Serengeti National Park Tanzania
Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s worldly known park for its unbelievable scenery and magnificent wildlife showing annual migration of millions of white-bearded, wildebeest and 250,000 zebras and for its abundant Nile crocodile and honey badger. The park covers a geographical area of about 14,750 square kilometers of riverine forest, grassland plains, Savannah and woodlands. Serengeti National Park is situated in the northwestern of Tanzania bordered by Kenya to the North where it is endless with the Masai Mara National Reserve.
Overview of Serengeti National Park
How to get to Serengeti Park
How to get to Serengeti National Park
Visitors can get to Serengeti national park using different means of transport depending on their itinerary design and their if its spending more time there it’s advisable you take a fight which is faster.
There is always a flight that runs once in a week from Entebbe airport up to seronera airstrip in Serengeti National Park and it takes about 2 hours of duration.
Visitors can use different routes to reach Serengeti National Park such as using the Entebbe route via Kenya up to Tanzania (Serengeti National Park) which takes about 12 hours and 40 minutes covering 650km.
Starting from Entebbe to Kampala via Jinja it takes about 3hours and a half covering a distance of 125km as well as giving you opportunity to view the source of the Nile. Then from Jinja to the border of Uganda and Kenya (busia) which takes about 2hours and 10 mins and a distance of 120km then from busia to Mbita where the Mbita ferry transfers you to the border of Kenya-Tanzania (Isibania) covering 268km and takes about 5hours and 30 mins. Finally, from Isibania to Serengeti National Park which is a 2 hours’ drive and 20 mins
When to visit the Serengeti
The Serengeti is one of the areas in Tanzania that offers good game viewing all year round, although you might want to avoid the heavy rains in April and May. However, depending on your sightseeing priorities (wildebeest calving, wildebeest river crossing, best time to see predators, birding, etc.), you’ll want to plan your visit accordingly. While all seasons can be a great time to visit, it is perhaps more important to figure out what parts of the Serengeti you’ll want to explore during your visit which will largely depend on your sightseeing priorities and the timing and length of your visit.
One of the most popular times to visit the Serengeti is during the Great Migration when the hooves of millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle thunder across the plains and predators lurk in the shadows watching closely for their chance to disengage the weakest link. The 40-kilometer-long lines of herbivores steadily and persistently making their way to their next destination of better grazing regardless of the dangers that lie in the rivers and all around them is perhaps one of the most amazing sights in the entire world. The Great Migration is an annual phenomenon, and your time in the Serengeti National Park can be arranged so that you get to see all the action
What to See in Serengeti Park
What to see in Serengeti National Park
Located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and one of Tanzania’s most popular wildlife viewing areas. This huge volcanic crater has a permanent supply of water which draws all kinds of animals who stay in this area rather than migrating. Visitors come here primarily for viewing large game and bird watching, but also of interest in the conservation area is the Olduvai Gorge. This important archeological site has revealed ancient skull and bone fragments that have delivered critical information about early mankind.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact ancient caldera in the world, nearly three million years old. The Ngorongoro volcano was one of the world’s tallest mountains before it exploded and collapsed. Thousands of wild game can be seen on the crater floor, including lions, elephants, rhinos, Thomson’s gazelles, and buffaloes, but wildebeests and zebras account for over half of the animals that call the Ngorongoro Crater home. Bird watching is superb, especially around Lake Migadi, which attracts flocks of flamingoes to the shallows. Hippos are content to submerge themselves during the day and then graze in the nearby grass in the evening.
The Olduvai Gorge is an archeological site situated on a series of fault lines, where centuries of erosion have revealed fossils and remnants of early mankind. As early as 1911, a German professor found some fossil bones while looking for butterflies in Olduvai Gorge. In a later expedition, the Leakeys collected skull fragments, a skull, and bones determined to be approximately 2 million years old. Tools and hunting weapons from 1 to 1.5 million years ago were also discovered in Olduvai Gorge. Another exciting find were the famous footprints of a man, woman and child at Laetoli, near Olduvai. These and other discoveries provide more evidence to the theory that at least three hominid species were in this region over 2 million years ago.
