Serengeti Safaris and Tours in Serengeti National Park are one of the best safari adventures in Tanzania. Serengeti National Park stands out the rest the parks in Tanzania because of its massive size, unique ecosystem and the world-renown annual Great migration. The name Serengeti is derived from a Maasai word which means “endless plains”, a fitting name for the 12,000 square mile (30,000 square kilometer) park arguably the largest national park in Tanzania’s northern circuit.
The Great Migration is perhaps the most popular feature of Serengeti National Park. It involves the annual migration of millions of animals into Tanzania and out of Tanzania and is the largest movement of animals naturally observed anywhere on earth.
Due to its significant ecosystem, Serengeti National Park has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the park supports a huge population of wildebeests, gazelles and zebras. It is estimated that over 4,000 lions reside in Serengeti as well as an important number of cheetahs – an endangered species. Further more, The Serengeti boasts the highest population of ostriches in all of Africa and is home to many species of birds which are found only in Tanzania.
11 Days Calving Season Wildebeest Migration Safari (January/March) This 11 Days calving season wildebeest migration safari is not just limited to the Serengeti National Park
The most popular way to get to Serengeti National Park is by road using a 4×4 safari vehicle starting from Arusha, Kilimanjaro Airport or Moshi Town on an approximately 9 Hours Road drive (This option requires an overnight on the way in either Karatu Town or Ngorongoro Conservation Area).
Western Serengeti can be easily accessed starting from Mwanza or Kenya’s Tarime border. You can also get to Serengeti National Park by flying from Arusha Airport to one of the park’s seven airstrips in the Serengeti Eco System in a light Aircraft and it is also possible for tourists to combine the two options by driving-in and Flying-out of Serengeti and Vis Vasa.
International Air Travel
For tourists visiting Tanzania for a Safari in Serengeti, we recommend Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) as your point of entry to Tanzania. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) lies between the towns of Moshi and Arusha and it is located about 200 miles / 320 kilometres from Serengeti National Park southern entrance.
You may choose to arrive in Tanzania via Dar es Salaam but you should note that arriving at Dar es Salaam may require you to book an extra overnight in Dar es Salaam and a domestic flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha Airport or Serengeti Air Strips on a small regional airline with luggage restrictions.
There are a number of international flight Airlines to choose from and these include Qatar Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Kenya Airways, Uganda Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines among others.
Regional Air Travel
The recommended flight route for a Serengeti fly-in safari is by flying Arusha Airport (ARK) to any of the Airstrips in Serengeti including Seronera Airstrip, Grumeti Airstrip and Kogatende Airstrip among others on an approximately 1 to 5 hours flight time.On arrival at your desired Airstrip, you will be picked by your dedicated driver from Engabi Tours and Travel who will transfer you to your accommodation in Serengeti.
Serengeti Route flights are operated by airlines such as Auric Air, Coastal Aviation, and Grumeti Air among others.
It is also possible to fly from Rwanda’s Kigali International Airport or Entebbe International Airport to Kilimanjaro International Airport for those interested in combining Gorilla Trekking and a Serengeti Safari. From Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport (NBO) or Wilson Airport (WIL) you can fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or any of the Airstrips in Serengeti.
When travelling from the Lake Victoria area, the favoured airport is Mwanza Airport (MWZ). There are also direct flights from the Serengeti to Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam and other national parks in Tanzania such Lake Manyara and Tarangire.
The most popular option to travel to Serengeti National Park is by road through booking a drive-in safari. Serengeti drive-in safaris start from the town of Arusha or from Kilimanjaro International Airport and it takes approximately eight hours to get to the Serengeti National Park (We recommend an overnight night stay in Karatu Town or Ngorongoro Conservation Area).
For self-drive safaris, a 4×4 vehicle is required to be able to access all roads throughout the year (Note that Petrol in case you need for top up is sold at Seronera in Central Serengeti).
Serengeti National Park’s main entry and exit points include:
This is Serengeti National Park’s main gate from Arusha or Ngorongoro making it the bbusiest entry point. This entry gate is located approximately 45 kilometres from Seronera and it is open from 06:00am to 6:00pm daily with its last entry at 4:00pm.
This is the main entry gate for the Western Corridor area for tourists coming from Mwanza or Masai Mara. This gate is approximately 3 hours drive from Mwanza and 145 kilometres from Seronera and it is open from 06:00am to 6:00pm daily with its last entry at 4:00pm.
