Serengeti National Park

An Iconic Wilderness Safari Destination

Experience the most widely known wildlife sanctuary in the world and an iconic wilderness safari destination. The Serengeti National Park is rated one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders and is a World Heritage Site.

The Serengeti's sprawling plains are home to an immense variety and density of wildlife including the Big 5 and are famous for the annual wildebeest migration. It is one of the few places on Earth where you can get a front row seat to witness this phenomenal event.

The Serengeti National Park is arguably the best known wildlife sanctuary in the world.

With an area of 14,763 km2 and bordered by Kenya's famous Maasai Mara Game Reserve to the north, the Maswa Game Reserve to the south and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Serengeti is African savanna at its largest and most majestic.

Serengeti means 'an endless plain' in the Maasai language. The Serengeti landscape consists mainly of woodland and grassland. It has an open grassland plains in the south, savannah with acacia trees in the centre. In contrast in the north is hilly grassland with large rocks formations known as kopje and woodland in the western.

Lion pride, Serenegeti

The Great Migration

The Serengeti is one of the largest and best known nature reserves in the world, not only the diversity, but also the sheer number of animals that live there especially the large herds of ungulates make the area a unique spectacle of nature lovers.

What makes the Serengeti such a formidable park for game viewing all year round is its distinct seasonal changes that shapes the migration's pattern.

From late November to December the migration herds arrive on the short grass plains' of the east and south of Seronera Valley which also extends into the Ngorongoro Conservation area, also known as Ndutu Plains.

Cheetah perched on termite mound

December–April: Southern Serengeti [Ndutu]

The southern plain of the Serengeti is a vast grassy expanse, stretching as far as your eyes can see. Dispersed across these plains, big herds of wildebeest and zebra are everywhere, feeding on the fresh, nutritious grasses.

The area also hosts the highest concentration of predators in Africa. Lion, cheetah are hyena are commonly seen. This is the prime location to be when the calving season takes place, where more than 80% of female wildebeest and zebra gather to give birth simultaneously.

Travelling to the Serengeti during this time promises an exciting adventure full of wonder and plenty of action. The hunting of young wildebeests and zebras by big cats is part of nature, and during the few weeks of calving season, you're sure to see some magnificent kills.

Female wildebeest instinctively know to head to the short grass plains so that they can see approaching predators. There, they form a barricade around birthing mothers to protect them and the young when they are the most vulnerable, during birth, ensuring the majority of the young survive.

Until late February to March, the herds will remain on the plains feeding on the short grass, which is filled with valuable nutrition for lactating mothers. Gradually they stretch out west across these plains, then around April they start their Great Migration north.

Lions on a rock, Serengeti

May–June: Western Serengeti

From the end of April the herds will start to move ready to be heading to the west.

The area around Moru kopjes and west of Seronera is hectic with a series of moving herds, often containing hundreds of thousands of animals – joined by many zebra, and a scattering of Thomson's and Grant's gazelles.

By end of May until mid-June, the herds are expected to pass through the western corridor, making the Grumeti River, a spectacular sighting as some migratory herds cross braving the aggressive and hungry Nile crocodiles.

Around June the wildebeest migration is often halted on the south side of Grumeti River which has some channels which block or slow their migration towards north. The wildebeest then congregate there, in the western corridor, often building up to a high density before crossing the river.

This river is normally a series of pools and channels, but it's not continuous – and so whilst they always represent an annual feast for the river's large crocodiles, these aren't usually quite as spectacular as the crossings of the Mara River, further north.

Wildebeest river crossing

July – October: Northern Serengeti

The dry season begins from the end of June to mid–October. Herds will concentrate in the northern Serengeti, making the Mara River one of the most popular destinations to witness the migration river crossing.

Watching the frantic herds of the wildebeest migration crossing the Mara River can be very spectacular; there are often scenes of great panic and confusion. It is common to see herds to cross the Mara River north on one day, and then back south a few days later.

By the beginning of November, the migration herds are heading back south again through eastern and a few through western Serengeti depending on the rain patterns. They will also be passing through Loliondo Game Controlled Area and Lobo area as well the migratory animals are returning to find the fresh green pastures on the short grass plain. The change in the seasonal weather pattern effects not only the location of the migration, but also the size of the migratory herds.

The migration is not a continuous forward motion. They go forward, backwards, and to the sides, they move around, they split up, they join forces again, they walk in a line, they spread out, or they hang around together. You can never predict with certainty where they will be; the best you can do is suggest likely timing based on past experience.

It's a little challenging to guarantee the migration one hundred percent due to the weather patterns.

Hartebeest

Central Serengeti – Seronera

Territorial game such as antelopes, elephants, leopards, lions, hyenas and many more animals remain throughout the year particularly in the Central Serengeti (Seronera) making it a viable destination all year round. The Serengeti plain is punctuated by granite and gneiss outcroppings known as kopjes meaning 'a little head' in Dutch. This outcroppings are the result of volcanic activity.

With great accommodation options speak to our experienced consultants about tailoring your ideal Serengeti great migration and experience for yourself one of the greatest wonders of the natural world.

Activities

In Serengeti National Park you can do:

  • Game drives
  • Hot air balloon safaris

How to Get There

It is about 6-7 hours-drive from Arusha, or you can fly to any of several airstrips in Serengeti (several flights daily) depending on your itinerary and season.

When to Go

All year round.

Experience Serengeti National Park

We recommend 2 nights or more depending on your itinerary and interests due to the huge size of the park and the sheer amount there is to experience.

Contact our experts on how you can include Serengeti National Park in your itinerary.

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