Best Time to Visit Zanzibar

Zanzibar (Jorge Cancela)  CC BY
On this page, you will find information about the climate and the best time to visit Zanzibar. We created climate tables and charts for the location of Stone Town. These contain details about temperatures, precipitation and more.

Furthermore, we analyzed all climate data and provide a recommendation about which months are best to visit Zanzibar for your holiday.

Climate Overview

Thermometer Symbol 18 °C to 32 °C
Waves Symbol 25 °C to 30 °C
Rainy Cloud Symbol 1.8515.79 in (5 – 17 Days of Rain)
Show temperatures in degree

Geographical location

Zanzibar (also written Zanzibar) is an archipelago off the mainland of Tanzania and has the status of a semi-autonomous sub-state.

This means that the former British protectorate of Zanzibar still enjoys special status in Tanzania. Zanzibar has its own government, a president and a parliament.

After several revolts as a result of its declaration of independence, the archipelago finally became part of the new state of Tanzania together with Tanganyika in April 1964. The Zanzibar archipelago includes the two islands Pemba and the main island Unguja, which is perceived by tourists as “the island Zanzibar”.

The administrative area also includes several smaller islands. Even today Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim (the mainland of Tanzania is mostly Christian) and especially in the capital Stone Town – also called Zanzibar city – the oriental heritage of the former sultanate can still be felt in everyday life.

The islands of Zanzibar were under the rule of the Sultanate of Oman from 1698 to 1861.

Climate in Zanzibar

Sandbank vor Stone Town auf Zanzibar (mariusltu / stock.adobe.com)  lizensiertes Stockfoto When we look at the climate in Zanzibar, we mainly refer to the main island Unguja, where there are numerous first-class hotels and beach resorts in addition to Stone Town, which is well worth seeing. Nevertheless, our climate tables and recommendations also apply to all other islands of the Zanzibar archipelago. In principle, a strongly tropical climate prevails due to its location in the immediate vicinity of the equator.

This is characterized by high temperatures all year round with values above 29 °C (during the day), even at night the thermometer never falls below 18 °C during the year. The Indian Ocean is bathing all year round with water temperatures between 25 °C in August and 30 °C in March. The weather is determined by two dry seasons and two rainy seasons in Zanzibar.

The short rainy season lies with the onset of the Kaskazi monsoon in November and December with rather light rains, whereby especially the second half of December around Christmas can be very pleasant again. The great Zanzibar rainy season from mid-March to the end of May is much more pronounced, the weather is now very changeable and some hotels are closing temporarily.

Best Time to Visit Zanzibar: Overview

JanuaryJan
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
Zanzibar
FebruaryFeb
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
Zanzibar
MarchMar
Beginning of Rainy SeasonRainy Season
sticky + wetsticky
AprilApr
Rainy SeasonRainy Season
up to 16.18 in of rainof rain
MayMay
Rainy SeasonRainy Season
up to 10.04 in of rainof rain
JuneJun
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
Zanzibar
JulyJul
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
Zanzibar
AugustAug
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
Zanzibar
SeptemberSep
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
Zanzibar
OctoberOct
Best time to traveltime
PerfectPerf. climate in
Zanzibar
NovemberNov
Small Rainy SeasonRainy Season
up to 8.9 in of rainof rain
DecemberDec
Small Rainy SeasonRainy Season
mostly pleasant in second halfmostly pleasant in second half

When is the best time to travel on Zanzibar?


During the rainy season the prices for flights and hotels on Zanzibar are usually comparatively low, but there is always the danger of clouds, stronger wind and rain. The best time to visit Zanzibar is therefore in the very hot months from the end of December to the end of February.

This period is particularly popular with Europeans and is therefore the main season in Zanzibar.

Our recommendation for the best travel season is above all the long dry season from June to October, as there is now the perfect mixture of good weather and manageable visitor numbers on this dreamlike island in the Indian Ocean. This”tropical winter” on Zanzibar and other islands on the coast of East Africa (e.g. Mafia or in Mozambique) cools down pleasantly at night and is very well bearable during the day with around 50-60% air humidity.

