Because Tanzania lies below the equator, the coolest months occur during the northern hemisphere’s summer, and all-year round the weather remains pleasant and comfortable.
Between June to October, temperatures range from around 10°C in the northern highlands to about 23°C on the coast. On the plains and the lower-altitude game reserves, the temperatures from June to October are warm and mild. On the coast, these months are some of the most pleasant to visit, with balmy, sunny weather much of the day and cooling ocean breezes at night.
From December to March, the days are hot and sunny with often not a cloud in the sky. Temperatures range from the mid-twenties to the low thirties throughout the country while visitors flock to the parks and beaches to escape the dreariness of late winter in colder climes. Clear sunny days are the norm in the northern highlands and the heat of mid-day is tempered by the golden light in late afternoon and the especially striking sunsets.
In the game parks and central plains, the beautiful weather provides perfect opportunities for unhampered game viewing, and clear night skies offer perfect opportunities for star-gazing and romantic evenings in the bush. On the shores of the Swahili Coast, the Indian Ocean reaches its highest temperatures and is ideal for swimming at any time of day or night.
Tanzania’s equatorial climate brings two seasons of rain each year: the masika, or long rains that fall from mid-March to the end of May, and the mvuli, or short rains, that come intermittently throughout November and parts of December, and sometimes stretch into early January.
During the long rains, heavy showers fall in the early mornings but usually clear up by mid-day, with the weather often remaining clear and sunny until late afternoon. By evening, impressive cloud formations build, breaking sometime after dark and the rain often continues throughout the night.
During the short rains, light showers in the mornings and late afternoons are punctuated by stretches of clear weather and beautiful rays of sunlight. The beginning of both rainy seasons is marked by a change in the winds which historically, marked the time for trading boats to set off on expeditions across the Indian Ocean or return to their native lands.
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