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Serengeti Safari - Compare 2,969 Tours

The Serengeti is one of Africa’s finest safari destinations. Extending over 14,763km²/5,700mi² of undulating plains and isolated koppies (rocky hills), the Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest, largest and most famous national park. The Serengeti is renowned for hosting an annual migration comprising at least 2 million wildebeest, plains zebra and gazelle – the greatest spectacle of its type in Africa – but the immense plains are also home to unusually dense populations of lion, leopard, cheetah and other predators, while being possessed of a liberating sense of space best experienced on an early-morning balloon safari. A Serengeti safari trip will be a highlight of a visit to Tanzania.

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1-20 of 2,969 trips, packages and vacations to Serengeti National Park
 

7 Questions About Serengeti Safaris

Answered by Philip Briggs

When is the best time to see the great migration?

“The migration through the Serengeti follows a reasonably predictable annual cycle, but there is also variation from one year to the next, dependent mainly on rainfall. If you are looking to see a horizonless column of braying wildebeest on the move, aim for the Western Corridor around June and July, when the migration heads towards the south bank of the Grumeti River before crossing it. More reliable for river crossings is the far north of the park around September, when massive herds make the treacherous crossing from one side of the Mara River to the other with logic-defying regularity. Over December to April, the wildebeest disperse into the southeast Serengeti, which is the most accessible part of the park from Arusha, but might still be seen in herds that stretch from one horizon to the other. These southeastern plains are the main wildebeest calving grounds, with peak calving season usually centered on January and February, a phenomenon that attracts high predator concentrations.”

1

What opportunities are there to meet local Maasai people?

“If your Serengeti holiday is restricted to the park itself, there will be no opportunities to meet Maasai people. This is because the Serengeti is a national park and people aren’t allowed to live there. That said, practically all drive-in Serengeti safaris pass through Maasai country en route from Arusha, while fly-in Serengeti safari packages usually incorporate a stop at Ngorongoro Conservation Area. In both cases, this offers safari-goers the opportunity to incorporate a visit to a Masaai manyatta (group of huts within an enclosure) into their Serengeti experience.”

2

How can I avoid the crowds on a Serengeti safari?

“The Serengeti is a vast reserve and it doesn’t usually experience the kind of crowding you get in the far smaller Masai Mara National Reserve across the border in Kenya. The one exception to this is the area around the park headquarters at Seronera, where any worthwhile sighting tends to attract a gaggle of safari vehicles responding to radio calls from other driver-guides. In addition, safari vehicles tend to congregate in whichever sector of the park is currently hosting the migration. The best way to avoid this is to limit the time you spend in the vicinity of Seronera, and to split your Serengeti safari package between two areas: one set in the heart of the migration, and the other somewhere unseasonal (for instance the far north between November and June, or the Western Corridor between August and October). It is also worth bearing in mind that April to May is the lowest season in the Serengeti due to the high rainfall, but it can be an excellent time to visit. In addition to being uncrowded, it is a very pretty time of year, and large numbers of wildebeest are usually present in the far south. Note, too, that roads around Seronera tend to be busiest during the peak wildlife-viewing hours of 7:30 AM to 10 AM and 2 PM to 4:30 PM. So, instead of breakfasting in camp, head out as early as possible – game drives are permitted from 6 AM onwards – with a packed breakfast to enjoy that magical first hour of daylight.”

3

What animals can I expect to see in the Serengeti?

“The Serengeti is great when it comes to both the variety and volume of wildlife. Over the course of a typical Serengeti safari, you can expect to see lion on a daily basis, and with luck you will also encounter a host of other carnivores including leopard (most common around Seronera), cheetah, spotted hyena, black-backed jackal, golden jackal and bat-eared fox. You might also be lucky enough to see secretive nocturnal creatures such as civet, serval, genet and African wildcat. Also certain to be seen on Serengeti tours are elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, plains zebra, wildebeest, Thomson’s gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, impala, Coke’s hartebeest and warthog. The localized patas monkey and black-and-white colobus are both resident in the Western Corridor. The black rhino is scarce and more likely to be seen in Ngorongoro Crater. More than 500 bird species have been recorded, among them the endemic grey-breasted spurfowl, Fischer’s lovebird, rufous-tailed weaver, Usambiro barbet and grey-crested helmet-shrike. The open plains are good for terrestrial giants such as ostrich, kori bustard, secretary bird and southern ground hornbill.”