Climate Chart Zanzibar

Stone Town

Climate Chart Stone Town
Show temperatures in degree

Source of Data: German Weather Service (Offenbach) and Wikipedia

Climate Table Zanzibar

In the following, you will find the climate table for Zanzibar, containing information about Temperatures, Precipitation, Water Temperatures, and Hours of Sunshine.

Temperatures, Precipitation, Sunshine in Stone Town (Zanzibar)

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Day Temperature32°32°32°30°30°29°29°29°31°31°31°31°
Night Temperature23°23°23°23°22°20°20°19°18°19°20°23°
Water Temperature29°29°30°29°28°27°26°25°26°26°28°29°
Precipitation (inch)3.52.26.0215.7910.042.681.891.851.973.828.97.64
Rainy days75121713656571210
Hours of Sunshine1099789991091010
Show temperatures in degree
Temperatures
The annual average temperature in Stone Town is 25.7 °C.

For comparison: London 11 °C, NYC 12 °C, LA 17.9 °C

Warmest month: February (27.5 °C)
Coldest month: August (24 °C)

The maximum water temperature in Stone Town is 30 °C. You can take a bath at these temperatures.

Months with water temperature of at least 21 °C (adequate for beach vacation):
all months

Precipitation
Overall annual precipitation: 66.3 inch on 105 rainy days

For comparison: London 24.06 in, NYC 41.57 in, LA 12.01 in

Rainy season (months with more than 6.9 in of precipitation): April, May, November, and December
Overall precipitation in the rainy season: 42.36 in

You cannot expect snow in any month in Stone Town.

Sunshine
As our climate table shows, January is the sunniest month with an average of 10 hours of sunshine per day. Over the year, there are 9.1 hours of sunshine per day on average. For comparison: London has 4.1, NYC has 7 and LA has 8.9 hours of sunshine per day on average.

Excursions and sightseeing


The paradisiacal backdrop on the kilometre-long, white sandy beach with a view of the sparkling Indian Ocean will put a smile on your lips even months after your Tanzania holiday. Zanzibar’s most beautiful beaches are not only among the best beaches in Africa, but also one of the most enchanting destinations of longing on earth.

But not only a bathing holiday on Zanzibar is an unforgettable highlight, but also the sights of the island have it all. Besides excursions to the Jozani Forest, a typical spice tour or a trip to Prison Island, the capital Stone Town is one of the highlights.

Visit the Arab Fort and House of Wonders, enjoy the delicacies of the night market in the Forodhani Gardens or learn more about the former slave trade in Mangapwani. Also combinations with a safari on the mainland of Tanzania are possible – you will not regret it!

Popular Activities

More attractions

3-hour Zanzibar Spice Tour | Zanzibar North Coast and Turtle Sanctuary with Lunch | Prison Island 3-Hour Tour | Relaxing 2-Hour Dhow Sunset Cruise | Taste of Zanzibar: 3-Hour Guided Tour | Stone Town: Freddie Mercury Tour | Zanzibar 3-Hour Green Panorama Tour |

Current Weather and Forecast

Current Weather in Stone Town (Station Zanzibar)
moderate rain     moderate rain, 24.9 °C
Clouds: 88 %       Wind: 2 mph SW
Air Pressure: 1027.19 hPa       Humidity: 100 %
0.31 in of rain (last 3 hours)
Last updated: 18th Nov 2018, 05:45 am
The next days …
18th Nov 201819th Nov 201820th Nov 201821st Nov 201822nd Nov 201823rd Nov 2018
heavy intensity rain25 °C to 28 °Cmoderate rain25 °C to 27 °Cmoderate rain25 °C to 28 °Clight rain24 °C to 28 °Clight rain25 °C to 29 °Clight rain26 °C to 30 °C
25 °C to 28 °C25 °C to 27 °C25 °C to 28 °C24 °C to 28 °C25 °C to 29 °C26 °C to 30 °C
Clouds: 36 %Clouds: 32 %Clouds: 12 %Clouds: 29 %Clouds: 8 %Clouds: 6 %
0.51 in of rain0.39 in of rain0.44 in of rain0.05 in of rain0.01 in of rain0.02 in of rain
Weather information provided by OpenWeatherMap. (CC BY-SA)
Show temperatures in degree

