Serengeti National Park Tanzania

The Land of Unique Wildebeest Migration

The Serengeti national park is the third largest park in Tanzania. Serengeti comes from the Maasai word “Siring” meaning “Endless plain”, which really means hundreds of kilometers of flat surface land. The first understanding about Serengeti comes from its distinction of the ecosystem from the Serengeti National Park itself.

Serengeti is approximately 27,000 square kilometers. It covers 14,763 km2 (5,700 square miles) of grass land plains and savannah woodlands. The park lies in the north of the country, bordered to the north by the national Tanzania and Kenya border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara game Reserve. To the south East of the park is Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the south west is lies Maswa game reserve and to the western borders are Ikongoro and Gurument game reserves. Finally to the north East lies Loliondo game reserve.

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park is absolutely huge. If you are intent on viewing the great Migration, then where you stay is as much dependant on the time of the year you are travelling as it is the style of camp or hotel you are looking for. Get the location wrong and this park is so big that you will not see the herds.

The Serengeti is, therefore, broadly divided into four distinct areas; the central Seronera valley, the western corridor, the northern Lobo and Kogatende areas and finally the southern plains

The History of Serengeti National Park

For centuries, the vast wilderness of the Serengeti plains remained virtually uninhabited but about hundred years ago the nomadic Maasai came down from the north with their cattle. The first European to set foot in the area was the German explorer and naturalist Dr. Oscar Baumann, who passed by as an agent of the German anti-Slavery Committee on his way to Burundi. He was followed by his compatriots who built Fort Ikoma in the north which was used as an administrative center until it fell to the British in 1917.

The first professional hunter came in 1913. They found the wildlife plentiful especially the lions, but saw no elephants. Seven years later an American arrived in a strange new contraption known as a Ford motor-car and news of the wonders of the Serengeti had reached the outside world. Because the hunting of lions made them so scarce (they were considered ‘vermin”), it was decided to make a partial Game Reserve in the area in 1921 and a full one in 1929. With the growing awareness of the need for conservation, it was expanded and upgraded to a National Park in 1951. Eight years later the Ngorongoro Conservation was established in the south – east as a separate unit.

Serengeti National Park Landscapes

A unique combination of diverse habitats enables it to support more than 30 species of large herbivores and nearly 500 species of birds. Its landscapes, originally formed by volcanic activity, have been sculptured by the centered action of wind, rain and sun. It now varied from open grass plains in the south, savannah with scattered acacia trees in the north, to extensive woodland and black clay plains to the west. Small rivers, lakes and swamps are scattered throughout. In the south – east rise the great volcanic massifs and craters of the Ngorongoro Highlands. Each area has its own particular atmosphere and wildlife.

The centeral Serengeti – Seronera

In the heart of the national park, Seronera is a network of river valleys that ensure year-round water supplies and keep the region incredibly rich in wildlife throughout the year. Seronera has all the best features of the Serengeti and also, sadly, its worst. Scenically, it is a lovely area with open plains, occasional kopes and lines of hills to add interest. The resident game here is phenomenal, with high densities of relaxed leopards, cheetahs and lions. These live off the herbivores, as well as the migrating game. The migration passes through here in April / May, but Seronera is within reach of both southern plains and the western corridor – so from about November to June, it can be used as a base to see the migration.

Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park Western corridor

Stretching to the west, almost to Lake Victoria, the Serengeti narrows into what known as the Western Corridor.  The key features of this area is the two rivers, the Grumeti and Mbalageti, which run almost parallel, each supporting a band of most, evergreen riparian forest. This area sustains a very good permanent game population, including plenty of zebras and wildebeests, all the predators and forest ‘Specialists’ like colobus monkeys. The bird life is particularly varied. The migration passes through between about May and July – pausing to gather momentum before crossing the crocodile rich waters of the Grumeti River, into the Grumeti reserve.

Mbalageti River Serengeti

Northern Serengeti

 The landscape is dominated by open woodlands (predominantly Commiphora) and hills, ranging from Seronera in the South, to the Mara River in the limit with Kenya. A part from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August and in November), the bush savannah is the best place to find elephants, giraffes and dik diks.

Serengeti plains

The endless, almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed as they remain in the plains from December to May. Other hoofed animals – zebras, gazelles, impalas, hartebeests, topis, buffalos and waterbucks – also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. Kopjes are granite florations which are very common in the region, and they are great observation posts for predators, as well as a refuge for hyrax and pythons.

Today, the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve across the border in Kenya, protect the greatest and most varied collection of terrestrial wildlife on earth, and one of the last great migratory systems still intact. The Serengeti is the jewel in the crown of Tanzania’s protected areas, which altogether make up some 14% of the country land area, a conservation record that few other countries can match.

The Wildlife 

The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is known for its incredible diversity and abundance of wildlife. It is home to a vast number of animals, including over 70 species of large mammals and over 500 species of birds. The park is famous for its annual wildebeest migration, where millions of wildebeest and other animals cross the plains in search of food and water.

The Serengeti is also home to a large population of predators such as lions, leopards, and cheetahs, who hunt the herbivores that roam the park. The wide variety of animals in the Serengeti creates a delicate ecosystem where each species plays a crucial role in the balance of nature.

Conservation efforts in the Serengeti have been successful in maintaining the populations of many of the park’s iconic species. However, challenges such as habitat loss, poaching, and climate change continue to threaten the wildlife in the Serengeti. It is important for visitors and conservationists alike to work together to protect and preserve this unique and valuable ecosystem.

