Tanzania is a tropical country, and temperatures are quite consistent 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 variables are altitude and rainfall. October is at the end of the long dry season and the start of the short wet season. Earlier in the month, the weather will primarily be dry, but by late October, you can expect more rain and the seasonal trade winds known as kusi.
Crowds & Costs
October is a month of two halves in Tanzania. Earlier in the month is the tail end of the peak season, and accommodation will likely be more expensive and full in the most popular safari areas. Although the Great Migration has ended (or passed north into Kenya) by October, there are still plenty of other animals and birds to see. By the end of October, the increasing rain puts off some travelers, but it's also not a bad time to come if you want to get a good deal on accommodation or avoid the crowds.
Where to Go
The Great Migration of wildebeest and zebras will have passed into Kenya by October. However, there are still plenty of other game animals to see in Tanzania's northern parks, such as Serengeti National Park and Tarangire National Park. To enjoy a different kind of landscape, head to the incredible Ngorongoro Crater, the largest intact volcanic crater in the world. Here, the grassy scrubland is lower than in other parks where trees are more common. As it's between Serengeti and Tarangire, it's easy to visit all three ecosystems in one trip.
Alternatively, head to the lesser-frequented parks of southern Tanzania. A highlight is the UNESCO-listed Selous Game Reserve, Africa's largest protected game reserve and one of the largest remaining wildernesses. There's more forest than in many of the northern parks, and it feels wilder and untouched, not least because there are fewer tourist lodges around.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Many travelers like to end an active trip to Tanzania with a few days on the beach in Zanzibar. This can certainly still be enjoyed in October, but the winds and rain of later in the month means having a backup plan is a good idea. Luckily, the old UNESCO-listed Stone Town area of Zanzibar City can be explored whatever the weather. Once a flourishing center of the spice trade and, less romantically, of the slave trade, Stone Town is steeped in culture. The architecture reflects Swahili, Arab, Persian, Indian, and European influences. Check out the Old Fort, the churches and cathedrals, the Old Slave Market, and even the Freddie Mercury Museum in the singer's childhood house.
While Tanzania is well-known for its game reserves, the Big Five aren't the only animals you can spend time with in this diverse country. Adventurous travelers might like to go on a chimpanzee trek in the Mahale Mountains National Park. In western Tanzania, on the shore of Lake Tanganyika and across the water from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, this jungle-covered park is a protected area for chimps. The only way into the park is by boat on Lake Tanganyika or on foot, as there are no roads.
Events in October
Bagamoyo Arts Festival, Bagamoyo. This long-running 7-day arts festival is held in September or October. Watch music, dance, drama, and acrobatics performances in the coastal town.
Traveling to Tanzania in October? Check out these great itineraries
Uganda & Tanzania Safari: Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth, Serengeti & Ngorongoro - 15 Days. Visit some of the natural wonders in Uganda and Tanzania. Begin in Uganda, at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, known for its wild mountain gorillas, and Queen Elizabeth National Park, for a big-game safari. Then, travel to Tanzania and Serengeti National Park for game drives and the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest inactive volcanic caldera in the world.
Serengeti & Zanzibar Getaway - 7 Days. Experience Tanzania's most famous highlights in just a week. Start with game drives across the savannas of the Serengeti National Park, followed by a few days relaxing in Zanzibar, an oasis of white-sand beaches and coral atolls.