Discover the best time to travel to Zanzibar.
The best time to travel to Zanzibar basically depends on your personal preference. Do you prefer cooler climates, or rather enjoy bronzing in the scorching hot sun?
For cool, dry weather the best time to travel to Zanzibar would be June to October.
For hot, dry weather I recommend you visit Zanzibar between December and February.
It’s important to note that Zanzibar has a wet season, which occurs in March, April and May.
There are so many beautiful reasons that tourists and adventure travelers flock to Zanzibar. Determining the best time to visit Zanzibar really all comes down to what your interests are.
Perhaps you are after the soft talcum powdered beaches, or maybe you’re keen on inhaling the everlasting aromas of the spice tours around Stone Town.
Wherever your interests lie, I can assure you that Zanzibar really has it all!
Best time to travel to Zanzibar
But first things first. Zanzibar is an island archipelago off the eastern coast of Tanzania.
There are four main islands. Three of them hold human populations, the fourth is a coral island that serves as an essential breeding ground for many seabirds, like the mangrove kingfisher.
Zanzibar is super popular with over 500 000 travelers visiting the islands every year.
Tanzania is situated just south of the equator, which means it experiences relatively hot and humid weather year round.
There are two main seasons that make up Zanzibar, a wet and dry season. However, no matter the season you are pretty much guaranteed to experience epic days almost every day of the year!
Zanzibar has two dry seasons, with one season being more popular amongst travelers.
During the months of July to September, you’ll mostly encounter couples, groups of friends or solo travelers.
These months are the best time to travel to Zanzibar if you want to enjoy warm (but not too hot) weather. Most days are pleasantly warm averaging around 26°C (78°F). Perfect for taking to the beaches of Zanzibar or the UNESCO world heritage site Stone Town. This season is great for couples, groups of friends and solo travelers looking to experience some Zanzibar adventures.
The second dry season (and also great time to visit Zanzibar) is the holiday season that lies between December and February.
This season generally attracts travelers that tend to go on holidays over the annual festive season. Such as families when their children are away from school. You will encounter much more family orientated groups during this season. Likewise, the majority of hotels make sure to cater for the shift in demographics with activities and tours specially adapted for children and their parents.
These months I’ve mentioned are considered the summer season in Zanzibar, and like most summer holiday destinations may be a tad bit crowded. If you are looking to find your secret spot away from other travelers, you’ll have to be extra creative.
So, which dry season is the best time to travel to Zanzibar, all depends on who you’ll be travelling with. If you want slightly less crowds, visit in the first dry season (July to September). If you are more family orientated travel to Zanzibar in the second dry season (December to February).
In Zanzibar it rains quite a lot in general, so it’s a good idea to bring a raincoat or umbrella with you. However, it rains a fair amount more in the wet season.
If you are like me who loves rain, then the best time to travel to Zanzibar would be March to May. It’s important to know though, that the wet seasons in Zanzibar are not monsoon-like (you won’t be stranded in your hotel room). The temperatures during this season average out on around 29°C (84,2°F). You will find countless opportunities to go scuba diving off the coast of the island and I promise that you’ll experience some of the most colorful sea life ever if you choose to do so. (Always remember not to touch the coral reefs and respect the sea life of the oceans.)
When it does rain, downpours can last between 30 minutes to 2 hours at a time, but once the rain has passed, you will see the clouds dissipate and the sunshine once again. During this time, you will be granted a few good hours to go sightseeing and enjoy your time on the island.
The second wet season of Zanzibar is in November through to the first week of December. This season is not as wet as the first, but you can still expect a few days of good rain.
When to visit Zanzibar – Month to month guide
January to February
A fantastic time to visit Zanzibar – the days are filled with sunshine, the temperatures are hot and the sea the clearest, making it the best time to travel to Zanzibar for divers, snorkelers and families.
The weather changes as Zanzibar enters the season known as “long rains” were showers become much more frequent. It can be quite wet from the middle of March onwards.
April to May
The downpours of rain in April and May make the beaches hot and super soaked (in my opinion the best time to travel to Zanzibar). For the majority of travelers this is probably not the best time to visit Zanzibar, though.
June to September
One of the best times to visit Zanzibar for couples, friends and solo travelers. The rains have calmed down for the most part. However, it is still possible that some light showers occur from time to time.
The temperature continues to rise and short showers become possible.
November to December
The second wet season commences, although not as intense as the first. The showers usually don’t last long but are more frequent than other months.
How many days do you need in Zanzibar
I’d recommend a minimum of seven days, depending on how much of Zanzibar you wish to explore.
The majority of travelers visit Zanzibar for three major reasons: history, leisure, and cultural interaction.
There are so many places to discover in Zanzibar but if you are super motivated you could probably explore almost all of them within one week (excluding the northern island of Pemba). If you did decide to visit Pemba, it would take you around 2 – 4 days to explore all the worthwhile/important stuff.
If you aren’t quite sure on what you will do when visiting Zanzibar, don’t stress, many hotels will gladly organize tours for you in and around the island (at some expense).
Deal Finder – Zanzibar Accommodation
Average temperature and rainfall in Zanzibar
Daylight Saving in Zanzibar
Zanzibar City currently observes Eastern Africa Time (EAT) all year.
In this time zone there is no Daylight Saving Time in use.
Tanzania is located super close to the equator. This means daylight hours are very consistent throughout the year. You can expect 12 hours of daytime sunshine from 6:00 am to 6.30 pm.
Current Local Time in Zanzibar