A Serengeti safari is the holy grail of African tours. It gives wild game enthusiasts a front row seat to view the mind-boggling phenomenon that is the wildebeest migration.
Serengeti is derived from the Maasai word “siringet” which translates to “endless plains”, an apt definition of the vast savannah.
Situated in Tanzania, the Serengeti forms a critical part of the Northern Safari Circuit that encompasses Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, and Tarangire National Park.
The Mara-Serengeti ecosystem sets the stage for the annual Wildebeest Migration that has come to be recognized as the 8th Wonder of the World.
Serengeti National Park has over 2,500 lions and 1 million wildebeest and is divided into 3 regions:
- Western Corridor: The Grumeti River passes through this region and it is characterized by Nile crocodiles, hippos, martial eagles and patas monkeys.
- Northern Serengeti: It’s characterized by open woodlands and stretched to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. You can find elephant, giraffe, dik-dik and migratory wildebeests and zebras.
- Serengeti Plains: Trees are very few on this grassland. It provides a good breeding ground for wildebeest from December to May. It also acts as a refuge from predators for hyrax and pythons.
The great wildebeest migration at the Serengeti begins when the rains end in May where animals move to the areas around Grumeti River and remain there until July.
They then cross Grumeti and Mara rivers and arrive in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve where they stay until early November when the short rains begin.
They start their journey back to Serengeti National Park where they arrive in December just in time for calving season.
They embark on this dangerous journey because their future depends on it – it is on the grassy plains of the Mara that they eat to their fill and mate, only to bring forth the new generation in the early months of the year.
These animals overcome dangerous encounters with cheetahs and lions that hide in plain sight and crocodiles in the Mara river to secure their future.
You can witness this aboard a 4×4 game viewing vehicle or take your viewing to the skies with a hot air balloon.
Things to see at a Serengeti safari
- Thompson’s gazelle
- White-bearded wildebeests
- Black rhinos
- Vervet monkeys
- Olive baboons
- Dwarf antelopes
- Bush babies
- Honey badgers
- Spotted and striped hyenas
- Nile crocodiles
- River crossings of the wildebeest migration
- Calving procedure
- A predator’s kill
- Maasai ostriches
- Crested porcupines
- Black mambas
- African pythons
- African wild dogs
- Elephants shrews
- Sausage trees
- Whistling thorn trees
Things to do on a Serengeti Safari
- Visit the Olduvai Gorge
- Early morning and evening game drives
- Balloon safari
- Picnic lunch
- Bush breakfast
- Camp at Seronera River Valley
- Wildlife photography
- Visit rhinos at Moru Kopjes
- Watch hippos at Retina Hippo Pool
- Birdwatching at Bologonja Springs
- Visit the 2,000 feet deep Ngorongoro Crater
- Climb acacia covered Naabi Hill
- Watch big cats at Lobo Valley
- Spot nocturnal animals on a night game drive
- Visit the Serengeti Visitor Centre to learn its history
- Watch the Maasai sing, dance and enact culture inspired dramas
Places to stay in Serengeti
- Serengeti Migration Camp
- Seronera Lodge
- Soroi Serengeti Lodge
- Serengeti Simba Lodge
- Serengeti Sopa Lodge
- Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
- Serengeti Safari Camp
- Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti
- Mwiba River Lodge
- Camp Zebra
- Lemala Ewanjan
- Mapito Tented Camp
- Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp
- Ole Serai Luxury Camp
- Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge
- Ikoma Tented Camp
- Grumeti Migration Camp
- Kisura Serengeti Camp
When to schedule a Serengeti safari
Serengeti is perfect for game viewing throughout the year, but if your main interest is the migration, visit the park from June to October when wildebeests migrate north to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve.
You can also plan a trip in February if you’d like to witness the calving of an estimated 8,000 foals over a span of 1 month.
What to pack for a Serengeti safari
- Insect repellant
- Warm jacket (for the evenings)
- Wet wipes
- Wide brimmed hat/sun hat
- Antihistamines (for insect bites)
- Colour neutral safari wear (avoid bright colors)
- Travel journal
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Wide-brimmed hat
If Serengeti National Park is on your bucket list, check out the Serengeti tours available or call an agent to customize your trip.