The highly regarded and well renowned Serengeti. It is almost hard to describe this park, it’s a huge park with an enormous diversity and -amount of animals. The Serengeti is most famous for the Great Migration and it’s classical never-ending savannah. The Serengeti Ecosystem is roughly 25,000 sq. km (the size of the neighbor country Rwanda), this includes the Maasai Mara in Kenya (1,500 sq. km.) and the Serengeti N.P. at almost 10x the size (14,700 sq. km.) amongs other smaller areas and buffer zones. The Serengeti National Park is divided into three main areas:
‘Serengeti’ comes from the Masai word ‘siringet’, which means ‘a place where the land goes on forever’. But it’s also a place where time goes on forever. The ecosystem has barely changed at all since early man first walked here two million years ago.
The landscape is a combination of nutritious grasslands and sparse woodlands: grassy areas dotted with Acacia trees, the iconic image of the Serengeti. The entire ecosystem spans 30,000 km² from north Tanzania extending to south-western Kenya.
Around 14,750 km² of that is made up of the Serengeti National Park, the oldest in Africa and the most famous protected area in the world. The National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
The sheer concentration of wildlife, as well as the spectacle of the Great Migration, makes the Serengeti National Park one of the most popular destinations in Africa for safari-goers. It’s estimated that the National Park receives around 90,000 visitors a year.
If you’re planning on visiting this extraordinary, awe-inspiring land, here’s everything you need to know about the Serengeti National Park.
Things to Know
The Serengeti National Park is part of the vast Serengeti ecosystem, which covers about 30 000 km² in northern Tanzania. The area includes a number of other parks, including the Maasai Mara in Kenya, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas. The park itself covers just under 15 000 km² of the area.
This huge area includes an equally enormous diversity of ecosystems and landscapes, each more beautiful than the last. There are vast plains, acacia woodlands, rocky outcrops and wooded hills that play host to hundreds of thousands of African game.
The Great Migration
Most famous for the Great Migration, it is a mistake to think that this happens in a tiny window each year (that is just 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 good water and grazing, followed closely by their predators. The spectacular river crossings occur at specific times of the year, but the entire process is unpredictable, depending on when and where the rains fall. Speak to our safari consultants to find the best times for what you want to see.
The Serengeti 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 beetles!).
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 around the Serengeti, each with their own culture, traditions and history.
Things to See and Do in Serengeti
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, as there is plenty of resident game that stay all year round and do not 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 unpredicable and the movement of the animals can be just as erratic. At best, there is a pattern to where they move and, based on previous years’ patterns, an estimate of when they’ll be where. Speak to our consultants about the best times to go, and where, in order to increase your chances of catching it.
Do remember, though, that this area is one of the world’s best game viewing parks, even if you miss the migration!
By car: Serengeti 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 can land at a number of airstrips, including Seronera or Grumeti, and daily scheduled flights from Arusha run throughout 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 destination.