This is the main gate for the far north-east of the Serengeti and it is open between 06:00am to 6:00pm daily with its last entry at 4:00pm
Serengeti is divided into four sections that is to say; Seronera valley which is located in the south-central part of the park which is also known as the cat capital of Africa this is because it is rich in enormous numbers of lions, leopards, cheetahs and gives high chances of spotting these incredible animals that most visitors be looking forward to viewing during a game drive, well-endowed with abundant wildlife like the elephants, hippos, jackals buffaloes, topi, impalas among others, exquisite landscapes of acacia-studded savannah, Grumeti river where visitors can witness the great wildebeest migration as the animals cross heading to Maasai mara, lobo area not frequently visited, southern Serengeti.
These four sections make it easy to know which best parts of Serengeti to visit if you are in search of a particular thing be it the big cats or witnessing the great wildebeest migration. But one thing is for sure Serengeti is a thrilling destination where visitors can get a chance to view both the big five and the great wildebeest migration while on a tour safari in Serengeti national park. The following are some of the activities tourists can engage in while on their tour safari in Serengeti national park.
This is one of the most participated in activities while in Serengeti national park. And this activity is more rewarding in the Seronera valley which harbors a diversity of fascinating wildlife. Lucky for the visitors, there are different options of these game drives that is to say; the morning, afternoon, night and full day game drives. Morning game drives give you a chance to see the animals when they are more active.
The grazers peacefully grazing while the carnivores are also on the hunting scheme for their prey. The game drive is more calming and soothing while you get to enjoy the fresh cool breeze embracing your body and the aroma of the fresh air in the wilderness, watch out for the iconic brilliant red and orange sunrise beautifully reflecting the rolling hills, photographers get ready to capture some of the best shots during the morning game drive. Afternoon game drives are also great as you have a high chance of seeing these amazing animals in big numbers especially around the water banks of Seronera river or Grumeti river relaxing and getting refreshed.
Still predators use this opportunity to catch their prey so as a visitor there is a chance to view both the herbivores and carnivores during the afternoon game drive. Full day game drives are quite more fruitful as you get to spend the entire day looking out for some of your most favorite animals which are not easily seen with just one game drive. A full day game drive gives you higher chances of seeing the animals you missed seeing in either the morning or afternoon game drive.
Night game drives are perfect to get to see nocturnal animals like; the hyenas which are more active at night, genets, crested porcupines, civets, bush pigs among others and hence photographers or those filming nature documentaries get to capture some of the activities these animals engage in mostly during night. If lucky the predators can be captured grabbing their feast for later in the night and the prey can also be seen always on tension looking out for danger from the predators. In general, all game drives give you that special unforgettable experience of seeing these fascinating creatures in person which is a different experience compared to when you watch them on television or when you just hear tales from people who have gotten to see them physically. While on a game drive, animals like zebras, giraffes, elephants, baboons, wildebeests, impalas, buffaloes. For a better view of the hippos, retina hippo pool is the perfect place to view these incredible animals cooling off in the pool.
To increase your chances of viewing lions, Moru kopjes which are rocky outcrops they love to hang there usually looking out for their next meal or just resting under tree shades, the Serengeti plains in the open savannah in southern Seronera river are where cheetahs usually found, leopards love to relax in trees or hang out the Seronera river.
This spectacular natural event that happens annually is the most famous event that attracts visitors all over the world to visit Serengeti national park and the Maasai mara game reserve. The great migration comprises of millions of wildebeests, thousands of zebras and many gazelles and it commences in Ngorongoro Conservation center which is located in the southern part of Serengeti national park then pass through Serengeti national park itself heading northwards to the Maasai mara game reserve where they stay for the rest of the dry season and make a return journey to Serengeti national park.
This annual event takes place between two amazing national parks that is to say Serengeti national park and Maasai mara game reserve. This is made possible as both these protected areas share a border “Isebania border. The wildebeest and the entourage basically cross two main rivers during this great journey which are Grumeti in Tanzania and Mara river in Kenya.
The trek is about 800km which is a very long journey and calls for the survival for the fittest as most animals die due to fatigue and the water bodies infested with huge nile crocodiles that are excited to feast on them not forgetting the predators on the other side of the water bodies drooling as they see their meal for the day approaching them.
Therefore, the best time to visit Serengeti national park to witness this thrilling event is in the months of late June to August, November is the month where you have a chance to view the wildebeests and its entourage crossing back to northern Serengeti from Maasai mara. Even if this is a hard time for the wildebeest and the other animals that accompany them as they have to prepare for the long journey ahead of them and take care of their young calves at the same time while looking out for themselves as well from the hungry predators and the nile crocodiles, for visitors this can be an unforgettable experience as you witness the predators strategically and courageously hunting for their prey and the grazers fighting so hard to make it to the other side of the river.
