In this part of the world we don’t really talk about seasons. Instead of distinct Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn seasonality, game viewing in the south of Tanzania revolves around rainfall.
Tanzania lies adjacent to the equator in the Southern hemisphere. Unlike countries located further away from the equator, the destination mostly enjoys moderate differences in temperature throughout the year. It is the presence and amount of rainfall that has the biggest impact, with the ability to completely transform the landscape in a matter of days.
Based on the amount and intensity of rainfall, many Tanzanians refer to the ‘long rains’, the main rainy season (March to May), the ‘dry season’ when there is no rain (June to October), and the ‘short rains’ (November and December). The ‘green season’ marks a typical dry spell during January and February before the long rains start again, in March. It is a beautiful rhythm around which everything in nature evolves.
As we move into September and October, we are once again reaching the peak of the dry season in the South of Tanzania where our camps Jongomero (Ruaha National Park) and Siwandu (Nyerere National Park) are located. Safari experts will tell you this is THE best time to view wildlife on safari in the south.
With the bush less dense and grasslands receding, this time of the year is excellent for spotting game, game viewing and photographing wildlife is much easier. Only the major sources of water are still available and the animals tend to predictably head for the same spots. In the Ruaha National Park during this time of the year most rivers, except the Ruaha river, will be dry. A game drive along the river banks results in rewarding sightings.
In the Nyerere National Park, where Siwandu is located right on the banks of Lake Nzerakera, large numbers of animals will stroll by camp enroute to the lakeside. During your boating safari, chances are excellent you will spot a variety of wildlife coming down to the water to quench their thirst. It is an unusual perspective to watch game from a boat in the water, as if you are looking from the inside, outwards.
Temperatures in the Ruaha National Park range from cool evening and morning temperatures of about 10 degrees celsius, with day time temperatures climbing to an average of around 24 degrees celsius. The Nyerere National Park located in the South-Eastern part of Tanzania experiences higher average temperatures with pleasant evenings and mornings, averaging about 24 degrees celsius. Mid-afternoon temperatures in the high 30’s can be expected towards the end of October. The humidity climbs during this time of year in the build up towards the first release of rains during November. The camp swimming pool with its cool clear water is the best place to hang out after your morning game drive. Add a chilled G&T and a good book as you soak up the beautiful, relaxing, sunny days in East Africa on safari. A body, mind and soul recharge.
Towards the end of September the Cassia's are still flowering, adding pops of bright yellow to the scenery. Some leaves start to reappear again in preparation for the short rains, just around the corner. The Tagalala tree (terminalia spinosa) will soon start flowering, releasing a delicious fragrance that lingers around the camp. In the dry Jongomero river bed in front of the camp the ellies can be seen drilling water from deep under the ground, using their trunks as nifty tools to get the job done. By the end of October we welcome nursery herds with hundreds of adorable, newborn skinny-limbed Impala calves. The Impala ewes are biologically programmed, they know the short rains are on the way. This leads to ample grazing which makes nursing and raising their calves easier. The predators know this too. With an abundance of calves, they eagerly await opportunistic meals. This is the song of nature and every animal in East Africa knows the tune by heart.
It’s time to join the chorus. If you plan on traveling to Tanzania soon, don’t forget to enquire about our great value, last minute rates. The Selous Safari Company looks forward to welcoming you to the South of Tanzania soon!