Track wildlife on the move in the incredible Serengeti National Park, the jewel in Tanzania’s crown
A cloud of dust billows up over the acacia-sprinkled plains as a million or more hooves thunder along a well-trodden path, guided by instinct. Apex predators stalk their prey in heart-in-the-mouth encounters that symbolise the circle of life. Welcome to the finest nature show on earth – the Great Wildebeest Migration – played across the vast natural theatre of the Serengeti. Nothing but a front-row seat will do.
There’s no substitute for seeing the star location of so many incredible wildlife documentaries for yourself, and in a tented camp you’ll be perfectly placed for optimum sightings. Bed down under canvas in your ultra-luxe tent, let the sounds of the savannah lull you into a deep slumber and before you know it, you’ll receive one of the most exciting wake-up calls. As the sun rises, life in Serengeti starts to stir, the landscape takes on a wonderful golden glow and long shadows start to form. Your hugely knowledgeable and intuitive driver/guide will whisk you from encounter to encounter before returning you back to your lodge with countless new memories.
We’ve travelled around Serengeti National Park in order to hand-pick the best lodges in the best locations with the finest settings and chose the best excursions. Speak to one of our Tanzinia Experts or drop in your nearest store to craft your perfect wildlife adventure.
Best time to visit Serengeti
The rainy seasons are generally from March to May and during November. January is dry and hot, and June to October dry and warm. The Great Migration herds typically inhabit the Serengeti from November to June/July, but the region offers year-round game viewing.
Serengeti holiday highlights
This huge national park is broadly divided into four main wildlife-viewing areas. Thanks to its incredible biodiversity and quintessential savannah landscapes, the most popular of these is the Seronera Valley in the central Serengeti. If you’ve dreamed of an African safari, this is what you'll have likely imagined. This valley is crossed by a number of rivers and dotted with lakes giving it a year-round water supply, and wherever there is water animals will gather. The region has a healthy population of big cats with lion and cheetah often spotted roaming the grassy plains or sleeping in the shade of a flat-topped acacia tree. If you’re extremely lucky, you may even spot a hunt play out in front of you. The lavish and unfenced Roving Bushtops, sister property to the famous Mara Bushtops and Serengeti Bushtops, is our camp of choice here. Alternatively, if you’re travelling between mid-December to March (when the massive herds are in the southern part of the Serengeti), the semi-permanent Serengeti Explorer Camp is another excellent choice.
From here, the wildebeest and zebra (and the Serengeti Explorer Camp) move northwards into the Western Corridor which follows the Grumeti River from the Seronera Valley to Lake Victoria. The river marks the first major test of the year for the travelling herds and dazzles as great Nile crocodiles lie in wait under the surface of the water while big cats inhabit the landscapes to the south and north. Not as many people head this far west so if you’re seeking a more intimate and less crowded migration experience, this area is a great option. If even luxe camping isn’t for you, the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge with its individual rondovals, is situated within easy reach of the river.
The northern reaches of the Serengeti are less accessible and therefore quieter than the Seronera Valley. This is where the Serengeti borders the Maasai Mara and where, in July and August, the famous river crossings take place. Although the most popular place to watch the crossing is from the Mara as the herds head northwards across the river, the views in the Serengeti come without the crowds and are no less spectacular. Serengeti Bushtops is the place to be during these months as you will be just 15 miles from the banks of the river. You can also stay at the camp outside of peak season and feel as if you have the park to yourself. There will still be plenty of wildlife to see and it’s likely you won’t come across too many other safari vehicles during your game drives.
The short-grassed plains of the southern Serengeti roll on for miles and are dotted by clusters of acacia trees and kopjes. Between December and March (but particularly in February) the wildebeest are congregating and calving in this region. If you want to see one of the largest gathering of animals on Earth, this is the place to be.
Where is the Serengeti?
Serengeti National Park is in northern Tanzania, bordering Kenya, approximately 1½ hours' flight from Arusha.
When to visit the Serengeti
Nature doesn’t follow a strict calendar and the timings of the Great Wildebeest Migration will never be set in stone. Movements are dependent on rainfall patterns and the exact routes that herds take can be unpredictable. Saying this, there’s hardly a bad time to visit the Serengeti with wildlife viewing opportunities available year round.
The dry – and high – season generally lasts from late June to October while the short rains start in November and end in December. These rains are unpredictable; some years they arrive on time while in other years they start late or do not arrive at all. It’s unlikely that they will interrupt any game viewing – it doesn’t tend to rain all day and there are usually fewer people around. Following a short ‘dry season’ in January and February, the long rains start in March and last until May with rain and thunderstorms on most days.