More about the wildlife of Serengeti National park 4

How long is the drive to the park?

“Coming directly from Arusha, it is around 300km/186mi to the park headquarters at Seronera. The first half of this drive follows the same surfaced road that runs past Lake Manyara to the main eastern entrance of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). The second follows a rough and dusty corrugated track around the Ngorongoro Crater rim and western plains of the NCA. Allow at least six hours for the full drive, and ideally a full day. Note, however, that most Serengeti tours include overnight stops at Lake Manyara and/or Ngorongoro Crater, which helps to break up the trip.”

5

What condition are the roads in within the Serengeti?

“By any sensible international standards, the roads are terrible. It’s not a problem when you are on a relaxed game drive, but it can be tough going on longer drives between lodges and camps. If this sounds daunting, or you have a vulnerable back, think about booking a Serengeti safari package that includes flights into the park and between lodges and camps.”

6

What are the pros and cons of different accommodation types?

“Several types of accommodation are available on Serengeti safari tours. If you want to keep down costs, the cheapest option is a basic camping safari with a budget operator that will usually supply tents, sleeping bags and other gear, and no-frills meals. Serengeti is also serviced by a number of ‘hotel in the bush’ lodges operated by chains such as Serena and Sopa; these tend to be upper mid-range in price and offer high levels of comfort. They also tend to be designed to close out the bush at night, making them well suited to first-time safari-goers nervous about wildlife encounters. The park is also serviced by innumerable small lodges and tented camps (some permanent, others seasonal in order to follow the migration). These combine a medium to high level of comfort with a genuine bush atmosphere and a high probability of wildlife passing through, especially at night. Generally speaking, these smaller camps have prices that reflect the level of luxury and exclusivity they offer. Whichever option you go for, practically all Serengeti safari prices are all-inclusive and incorporate transport, game drives, park fees, accommodation and food.”

7

Serengeti Safari Reviews

4.9/5 463 Reviews
Expert
Stephen Cunliffe  –  
South Africa ZA

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

A Wildlife Wonderland where Wildebeest Steal the Show
5/5

During migration season herbivore populations explode as wildebeest and zebra arrive in their hundreds of thousands. The cacophony that accompanies the plodding herds, drawn forward by the promise of life-giving rain and fresh grazing, is...

Full Review

Expert
Brian Jackman  –  
United Kingdom UK

Brian is an award winning travel writer, author of safari books and regular contributor to magazines such as BBC Wildlife and Travel Africa.

The Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth
5/5

We’re talking about the Serengeti migration, the year-round spectacle of a million wildebeest and maybe 200,000 zebras chasing the rains on an endless journey in search of grass and water. Come in Jan-Feb to see them massed on the short...

Full Review

David L  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Apr 9, 2024
5/5

This is a wonderful park. Lots of roads the carve up the landscape but give animals room to breathe. We saw everything, except rhinos. We came during the offseason and saw plenty of animals and few other tourists. When stopped to see...

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Barbara Barbosa  –  
Brazil BR
Reviewed: Apr 2, 2024
5/5

Serengeti is amazing. Its a beautiful park, amazing landscape, animals are respected and wildlife is there, in your face. I stayed in a camp inside the park and it was the best decision i could have made.

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Matthias  –  
Austria AT
Reviewed: Mar 29, 2024
4/5

It didn't have that wow factor you'd expect from reading about it or watching TV documentaries. Wildlife depends a lot on where the great migration is at the moment. You will still see animals (leopards, gepards, hyena, elefants, giraffe,...

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Anna J  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Feb 10, 2024
5/5

The ability to off road during this time of the season allowed us to get up close to watch animals stalk prey and even observe some kills. Truly unbelievable wildlife sightings in the early morning, particularly lions and lion cubs, and...

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