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Serengeti Park – Travel Tips

Planning your trip

Planning a trip to the Serengeti Park is quite exciting, but can be very daunting. With various people providing various services, it is at times difficult to see who will provide a good service and who will let you down. Without being well versed in traveling through Africa, it can be easy to make mistakes. We suggest using an accredited, well versed travel agent/tour operator/travel broker to plan your trip.

We also suggest that you use a provider in Africa, who usually has some form of support available for their guests while they travel on the continent.

Travel brokers tend to provide the best prices and usually provide great service. We suggest Smiles Travels due to their experience and their high service levels.

Getting there

By car

Please note, if you are not well versed in traveling through Africa, this option is almost certainly not for you. A reliable 4×4 vehicle is recommended if you decide to drive yourself. If you insist on going overland yourself, we suggest hiring an experienced driver in Arusha.

We also suggest hiring a Land Cruiser over a Land Rover as in our experience they tend to have less technical issues.

The best way to get to the Serengeti Park is from Arusha, where you can hire a vehicle. The road conditions are terrible with the 325 KM road taking you well over 8 hours to complete. There are refueling stations, however fuel delivery to these areas aren’t reliable, so we suggest to take extra fuel when you travel.

Cellphone reception on the road is almost non-existent. Recovery of your vehicle after breakdown can take days, if not weeks.

If you are not used to off-road conditions and experienced with being in the middle of nowhere, we suggest that you fly.

By air

Daily flights into the park from Arusha (Kilimanjaro Airport IATA:JRO) to Seronera Airstrip and Kirawira Airstrip is the preferred method for tourists to enter the park. Connecting flights to Arusha can be taken from Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam.

When to go

Serengeti Park is amazing year round. The Serengeti is usually warm no matter the time of the year as the climate varies very little year round. If you wish to see the migration, use our nifty little migration map found here to plan where to go.

From June to October it is winter in the Serengeti, with temperatures ranging from 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit) to 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit). With this said, be sure to pack warm clothes as cold fronts that drop the temperature to close to freezing does happen and the mornings/evenings can become cold.

The rest of the year, the temperatures remain mostly the same, however instead of cold fronts, heavy rains can drop the temperature quite drastically. Be sure to pack warm clothes.

Where to stay

Camping

Camping inside the Serengeti Park is a memorable experience. For those who love roughing it, the peace and quiet of Africa will soothe your soul.

Inside the park you get two type of camps, the public camp sites with shared kitchen and toilet facilities. Some of these camp sites can get quite crowded.

Then there are special campsites spread across the park. These sites have no facilities at all. You will require water and food and mobile toilet facilities. Some of them have a pit latrine (hole in the ground), however one can buy a travel sized chemical toilet in Arusha. What makes these camp sites “special” is that you will be the sole visitor at the site and have your own private piece of the Serengeti to call your own for a night.

Lodges and safari camps

By far the most popular and easiest way to stay in the Serengeti Park is to stay at the various lodges and safari camps. Ranging in luxury levels, you get the most basic to ones that would put most luxury hotels in some major cities to shame. They usually come with a chef, flush toilet, internet connection and other luxuries most people take for granted. For a list of Serengeti Park lodges, click here.

There are also special migration camps that follow the Wildebeest Migration throughout the year and these are extremely popular, but quite expensive. Most offer luxury tented accommodation, great service and great food.

Things to do

  • Game Drives – Game drive packages can be purchases from the lodges/camps that you stay at. One can also hire a guide if you are using the self-drive option.
  • Game Walks – Game Walks are available at select lodges and are only offered to their overnight guests.
  • Balloon Safaris – Balloon safaris provide amazing views of the park. They are quite easily booked while inside the park.

Food and drinks

Fresh food is served at all of the lodges and with most safari operators and camps. We suggest that you stick to bottled water and drinks.

Tipping

It should be understood that tipping is very important to all staff members within the Serengeti Park. Salaries in Tanzania are very low, with some people living off $45 US per month. Keeping this in mind, a $10 US tip can make a large difference to any local worker, be they a safari guide or lodge staff.

We usually tip at least $20-$30 US per person per day for our safari guide, around $15 US per person per day for the lodge/camp staff and when we eat at a restaurant the general rule is 10%, however we usually go a bit over that if the service was good.

Tipping well will really help the staff during the months when tourist numbers are down, usually after the migration has left their general area.

Health Risks

Yellow fever

Tanzania requires a yellow fever vaccination if you enter from a country that has a yellow fever risk. This will become an issue if you fly to Kenya and enter Tanzania from there. For a complete list of countries who have these restrictions please.

Malaria

Tanzania does have a risk for Malaria infection. Please consult your medical doctor for prevention methods. Also remember to take your own mosquito repellant and apply it regularly.

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