With over 500 different bird species Serengeti national park is really a unique destination where one can view both all the big five as well as the different bird species.
This activity in particular is more rewarding in the wet season months of November through April with migratory birds in the area as well.
The residents also breed in the wet season months making it such an unforgettable experience for bird lovers. Not forgetting to go with a bird guide to enjoy and benefit from the bird watching activity more as they will take you to one of the best birding spots in Serengeti namely; have your binoculars ready to get the best view of the birds which are not in your proximity. Look out for birds like; the grey-breasted spurfowl is common in the Seronera area, other endemic species found only in Tanzania include; fischer’s lovebird, rufous-tailed weaver, others include; black headed gonolek, green-backed woodpecker, grey-crested helmet-shrike, southern ground hornbill, schalow’s turaco, red-capped robin-chat, ruppell’s vulture, usambiro barbet, yellow-throated sandgrouse silver bird among others.
The best spots to carry out a successful bird watching activity is in the Seronera area located in the central part of the park, and then acacia trees are great spots to view woodland birds, lake Ndutu is another wonderful spot to see these beautiful bird species like water birds, ostriches, secretary birds among others, Grumeti area also known as the western corridor is another good spot to view some water birds along Grumeti river. The activity commences very early in the morning and usually lasts the whole day.
Now this is one of those activities that are somehow not so much recognized but yet they can make the highlight of your safari in Serengeti memorable. Cultural tourism gives you a chance to interact with the locals of the country and village you have visited and in most cases these locals play a big role in conserving the travel destination hence deserve to be known about and also get to meet and interact with the visitors.
Although Tanzania is endowed with over 130 tribes, the Maasai tribe is the most dominant group in Serengeti national park. A visit to the Maasai villages is beneficial, educative and entertaining. Their unique way of dressing highly distinguishes them from other tribes for example they wear different colors according to age, marital status or social status in the community. The color red is the most common color worn by the Maasai as it represents bravery, courage and strength it is also believed to scare off wild animals and represents unity among the Maasai culture, the white color represents energy and purity and them being cattle keepers it’s derived from the fact that cow’s milk is white, green represents the grasses around them that also feed their cattle hence stands for health and well-being, blue represents the color of the sky which also provides rain, yellow symbolizes the color of the sun and orange represents hospitality, friendship and generosity while black represents the people and the hardships they go through but must endure.
The beads the ladies wear represent their beauty, if lucky while on your visit to their villages you may witness their traditional wedding ceremonies. The most popular aspect regarding the Maasai is their jumping dance known as the “Adumu” dance visitors can also dance with the locals and create beautiful memories with them. The outstanding aspect about the Maasai, they speak good English especially the youth which makes the communication easy between them and the visitors.
They can also help to translate some of the most important information being told by their leaders who may not speak English quite well. These amazing people have embraced tourism so much as most of them are guides and some of their homesteads can be used as accommodation facilities. While on the visit to one of the Maasai villages you can buy some of their art and crafts to keep as souvenirs which is also a way of supporting their local businesses.
This activity means you will be able to view the park and its beautiful flora and fauna, the landscape from above without actually being literally on a plane but rather a well- designed beautifully colored basket. The activity is more rewarding if carried out in Seronera valley which has various wild animals just in their natural habitats, the beautiful landscape to mention but a few.
This activity is safe and comfortable as well trained professional pilots fly it. Therefore, adventurous clients who don’t mind to pay some extra money can try out this new way of viewing the wildlife other than the cliché way of viewing the park while on a game drive. Hot air balloon safaris usually commence early in the morning which also makes it possible to catch the beautiful sight of the fascinating sunrise. Couples on their honeymoon, visitors on a family trip and other visitors who are daring and love to always try out new things different from their usual activities are recommended to engage in the hot air balloon safari.
View the wilderness in the park while camping right outside your lodge accompanied with the bright moon whose reflection perfectly kisses the earth surface which means you get to see all its illuminated glory making a night in the wilderness quite calming instead of scary. There are both luxury and budget camps but one thing for sure both will give off a spectacular night in the wilderness. Camp fires are usually lit to provide warmth and chase off the wild animals. This activity is spiced up with a warm cup of tea, you can choose to play different games of your choice, play good soothing music and sometimes you can be entertained with the Maasai traditional dance.