The park is home to a large selection of animals including the entire Big Five, however the rhino populations are very small due to the large amounts of rhino poaching in all of Africa. Strong actions are taken in the park to ensure the safety of this endangered animal. Some of the other animals found in the park are large herds of impala (one of the most successful mammals on earth), Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, klipspringer, giraffe, warthog, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, Oryx, hartebeest, eland and many others. Other carnivores within the area include the very rare African golden wolf, striped hyena, spotted hyena, African wild dogs, honey badger, serval, cheetah and many others. The area is a birder’s paradise, featuring more than 500 different species of birds, ranging from the very large ostrich to the very small finches.
Kopjes are remarkable weathered massive rock formations that rise out of the central Serengeti plains like slight mountains. Trees, vines, and bushes leaf out of many of the formations and you can see them scattered around the Serengeti Visitors Center. These pillar formations provide shade, small water pools, and a countless vantage point for many animals, including lions, leopards, and cheetahs. The Moru Kopjes are the most normally visited kopjes and some kopjes comprise African rock paintings done by Maasai cattle herders and at least one of the rocks, nicknamed the “Gong Rock”, is thought to be an earliest musical instrument. The kopjes are a good dwelling to spot big cats and smaller mammals such as hyraxes so point your binoculars here when on game drives. The Moru Kopjes is the best home to spot a black rhino in the Serengeti National Park.
What to Do in Serengeti Park
What to do in Serengeti National Park
The moment you set foot in the Serengeti National Park, you will start noticing a major change in the way you look at things around you. After all, you are in one of the most beautiful and phenomenal national parks in the world. Serengeti boasts of all kinds of attractions and there’s just so much to keep you occupied. The Great Migration and a safari in Serengeti National Park is its prime attraction, but this wondrous park has something to offer, irrespective of when you’re visiting. From abundant bird species and beautiful rolling plains to stunning lakes, these are the top 10 things to do in Serengeti National Park.
Witness the Great Migration
This is the main reason why people from all over the world visit the Serengeti. And we can’t say we blame them either. This is the world’s largest migration of animals, and it is a sight to behold. The sight of millions of mammals stampeding across the vast wilderness with all kinds of predators close at heels will definitely make you realize the grand scale of things, and discover the delicate balance of nature. Make sure you’re aware of when and where exactly the Great Wildebeest Migration is happening. It is a cyclical event- but you have to be sure that you plan your trip just right.
Visit the Seronera River Valley
This Seronera River Valley occupies a significant portion of the central Serengeti region. This is the Serengeti at its natural best. The entire valley is brimming with flora and fauna that is unique to the region. In fact, you can spend your entire trip in the Seronera Valley and not run out of things to explore- there are wildebeest, elephants, zebras, gazelles, and more. Better yet, the abundance of prey draws all kinds of predators- including lions, hyenas, cheetahs and leopards. The area also has some stunning permanent lodges that are open throughout the year.
Visit the Olduvai Gorge
Olduvai Gorge, is located in the heart of the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater. This 300-mile long gorge is famous for being the site where 2-million-year old human fossils were found. Step back in time, and walk the same paths that our ancient ancestors walked. And while you’re here, don’t forget to visit the small but charming Oldupai Museum that was founded by Mary Leakey, the woman responsible for finding the fossils! This will be a great opportunity for those traveling to Ngorongoro from Serengeti, and will absolutely give you a great understanding about our descendants and how they lived!
Go on an Air Safari
There is nothing more stunning or luxurious than getting a bird’s eye view of the Serengeti National Park. You can actually book yourself a hot air balloon ride (from a basic ride to a more luxurious one that includes champagne). If you want a more adventurous aerial trip, you can also book one of the small chartered regional planes that fly from one of the seven airstrips in the Serengeti (keep in mind that the view from the plane might not be as good as the hot air balloon). Whatever your choice, you’re sure to fall in love with the splendid landscapes and unending beauty.
Visit the Moru Kopjes
Moru Kopjes is an amazingly interesting rock creation that will certainly thrill the traveler in you. The mound-like rocks rise up like mountains in the middle of the Serengeti plains, providing much needed hydration and shade for the animals. This is among the leading regions for animal viewing, and you can even spot predators such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards. In fact, this is the best area for people to spot the famous black rhino!
For those who are interested in exploring the culture of the area, ancient African rock paintings made by the Maasai will definitely be a point of interest. Make sure you visit the ‘Gong Rock’- it is revered among the local people, as it is believed to be an ancient musical instrument!
