What’s the Best Time of Year to Go on Safari?

Written by Thomson Safaris

serengeti at dawn

Tanzania’s landscape changes dramatically over the course of a year. The dry season exposes hidden watering holes and makes for better predator visibility. The green season brings lush vegetation, perfect for grazing herbivores. This constant shift makes Tanzania a year-round safari destination, offering unique experiences depending on the season.

So, when is the best time to go on safari? To help you navigate this decision, we asked our expert safari consultants; here are their insights on the “best time of year to go on safari in Tanzania.”

Late January – Early March: LEWIS CRARY

My favorite time to go on safari is right at the start of the year. The savanna is bursting with life: lush and green, teeming with flowering trees and healthy grass. The animals are fat and happy, and the wildebeest have reached the end of their journey. The herds can finally settle down to give birth to a new generation.

Thomson guests aren’t the only ones arriving in time for calving season—lions, leopards and hyenas eagerly wait for their prey to settle in. The contrasting colors make for some great photos too—a brown lion on green grass pops more on-camera than a brown lion on brown grass! Finally, I find that the airfares are generally less expensive than in the summer.


Late March – May: CAROLYN HARDY

My husband and I had an amazing honeymoon safari during the green season. I’d previously been in the shoulder/dry season, and so comparatively, stepping out of the plane in the Eastern Serengeti felt like the scene in Wizard of Oz when everything suddenly has color. The bright, exuberant colors and the warm sun from the blue sky instantly set a tone for happiness and you can’t help but smile.

This is also “calving season” for the wildebeest and zebra of the Great Migration, but we saw so many babies from other species as well. Not only are they squealingly cute, but I think it gives you a different perspective on wildlife viewing when you get to see so many mother/baby interactions. There were a few isolated showers throughout the trip, but the animals didn’t mind it so neither did we!



I especially love the Serengeti during the summertime! The Great Migration is in full swing. Imagine millions of wildebeest thundering across the plains – it’s like a nature documentary happening right before your eyes! Summer’s dry season means the grass is short. Animals are very easy to spot – you won’t miss a single lion lounging in the shade or a cheetah on the hunt, and if you’re lucky enough you can witness the Great Migration river crossings as the herds move to the Maasai Mara.

Many guests assume Africa is scorching hot all year round, but temperatures in the summer only reach the high seventies. Sunshine warms your days for game drives, and the nights are cool and crisp – perfect for cozying up by a campfire and swapping safari stories under a blanket of stars.


September – October: HALEE MAHONEY

Those early fall months are perfect for seeing the Great Migration cross the Mara River back into the Serengeti. It’s an experience that’ll leave you speechless! Plus, with fewer tourists around compared to peak season, you’ll practically have the Serengeti all to yourself. Imagine capturing those once-in-a-lifetime wildlife photos without any other vehicles in the background! For me, fall is the sweet spot – incredible wildlife viewing, dramatic river crossings and a peaceful safari experience.


Some of my favorite memories are from spending the holiday season in the bush. Growing up, my parents would take me and my sister to Tanzania for Christmas. It was pure magic. Now we get to share this experience with families of our own; three generations together in the heart of the Serengeti. It may not be a traditional holiday, but it’s truly an unforgettable one.

Surrounded by nature’s raw beauty, you reconnect with what truly matters during the holiday season: family, gratitude and peace. Sharing the excitement of tracking lions, witnessing the Great Migration and creating lasting memories under the African sky – those are the gifts I cherish most. It’s a holiday tradition unlike any other.

Which time of year speaks to you? Call us to discuss your safari plans.