Because of its location- below the equator, at its south, Zanzibar enjoys great weather pretty much around the year. It follows the weather pattern of Tanzania except in its humidity- Zanzibar is more humid and there’s not nearly as much rain in the dry spell as you’d encounter in Tanzania.
January and February are the dry season months in Zanzibar. March, April and May are when the heavy rains, or masika come calling. Heavy showers are expected in the afternoon and the humidity is quite high and uncomfortable. The daily temperature is in its low and mid thirties. June, July, August, September and October is the dry season. It lasts a long spell and there’s not much rainfall to be seen. But it’s not all bad news- sunny weather, clear blue skies are the norm here. Of course, depending on where you are in Zanzibar the weather gets warmer or less warm. By far, the best time to visit the country is in this dry spell. The year ends with rains again. November and December are a short rainy season, called the vuli. The unpredictable rain makes travel a bit difficult, but it’s light rain; this makes it manageable. Remember, the weather in Zanzibar depends on the monsoons of the Indian Ocean. The northeast monsoon winds or the kaskazi occurs from November or December to February or March. The southwest monsoon winds, or kusi blows from June to around October.
What does one do during the Zanzibar seasons? For one, there are the many beaches to visit and enjoy. Whether it’s diving in Mnemba Island or swimming, snorkeling and fishing elsewhere, the beach is where all the fun is. Zanzibar is a conservative country so be mindful of the culture and the people and dress appropriately. If you like some exploring in the rain, head to Stone Town. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers hours of exploration and immersion in the culture of Zanzibar. In the gentle rain, head to the Night Market and feast on hot samosas, zanzibari pizza, chai and delicious food and snacks. If food is your thing and you like rain or warmth, head to The Rock Restaurant on Michamwi Beach for some world-class food, right on the water. At high tide, the only way to reach it is by boat. At low tide, you can walk to the restaurant and enjoy the view of the sand, beach and palm trees.
Zanzibar is also close to Serengeti- flights are convenient and leave you with enough time to enjoy the splendor of the wild. Migration is a year-long phenomenon and you can plan your trip accordingly. The most magnificent sight is millions of wildebeest making their way across the mighty Serengeti in search of water and grass. You can also spot gazelle and zebra in this migration. Keeping a track of the rain will help you understand better when the migration will take place. There are many resources online to help you in this regard.
The Zanzibar seasons make travel a pleasure. Track it on your weather app and enjoy a great holiday.