The Serengeti National Park is where safari goers come to truly experience an african safari. The park is featured on many National Geographic shows, the park is rich with wildlife, endless plains and sunrises and sunsets that make the heart go wild. The park is known for its huge wildlife populations. White-bearded wildebeest, zebras and gazelle migrate annually during the great migration from the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania to the grasslands of the Maasai Mara in Kenya in search of fresh grass.
The Serengeti National Park is the ultimate safari destination in the world. Few safari destinations are as exclusive, untouched or unique in their offerings. To help you find the best safari accommodation in the Serengeti National Park, we have accumulated a list of luxury safari camps for you to choose from. Each camp is divided into each of the regions in the Serengeti National Park namely the Maasai Mara National Reserve, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, the Maswa Game Reserve and the Loliondo Game Control Area where you will find the Serengeti Ecosystem.
Popular Tanzania safari activities include safari game drives, walking safaris, balloon rides and local Maasai tribe village tours.
The Serengeti National Park, or Serengeti Park, or just Serengeti, was founded because the area was used for hunting lions and this led to a vast depopulation of the animals. The British colonial administration in Tanzania created a partial game reserve of around 3.2 square kilometers (800 acres) in 1921 and made it a full game reserve in 1929. This was the foundation of what will one day become known as the Serengeti National Park, which was officially established in 1951. In 1981 it was designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The Maasai Mara people are one of the mainstays of the Serengeti National Park. Many guests to the national park take day trips to their villages to learn more about this enigmatic people who have called the area home for centuries.
The Maasai Mara tribe have a rich history and culture. They struggle to keep their culture as pure as possible, however this remains a challenge for them as the modern world keeps intruding on their pastoral lives.
With the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve to the North, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the southeast, Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves to the West, the Maswa Game Reserve to the southwest, and the Loliondo Game Control Area to the northeast, you will find the Larger Serengeti Ecosystem which is all connected with free roaming animals which leads to a greater biodiversity. This entire area is considered as one of the most beautiful areas in the world and is a must-see for any nature lover.
The national park is vast and to make it easier it is divided into three areas, each with a large variety of animals and plant life.
The Western Corridor is known for the black clay soil which covers the savannah of the entire region. This area is home to the Grumeti River which is featured often in television documentaries on the Great Wildebeest Migration, often showing how the large Nile Crocodiles hunt the animals trying to cross. The area is home to various other animals such as lions, leopard, cheetahs, patas monkeys, hippopotamus and the majestic martial eagles.
The Northern Serengeti is covered in beautiful open woodlands and is probably the best place in the national park to find Elephant and giraffe. It is one of the best areas to find the dik-dik, which is one of the smallest antelope in Africa, standing at around 30-40 centimeters (12-15 inches).
The Serengeti Plains is quite spectacular. Almost completely treeless, it provides great views of animals roaming. This area is where the Wildebeest calve from December until May. The influx of young proves to bring about a great deal predator sightings as they regularly target the easy prey. During the wet season, other large herds of buffalo, zebra, hartebeest and various other animals occur and with the vast open plains which makes the viewing effortless, it is easy to see why the Serengeti Plains is such a popular area for tourism.
The Serengeti National Park is home to a large array of animals. Included in this is the entire Big Five, however the rhino populations are very small due to the large amounts of rhino poaching in all of Africa. Strong measures are taken in the park to ensure the safety of this endangered animal.
Some of the other animals found in the park are large herds of impala (one of the most successful mammals on earth), Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, klipspringer, giraffe, warthog, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, oryx, hartebeest, eland, wild wildebeest and many others.
A list of more commonly found mammals in the Serengeti National Park.
Other carnivores within the area include the very rare African golden wolf, African lion, leopard, striped hyena, spotted hyena, African wild dogs, honey badger, serval, cheetah and many others.
The area is a birder’s paradise, featuring more than 500 different species of birds, ranging from the very large ostrich, the Ashy starling, the Black crake, Ficher’s lovebird, Hartlaub’s turaco, the red and yellow barbet and very small finches. A list of the more commonly found bird species in the Serengeti National Park.
