Expert Reviews – Serengeti NP

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Vast plains, rocky outcrops, migration herds
Overall rating

The great plains of the Serengeti are the quintessential safari landscape. There’s prolific predator action here – I saw several lions and leopards in the northern Serengeti (and even a serval sat calmly on the road); cheetahs are easier to see in the south. But the Serengeti is probably best known for the Great Migration – the huge wildebeest herds that travel around the park following the rains throughout the year. The river crossings (around June to October) can be seen from the northern Serengeti or the Maasai Mara in Kenya; the Serengeti is slightly less crowded than the Mara. There are still crowds though – and with no official standard in Tanzania, the guiding is not always great, so it’s worth doing your research and staying at reputable camp.

Unmistakably Africa
Overall rating

Open grasslands punctuated with flat-topped acacia trees, big cats striding through beige-coloured undergrowth, the unmistakable outline of a giraffe silhouetted against a gigantic setting sun. If there was ever an African park that lives up to its storybook image, then the Serengeti is it. It is, of course, incredibly popular, and in peak times you can expect to share every major sighting with a handful of other safari vehicles. Opt to enjoy the shared experience, head for a less-visited corner of the park, or take pleasure in seeking out some of the smaller species, particularly the park's five types of monkey.

Serengeti: timing is everything
Overall rating

The Serengeti is that rare thing – a traveller’s icon that actually lives up to its reputation. If you do it right, this most visited of parks will give you the classic African safari experience you’ve been dreaming of.

I’ve found the key to getting the most out of the Serengeti is to research the migration patterns of the animals before you visit, then target the areas of the park that have the greatest concentrations of game at the time you’re there. Yes, the park’s southern plains are both beautiful and accessible, but they are also empty for parts of the year, when the wildebeest and zebra (and the predators that follow them) migrate north.

The area around the park headquarters at Seronera (where most of the reasonably priced tourist lodges are), can get very overcrowded with game drive vehicles, which tend to follow each other around, meaning you’re unlikely to get much one-on-one time with the animals you find. If you can afford it, head to the lodges and camps around the Grumeti River at the same time as the herds. You’ll be rewarded with views of green plains teeming with animals, and perhaps even the legendary river crossing, complete with giant crocodiles.

Average Expert Rating

  • 4.8/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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