Tanzania has a tropical climate and temperatures are fairly consistent year-round, averaging between 77°F and 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 variables are altitude and rainfall. January is a relatively dry month, sandwiched between the short rainy (November and December) and long rainy (April to May) seasons. However, there is a chance of experiencing rain everywhere, particularly at night. The period between November and March is often referred to as the "green season."
Crowds & Costs
January is the shoulder season for travel in Tanzania, so you should expect to see some other visitors but not the same volume as during the peak season (June to October). You probably won't encounter accommodation or restaurant closures as you would in the off-season and may find some good deals on safari accommodation and activities, as well as at beach resorts, later in the month. Earlier in the month, you might still find high-season prices, especially at beach resorts, because there's generally an influx of travelers during the Christmas and New Year holidays in late December.
Where to Go
January, especially later in the month, is the wildebeest calving season on the Ndutu Plains, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the southern part of the Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania. Visitors can enjoy different wildlife-related experiences in Tanzania throughout the year, but if you're traveling to the country in January, put a safari to see the wildebeest calving at the top of your list.
Conditions are also excellent in January to enjoy the beaches of Zanzibar. The semi-autonomous region is one of Tanzania's highlights, with dazzling white-sand beaches, clear blue waters, and a unique hybrid culture that's absorbed many influences over the centuries. In January, the temperatures are hot in coastal regions, and rainfall is relatively low. Underwater visibility can be up to 98 feet (30 m), making conditions great for divers.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Mount Kilimanjaro, in northeastern Tanzania, is the tallest mountain in Africa at 19,340 feet (5,895 m). It's best climbed when the weather is dry, and that includes January. Although temperatures will be cold at altitude, January is one of the warmest months of the year, so this is a great time to attempt to summit Kilimanjaro. Climbs can take five to 10 days, depending on the route and the number of days reserved for acclimation.
It's an excellent challenge for keen hikers and is not considered a technical climb—it's known as a "walk-up." (However, that doesn't mean the challenge should be underestimated, as the altitude can affect climbers more than the gradient). However many days it takes you, you'll be treated to incredible views across Tanzania and possibly into Kenya, as well as the chance to spot wildlife at lower altitudes and to hike through varied vegetation and terrain.
Events in January
Wanyambo Festival, Dar es Salaam. This cultural festival features traditional dancers, food and drink, and traditional instruments, art, and crafts.
Traveling to Tanzania in January? Check out these great itineraries
Active Tanzania: Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar & the Serengeti - 10 Days. Combine the best safari locations in Tanzania with beach time in gorgeous Zanzibar. But before you can relax on those white sands, test yourself on a day hike up Kilimanjaro.
Serengeti & Zanzibar Getaway - 7 Days. Experience Tanzania's most famous highlights from safariing in the Serengeti National Park to relaxing in Zanzibar. Spot lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, and more, then spend a few days on white-sand beaches and swimming in coral atolls nestled amid a sea of sapphire waters.