Wildlife Safaris in Tanzania are amazing. Few places are still so wild and so beautiful. The local people are friendly and helpful. The food is delicious. No wonder it is so popular.
Tanzania offers many safari destinations – Serengeti being one of the most popular. Safaris come in three different options:
Luxury safaris in the Serengeti are hosted at various exclusive camps. The camps have either a fixed lodge (walled buildings) or luxury tented camps (referred to as glamping), at these lodges and camps, you will find high-quality meals included in the price. Most also offer safari activities such as guided game drives. These are the easiest ways to do a wildlife safari, however, it is also the more expensive way. For a list of these lodges, refer to the Park Lodges page.
Budget safaris are offered by local tour operators. Accommodation is either outside the Serengeti National Park or in one of the public campsites. Some operators make use of special campsites which offer exclusive use for group bookings. The experiences in this type of safari vary. Some of the tour operators are superb and provide high-quality products where others often find guests are unhappy with their level of service or food or experience… or even all of these issues. For some suggestions of great operators why not contact us? We can recommend a few who provide a good level of service.
Self-Drive Safaris are for the true adventurer. During such trips, one can join a safari trip for a day with a guided tour, however, the majority of the people who prefer this kind of safari like to drive themselves. We recommend 4×4 vehicles – the roads can get challenging, especially during the rainy season.
Of all the unforgettable places you can visit in Africa, the Serengeti has that certain something. It’s impossible to forget the Serengeti. The wide open plains where wildebeest and zebra are so often seen, the unbelievably stunning sunsets, and the annual migration are all sights to behold while visiting here.
The grasslands of the Serengeti are a feature that has cemented the fame of this incredible part of the world. When on a Serengeti safari, you might think that there is no end to the sea of grass that sways before you. The grass is hypnotising, memorable and is part of what makes the Serengeti the iconic park that it is.
Serengeti safaris are an exhilarating adventure. From the moment you start your planning to the moment you board your plane to Africa, a lot will be going through your mind. The more you know about the destination you are heading to, the more at ease you will feel. When you are properly prepared, you can start getting excited about your travels!
The Serengeti is largely located in Tanzania but its borders extend into Kenya. While being well known for the migration of wildebeest, the Serengeti is also well known for being home to the Maasai Mara tribe. It is from the native tongue of this legendary tribe that the name Serengeti has come. The word “Serengit” from the Maasai language known as Maa, means “Endless Plains”, a word that couldn’t be more apt for this majestic place.
More guests head off on a Serengeti tour during the peak of the annual Great Migration than any other time of the year. The Serengeti is famous for this natural event.
While in the park you can see about 70 different types of mammals and up to 500 different species of birds, it’s the migration that is truly something to behold. This is the biggest migration of terrestrial animals on the planet and is considered as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
At around the same time each year, the mass wildebeest migration starts in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which is found in the southern Serengeti, and they move in a clockwise direction. They bolt through the Serengeti National Park, moving as a group towards the area in which the Maasai Mara tribe reside. The migration crosses borders, from Tanzania and into Kenya. When the time is right, around 260 000 zebras precede the massive 1.7 million wildebeest in the migration. It’s not only zebra and wildebeest that will migrate during this time of the year, as roughly 470 000 antelope will follow the wildebeest procession.
The Great Migration, also known as the wildebeest migration, happens in phases with the first phase starting at the beginning of the year.
The reason why the wildebeest migrate depends on the availability of grass for grazing. For this reason, the migration starts during the rainy season, which is generally between January and March. Along with being the rainy season, it is also the season in which calves are born within the herd.
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Around 500 000 calves will be born in the weeks before the annual migration and by February the animals can often be seen grazing. The rains generally end by May and the animals begin to move towards the areas around the Grumeti River. They will stay here until about June before they cross the Grumeti and Mara rivers in July. The river crossings offer the most spectacular and often brutal sightseeing when the weakest and the oldest of the herds fall prey to waiting crocodiles. By the start of August, the animals start arriving in Kenya where they will stay until the rains come again. Rains can arrive in early November and in such cases, the animals migrate back to the grassy southeastern planes from which they initially migrated, and the calving starts again.
