Zanzibar, Tanzania Weather and Climate

Geographical location

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

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

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

In addition, various smaller islands belong to the administrative area. Even today, Zanzibar is predominantly Muslim (mainland Tanzania is mostly Christian) and especially in the capital Stone Town – also known as 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

When we look at the climate in Zanzibar, we mainly refer to the main island of Unguja, on which, in addition to the beautiful Stone Town, there are also numerous high-class hotels and beach resorts. Nevertheless, our climate tables and recommendations also apply to all other islands in the Zanzibar archipelago. Basically, due to the location in the immediate vicinity of the equator, a strongly tropical climate prevails.

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

The short rainy season is with the onset of the Kaskazi monsoon in November and December with rather light rainfalls, whereby 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 temporarily closed.

When is the best time to travel to Zanzibar?

During the rainy season, the prices for flights and hotels on Zanzibar are usually comparatively cheap, but there is always the risk of clouds, strong winds and rain. The best time to travel to 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 considered the main season in Zanzibar.

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

Temperatures, precipitation, sunshine in Stone Town (Zanzibar)

Jan Feb March Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daytime temperature 32 ° C 32 ° C 32 ° C 30 ° C 30 ° C 29 ° C 29 ° C 29 ° C 31 ° C 31 ° C 31 ° C 31 ° C
Night temperature 23 ° C 23 ° C 23 ° C 23 ° C 22 ° C 20 ° C 20 ° C 19 ° C 18 ° C 19 ° C 20 ° C 23 ° C
Water temperature 29 ° C 29 ° C 30 ° C 29 ° C 28 ° C 27 ° C 26 ° C 25 ° C 26 ° C 26 ° C 28 ° C 29 ° C
Precipitation in mm 89 56 153 401 255 68 48 47 50 97 226 194
Rainy days 7 5 12 17 13 6 5 6 5 7 12 10
Hours of sunshine 10 9 9 7 8 9 9 9 10 9 10 10
Sunrise 6:20 6:30 6:30 6:25 6:25 6:30 6:35 6:30 6:15 6:00 5:55 6:05
Sunset 18:45 18:45 18:35 18:20 18:15 18:15 18:25 18:25 18:20 18:15 18:20 18:30

Temperatures

The annual average temperature in Stone Town is 25.7 ° C. For comparison: Munich reaches an average of 8.6 ° C, in Berlin it is 9.6 ° C. The warmest month is January (27.5 ° C), coldest month of August with average values of 24 ° C. The maximum water temperature in Stone Town is 30 ° C. Comfortable bathing is possible at these temperatures. All months have a water temperature of at least 21 ° C and are therefore suitable for a beach holiday.

Precipitation

The annual precipitation is 1684 mm on 105 days with precipitation. For comparison: In Munich, 967 mm, in Berlin 570 mm, precipitation is measured annually. The months of April, May, November and December are considered the rainy season, as more than 175 mm of precipitation can be expected per month. Overall, about 1076 mm of precipitation can be expected in the rainy season. 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. On average over the year the sun shines for 9.1 hours per day. For comparison: In Munich and Berlin, the sun shines an average of 4.7 hours per day throughout the year.

Cities nearby

The following larger towns are nearby and have a similar climate: Zanzibar City and Dar es Salaam.

Excursions and sights

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

But not only a beach holiday on Zanzibar is an unforgettable highlight, the sights of the island are also quite something. In addition to trips 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, indulge in the delicacies of the night market in Forodhani Gardens or learn more about the former slave trade in Mangapwani. Combinations with a safari on the mainland of Tanzania are also possible – you will not regret it!

Zanzibar weather in March, April and May

Daily temperatures averaging 30 to 32 ° C can be expected over the next three months. The temperatures hardly fluctuate during this time.

Do you want to go on a beach holiday? The water temperatures are in March, April and May 28-30 ° C. This is great weather for a great time on the beach and in the water.

The expected rainfall is around 12 days in March, around 17 days in April and around 13 days in May.

In the period from March to May, the sun shines an average of 7 to 9 hours a day. The sunniest weather in Stone Town is March, but April is less sunshine.

Zanzibar, Tanzania Weather and Climate
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