Experience the “Masai Way of Life”
Travelling to Serengeti National Park without visiting a Maasai village is really an incomplete destination. The Maasai are semi-nomadic people who have lived in Kenya and Tanzania for a very long time. You can experience the Maasai way of life in their bomas (village-like communities). The Maasai are very welcoming, and are eager to share information about their customs, lifestyle, and traditions. There are a variety of circuits that offer visits into these Maasai villages. If you want to observe their lifestyle in greater depth, you can get in touch with a local NGO or your travel agent to schedule a private village trip- this would be way less touristy, and will give you an insider view of the villages as well.
Visit the Grumeti River
The Grumeti River is located in the west and is definitely an adventure waiting to happen. It is an integral part of the annual Wildebeest Migration, and is a unique part of the experience as well. This area is full of crocodiles, and every year, there is a crocodile-wildebeest engagement that will be a fascinating subject for biodiversity fans. Those who are weak of heart should definitely steer clear of the river during this period. The area is also splendid to look at- the river valley is lush, and beautiful!
Visit the Bologonja Springs
The Bologonja Springs is a spotting center for wildlife in the Serengeti, but surprisingly, not a lot tourists visit the area. If you want to enjoy the beautiful flora and fauna of the Serengeti without having to put up with the hassles of tourists, this is the best place for you. These springs draw a number of animals- including giraffes, elephants and antelopes. This is also a wonderful place for people to go bird watching! You can watch the animals frolic, fight and feed in their natural habitat, with minimal intrusion from humans.
Retina Hippo Pool
Tanzania is certainly well recognized for hippos and the place for visitors to be if one would like to see them at their natural best. Hippos can be found all over the Serengeti, but nothing compares to the Retina Hippo Pool, where they gather in the hundreds, to feed, and soak in the warm waters, and fight territorial battles! The actual pool has a number of crocodiles as well, and if you’re lucky, you might also be able to spot some herons. If you’re lucky, you can see approximately 200 hippos lounging about.
There are a number of accommodation options in the Serengeti National Park- from luxury resorts, to tents. However, there is a beauty in being out in nature at night time, when you can hear the crickets chirp, and the gentle rustling of the animals as they settle in for the night. The silence of the Serengeti is absolute, and this is an experience only a few other places across the globe can offer. Rent out a tent, and stay in a camp site- it will definitely be worth it. There are camps for every budget- from $50/night to luxury tents that have all amenities.
No matter your preferences or your budgets, you always have something phenomenal to choose from when visiting the Serengeti National Park. So jump in and fall in love with all that mother nature has to offer.
Namiri Plains, Serengeti National Park
The Namiri plains are located in the center of Serengeti which takes about one-hour drive from other camps, Namiri Plains offers a remote and intimate safari experience in a secluded area of the Serengeti. Between December and March, it’s possible to see the Great Migration herds as the wildebeest have their young in the southeast of the Serengeti, and you can watch as calves take their first tentative steps. Hot on the heels of these grazing herds are predators such as lion, leopard and cheetah.
The camp is located on what was, until fairly recently, a cheetah research base inaccessible to tourists for 20 years. Cheetah and lion populations therefore thrive here. Visitors can also encounter leopard, buffalo, spotted hyena and, in occasional instances, black rhino.
The camp’s eight canvas tents have far-reaching views over the plains, with sides that open out during the day. Every tent includes a suite bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers, a king-sized bed, and a safe. There’s a family tent for up to four guests (children must be aged five and over to stay here), as well as a more luxurious honeymoon tent.
The communal mess tent is scattered with sofas and has a shaded outdoor seating area. From here, you can sit and watch animals coming to drink at the natural waterhole next to camp. Meanwhile, in the dining tent you can enjoy cooked or continental buffet breakfasts and three-course dinners.
Activities from the camp include twice-daily game drives in 4x4s (which come complete with mini fridges), guided walking safaris out in the bush (extra cost), and time spent with a local cheetah researcher to learn more about the area’s endangered cats. At an additional cost you can take a sunrise hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti, giving you bird’s-eye views of the wildlife in the early morning light.
