Tanzania in December : Travel Tips, Weather & More : In Tanzania, December is a shoulder season for travel. In this month most of the national parks and other destinations such as the Zanzibar beaches and Mount Kilimanjaro- the tallest mountain in Africa become busier around the Christmas and New Year period.

Weather in December

Tanzania as a country has a tropical climate and temperatures are fairly consistent all year – round at about 77°F–86°F (25°C–30°C) on the lowlands and at the coast and around 59°F–68°F (15°C–20°C) in the highlands. The most significant variable are the altitude and rainfall, the weather conditions in December in Tanzania can be roughly divided into two halves.

  • In December, more rainfall is received with the lingering short rains that start in November.
  • Later in December the weather is drier although there is still a chance of showers especially at night.

The period between November and March in Tanzania is often referred to as the “green season” because of the rain that brings the vegetation back to life after the prolonged dry season (June to October).

Crowds & Costs

Early December is a shoulder season in Tanzania, because of the rains some travelers keep away even though there are still great wildlife – viewing opportunities you can enjoy. In early December, you may get good deals on some safari accommodations because it is not a peak season and most of the lodges remain open throughout the short rains, unlke during the much wetter long rains. (April/May).

In late December, things start to change when travelers from around the world more particularly Europe and North America make the most Christmas and New Year vacations to travel somewhere warm.

Zanzibar’s beach resorts and other Indian islands get booked up at this time of the year, so when planning to visit Tanzania in December plan well in advance most especially if you want to spend Christmas or New Year in Tanzania.

Tanzania in December
Zanzibar Beach Resort

 Where to Go

December provides an excellent time to witness the Great Migration of wildebeest in Northern parts of Tanzania as huge herds of animals “wildebeests, gazelles and zebras” start arriving in Tanzania from Kenya’s Masai Mara national reserve in November. By December, numbers will have become more steady and calving season is underway. Northern areas of Serengeti National park are the best places to see the herds in December, although herds move South, so get a local guide or tour operator in the ground for suggestions about the best places to go.

 Migrating herds, head south to Ndutu Lake between the Maswa Game Reserve and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The area offers consistent game and other wildlife viewings during the green season, the Ndutu area offers great sightings of millions of wildebeests and predators such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, striped hyenas. Other animals to look out for include giraffes, elephants and eagle owls.

What to Do

Tanzania offers a wide range of fun activities to do during December and keep you occupied during your safari and holiday.

  • If you are fun of swimming with the largest fish in the world – the whale shark, the best place to do this bucketlist activity in Tanzania is near the shores of Zanzibar and the Mafia Island, south of Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam where they are seen between November and March.

Although the sea’s clarity can be affected by the rains, you can still swim, dive or snorkel with the whale sharks – the world’s biggest fish.

  • If you are not fun of water, you can enjoy sunbathing in the beautiful white – sand beaches along the Indian Ocean.
  • December is also an excellent time of the year to embark on a classic Tanzanian adventure – Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, this dormant volcano is situated in north eastern Tanzania and is the tallest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet (5,895 meters). Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro can take about 5 to 10 days depending on the route taken and the number of days reserved for acclimation, it is a great challenge for keen hikers and is not considered a technical climb – also known as a “walk up”. However, do not underestimate the challenge because the altitude can significantly affect climbers.

 For a shorter and easier alternative, you can try climbing Mount Meru (14,967 ft/ 4,562 m), views of from both Mountain Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru are immaculate.

 Events in Tanzania in December

  • Swahili Fashion Week – this event happens in Dar es Salaam, this event is the biggest fashion event in Central – Eastern Africa is held in Dar-es-Salaam. The Swahili Fashion Week lasts for 3 days and is held in early December.
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