the Serengeti during the dry season with the favorite being the Mara River adventure game drive.

Regardless of when you travel, one will always have superb game viewing in Northern Tanzania. Resident (non-migratory) animals including leopard, elephant, rhino, giraffe, hippo, resident lion prides and several species of non-migratory antelope are always abundant (particularly in the Central Serengeti). However, there are certain months and even weeks that may be preferable to you based upon your specific wildlife interests. Talk it over with your ADS specialist and decide upon the most optimal time for your safari.