Accommodation in Serengeti Park
Where to stay while at Serengeti national park
The final decision whether or not to visit the Serengeti National Park is made easy by its stunning variety of lodge accommodations. There are a number of public campsites ($30/adult), special campsites ($50/adult), tented camps, and lodges in the Serengeti. The largest number and greatest variety of lodging exists in the Central Serengeti region around Seronera. Whether you want to camp on the cheap, sleep in a remote luxury tented camp, or stay in a large lodge with all the familiar Western amenities, you should be able to find something in the Serengeti suiting any lifestyle or budget. You should book accommodations well in advance, especially in peak season.
Ngorongoro crater lodge
Bordering the south of the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to the world’s largest unflooded caldera. Created when a huge volcano erupted and collapsed in on itself around 300 million years ago, the Ngorongoro Crater has a total area of 260 sq. km (100 sq. miles) and is 600 m (2,000 ft.) deep. Its steep, rainforest-covered walls create a bowl-like sanctuary for more than 25,000 large animals, including lion, black rhino, Cape buffalo, hyena and hippo.
Established on the crater’s edge looking out over this immense natural wonder, the luxurious Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is divided into three separate camps — North, South and Tree Camp — with a total of 30 rooms housed in individual thatched huts. Each camp has its own communal lodge with living and dining areas, adorned with chandeliers handmade by the Masai, antique furniture and bronze statues. After your three-course meal, join other guests around the open fire pit to take in the star-studded sky. The spacious rooms each feature a living room with open log fire, a king-sized bed, and an en suite bathroom. Silks, velvets and dark woods create a sense of luxury, yet step outside onto your private veranda and, using a good pair of binoculars, you can pick out individual animals living in the crater below.
For a closer look, join a game drive into the crater. Staying here means you can arrive before anyone else, with the journey taking just 20 minutes. Look out for predators on the prowl before the day heats up, or watch lion snoozing in the afternoon sun.
You can also explore the crater on foot with an experienced guide, who’ll show you how to track rhino and point out the many bird species. Visit during the green season (December to April) and you’re likely to see thousands of flamingos congregating around Lake Magadi, forming a vivid sea of pink.
Walking around the Crater gives the views of the beautiful scenery than the wildlife. Walking here is limited to a small number of camps, but it is one of the best ways to enjoy some of the finest unspoilt views the area has to offer. It is also a very peaceful way to experience the Crater, which can be a very busy place.
Serengeti Mawe Camp
Serengeti Mawe Camp is situated in Serengeti offering a garden and barbecue. Nyamara Kopjes is 10 km away and there is Free Wi-Fi is provided and free private parking is available on site. The accommodation is equipped with a seating area. Each part has a secretive bathroom with a bath. Serengeti Mawe Camp has also got a sun terrace and visitors can enjoy the on-site restaurant, with packed lunches available on request. Maasai Kopjes (S) is 14 km from Serengeti Mawe Camp, while Migration June July is 14 km from the property and it has one of the best-rated locations in Serengeti.
Serengeti safari lodge
Serengeti Safari Lodge with World Class Style is in the Serengeti national park,335kms from and as well the airstrip is adjacent to the lodge and transfer service is offered. Set in elevation on the load of a tree-clad ridge, imposing panoramic views across the Serengeti, this lodge is the final fusion of traditional African style and world-class style. Winner of various awards from the world travel press, it is perhaps the supreme venue the Serengeti has to offer. Centrally located adjacent to the well-known Western Corridor and Grumeti River, the lodge has been considered to blend completely into the living scenery. A series of traditional domed ‘rondavels’ are extensively spaced throughout the grounds, which are cooled by stands of acacia trees and watered by glittering streams. On the very edge of the ridge is a ‘vanishing horizon’ pool, which looks out over the ‘endless plains’ after which the Serengeti is named. Situated close to the world-famous 2-million-year-old Paleolithic site of Ol Duvai, ‘birthplace of mankind’, the lodge has been designed to offer a showcase of cultural performance, heritage and traditional art, which is best illustrated by the lavish Makonde carvings which beautify both the rooms and the magnificent round dining room. As for wildlife, the Serengeti National Park presents not only all the members of ‘The Big Five’ (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), but also the yearly ‘migration’ of over one million wildebeest and their associated cast of predators. The lodge has a scenic safari bar with timbered terrace and a private bush camp overlooking the migration.
