The Rains in Africa

Serengeti Rains

After the wildebeest birthing season has come to an end around mid-March, the land is dry, the grasses are short, and the rains move in from the west.

Throughout mid-March through the beginning of May the Serengeti and much of northern Tanzania is buffeted by the annual rainy season. During this time the dry, dusty landscape gives way to a lush palette of greens, with grass sometimes growing as high as the Land Cruisers we use for safaris.

This is our least busy season as far as tourism goes, as the rains make much of the Serengeti into a no-go zone, with rivers overflowing and making much of the roads extremely muddy and sometimes totally impassable. Despite the understandable allure of having much of the park to yourself, we do not recommend visiting during this time. The usual scope of travel is much reduced due to closed roads, and those that we can drive safely on are usually quite muddy, which slows down our progress. Many of the semi-permanent camps (the best places to catch the wildlife from) are shut down, as are a few of the permanent lodges. Also, as mentioned, the grass grows so high as to hide many of the animals, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of the safari.

The rains gradually ease up as May rolls in, and by mid- to late-May things start to dry up. If you would like to ensure a relatively rain-free trip, you may want to wait until June, but just keep in mind that that is also when the busy season picks back up again, so you will have some “competition” when it comes to grabbing those great wildlife photos.

By June most of the wildebeest herds have moved westward where there is plenty of food and water for them to sustain themselves and their young. It is a bit of a drive to see the bulk of the action, but if there are no options to see wildebeest around your camp or lodge we can make a drive out west and see what we come across (remember, everything is dependent on how the animals feel from day-to-day, along with the prevalence of rains, water, and food at that particular time of the year). Be aware that the closer you get to the river the more chance of Tsetse flies. These little guys are flies with a bite, and aren’t at all pleasant–especially when they nip at you. We recommend keeping windows and extendable-tops closed for this part of the safari, as to prevent flies from making their way inside of the vehicle.

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