Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value; it has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa.
The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was established in 1952. It is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth – the great migration of wildebeest and zebra. The resident population of lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and birds is also impressive. The park covers 5,700 sq miles, (14,763 sq km), it’s larger than Connecticut, with at most a couple hundred vehicles driving around.
The Serengeti National Park is normally considered to consist of three distinct regions with the southernmost being Serengeti plains which is often considered to be the most iconic with vast almost treeless grasslands stretching out into the distance. The name “Serengeti” is derived from the Maasai word “Siringet” which means “The place where the land runs forever.” These are the plains where many of the areas grazing animals breed and raise their young.
The Great Migration
Most famous for the Great Migration, it is a mistake to think that this happens in a tiny window each year with the dramatic river crossings at Grumeti and Mara. In fact, the migration happens all year, as over a million wildebeest, hundreds of thousands of zebra and antelope follow a circular route in search of water and grazing. They, in turn, are closely followed by their predators. The spectacular river crossings mostly occur at specific times, but the entire process remains unpredictable, depending on when and where the rains fall. Speak to our safari consultants about the best times for what it is you want to see.
The Serengeti National Park is a spectacular place to visit any time of the year, with breathtaking scenery and prolific game from the Big Five to a wide range of antelope, reptiles, birds and bugs; there are 100 varieties of dung beetle!
There is close co-operation between the park and the local people to preserve this beautiful land. Hadzabe, Maasai, Iraqw, Kuria ad Sukuma tribes all live in the Serengeti, each with their own culture, traditions and history.
Things to see and do in Serengeti
- Day game drives
- Witness the Great Migration
- Spot the Big Five and many more
- Hot air balloon flights over the plains at dawn
- Cultural interactions with locals
- Walking safaris in neighbouring parks
- Visit nearby Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge, one of the world’s most important paleoanthropological sites
Best time to visit
There is no bad time to visit the Serengeti National Park as there is plenty of resident game that stay all year round and don’t follow the migration route.
The short rains usually fall around November and December and the long rains around March to May. Dry season is between June and October. Some camps close during the wet season as the roads become impassable.
If seeing the Great Migration is top of your bucket list, bear in mind that nature and its rainfall are highly unpredictable and the movement of the animals can be just as erratic. At best, there is a pattern to where they move. Based on previous years’ patterns, an estimate of when they’ll be at any given time can be made. Speak to our consultants about the best times to go and where to go in order to increase your chances of catching the migration.
Do remember, though, that this area is one of the world’s best game viewing parks. Even if you miss the migration, there is still plenty to see.
By car – Serengeti National Park is about 325 km from Arusha. The road passes Lake Manyara, goes through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area past Olduvai Gorge and takes approximately eight hours.
By air – Flights into Serengeti National Park can land at a number of airstrips, including Seronera or Grumeti. Daily scheduled flights from Arusha run throughout the high season. Charter flights are also available. Arusha is served by two airports. Arusha Domestic Airport has daily flights from numerous local destinations and Kilimanjaro International Airport has daily flights from local, African and international destinations