Ikoma Tented Camp
Set in the center of an unbelievable setting of savannah and skies, you find Ikoma Tented Camp, comfortable in a grove of acacia trees. Ikoma tented camp has 35 traditional Meru tents, each under roof with a private veranda overseeing the remarkable plains of the Serengeti. The central restaurant and bar area brag a large camp fire an ideal spot to relax with a chilled drink after a long days of exciting game viewing. Ikoma Tented Camp is ideally located at the border of the world-renowned Serengeti National Park, along the path of the migrating wildebeests between Kenya and Tanzania. From Ikoma you can enter the western corridor of the park, taking in Kirawiras and the Grumeti river home to the giant wildebeest-eating crocodiles. There is no better place to enjoy one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles. Staying at Ikoma Tented Camp gives you the exceptional opportunity to enjoy a night game drive or a walking safari, as the camp is located just outside the national park boundary. A great chance to see and hear some of the nocturnal animals that can’t be spotted in daytime, such as the Leopard, Aardvark and the Bat-eared fox. Another special way of experiencing the bush is by going along on a guided walking safari. Guided by a professional ranger and guard you discover the bush and its populations at close range. A great way to start or end a day in the Serengeti, followed by a breakfast in the bush or a sundowner at the close of the day. The airstrip a short distance away from the camp means you can be with us in next to no time and avoid the long drive through the park should you prefer a shorter journey. The camp has 35 spacious tented rooms with attached bathroom and a private veranda with stunning views of the Serengeti. Bathroom with shower, flush toilet, wash hand basin, soap, towels and bottled water. Mosquito nets, candles with matches and electrical lighting in the tent. Camping site with kitchen, toilets and showers. Charging possibilities for cameras, batteries, etc. Spacious restaurant and bar area serving a daily changing 4 course menu and complementary coffee and tea in the afternoon. Full & half board rates; lunch boxes available. Cold drink service at the rooms by sunset. Fireplace. Bush breakfast or bush dinner is possible on request. Support of the local village by daily bed night fees and a yearly grant. Activities: night game drive, walking safari at sunrise or sunset, visit to accommodation
Serengeti sopa lodge
Serengeti Sopa Lodge is located on the edge of the escarpment overseeing the plains of the south-western Serengeti National Park, home to many thousands of wild and rare animals, Serengeti Sopa Lodge lies within an area of out-standing regular beauty. An oasis of cool relaxation from the equatorial sun. The lodge permits its guests to experience outstanding sights and enjoy interaction with the land and animals difficult to find elsewhere, whilst at the same time appreciating the highest level of cuisine and hospitality. Unlike most other safari lodges throughout East Africa, their main building does not have a customarily African thatched roof. It has instead a smooth roof which they always use for cocktail, sundowner and private parties. However, when you step down from these supercilious heights into the sudden coolness of the reception lobby and move on, you will find stairs and slopes which either take you down to the dining room, with its outdoor terrace and simply delicious and sumptuous meals that are to die for, or across to the conference room before descending further to the ground floor. The reception is airy and large, the walls painted with rich earth colors replicating the tones of the surrounding area as well as the lobby is well furnished with large comfortable chairs made out of driftwood, huge cushions and colorful throw pillows. The low ceiling has wooden beams across and the pillars holding it are shaped like huge pots stacked together. Beautiful metallic wall lamps with lax lighting complete the overall, warm and intimate effect. With our Sopa tradition of excellence, it goes without saying that our fully en suite guestrooms and suites have been designed, decorated and furnished with only your total comfort in mind. An open dining area, spacious, airy and lots of light originating from the floor to ceiling windows. This allows a magnificent view of the plains as well, the furniture is wrought iron chairs and wooden tops, all artistically done. The walls are painted in a mud red color with window like spaces holding artifacts found in the region. Behind the buffet area is a shimmering blue placement, like a glass mosaic, adding on to the theme which offers a remarkable dining experience. The Bar is set in a corner with a view of the Serengeti plains, the bar area is strategically placed with an uninterrupted view, and has a terrace for seating with comfortable chairs.
Most will agree, however, that a Tanzanian wildlife adventure is incomplete without the inclusion of the Serengeti National park! It is described as Africa’s best safari destination – and one that surpasses all expectations.
The greatness of the Serengeti National Park, however, is not only about this huge movement of wildlife. The wildlife sightings are spectacular at all times of the year and the park’s abundance of lion, cheetah, leopard and spotted hyena make it a very exciting destination. The Serengeti has such a wide range of animal species it really is the place where you can ‘see it all.