Tanzania: Regions

Zanzibar is part of the holiday destination Tanzania. We analyzed the climate for additional regions, in order to provide you with information about the best time to visit and the expected holiday weather:

Zanzibar: Experiences of our Visitors

There are 8 reviews for Zanzibar holiday already. Average rating is 4.4 of 5 stars.
  1. Avatar Preview
    patty, 59 years old was there in January

    I was in Kiwengwa for eight days in January. The weather was sunny on all days and pleasantly warm to hot, about 30 °. On most days there was a light wind along the coast, which also made the high temperatures very well tolerated. Perfect bathing weather, but also suitable for activities. The evenings were a bit windier overall and a light jacket was sometimes appropriate.
    For animal lovers I strongly recommend Cheetah’s Rock (register in advance see website), otherwise Stonetown is a nice tour and of course you should have visited a spice plantation.

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  2. Avatar Preview
    Michael, 34 years old was there in October

    The weather was very nice overall. There were between six and new hours of sunshine daily, often interrupted by short showers.

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

  3. Avatar Preview
    rainer, 55 years old was there in May

    short showers no longer than 10 minutes on 5 days
    1 day of continuous rain
    the trip took 18 days

    Weather Rating: 4 stars – Good

  4. Avatar Preview
    Judith, 35 years old was there in September

    Honeymoon in September 2016 on the spice island Zanzibar: Even today, months later, we can’t get out of the swarm. It was simply indescribably beautiful, fascinating, enchanting. The colours of the ocean, beaches and palm trees make even the Maldives pale with envy and the locals are very traditional, but extremely friendly and warm. For us it was also the best travel time for Zanzibar, it couldn’t have been better. During the day it is hot all year round anyway, but at night the temperatures in September go down to a pleasant 18-20 degrees, so that you can take a deep breath. This is very good for the body, it is not too humid and just perfect! Otherwise sun, sun, sun and blue sky.

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  5. Avatar Preview
    Madeleine, 43 years old was there in November

    In mid-November we had had enough of the work stress and simply had to get out of the grey office routine. Very spontaneously we stumbled across an offer for the Pongwe Beach Hotel and flew to Zanzibar Island just one week later. Only on arrival did we get an idea that we were in the middle of the second rainy season. So it was actually overcast on some days and the rain wasn’t long in coming. Nevertheless, we still had 5 sunny days and would do it again in the end, because the prices were super low, the attractions were less visited and the hotel staff tried even harder. Anyway, Zanzibar is so beautiful that we knew how to keep ourselves busy even on a grey day.

    Weather Rating: 2 stars – Tricky

  6. Avatar Preview
    Paul, 46 years old was there in February

    we were over valentine’s day in february on zanzibar, flew in with condor over mombasa (only a short stopover on the way) and shortly after landed in paradise. we could experience a dreamlike island in fantastic weather 2 weeks, the wonderful baraza resort & spa certainly also contributed its part to an unforgettable vacation. weather was very warm, but every day sunshine and only on the departure day we had a short 15-minute shower.

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  7. Avatar Preview
    Ellen, 62 years old was there in December

    Considering that the ocean off the coast of Zanzibar drops very slowly and that even after many meters you are knee-deep in the water, you could describe our December weather as perfect bathing weather. Sunny, over 30 degrees Celsius and cloudless!

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

  8. Avatar Preview
    Alex, 30 years old was there in December

    Zanzibar in December, isn’t it the rainy season on the island? Well we took the risk and spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve 2014/15 on Zanzibar: It rained only once in the whole time and that was a complete night through. During the day we had pure sun on all days, always over 30 degrees and fantastic bathing weather. The Indian Ocean was calm and bright in its most beautiful colours, there was no seaweed or other disturbances on the east coast (Pwani Beach) or on the west side (Stone Town). In the evening it was occasionally a bit muggy, but overall bearable. Absolutely top weather!

    Weather Rating: 5 stars – Excellent

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honeymoon (Giorgio Montersino)  CC BY-SA
Zanzibar_2012 06 05_4476 (Harvey Barrison)  CC BY-SA
The Rock Restaurant (Rod Waddington)  CC BY-SA

Zanzibar: Tanzania’s island paradise

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