This activity is usually more participated in by researchers or students on an educational tour. The Olduvai gorge is a perfect place to visit while on such trips as it is where the remains of early man are believed to have been found by an archeologist and there is evidence of the stone tools which were found along with the human remains of early man. While at Olduvai gorge, the researcher, students and visitors interested in the historical back ground, can get an opportunity to learn and get more detailed information regarding the way of life of the early man or what differentiates him from the day to day people. Olduvai gorge is a fantastic place to view the endangered black rhinos which are seriously protected by the game rangers from the poachers who are the reason as to why there a few species left.
This activity is carried out in Naabi hill which is situated in Eastern Serengeti near Ngorongoro conservation area. This acacia covered hill is perfect to exercise as you climb up the hill and get to view the absolutely beautiful sight of the wild animals like the wildebeest, giraffes, zebras, elephants, some bird species from above. This place is also a home for the lions and since it is a point where the wildebeest, zebras, gazelles usually enter from during the great migration the lions, leopards, cheetahs can be seen in the hunting action strategizing and actually catching their prey.
Serengeti National Park can be visited any time throughout the year because different spectacular events take place in different seasons though this park receives very many visitors in the dry season months of late May to August and September, October which are perfect for game viewing as many animals can be seen around the water banks of Seronera, Grumeti or Mara rivers relaxing and quenching their thirst. And in the months of November, December and May are also crowded with visitors who come to witness the most spectacular natural event “The great wildebeest migration” as the wildebeest and its entourage cross the mara river or Grumeti river and Seronera river. The wet season in the months of November to May are when the bird watching activity is perfect as migratory birds come to settle in the cool environment of Serengeti national park while the residents also breed during the wet season.
The Serengeti is a massive national park; its greater ecosystem rivaling the size of the entire country of Belgium! To make it easier to navigate, Serengeti National Park is divided into four zones: Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern. The best Serengeti safari tours visit each zone to give guests the full Serengeti experience, because each area offers something unique.
The Northern zone, composed of Lobo and Kogatende areas is one of the most popular of the Serengeti especially during the Great Migration. Here, near the border of Kenya visitors have the best advantage-point for the world-famous migration. Watch as millions of ungulates dare across the dangerous Mara River to reach Tanzania’s grasslands. After their arrival, the herds still must be wary of predators – such as lions and cheetahs – which are easily spotted in this area.
The Northern zone is particularly quiet, although herbivores are active inhabitants. This makes it an ideal location to spot cheetahs, the beautiful big cats that are notoriously elusive. While these animals are often difficult to spot, the best chances to score that photographic “trophy” are in Northern Serengeti.
The best time to visit the area is from the middle of July to the beginning of October, when the river crossing is most likely to take place. Another good option to consider is November, when the animals start returning to prepare for calving.
Bordering the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater area is the Southern Zone of the Serengeti. It is common for safari goers to first visit the renown Crater and then pass straight to the Southern Serengeti, or vice-versa. The main attractions of the area are Lake Ndutu and the broader Ndutu area. The landscape of the Southern Zone is ideal for wildlife viewing in all seasons, and visitors are sure to spot many animals, both near and far. Witness the miracle of life during calving season here in Southern Serengeti’s Ndutu area where wildebeests birth their young every year.
Due to the terrain of short grass and protruding rocks, it is easy to spot African wildlife in the Southern zone. Look out for giraffes, elephants, and zebras, especially. Watch the wildebeest’s calving season in the Ndutu area for an amazing experience. Big cats, such as lions and leopards and occasionally, cheetahs, are on the prowl in the Southern zone.
Calving season starts in January and goes through March. This is the best time for visitors to see thousands of new baby wildebeests and other ungulates make their arrival into the world and try out their wobbly legs. For survival, wildebeests can stand up and run within a few minutes of birth!
Western Serengeti is the starting point of the Great Migration, from the Grumeti area. The Grumeti River is famously crossed every year by millions of wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of other ungulates, such as zebras and gazelles. Visitors will take in the Grumeti and Ikoma areas in Western Serengeti.
The Western zone provides the opportunity for safari goers to see all types of Tanzania wildlife: Nile crocodiles in the Grumeti River; elephants and buffalo across green hills; Colobus monkeys, waterbuck and hartebeests in the forests. The Western zone offers visitors a phenomenal African safari experience that will surely be a major highlight of their tour.
The best time to visit Western Serengeti is from May to July. This is when the lucky visitors may spot the Grumeti River crossing.
