Serengeti National Park - When to Visit, Things to do and More.
The Serengeti National Park is the head turner of Tanzania national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is part of the larger Serengeti ecosystem that also includes the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya as well as the Ngorongoro highlands. Together, the larger Serengeti ecosystem covers a total of 40,000 square kilometers.
The park is home to the big five (lion, elephant, cape buffalo, elephant, rhinos, and leopard). It boasts the highest population of lions in the world and big predators such as cheetahs, African wild dogs, jackals, hyenas, and more. Other animals you can expect to spot during a Serengeti safari include Zebras, giraffes, impalas, gazelles, and lots of other safari animals.
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Serengeti Photos – Get a Feel of What to Expect on a Safari in Serengeti, Tanzania.
5 Interesting Facts About the Endless Plains of Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti is home to the largest wildlife migration in the world- the annual Great Wildebeest Migration. During the event, over 1 million wildebeest transverse across the Serengeti plain, reaching the Kenya Masai Mara game reserve between July and October.
- Second, only to the Masai Mara in Kenya, the Serengeti houses the second-largest lion population in East Africa. More than 3000 lions roam the Serengeti plains.
- The Serengeti is home to over 1.7 million wildebeests and that’s not even the most fascinating part. 250,000 of these creatures die every year in the Great Migration.
- The Serengeti ecosystem stretches on for miles, 3.2 million hectares to be exact. It begins in northern Tanzania and advances all the way to southwestern Kenya.
- The Serengeti was established in 1951 making it one of the oldest national parks in the world.
Location and Landscape
The Serengeti National Park is located in northern Tanzania in the eastern Mara region. It stretches over 3.7 million acres and covers a breathtaking range of acacia woodlands, grasslands, and riverine forests.
Its landscape is one of the most eye-catching ones you’ll ever see, complete with vast plains, rocky outcrops, and kopje.
The park also houses a gorgeous array of seasonal and permanent rivers including the Grumeti, Naironya, Seronera, and the famous Mara River where the annual migration happens.
Wildlife in the Serengeti National Park
Arguably one of the best wildlife conservation areas in Africa, the Serengeti National Park is home to over 35 different plain animals including 1.7 million wildebeests, 250,000 zebras, and around 500,000 Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles.
It also houses massive numbers of predators including 4,000 lions, 3,500 spotted hyenas, 300 wild dogs, 1000 leopards, and 225 cheetahs. Even better, all of the Big Five can be found in the park as well as over 500 bird species.
Other ungulates in the park include the eland, zebra, topi, impala, kongoni, giraffe, gazelle, and buffalo.
The Great Migration
Every year, over 1.7 million wildebeests migrate from southern Serengeti to the Maasai Mara in search of greener pastures and water sources.
These migrating wildebeest have to cross the Mara River, a scene that is both exciting and nerve-wracking to watch. It is, in actual fact, a blood bath, one that sees over 250,000 wildebeests and 30,000 zebras lose their lives to vicious crocodiles, lions, and cheetahs. It comes as no surprise that it is one of the seven wonders of the world.
The Serengeti Scenery
The Serengeti is one of the most beautiful and majestic places on earth. Its horizon is dominated by acacias, rolling hills, and endless plains that extend as far as the eye can see.
On any given day, you can witness countless wildlife grazing and roaming freely against the backdrop of a wide savannah dotted with trees. To top it all off, there’s a gorgeous array of streams and lakes around the park for you to explore.
The Serengeti is truly a photographer’s paradise, so make sure to pack your camera and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime.
Activities in the Serengeti National Park
- Game drives. Morning, afternoon, or night? When it comes to game drives in the Serengeti National Park, the choice is all yours. And yes, they are in every least bit magical.
- Walking safaris. Intimate and exciting, walking safaris open your soul to the magic that is the Serengeti. Does it honestly get better than spotting a lion, zebra, wild dog, cheetah, or elephant up close? We don’t think so!
