Best Time to Visit - 11 min read

Best Time to Visit Zanzibar (Wildlife & Ocean Adventures!)

Nicole Abbott

Nicole Abbott, Updated October 29, 2022

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Have you been wanting to plan a trip to Zanzibar, but are unsure of when to visit? Zanzibar is filled with scenic terrain and is attracted by millions of travelers that are looking to brave the natural elements. With many cities and towns that have their unique activities you’ll be amazed by the number of attractions there are to explore.

The best time to visit Zanzibar is from July to September when temperatures stay between 80 F (22 C) and 90 F (28 C) degrees. You’ll be able to find affordable accommodations with prices as low as $20 per night for vacation rentals. During this time, you’ll be able to go snorkeling and seaweed farming around the island beaches.

When traveling to a destination such as this Zanzibar, you’ll want to weigh the factors that help you know when to plan your vacation. Let’s dive into the best time to visit Zanzibar.

Worst Time to Travel to Zanzibar

Credit: Moiz Husien Storyteller

When traveling to Zanzibar, you’ll want to take into consideration the current season, climate conditions, and busiest time of year. The worst time to travel to Zanzibar is from April to May and November to December because of the rainy season.

When traveling to Zanzibar, you’ll want to know that they have two rainy seasons, the short rains and the long rains. The weather can make a serious impact on activities you want to plan, especially if they’re outdoors.

When is the Cheapest Time to go to Zanzibar?

If you’re planning a trip to Zanzibar on a budget, you’ll want to know when the cheapest time to travel is. The cheapest time to go to Zanzibar is early October. You’ll be able to score the cheapest flights,  accommodations, and activities during this time.

In Zanzibar, you’ll find that the price of hotels are more expensive than vacation rentals. You can find the cheapest trip to Zanzibar being around $160 per person. You can also find vacation rentals for as low as $20 per night.

As for flights, you can find flights to Zanzibar in early October for as low as $1,500. The cheapest day to fly is also a Monday, that includes your flight back as well. You can always save more on your flights and hotels when you hook up to three to six months in advance.

What Time of Year is the Best Weather in Zanzibar?

Credit: Becker Stefan

When planning your vacation to Zanzibar, you’ll want to go when the weather is permitting and deals are at their lowest. Below, we discuss the weather by month so that you can choose the best time to visit for you and your family.

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Tanzania

January: Visit Cheetah’s Rock

Credit: Luliia Bondarenko


Temperatures average between 75 F (24 C) and 89 F (32 C) degrees during January in Zanzibar
. January is another tropical month with rain falling 10 days out of the month with a accumulations a little over two inches. The water temperatures hovers around a warm 84 degrees.

If you’re traveling during this month, you’ll want to pack lightweight clothing, swim essentials, and sun protection for outdoor activities. January is the perfect time to visit Cheetah’s Rock. Cheetah’s Rock is a unique experience where you can interact directly with animals.

  • Visit Cheetah’s Rock
  • Relax in the ocean
  • Go on a safari
Credit: Denis Kuvaev


Temperatures average between 75 F (24 C) and 91 F (33 C) degrees during February in Zanzibar
. February is considered the last month of summer and another tropical month. It has an excellent water temperature of 82 degrees and rains for only five days out of the month.

If you’re traveling during this month, you’ll want to pack shorts, t-shirts, sneakers, swim essentials, and sun protection. During this month, you can visit the Dr Bulugu Gallery. Dr Bulugu Gallery is an art gallery that has a collection of paintings from local artists.

  • Dr Bulugu Gallery
  • Spend time with locals
  • Visit Prison Island

March: Best For Dolphin Tours

Credit: ManfredB


Temperatures average between 77 F (25 C) and 91 F (33 C) degrees during March in Zanzibar
. March is the first month of autumn and is considered one of the hottest months out of the year. It rains for 12 days out of the month with accumulations of almost six inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack lightweight clothing for hotter temperatures, sun protection, bug spray, and your swim essentials. During this month, it is the perfect time to go on a Dolphin Tour. On the dolphin tour, you’ll start by viewing dolphins and then snorkel at Mnemba reef.

While snorkeling, you may see angel fish, blue spotted rays, flounder, leaf fish, frog fish, stone fish, and more!

  • Dolphin Tours
  • Half-Day Buggy Adventure
  • Jozani Forest Day

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Ghana

April: Swimming With Turtles

Credit: Laverne Nash


Temperatures average between 76 F (25 C) and 88 F (30 C) degrees during April in Zanzibar
. April is another tropical autumn month and the month with the most rainfall. It rains for 17 days out of the month with a little over twelve inches of rain accumulation.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack shorts, t-shirts, swim essentials, and rainy day essentials. During this month, on the off days, you can swim with the turtles. Zanzibar is a sanctuary for turtles.

With a guide, you can swim with the turtles in a natural lagoon. You’ll also be able to feed the turtles seaweed along with snorkeling in their environment.

  • Swimming with turtles
  • Cave Tours
  • Rock Restaurant Visit

May: Starfish Adventure

Credit: Yellowj


Temperatures average between 75 F (24 C) and 84 F (29 C) degrees during May in Zanzibar
. May is the last month of autumn and a moderately hot month. Rains for around 11 days out of the month with accumulations a little over eleven inches.

If you’re traveling during this month, you’ll want to pack lightweight clothing, swim essentials, and rainy day gear. During this month, you can go on starfish adventures. On starfish adventures, you’ll be able to discover starfish beach which is a popular spot for starfish.

Packages available include starfish adventures and snorkeling at the blue lagoon. With this deal available you get free upgrades and extras included.

