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Sauti za Busara/Courtesy of Amani Chomolla
Sauti za Busara/Courtesy of Amani Chomolla

The Best Activities In Tanzania This Winter Season

Picture of Shannon Thomson
Updated: 9 February 2017
Tanzania doesn’t have a ‘winter.’ Being five degrees from the equator keeps it nice and warm throughout the year. There are, however, changes with the seasons from dry to rainy, mild to hot, and popular tourist times throughout the year. January to March is a great time to escape the Northern cold and explore some of the excitement Tanzania has to offer during this ‘winter’ period.

Kilimanjaro Marathon (Moshi)

Held in February each year (February 28th in 2016), the Kilimanjaro Marathon gives you the chance to choose between the full deal (42.2km), a thoroughly challenging half marathon (21.1km), or a Fun Run (5km). The race is done in view of Mount Kilimanjaro, a beautiful backdrop for this physical challenge. All runs are on tarred roads and refreshments are available at regular intervals.

Sauti za Busara (Stone Town)

Unfortunately, due to lack of sponsorship support and contribution from the Tanzanian Union and Zanzibar governments, Sauti za Busara has been canceled for 2016. Named as one of Africa’s best music festivals, Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) showcases African musical talent from across the continent, with a special focus on Tanzanian artists. Sauti za Busara will return from February 9-12, 2017. If you do find yourself in Zanzibar this year, there are plenty of great things to do even without the music festival.

Be sure to check out:

  • Spice Tours, operated by various tour guides. Check with your hotel for recommendations
  • Forodhani Gardens night market. Great atmosphere and good food every evening outside the Old Fort
  • Historical sites, see the Old Fort itself and the Anglican Cathedral, built on the site of the old slave market
Sauti za Busara/Courtesy of Amani Chomolla

Sauti za Busara | Courtesy of Amani Chomolla

Greenpeace Music Festival (Bagamoyo)

If you are planning to travel in 2016 and want to go to a music festival, the Greenpeace Music Festival in Bagamoyo offers over 50 Tanzanian artists at Tasuba Hall in Bagamoyo. Music, art exhibitions, and performance art are all part of the showcase from February 26-28, 2016. The best part is, it’s all free.

Wildebeest calving in the Serengeti (Jan. and Feb.)

It can be difficult to figure out the best times to visit Tanzania’s national parks. Each time of the year offers something different to visitors. In January and February, wildebeest are calving, which gives tourists a chance to see and observe the savannahs full of mothers with their young.

Watch sea turtles hatch in Dar es Salaam, Mafia Island or Pangani

For over 150 million years, sea turtles have been nesting on the beaches of Tanzania. Seasense works to protect these endangered species, but at the same time offers visitors a window into their hatching periods to see their emergence from the nest and their first entry into the Indian Ocean. You can watch sea turtles hatching in Dar es Salaam, Mafia Island or Pangani. Check ahead with Seasense for expected hatching dates to plan your visit!

© Courtesy Sea Sense

© Courtesy Sea Sense

Yoga retreats on Zanzibar or Mafia Island

There are a number of yoga retreats held throughout the year on Zanzibar and Mafia Island. During the winter months, many teachers offer courses to create space for reflection, restoration and strengthening in a beautiful and relaxing resort space. Yoga instruction is usually offered twice a day and full room and board are often part of the price package. Yoga retreats can be found through the following providers:

Nyama Choma Festival (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzanians love nyama choma (barbecued meat) and this festival to celebrate Nyama Choma brings a large crowd. Nyama Choma Festivals happen all over the country, but the first festival for 2016 will be on March 5th. Enjoy all kinds of barbecued meat (beef, chicken, duck, goat), a great atmosphere, and cultural entertainment while you eat.

Rock City Charity Ball (March, Mwanza)

The Rock City Charity Ball is an annual event put on by a volunteer committee in Mwanza on the shores of Lake Victoria. Music, great food, and entertainment accompany a silent auction to raise funds for local charitable organizations. This is a great opportunity to have some fun in Mwanza, win some exciting prizes, and support local organizations seeking to make a difference in their communities.

Tourist seasons in Tanzania vary widely depending on the area and what you are coming to Tanzania to do. January to March is often a low season for tourism in Zanzibar and the islands, as well as in some areas in Dar es Salaam, because of the high temperatures and humidity. Many of the national parks have their low season in March to May to coincide with the longer rains during this time.

Enjoy all that Tanzania has to offer during the ‘winter,’ and soak up some of the Tanzanian sun while you’re at it.


By Shannon Thomson