Climate in Zanzibar
Zanzibar is an island archipelago off the East African coast in the Indian Ocean. The archipelago consists of the main islands Unguja, called Zanzibar, Pemba and several small islands. As a semi-autonomous state, Zanzibar belongs to Tanzania. If Zanzibar is mentioned in this article, it is about the main island of Unguja, not the entire archipelago. Due to its proximity to the equator, Zanzibar has a tropical climate . The northeast and southwest monsoons have a strong influence on the climatic conditions on the island. They ensure two rainy and two dry seasons. The small rainy season is from November to December. This is the time of the northeast monsoon responsible for the fact that the weather changes quickly and repeatedly. There is more and more short and heavy rainfall. In the big rainy season , from March to May, it rains more often than in the short rainy season.
The temperatures during the day are 30 degrees Celsius or higher. Humidity is high and rainfall is short but heavy. This is due to the southwest monsoon . The rainy seasons are opposed to the dry seasons. The so-called short dry season is from January to February. The big dry season takes place from June to October. In the dry season, rain rarely falls and the average daytime temperatures are around 25 degrees Celsius, and they are usually even higher. It cools down slightly at night. In the climate table below for Zanzibar you can see all the important values for the months from January to December. From the maximum and minimum temperatures over the hours of sunshine per day and the rainy days per month as well as the water temperature of the Indian Ocean.
Climate table for Zanzibar (Zanzibar City)
|Max. Temperature in ° C||31.5||32||32||30||30||29||29||29||30.5||31||31||31|
|Min. Temperature in ° C||22.5||23||22.5||23||22nd||20||20||19||18||19||20||22.5|
|Hours of sunshine per day||10||9||9||7||8||9||9||9||10||9||10||10|
|Water temperature in ° C||29||29||30||29||28||27||26||25||26||26||28||29|
|Rainy days per month||7||5||12||17||13||6||5||6||5||7||12||10|
Best travel time for Zanzibar
As in many other areas with a tropical climate, the dry seasons are predestined for a vacation. This also applies to Zanzibar. That is why there are two travel times for the Tanzanian island in which you can count on ideal weather conditions. The months of January , February , June , July , August , September and October are considered the best time to travel to Zanzibar . If you don’t want to be surprised by a sudden and strong tropical rain on your vacation on the dream island, you should travel during these months.
The best months to travel to Zanzibar at a glance:
- January: 31.5 ° C, 10 hours of sunshine, 29 ° C water temperature, 7 rainy days, 77% humidity
- February: 32 ° C, 9 hours of sunshine, 29 ° C water temperature, 5 rainy days, 76% humidity
- June: 29 ° C, 9 hours of sunshine, 27 ° C water temperature, 6 rainy days, 78% humidity
- July: 29 ° C, 9 hours of sunshine, 26 ° C water temperature, 5 rainy days, 77% humidity
- August: 29 ° C, 9 hours of sunshine, 25 ° C water temperature, 6 rainy days, 76% humidity
- September: 30.5 ° C, 10 hours of sunshine, 26 ° C water temperature, 5 rainy days, 75% humidity
- October: 31 ° C, 9 hours of sunshine, 26 ° C water temperature, 7 rainy days, 76% humidity
Best travel time for a beach holiday in Zanzibar
During the mentioned dry seasons you can enjoy the best weather conditions on the island. Therefore, the months of January and February and June to October are considered the best travel times for a beach holiday in Zanzibar . The short dry season is popular with many European holidaymakers because they can escape the cold winter in January and February. The temperatures are at this time with up to 32 degrees Celsius hot and the Indian Ocean feels like a warm bathtub at around 29 degrees Celsius. With five to seven rainy days a month, you have a good chance that it won’t rain on your vacation. From March to May, during the big rainy season, things are different. Here it can rain heavily for up to 17 days. As in many tropical areas, the rainy season does not mean that it rains continuously for days. Rather, the weather changes quickly, it rains heavily, but only for a short time. This is more common during the rainy season. If you don’t want to risk that and want to lie on a different dreamy beach every day, you can forego the rainy season as a travel time for a beach holiday.
According to Cachedhealth, the second optimal travel time for a beach holiday on Zanzibar are the months of June to October . For many Austrians, this time falls during the holiday season of their school-age children. The ideal weather enables a wonderful beach holiday with the whole family. The average temperature is 30 degrees Celsius , the water is pleasant and, at 25 to 27 degrees Celsius, not as warm as in January and February. During the second high season you have to expect five to seven rainy days a month. The humidity is high, but much lower than in the rainy seasons.
If you want to travel to Zanzibar outside of the best travel time, there are few hotels available on the coast, especially during the big rainy season. Many hotels use the rainy season for renovations and renewals and close the accommodations.
Best time to visit Stone Town – Zanzibar’s capital
You can visit the picturesque capital of Zanzibar all year round. Clear blue skies and sunshine are necessary for a beach stay. This does not apply to a discovery tour of Stone Town . Even if it’s cloudy, it’s beautiful here. If you visit the city in the rainy season, short and heavy showers are not as important as on the beach. You can sit down in a cafe or restaurant and take a break while it is raining. However, I do not recommend that you travel to Zanzibar during the rainy season to visit the capital. The high humidity is a problem for some holidaymakers and can be very exhausting. Therefore, I recommend the months as the best travel time for Stone Town January and February and June to October .
From the climate table and the information on the weather conditions, the best travel times for Zanzibar are the small and large dry seasons . During the short dry season in January and February you can escape the cold and wet winter and during the large dry season from June to October you can enjoy a vacation with the whole family. The weather is perfect to explore the island and enjoy the beach life. However, it is high season in the dry season in Zanzibar. The flight and hotel prices are higher than during the rainy seasons. Due to the short but heavy rainfall and the high humidity during the great rainy season, I advise you not to travel to Zanzibar at this time. Furthermore, there are not many hotels and accommodations available as they close during the major rainy seasons. You can use the small rainy season as an alternative for a cheap Zanzibar vacation. It rains less and not as heavily as during the great rainy season.