  • Starfish adventure
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Parasailing

June: Best for Parasailing

Credit: J_UK


Temperatures average between 73 F (23 C) and 82 F (28 C) degrees during June in Zanzibar
. June is another moderately hot month with sea temperatures around 80 degrees. It rained for 7 days out of the month with accumulations around two inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack lightweight clothing, a light jacket or sweater for evenings, and swim essentials. During this month, it is the perfect temperature for parasailing. You can sign up to parasail and view the landscapes of Zanzibar with a guided instructor.

When parasailing you have the option of sailing solo or with a friend.

  • Parasailing
  • Kitesurf at Paje Beach

July: International Film Festival

Credit: Ponsulak


Temperatures average between 71 F (22 C) and 82 F (28 C) degrees during July in Zanzibar
. July is another warm month, but considered one of the “coldest” in Zanzibar. It rains for 7 days in July with accumulations a little over one inch.

If you’re traveling during this month, you’ll want to pack lightweight clothing, sneakers, swim essentials, and a light jacket for evenings. During this month, Zanzibar has their International Film Festival. The International Film Festival is one of the most important cultural events in Zanzibar.

  • International Film Festival
  • Best time for swimming

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August: Stone Town Walking Tour

Credit: BearFotos


Temperatures average between 71 F (22 C) and 82 F (28 C) degrees during August in Zanzibar
. In August it rains for 8 days out of the month with accumulations a little over one inch. This month has the coldest sea temperatures with water staying at a comfortable 78 degrees.

If you’re traveling during this month, you’ll want to pack plenty of swim essentials because sea temperatures are perfect for days at the beach. During this month, you can take a Stone Town Walking Tour. These tours start at $27 per person and last for 3 hours.

  • Stone Town 3 Hour Walking Tour
  • Quad Bike Tour
  • Visit the local villages

September: Jahazi Festival

Credit: Halfpoint


Temperatures average between 71 F (22 C) and 84 F (29 C) degrees during September in Zanzibar
. September is considered the first month of spring and is still moderately hot. Rain falls for 8 days out of the month with accumulations up to two inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack sandals, shorts, t-shirts, sun protection, and swim essentials. During this month Zanzibar has the Jahazi Festival. The Jahazi Festival is dedicated to inspire youth by educating through literature and music.

  • Jahazi Festival
  • Explore the north coast
  • Turtle Sanctuary Tour

October: Fashion Week

Credit: Fashionstock.com


Temperatures average between 73 F (23C) and 86 F (30 C) degrees during October in Zanzibar
. October is considered another hot spring month. It rains for 9 days out of the month with accumulations of almost three inches.

If you’re planning on traveling during this time, the weather is hot so you’ll want to pack lightweight clothing and swim essentials. During this month, Zanzibar has their Fashion Week. Fashion week is where Zanzibar’s designers show off their styles drawing from cultural collisions, and bright patterns that are one of a kind.

  • Fashion Week
  • Explore Kuza Cave
  • Swahili Food Festival

November: Spice Farm Tour

Credit: Cherngchay Donkhuntod


Temperatures average between 75 F (24 C) and 89 F (30 C) degrees during November in Zanzibar
. November is the last month of spring and another tropical month. It rains for 13 days out of the month with accumulations of almost seven inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this time, you’ll want to bring your rain coat and umbrella because it’s the short rainy season. During this month, when it’s not raining you can do a Spice Farm Tour. During this tour you can visit the spice farm where you can see, smell, and taste spice plants.

  • Spice Farm Tour
  • Sunset Cruise

December: Rock Restaurant

Credit: Aleksandar Todorovic


Temperatures average between 75 F (24 C) and 89 F (30 C) degrees during December in Zanzibar
. December is the first month of summer and still considered a hot month. It rains for 13 days out of the month with accumulations a little over five inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack shorts, t-shirts, sneakers, sandals, swim essentials, and sun protections. During this month, you’ll want to visit Zanzibar’s Rock Restaurant. At the Rock Restaurant you can have some drinks while having plenty of photo-worthy opportunities.

  • Visit Rock Restaurant
  • Visit the Food Markets

Related Read: Ethiopia: Budget Calculator & 6 Unique things to do?

What is the Best Time to Visit Zanzibar With Family?

Credit: Rido

Have you been thinking about wanting to travel to Zanzibar, but are unsure if it’s a great place to bring the whole family? Not only is traveling to Zanzibar with family possible but there are many activities and outdoor adventures you can take. The best time to visit Zanzibar with family is January and February.

Zanzibar is a great place for a safe and laid back family vacation. They have many family  resorts, with most them being on the main Zanzibar island. Some of the things you and your family can do are explore Stone Town, go on a snorkeling trip, visit the rock restaurant, and go seaweed farming,

When is the Best Time to Avoid Crowds in Zanzibar?

Credit: Felix Mizioznikov

If you’re traveling to Zanzibar and want to avoid crowds, you’ll want to travel in January and February. Zanzibar has its busy season from June to October. Zanzibar is busy around this time because of the cooler temperatures and the less chance of rain.

During their busy season, beaches will be crowded and you’ll usually have to book in advance if you want to do any activities. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, and experience more authentically cultural moments, January or February are your best options.

When is Monsoon Season in Zanzibar?

Credit: Korawat photo shoot


Zanzibar’s monsoon season is from March until May
. During this time, a record amount of rainfall will fall, making the weather very humid. Rain can last for days with only sun peeking out for a few hours. The true determination of the weather depends on the location of the island.

Location largely depends on what kind of weather the island will receive. The sea that surrounds the island, along with the winds and the heat add on to the monsoon rains.

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