Best Time to Visit Zanzibar

Are you planning a trip to Zanzibar anytime soon? If yes, then you should see this first. Undoubtedly, Zanzibar is one of the best tourist destinations worldwide; however, the time you visit would affect the quality of your vacation. So when is the best time to visit Zanzibar? Let’s find out.

Before planning a trip to Zanzibar, you must consider a few factors. These factors will help you decide the best time to visit the island. For example, it would primarily depend on the purpose of your travel. If you are going for a family vacation, then the best time to visit Zanzibar is during summer.

However, there are many other factors that you have to consider while trying to find a perfect time to visit Zanzibar. It is advisable to learn about the weather conditions on the island before visiting so it will become much easier to adapt to weather changes during your vacation.

When is the best time to go to Zanzibar?

Weighing all options and all periods together, the best time to visit Zanzibar is during the dry season, from June to October. However, you can visit the island at any time you wish. The difference in seasons makes it more exciting, especially for those who would love to visit more than once annually.

The “June to October” period is the best time to visit Zanzibar, especially if you are visiting for the first time. Furthermore, this period coincides with the safari high season in Tanzania, making Zanzibar island a favorite post-safari choice for many tourists in the country.

As I mentioned earlier, this tropical island is ideal for visits at most times of the year; it is important to know what they are and their popular attributes. It is left to go with whichever season suits you best and is easiest to adapt to.

Season Guide for Traveling to the Zanzibar Archipelago

January to July

Although not the best time to visit Zanzibar, the period between January and July welcomes a lot of tourists and guests every year, it might be a little difficult to adapt to the heat and humidity associated with this period, but it gets better with time.

Usually, the days are sunny and hot during this period in Zanzibar, and most especially, Europeans might easily find it discomforting. Tourists from similarly hot regions, like Africans, might find it extremely easy to adapt to the heat in Zanzibar during this period.

However, even with the hot weather, many activities still keep tourists busy and entertained. For example, January to March offers some of the best diving conditions in Zanzibar, especially in the eastern region of the coast. This is one of the major attractions on the island.

Towards the end of March, the weather in Zanzibar will change gradually. Now, the long rains will become more imminent and also help reduce the temperature than it was before. If you couldn’t stay long due to the initial extremely hot weather, this period is ideal to come back.

As the year approaches April and May, the rains will intensify, leading to a complete weather switch. Usually, the April and May rainfall is heavier than any other time of the year. To some extent, it might not be advisable to visit Zanzibar during this period of heavy rainfall.

A perfect beach holiday is incomplete without relaxing under the hot sun. Visiting Zanzibar during this period of heavy rainfall might be extremely boring as you wouldn’t be able to leave your accommodation most of the time.

August to October

I recommend August as the best month to visit Zanzibar. The weather during this period is perfect, and very easy for tourists to adapt. August is one of the last in the Archipelago, with cooler weather, compared to others.

One attribute about August is that the weather during this time is neither too humid nor too hot; everything here is balanced. Since August brings a break from the rainy seasons and switches into the warmer months, it is also the best time to travel to Zanzibar.

Of course, August to September features a soothing breeze and ideal sunlight for the perfect beach vacation with family. Like in previous months, this period offers excellent diving conditions in deeper channels. Trust me; this is more fun compared to others.

In addition, this is the period when Zanzibar welcomes scuba divers and enthusiasts the most. However, divers need to plan their dives more carefully this time to manage the roughness of the offshore areas. If you are an amateur at scuba diving, I don’t recommend going in now.

The last month of this period, October, is also one of the best times to plan a trip to Zanzibar. October in Zanzibar features calm seas, clear skies, and cool winds for your comfort. Also, the ocean’s temperature begins to rise during this period.

November to December

The temperature rise in October is halted by the “short rains” of November. This period starts another humid season in Zanzibar and is not the best for a beach getaway. However, when clouds build up in the mornings, they can be sunny, allowing you to enjoy the beach ambiance for that time.

Unfortunately, this lasts only for a short while, as short rainfalls usually follow it in the afternoons. During this period, you could either walk into the beach bar to grab a cocktail, enjoy a massage session at the resort or get involved in other things before the rain stops.

Usually, the cycle continues, but this time with more sunshine, towards Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If you plan to visit Zanzibar in December, I recommend you spend some time at The Mafia Archipelago, where you can dive with whale sharks.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the rainy season in Zanzibar?

Visiting Zanzibar during the rainy season is not advisable as it would confine you to your residence all day. The long rains in Zanzibar begin around March and become more intense as it approaches April and May. However, the tempo cools down around June as the weather prepares for summer.

There is also a rapid rainy season around November and December in Zanzibar, but this is regarded as the “short rains.” This is because the rainfall during this period does not last so long and is not as intense as the “long rains” of March, April, and May. Most of the other months see little to no rain at all.

What is the hottest month in Zanzibar?

This might be surprising, but the hottest month in Zanzibar is February. The average temperature during this period is around 83 °F. I do not recommend tourists visiting the island during this period unless they can easily adapt to the extreme temperature.

It is followed by August, which has an average temperature of 77 °F. August is regarded as the hottest month in many other regions, but it differs here in Zanzibar. Aside from being the second hottest month, August is also the coldest month in the Zanzibar archipelago.

How many days in Zanzibar is enough?

A week should be enough if you are passionate about seeing Zanzibar and some of its attractions. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to see all within this time, so you can extend your vacation and stay for as long as you wish. Ideally, seven days is enough to get yourself immersed and involved.

Before you go

Remember that Zanzibar is in the African region, which also accounts for the extreme weather, especially from January to June. If you are visiting from other regions, especially European countries, check a period that suits you best.

Asides from the restriction it might impose on how much fun you have, traveling to the Zanzibar archipelago at the wrong time might also be bad for your health. Therefore, you should consider your options carefully before deciding when to visit.