One of the most famous parks in Africa, Serengeti National Park is synonymous with classic African scenery and wildlife. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site and the oldest park in the country. Serengeti houses a spectacular wildebeest migration and premium wildlife viewing is possible throughout the year.
The scenery in Serengeti is famous for its grassland plains in the southeast. The northern part has many hills and rocks, while to the west there are forests, valleys, and rivers. There are also koppies in several areas. Koppies are granite outcrops that rise up from the plains.
The Serengeti is definitely the best park in Tanzania. The residents of the park at any time of the year are groups of elephants and giraffes, herds of buffalos, and many other hooves animals including Grant’s gazelles, kongonis, impalas, and topis. You will also have an opportunity to see all three big cats. Lions can be spotted practically everywhere, while cheetahs are quite common on the southeastern plains. Leopards can be seen along the Seronera River.
The Serengeti is well-known for its annual wildebeest migration, a time when over 8 million hooves cross the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra, 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle, and 1,500,000 wildebeest join the track. This migration is followed by plenty of predators and seeing big cats hunting is quite common and exciting. Black-backed jackal, spotted hyena, and golden-backed jackal can also be seen.
Best Time to Visit
Serengeti National Park is great for wildlife viewing all year long. However, certain areas are better at specific times. The Dry season runs from late June to October and offers the best wildlife viewing. During this time of year, the highlight of wildlife viewing is the wildebeest migration. Keep in mind that timing of this migration varies every year. The best chance to see it is in June and July, while the wildebeest calving takes place from Late January to February.
June to October –Dry Season
- The best time to see the wildebeest migration in the western corridor is in June and July, while the migration can be also seen in the north of the park in August.
- Animals gather around rivers and waterholes, which makes it easier to spot them. The vegetation is also less thick.
- There is little rain and plenty of sunshine.
- The chances of contracting malaria are minimal because there are very few mosquitos.
- The Seronera area attracts large crowds of tourists.
- Warm clothing is recommended for early morning game drives from June to August since mornings and nights are cold.
November to May –Wet Season
- An excellent time to see predator in action is from late January to February during the calving in the southern Serengeti.
- The scenery is lush.
- The low season is from April to May which means less tourists and low rates.
- It’s easier to spot wildlife in the Dry Season, but the best thing about Serengeti is that wildlife viewing is also amazing in the Wet season.
- Bird-watching is amazing thanks to the migratory birds.
- Except for March, April, and May, there is little rain and only short afternoon storms can mess with your tour.
- The peak of the Wet season is from March to May.
The town of Arusha is the starting point of most safaris to Serengeti. The easiest way to get there is to fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). This airport is located 46km/20 mi from Arusha. You can also fly to Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), which is close to Dar es Salaam and then use a domestic flight to reach Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
The best way to reach Serengeti from Arusha is via a small plane to one of the many airstrips in the park. In case you are planning to drive from Arusha to Serengeti, expect to take an eight-hour ride as the distance between the two is 325km.202mi. Keep in mind that this is a bumpy ride over dirt roads for a large part of the trip. However, the scenery is beautiful and you will spot some wildlife on the way to Serengeti.
Some tourists choose to fly one way and drive the other way to be able to visit the Ngorongoro Conservation area. They usually spend the night to visit the Ngorongoro Crater. The distance between the Seronera area and the Ngorongoro Crater is 140km/90mi and the ride is about three hours.
Airlines & Ticket Prices
To see which airlines can take you to Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) or Arusha Airport (ARK) please check Skyscanner. For multiple destination flights and to see how much you need to pay for the tickets check Expedia.
In most cases, your tour operator will book the charter flights between the park as part of the tour package. Several local carries offer domestic flights.