- Hot air ballooning. There truly isn’t a better, more captivating way to experience the beauty of Serengeti than with a hot-air balloon safari. The balloon begins at sunrise and lasts an hour and we have to say, those open plains have never looked better!
- Cultural tours. The national reserve is home to many Masai and Hadzabe tribes, with whom one can interact and learn about their culture, lifestyle, and beliefs.
- Birdwatching. With over 500 bird species present in the park, there is an incredible variety of birds to spot in the Serengeti including Ostriches, Martial eagles, Crowned cranes, Kori bustards, White-backed vultures, and Secretary birds!
- Photography and Filming.
Serengeti National Park Cost – Entry Fees
Park Entrance Fees
The Serengeti Climate and How to Dress for It
The Serengeti National Park experiences two seasons- the dry and wet seasons. The dry season, which is the best time to visit the park, begins in June and ends in October.
The first of its two rainy seasons usually occurs between the months of March and May. The second one, which is usually the shorter rainy season hap[pens in May.
How to pack/ dress for both seasons?
When planning a trip to Serengeti, it’s essential to pack comfortable clothing that can be easily layered. Keep thinner garments and shorts for the dry summer months and add wool sweaters or jackets as winter approaches. During wetter months, choose synthetic fabrics and waterproof materials that wick away moisture. Proper footwear is also important; depending on your activities, you may need sandals or sturdy boots.
Best Time to Visit the Serengeti National Park
Although January to February and late June to early October are the more popular months to visit the Serengeti National Park, we’ve found that the best time to visit the park depends on your interests and safari goals. Here’s a month-by-month analysis of the best times to visit the Serengeti.
January- In January, the wildebeest crossing arrives in the Serengeti plains. The landscape is breathtaking at this time- think lush, rain-ripened grass, increased populations of birds, etc. Game viewing is also excellent at this time.
February- Also known as the wildebeest calving season. This is when the pregnant wildebeests give birth. Almost 8,000 young ones are born daily.
March- Marks the beginning of the low and rain season. It’s the best time for travelers on a budget to visit the Serengeti due to lower prices and reduced crowds.
April and May- The rainy season is still in full gear. Again it is the best time for budget travelers to travel. Game viewing during the rainy seasons is average at best due to decreased visibility.
June- The dry season begins in June. Dry conditions prevail across the Serengeti plain and huge herds of migrating animals start moving north from the western corridor (a 40km strip of land that stretches from the Seronera River to Lake Victoria). It’s also the time when predators are out in full force. Also, it’s peak season and safari rates are high.
July- the annual migration picks up pace. The crossing is simply biblical at this time. It’s still peak season.
August- the migrating animals are still moving from northern Serengeti to Masai Mara. It’s also a good time to spot predators and other plains game.
September- Yes, it’s still peak season. Though most of the migrating animals are now in Kenya, the park is still busy.
October- The migrating herds are now in Kenya but it’s still an excellent time to view other wildlife.
November- The short rains begin. The low number of tourists significantly brings down safari rates.
December- The migrating herds move to the southern plains of the Ndutu region where they ready themselves for the breeding season. It’s officially peak season again!
Safari Lodges and Camps: Where to Stay in the Serengeti
There is a nearly endless list of lodges and safari camps in the Serengeti National Park. Here are a few of our top picks.
The Lamai Serengeti: A luxurious tented camp with breathtaking views of the plains and rivers. It’s one of the most luxurious lodges in the park and perfect for honeymooners or couples looking to celebrate a special occasion.
The Serengeti Migration Camp: Located in the heart of the migration route, this camp offers an unbeatable level of service and luxury. As a bonus, guests can also watch the wildebeest crossing from their tents.
The Four Seasons Safari Lodge: A more exclusive and high-end lodge with classic African-style decor and amazing views. The perfect option for luxury travelers looking for a luxurious safari experience.
Klein’s Camp: A beautiful and intimate camp with African-style tented suites, ideal for a romantic getaway.