In total, the animals will walk for 800 kilometres and generally around 250 000 animals will die from thirst, exhaustion, or hunger. Many animals will also be killed by predators during the journey.
While the Serengeti spans two countries, Tanzania is considered the main point of entry. There are many airlines that offer affordable flights to the country.
International visitors who are exclusively visiting the Serengeti for a safari will be better off flying into either Dar es Salaam or Arusha before boarding a transfer vehicle or flight to take them to their safari provider. This is the more comfortable, less rugged option when compared with the second option, which is to drive in. There are many shuttles that will take you to the Serengeti, or, alternatively, you can drive yourself. A drive is ideal for those who are already touring the area and often driving is a cheaper option.
As we’re on the travelling topic, this is the best time to talk about the paperwork you will need. Most travellers will need to apply for a visa if they wish to enter Tanzania. The visa is valid for 6 months and the great thing about this visa is that you can apply for it online if you wish to save time by not having to visit your closest Tanzanian embassy or consulate. It’s best that you read up on all of the visa options available as in some cases you will be able to apply for your visa upon entry.
Again we have to mention that the Serengeti spans two nations and as such it can have an effect on the paperwork you’ll need. If you want to see the second half of the Great Migration or if you have always wanted to see the Maasai Mara, you will need to make sure that you have the appropriate paperwork to visit Kenya. You might well end up with 2 visas, so doing your research before booking an African safari is a must. You will also need to be in possession of a valid passport.
If you are unsure about anything and you can’t find your answers online, you can always talk to a travel agent or the safari operator you have chosen.
It’s also good to have some knowledge about the currency you will need. It’s always good to have some cash on you, for cool drinks and such. While you can pay using US Dollars, if you are not from the United States of America, you can change your local currency for the Tanzanian Shilling. Credit cards are accepted at most major hotels and restaurants, but a credit card is not always the solution, especially if you are looking to save money.
Research, planning, and enquiries. This is the approach used to the best Serengeti safari. There are plenty of tour operators but it’s hard to tell who is the most reliable. By getting in touch with a few providers, and by reading as many reviews about the provider as you can find, you can get a fairly good idea about what your tour will be like. Keep in mind that you are visiting the wild and not a zoo. Safari operators would love to be able to guarantee sightings but the animals follow their own rules rather than your travel itinerary. But that is the beauty of a Serengeti safari! You can expect the unexpected!
Keep an open mind and remember that you are on a once in a lifetime adventure. You will certainly be seeing all sorts of things that most people would kill to see.
After you have decided on a Serengeti safari operator, it’s best that you book your tour well in advance. This will give you time to pack and book your flights. The earlier you book your flights, the cheaper it is likely to be. Booking your Serengeti safari in advance is especially important when you are making your booking for the busier times of the year.
Choosing the right time of year is exceptionally important when you want to ensure that you experience the best Serengeti safari possible. Generally, when planning a Serengeti tour, you should take the herd movements into consideration. Depending on the time of year, you might find that you see no animals at all as they, along with predators, have already moved to a different location.
The most sought after African safari, arguably the best African safari, is the one that includes either the Serengeti calving season or the Serengeti river crossing. If you wish to see either of these aspects of the Great Migration, it is important that you plan your visit carefully. Calving generally takes place in February and the river crossing in July/August.
Different times of the year are going to present different wildlife viewing experiences. The low season is normally April and November, the high season is in July and then again from December to March, and the peak seasons are from August to October.
Not only does planning for the right time of the year mean you will get to experience the kind of African safari you really want, but it will also have a major influence on how much you will spend. The peak and high seasons can be really pricey, depending on who your safari provider is and what type of African safari packages they can offer you.
