Serengeti National Park Tanzania is one of the most famous parks in Africa and is synonymous with wildlife and classic African scenery. Tanzania’s oldest park and a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is home to the spectacular wildebeest migration and offers top-class wildlife viewing throughout the year.
Each year, over 2 million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. If you’re there at the right time, you can spot herds of wildebeest and zebra stretching to the horizon.
The Serengeti offers some of the best wildlife safaris in Africa. All the major safari animals occur in great numbers. Cheetah and four of the Big 5 are easily seen, but rhino sightings are rare, and only black rhino is present. Aside from the big cats, Serengeti National Park Tanzania
many other predators can be spotted including spotted hyena (especially in the morning), jackal, and bat-eared fox.
Serengeti is considered Tanzania’s best park. Big herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephants and giraffe, and many antelope, such as eland, topi, kongoni, and impala are residents at any time of the year. All three big cats are easily seen. A lion is often found on a kill. Cheetah is very common on the southeastern plains, while leopard can typically be found lazing in one of the big trees along the Seronera River.
The Serengeti is famed for its annual wildebeest migration, when some 8 million hooves cross the open plains, as more than 1,500,000 wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the trek for fresh grazing. Predators follow the migration and sightings of big cats hunting are particularly exciting. Spotted hyena, golden and black-backed jackal is never far off either.
The Serengeti offers amazing wildlife Safaris 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 has more than 500 bird species recorded, and the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of Africa’s Endemic Bird Areas (land important for habitat-based bird conservation containing restricted-range bird species), hosting five bird species found nowhere else. Serengeti National Park Tanzania
This specials are easy to locate within their restricted range. The grey-breasted spurfowl is common in the Seronera area. In woodland areas, parties of Fischer’s lovebird draw attention to themselves and the Rufous-tailed weaver is a fascinating bird placed in its own genus. The other two endemics are the Usambiro barbet and the grey-crested helmet-shrike. Migratory birds are present from November to April.
Serengeti’s scenery is renowned for its grassland plains in the southeast. The northern part is more hilly and rocky. To the west, valleys, rivers, and forests can be found. Several areas in the Serengeti are dotted with ‘koppies’, granite outcrops rising up from the plains. It’s an immense landscape and quite stunning – big sky country that feels like untamed wilderness.
wildlife watchers is better off timing their trip to coincide with the drier months (June to October). Aim for June and July if you can, as the incredible wildebeest migration usually tramples the plains at this time. If you’re keen on seeing predators in action, visit in late January or February. This is the hiatus in the annual rains when the wildebeests calve.
Best time to visit the Serengeti National Park is in the Dry season (from late June to October). This period offers the best wildlife viewing in general – with the wildebeest migration as its absolute highlight. Wildlife viewing is good throughout the year, but certain areas are better at specific times. The timing of the migration varies every year (the best chance of seeing it is during June and July) while the wildebeest calving is from late January to February.
Conditions in the Serengeti are rarely taxing in the daytime during the Dry season June to October when the temperature stays nice and warm. It’s a different story at night when the mercury can take a deep dive. The heat creeps up a few degrees during the Wet season (November to May), though the odd cold front can introduce a chill.
The climate in Serengeti is usually moderate and pleasant. It never gets very hot, but it is consistently cool to cold at night and in the early mornings. Don’t forget to take warm clothing.
Serengeti’s Dry season from June to October. There are two Wet seasons. The ‘short rains’ are from November to December, and the ‘long rains’ are from March to May. During the Wet season, it rarely rains all day, but afternoon thundershowers can be expected.
Dry season –June to October
Afternoon temperatures are usually around 25°C/77°F. Most days have a fine, clear sky. It gets cold at night with minimum temperatures around 14°C/57°F.
June, July, August & September – Occasional cold fronts are possible, with temperatures close to freezing. It’s usually cold early in the morning.
October – The short rains might start at the end of October if they are early. Wet season –November to May
As in the Dry season, temperatures are moderate during the Wet season. Afternoon temperatures are usually around 26°C/79°F, and night temperatures are around 15°C/59°F.
November & December – Short rains, an unpredictable period of about a month of rains occurs sometime between October and December. The rains will be unlikely to interfere with your safari.
January & February – There tends to be a dry spell between the short and long rains. The exact timing is unpredictable. Serengeti National Park Tanzania
March, April & May – ‘Long rains’ – These are the wettest months. It tends to rain most days, although seldom for the whole day. It is often cloudy. In April and May, cold fronts might bring colder peak temperatures.
Most safaris to the Serengeti start from the town of Arusha. The best option to get there is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) which is situated about 46km/29mi from Arusha. It is also possible to fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), just outside of Dar es Salaam, and fly on to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
These are regular flights from Arusha to several airstrips inside the park. It’s also possible to drive; the trip is about 325km/202mi and will take about eight hours. It is a bumpy ride but it’s scenic and you’ll see some wildlife on the way. As the trip takes you through the Ngorongoro Conservation area, a popular option is to fly one way and drive the other way taking in an overnight stop to visit the Ngorongoro Crater. Coming from the crater, the distance to the Seronera area in the Serengeti is about 140km/90mi, and the driving time is about three hours.
The trips to the Serengeti is very safe in our opinion. Crime within Tanzania’s parks and reserves is very rare. You’ll always need to take normal safety precautions (as you would anywhere) in cities and towns as this is where incidents like petty theft can happen. Serengeti National Park Tanzania
As malaria is present in the Serengeti, you should take measures to protect yourself. Apply DEET-based mosquito repellent (these formulations are the most effective) and take anti malarial medication. It’s a good idea to cover up exposed skin in the evening too. Several vaccinations are also advisable when traveling to Tanzania – seek advice from your local healthcare professional.