Central Serengeti is undoubtedly the most exuberant part of the park. The number of wild animals here is probably the highest of all, and the wildlife is teeming here all the time. It is also here where the largest number of hotels and lodges can be found.
Central Serengeti is without a doubt the most active part of Serengeti National Park. While other areas of the Serengeti may have their best times of year based on the season and migration patterns, in the Central Serengeti there is always guaranteed excellent wildlife viewing. Here, visitors will discover the highest number of animals in the park, as wildlife is teeming in the Central zone in all seasons.
Capture the entire “Tanzania Collection” here in Seronera: big cats are sure to follow the migration, and no matter the season, some will be passing through Seronera because of its convenient location.
From June till October the weather is sunny, but, truly – this location is recommended all year round! Seasonal discounts are available from March till May.
Visitors will have a chance to see nearly all the wildlife of Tanzania through the breadth of the full Serengeti National Park: from big cats to primates; flamingoes and other unique birdlife; elephants and giraffes; rock pythons to crocodiles; endangered rhinos and wild dogs, you’re sure to spot it in the Serengeti. The Serengeti’s diverse and massive ecosystem ensures that bird watchers, nature enthusiasts and animal lovers are all sure to get a real-life sighting of their favorite creature.
The accommodation facilities range from luxury, mid-range and budget but all offer comfortability to the visitors and ensure that the visitors enjoy their stay and get to relax and also enjoy nice food. Some of these accommodation facilities include;
Absolutely, a Serengeti Safari in Tanzania is safe! Further, the animals are also kept safe, unharmed and free in their natural habitat. To ensure this experience remains safe for all, and that the animals do not have their freedom inhibited, please follow these basic precautions:
The Great Migration usually occurs from mid-July to early October, when the herds cross the river and is best witnessed from Northern Serengeti. Other opportunities for incredible animal sightings include November when herds return to prepare for calving and January through March which is the Wildebeests Calving season in Southern Serengeti.
The Serengeti is a massive national park, and you likely won’t feel crowded even if it is “busy”, as it is easy to take a different route or road than another safari car. The times it may feel crowded is when several safari vehicles are all congregating in one area for an animal sighting and is more likely to occur during the Great Migration.
Some locations, such as Seronera, for example, may become more congested especially during the high tourist season in July and August. However, it is still relatively easy to avoid the bustling by getting an early head start. Safari tours are permitted to leave as early as 6 am, so if you agree to take your breakfast to-go, you can have a sunrise safari and perhaps even spot some incredible wildlife, all in the serene quiet of the early morning.
If you are truly after a remote experience, consider booking your safari during the rainy season. While it will be wet, you’ll stay warm and dry inside your vehicle and have a chance to experience the Serengeti during a truly beautiful time; green and lush forests, flourishing grass and well-fed animals. There are much fewer tourists during the months of March-June and while it rains steadily, the sun usually appears every day and makes the trees and savannah grass sparkle in the light.
Upon entering Serengeti National Park through one of the above-mentioned gates, you are required to pay park entry fees and these fees are usually included in the rate when booking a tailored safari package.
For non-residents above the age of 16 years, the Serengeti National Park entrance fee is 70 USD during the peak season and 60 USD during the low season. Children between the ages of 5 and 15 must pay a 20 USD park entrance fee.
Residents/ expatriates above the age of 16 and intend to visit Serengeti National Park must pay an entrance fee of 35 USD during the peak season and 30 USD during the low season while children between the ages of 5 and 15 must pay a 10 USD entrance fee.
East Africa and Tanzania residents above the age of 16 Years and intending to visit the Serengeti National Park must pay an entrance fee of 10,000 Tanzania shillings and Children between the age of 5 and 15 years must pay 2,000 Tanzania.
Note that Proof of identification (for all visitors) is mandatory at the entry gate and all fees paid at the gates are single entry and can only be paid by Mastercard, Visa or Tanapa (Tanzania National Parks) Smartcard. Cash or other cards are not accepted.
To maximize a Serengeti safari experience, visitors should schedule a 3-5 days trip as this allows time to visit all of the major attractions and not feel rushed while moving through the park. However, due to the Serengeti’s vast size it is possible to have 7 or more days in the Serengeti and still feel like it was not enough to fully embrace this world-famous national park. A safari to Serengeti can be combined with other parks in the Northern Circuit or with Gorilla Trekking in Uganda or Rwanda
While going for a Serengeti Safari, we recommend you pack the following items:
For a complete list, please see our Safari Packing List.
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