Along with planning for the time of year, you also need to decide how much time you will be spending here. As with most safaris in Africa, it’s encouraged to spend more than just a few days. In a place like the Serengeti, where there are such vast expanses of grassy plains to be explored, spending roughly 3 or 4 days is good, but a week or more is best. You might only visit the Serengeti once in your life, so you should make the most of your time in Africa by treating yourself to a long stay. If money is an issue, read a few African safari reviews and perhaps look at the many African budget safaris currently available. You will definitely find the safari to suit your wallet if you do your research properly.
Knowing the Serengeti climate and choosing the right time of the year to go on this African safari, goes hand in hand. Africa, as you more than likely know, is a really hot continent, regardless of the nation you are visiting. Tanzania and Kenya, two countries close to the center of the continent, enjoy lovely hot summers and mild winters. These nations are also close to the equator, which means that they are also humid during the rainy season.
The Serengeti is in a subtropical region. From May to August, the days are dry and can be quite cool. These are the winter months but there are also many warm days during this time. The warmer, but still dry weather, is generally experienced from about September to October. The hot, rainy season is from November to April.
Africa is still a wild place. And it is wild in more ways than one. A guided tour of the Serengeti is a safe way to go and it will give you plenty of time to simply sit back and relax. Self-drives are also an option but you might find that they are a bit more challenging when you don’t know the roads or if you feel a little hesitant when you come up close to animals.
Your safety goes beyond the safari experience. Before you will be granted permission to enter Tanzania, you will need to have a vaccination for Yellow Fever. This is mandatory for every tourist. At the point of entry you will be using, you will need to present your vaccination card.
The second thing you will have to consider is malaria. Because of its location in a humid area, malaria can be a very real, very troublesome concern. Malaria is transferred from mosquitoes and because they are so small, you could be bitten before you even realize there are mosquitoes in the area. It’s best to prevent malaria infection, and you can do this before a mosquito even comes close to you. The best malaria prevention practices include paying a visit to your doctor and getting the appropriate preventative medication. You also need to make sure that you pack mosquito repellent before you head off on safari.
The last health related concern to be aware of is the Tsetse Fly. This pesky little creature has a painful bite that you would rather not have. It cannot make you ill but when enough of them have taken a bite, you will feel the repercussions of not packing an insect repellent.
Repellents should be applied before and after safaris and you should find out ahead of time if your accommodation will include a mosquito net.
Your first time on safari? You are in for an unforgettable experience! Depending on how many days you have chosen to spend in the Serengeti, you could be in for a laid back, unrushed safari, or a quick, action packed adventure.
Africa is the perfect wildlife holiday destination, but it is not the kind of destination where you’ll be sleeping in until 10 am. Waking to the sounds of animals, birds and insects is one of the most beautiful and relaxing way to start the day. It reminds you of where you are but it is also going to make it impossible to have a sleepy lie in.
Just about all African safaris have early starts, because the earlier you head out there, the more animals you will be able to see. Africa comes alive just before dawn. The earlier you are up and out there, the better.
By 12 pm, when the African sun is searing hot, even in the middle of winter, animals tend to hide away and you might be inclined to follow suit. Early mornings are ideal for spotting wildlife as they get a drink of water or indulge in some early morning grazing.
Most days on safari will start at around 6 am and breakfast is eaten while you enjoy a 2 – 3 hour game drive. This is the norm for most safari providers, but itineraries can change from company to company. By midday, you will either return to a rest camp or you will stop somewhere comfortable to have lunch. Again, while it might change from tour provider to to provider, most times you will be taken back to your accommodation where you can kick up your feet and spend your afternoon relaxing.
Once the sun starts to dip in the afternoon, and the day cools off, guests go out for a late afternoon safari. At this time of the day, the animals emerge once more. During certain periods of the Great Migration, animals don’t wait for the heat to abate, and can often be seen migrating throughout the day.
The Serengeti is unlike any other place on earth. The vastness of the landscape along with the Great Migration can make you feel small in comparison to the wonders of nature. A visit to the Serengeti is without a doubt, a once in a lifetime experience. If this safari is not on your bucket list, it should be.