Serengeti National Park - Lion sleeping in tree

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Tanzania’s second largest National Park. It borders the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the south and Kenya’s Masai Mara in the north. This National Park holds the highest wildlife population in the world and offers outstanding game viewings. Serengeti National Park is most famously known for its annual and dramatic wildebeest migration. Furthermore, its ‘endless plains’, whose name derives from the Maasai word ‘Siringit’, are a truly spectacular sight.

Main Facts:

  • Located in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania
  • Flight Connection in/out to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO)
  • Established in 1951
  • Size of 14,763 km²

Main Habitats:

  • Acacia Woodland
  • Large Kopjes
  • Short-grass plains

Seasons:

  • Dry: June to October
  • Wet: November to May

Activities:

  • Game Drives
  • Balloon Safari
 Serengeti National Park - Seronera river with hippos
 Serengeti National Park - view of simba kopjes  Serengeti National Park - cheetah after hunt
 Serengeti National Park - leopard sitting in grass  Serengeti National Park - giraffe sitting overlooking endless plains

Flora & Fauna:

The Serengeti ecosystem with a size of 14,763 km² combines a large variety of habitats. From vast and seemingly endless grass plains with unique kopjes in the south; open acacia plains and river banks bordered by palm trees in the heart of Serengeti; muddy and woody savannah land with the Grumeti River in the west; to open woodlands with the legendary Mara River in the north.

Wildlife:

Serengeti National Park has the largest concentration of wildlife in the world. It is also home to Africa’s ‘Big Five’ – buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino, while rhinos are rarely seen. With an estimation of 9.000 hyenas, 3.000 lions, 1.000 leopards and 250 cheetahs, Serengeti incorporates the largest concentration of predators. This National Park is famous for its annual Great Migration of roughly 1.5 million wildebeests. They are joined by about 500.000 zebras and 200.000 gazelles taking the trek of their life through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem following the rain in search for fresh grass. Furthermore, Serengeti is home to more than 500 bird species including bee-eaters, hoopoes, horn-bills, kingfishers, lovebirds, ostriches and many more.

Southern Serengeti

The southern plains of Serengeti leading into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area consist of an endless and never-ending grass scenery which is only interrupted by massive granite formations called ‘kopjes’. The most famous kopjes are Simba, Gol and Moru, which provide the perfect resting place for leopards and lions. They are also home to rock hyraxes and agama lizards. Resident game includes elephants, giraffes and gazelles as well as caracal, foxes and jackal.

Central Serengeti

The heart of Serengeti National Park is the Seronera Valley with its open grass plains and acacia trees which are often occupied by dozing lions and leopards. Another highlight is the Seronera River with its banks covered in palm trees and its river inhabited by crocodiles and hippos. The Seronera Valley is home to a large variety of wildlife who gather in this area all year around. Resident game includes buffalo, warthogs and zebras but also smaller wildlife like bush-babies, dik-dik’s, mongooses and steenboks.

Western Serengeti

The Western Corridor consists of wooded savannah land and is dominated by the two main rivers Grumeti and Mbalageti, which both lead into Lake Victoria. Resident game includes the famous colobus monkeys, elands, kudus and topis as well as Nile crocodiles, who call Grumeti River their home and are often found sun-bathing on the riverbanks.

Northern Serengeti

Northern Serengeti is characterized by thick woodland intersperses with small kopjes, riverine forest and the legendary Mara River. Resident game includes elephants, giraffes and impalas as well as crocodiles, hippos and many water fowls. Predators like cheetahs, leopards and lions are hiding in the thick woodland, but are easier to spot when the migration crosses.

Migration Movement:

Tanzania Wildebeest Migration Serengeti - Follow the trek

The Calving Season depends on the rains and usually takes place between January to March on the short-grass plains of southern Serengeti and Ndutu. This is the perfect place to be when over one million wildebeests and zebras gather to give birth simultaneously. The combination of volcanic soil and rain results in the growth of nutritional grasses which are valuable for the lactating mothers. Of course this attracts a large variety of predators like cheetahs, hyenas, leopards and lions who target the young and weak ones.

With the beginning of the long rainy season in April and May the herds will move from south to west. From May until mid-June they are expected to pass through the Western Corridor with its Grumeti River. This is the first hurtle on their trek as Grumeti is home to large Nile crocodiles.

The dry season starts in June and lasts until mid-October during which the wildebeest migration is expected to concentrate in Northern Serengeti (Kogatende Area). Depending on the rain the first herds are expected to reach the legendary Mara River at the beginning of July – the perfect spot to see the famous river crossings. The Mara River with its dangerous Nile crocodiles and strong streams is a risky must overcome for the herds. Since the movement of the migration depends on the rain, the exact timing of a crossing cannot be guaranteed and requires a lot of patience.

With the beginning of the short rainy season in November and December the wildebeest migration moves back to the southern plains of Serengeti and Ndutu crossing via central and eastern Serengeti. Once they reach the short-grass plains the cycle starts again with a new generation on the way to experience for the first time the trek of their life.

Serengeti
Activities:

Apart from classic game drives, Serengeti National Park also offers a few activities and informative stops to include in your safari itinerary. Our suggestions are:

Sunrise Balloon Safari

Serengeti National Park - balloon safari

Singing Rock
Visit

Serengeti National Park - singing rock visit

Visitor Center
Visit

Serengeti National Park - Serengeti Visitor Center

Accommodation in Southern Part:

From January to March we would recommend to overnight in Ndutu within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Our accommodation suggestions are:

Ndutu Safari
Lodge

Accommodation - Southern Serengeti - Ndutu Safari Lodge

Lake Masek Tented Camp

Accommodation - Southern Serengeti - Lake Masek Tented Camp

Serengeti Under Canvas

Accommodation - Southern Serengeti - Serengeti Under Canvas

Accommodation in Central Part:

Central Serengeti can be visited all year round and is home to a large variety of resident wildlife. Accommodation options are huge and our overnight suggestions are:

Serengeti Campsite

Accommodation - Central Serengeti - Seronera Campsite

Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp

Accommodation - Central Serengeti - Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp

Kubu Kubu Tented Camp

Accommodation - Central Serengeti - Kubu Kubu Tented Camp

Accommodation in Western & Northern Part:

Following the wildebeest migration through the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, we would recommend the following accommodations:

Mbalageti Tented Camp

Accommodation - Western Serengeti - Mbalageti Lodge

Mara Under
Canvas

Accommodation - Northern Serengeti - Mara Under Canvas

Kuria Hills
Lodge

Accommodation - Northern Serengeti - Kuria Hills Lodge