Serengeti National Park
Criss-crossed by bush-flanked streams and scattered with rocky kopjes, the seemingly limitless plains of the Serengeti are one of the worlds’s greatest wildlife territories. The main reason for travelling to Serengeti National Park is to see wildlife in a vast unspoilt natural environment. We can assure you won’t be disappointed one bit!
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti is without any doubt one of Africa’s most voted safari destination. The sheer amount of game on its vast grassy plains is amazing and the great migration of millions of wildebeest, zebra, different gazelle and antelope species, accompanied by predators on the lookout for prey, is one of the world’s most famous wildlife spectacles. Therefore it’s not surprising that many of our safari holidays in Tanzania visit this area. The itineraries below include luxurious top-notch lodges as well as good-value camps, and range from four-night stays to complete two-week safari holidays to the Serengeti migration area. Many of them are privately guided and come with a private safari vehicle for ultimate flexibility.
Wildlife Highlights: One of the greatest wilderness areas in the world, the Serengeti supports a magnificent diversity and abundance of animals, from the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and black rhino (although these are rarely spotted).
The Serengeti has a great variety of animals, because it’s a unique transition area. The distinct changeover from rich flat soils in the south, to the poor hilly soils in the north, leads to a great diversity of vegetation and habitats across the park. A unique habitat is the riverine forests, a favourite spot for hippos and crocodiles. Other common animals are the long-neck giraffes, many other ungulates (hooved animals) such as the eland, zebra, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant's gazelle are resident at any time of the year. As said, all three big cats are easily seen. Lions are everywhere and are often found on a kill. Cheetahs are very common on the south-eastern plains, while leopards can typically be found lazing in one of the big trees along the Seronera River. Hyenas are common, wild dogs, unfortunately, are rare.
Best Time to Visit Serengeti: The Serengeti offers amazing wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration and a possible crossing of the Grumeti River. The more famous river crossings of the Mara River can be witnessed around September in the north of the park. February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months from June to October offer the best general wildlife viewing.
serengeti Safari Areas
Seronera & southcentral Serengeti plains
Seronera is the site of the oldest tourist lodge in Serengeti National Park.
It is also the site for the visitor information center, which includes a small museum, coffee shop, picnic area, and staff village. Seronera is also the location for a cluster of campsites and lodges near the visitors center. Seronera is a well-known area for balloon safaris. This truly is Serengeti Central.
A stay or visit to the Seronera area, in the very heart of Serengeti National Park, involves a bit of comprimise. The area southeast of Seronera becomes the center of wildlife viewing during the December-April rain season as vast herds of wildebeest congregate here in this period. Seronera is also known as predator capital of the world, sightings of leopard, cheetah and lion is (almost) guaranteed. The peak of wildlife and visitor activity is between March and May, the period in which the wildebeest and their entourage are found in the area. It also is a pleasant area to be as it offers a variety of different habitats and water is available year round. The upsides, abundant wildlife, great accessibility and many facilities, come with a price. It is important to realize that parts of this area experience very high visitor traffic. The area may attract a serious clustering of safari vehicles, especially when it concerns big cat sightings. In unfortunate circumstances you may see a single lion, whilst being joined by a pack of 20 safari vehicles. However, it is still very well possible to enjoy the Seronera area (and you should!): why not try to avoid the crowds or select more remotely located accommodation.
Southeastern plains & Ndutu
The southeastern plains represent the image of the classic Serengeti.
These short-grass plains stretch from the western side of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the southeast Serengeti National Park. It is a vast open expanse and hosts all familiar Serengeti animals: from lion, eland, wildebeest, to skittish bat-eared foxes and ostrich. If lucky, you may even encounter a graceful secretary bird strolling the plains.
The southeastern portion of Serengeti is teeming with wildlife year round, but the peak in terms of wildlife density is between December and April. Giant herds of wildebeest and zebra are attracted by the seasonal rains pouring down. In this period the best area to see wildlife is around Lake Ndutu, in the heart of the wildebeest gathering. This is where female wildebeest give birth to countless calves and therefore makes up one of the highlight of the Great Migration. All these young herbivores serve as a magnet to predators with the result of southeastern Serengeti becoming the dramatic scene of new life, and death. The vachellia woodlands surrounding the lakes provide shelter to a range of birds not to be found elsewhere in the Serengeti. Stay alert and you may spot a fantastically coloured Fischer’s lovebird. With all the action concentrating in this area it is important to point out that the phenomenon attracts, besides predators, a lot of visitors, resulting in high vehicle traffic. The December to March period also implies that it may rain significantly.
The Western Corridor, or Serengeti west, ìs a stretch of land following the course of the Grumeti River from Serengeti Central for about 100 kilometers out towards Lake Victoria.
A pair of rivers, the Grumeti River and Mbalageti River, is the dominant geographic feature of the Western Corridor. These rivers run more or less parallel in a westerly direction, about 20 kilometers apart from each other.
Both the Grumeti and Mbalageti rivers support substantial chunks of riverine forests before emptying into Lake Victoria. Also, a few minor mountain ranges are found in the area. The Western Corridor is an aesthetically pleasing portion of the park and supports a sizeable spectrum of resident wildlife throughout the year.
The busiest period in terms of visitors is the May-July period which coincides with the Great Migration passing through the Western Corridor on their trek to the north. While the crossing of the Grumeti River may be lesser known compared to its northern counterpart, the crossing of the Mara River, but offers sightings just as exhilarating with the added benefit of fewer fellow visitors at the crossings. The Grumeti River is the first enormous obstacle for the herds to tackle.
The narrow stretch of land comprising the Western Corridor is flatter than the more northerly parts of Serengeti National Park. It is moister and more densely vegetated than the southern plains. The characteristic vegetation of the Western Corridor is park like woodland, dotted with areas of open grassland and dense stands of the whistling thorn (Vachellia drepanolobium).
Grumeti Game Reserve
Grumeti Game Reserve, next to Serengeti National Park, is an integral part of the greater Serengeti ecosystem.
The Tanzanian government created the reserve in 1994 to protect the annual wildebeest migration route. The right to manage and conserve the 350,000 acres comprising Grumeti was granted to the Grumeti Community and Wildlife Conservation Fund (now known as Grumeti Fund) in 2002. This for the benefit of conservation in this area of the Serengeti.
In the remote western reaches of the Serengeti, there are only a few lodges here, and one seldom sees other safari vehicles. As Grumeti is in a remote and beautiful corner of Serengeti National Park, it perhaps is one of its best-kept secrets. Because of its remoteness, it makes for an exceptional game viewing experience with the feeling of the exclusivity. The numer of visitors in Grumeti is limited to around sixty guests in only a few small Serengeti luxury camps, this is a prime quality area devoid of tourist crowds. Looking for a private experience without the crowds? Grumeti allows you to experience a private Serengeti.
Only a few places in Serengeti National offer walking safaris, which makes this option in Grumeti Game Reserve a special treat. You can spend hours on foot in the bush with your guide, learning about birds and insects and tracking animals, but also discover cultural and medicinal uses for indigenous plants. Being outside Serengeti National Park boundaries means that your guide is not bound by park regulations and has much greater freedom to operate a wide range of safari activities. Vehicle safaris can be operated by during the day but also at night; and the opportunity to drive off-road guaranteed making the most of special sightings.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
The Race for Life
The journey for the key players in the Great Migration, the roughly two million wildebeest, starts in the south of the Serengeti, with the birth of half a million calves between January and March. A favourite season for many of the seasoned Serengeti guides: the air during these months is full of new life and action.