Activities in Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park in Tanzania offers a wide variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. One of the most popular ways to experience the park is through a safari, where visitors can see the incredible wildlife up close. From lions and elephants to giraffes and cheetahs, the Serengeti is home to an impressive array of species, making it an ideal destination for animal lovers.

In addition to safaris, visitors can also take hot air balloon rides over the park, offering a unique perspective on the expansive savannah below. The breathtaking views from above allow visitors to appreciate the vastness and beauty of the Serengeti from a different angle.

For those interested in learning more about the conservation efforts in the park, guided nature walks and lectures are also available. These educational opportunities give visitors a deeper understanding of the important work being done to protect the wildlife and habitats in the Serengeti. Overall, the activities in Serengeti provide a memorable and enriching experience for all who visit.

Planning Your Serengeti Safari

Before you start booking flights and packing binoculars, it’s crucial to understand what makes the Serengeti so special. The Serengeti National Park covers an area of approximately 14,763 square kilometers and is renowned for its annual migration of over 1.5 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra. It’s also home to a vast array of wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo), making it one of the best places in Africa to witness the continent’s incredible biodiversity.

Choosing Your Safari Type

The Serengeti offers a variety of safari experiences to suit different preferences and budgets. Here are a few options:


  • Guided Safaris: A guided safari with an experienced guide can enhance your experience as they share invaluable insights about the park’s ecosystems and wildlife behaviors.
    • Self-Drive Safaris: For the more adventurous, a self-drive safari offers flexibility and a sense of adventure. However, it’s essential to be well-prepared and familiar with the park’s rules and regulations.
    • Luxury Safaris: If you’re looking for comfort and exclusivity, luxury safaris offer top-notch accommodations and personalized services, often including hot air balloon rides and private guides.

    • Camping Safaris: For those seeking a more authentic and immersive experience, camping safaris allow you to sleep under the African sky and wake up to the sounds of nature.

Best time to Visit Serengeti

The Serengeti offers different experiences throughout the year, making it a year-round destination. However, your interests will dictate the best time to visit.


  • The Great Migration: If you’re keen on witnessing the Great Migration, aim for the period between June and October when the wildebeest and zebra cross the Grumeti River, or from January to March when calving season occurs in the southern Serengeti.

  • Wildlife Viewing: For general wildlife viewing, the dry season (June to October) is ideal as animals congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot.

  • Birdwatching: Bird enthusiasts should consider visiting during the wet season (November to May) when the park is home to over 500 bird species, including migratory birds.

What to Pack

Packing for a safari requires thoughtful consideration to ensure you’re prepared for various activities and weather conditions. Here are some essentials:

  • Clothing: Pack light, breathable clothing in neutral colors, along with a warm jacket for early morning and evening game drives.
  • Footwear: Durable, comfortable walking shoes are a must.
  • Sun Protection: Don’t forget sunglasses, sunscreen, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect against the sun.
  • Binoculars and Camera: Enhance your wildlife viewing and capture memorable moments with a good pair of binoculars and a camera.
  • Health and Safety: Bring a basic first aid kit, insect repellent, and any necessary medications. Consider consulting your doctor about vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis.
Serengeti Safari Packing


consists of a range of options, from luxury lodges to safari camps and tented camps. Each one offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to connect with the stunning natural surroundings of the Serengeti. Luxury lodges provide all the comforts one could desire, with spacious rooms, gourmet dining, and stunning views of the landscape. Safari camps offer a more adventurous experience, often located in remote areas of the park and providing guests with a true wilderness experience.

Tented camps offer a more traditional safari experience, with guests sleeping in comfortable canvas tents and dining under the stars. These camps often move around the park, following the path of the great migration and allowing guests to witness this incredible natural phenomenon up close. Whether staying in a luxury lodge, safari camp, or tented camp, visitors to the Serengeti can expect to be surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery and wildlife in Africa.

No matter the type of accommodation chosen, visitors to the Serengeti will be able to experience the beauty and wonder of this iconic national park in Tanzania. From early morning game drives to hot air balloon safaris over the vast savannah, there are countless opportunities to explore and discover the magic of the Serengeti. With comfortable and unique accommodation options available, visitors can truly immerse themselves in the natural beauty of this extraordinary destination.

Getting to Serengeti National Park

By plane: Most visitors to Serengeti National Park arrive by flying into the nearest airports, such as Kilimanjaro International Airport or Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam. From there, they can take a domestic flight to Seronera Airport or drive for several hours to reach the park.

Once in the park, visitors have the opportunity to spot a wide variety of animals, including lions, elephants, zebras, and wildebeests, as well as thousands of other species of birds and mammals. Some popular activities in the park include game drives, hot air balloon safaris, and guided walking tours.

By Road: You can drive from Arusha, Lake Manyara, Tarangire or Ngorongoro Crater

Overall, getting to Serengeti National Park is just the beginning of an unforgettable safari experience in one of Africa’s most iconic wilderness areas.

Facts on Serengeti National Park and Ecosystem

  • Located in Tanzania adjacent to Ngorongoro Conservation Area
  • The Serengeti Ecosystem includes 2 countries Tanzania and Kenya
  • In Kenya the Serengeti Ecosystem is renowned as Maasai Mara Game Reserve
  • Serengeti National Park is 14,763 square kilometers
  • First detail research on the Serengeti ecosystem was undertaken by two German Nationals (father and son) Dr. Bernhard and Michael Grizmek. The details of the findings and stories on the Serengeti are documented in the book called “Serengeti Shall Not Die”
  • The Serengeti National Park has many rivers flowing through it, permanent and seasonal, including the Seronera River, Mara River, Grumeti River and Orangi River