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The Serengeti is Africa's most famous park. Renowned for its incredible concentrations of predators and the Great Migration of two million wildebeest, the Serengeti guarantees an exceptional safari. The endless grassy plains (Serengeti in Maasai) are the richest grazing grounds on the continent, and therefore home to the largest herds and the highest concentrations of predators on the planet.
To focus solely on the Great Migration would be to do the Serengeti a grave injustice. Even taking the Great Migration out of the equation, it can be argued that the Serengeti is nevertheless the finest park in Africa. Vast herds of grazers, huge prides of lion, spectacular expanses of uninterrupted views, wildebeest river crossings, great leopard sightings, good concentrations of cheetah and some of the best camps in Africa - what more could you want!
The Serengeti is one of those very rare places that has a huge reputation, yet still somehow manages to surpass expectations and take your breath away. Surrounded by remarkable tribes such as the Masai and Hadzabe, this wider area is also fascinating from a cultural perspective. In a nutshell, the Serengeti is the mother of all safari parks and the most celebrated wildlife reserve in the world. There is absolutely nowhere else to match it. Absolutely outstanding!
The Serengeti's Great Migration
Originally created to preserve the path of the Great Migration, the Serengeti and its surrounding reserves cover nearly 30,000 square kilometres. Throughout the year huge herds of wildebeest and zebra move in a clockwise direction around the vast plains, searching for fresh grazing grounds. For further information on the movement of the herds, have a read of our Great Migration page. To maximise your chances of viewing the herds, it is crucial to choose the right accommodation for the time of year you are travelling. Witnessing the migration in the Serengeti is really as good as it gets in terms of your Tanzania Safari.
Serengeti: where to stay
The Serengeti has a wide variety of accommodation, ranging from large hotels to small luxury lodges and no-frills safari camps. The Serengeti is most famous however for its mobile camps - lightweight safari camps that effectively move with the migration herds. There are a number of these mobile camps operating in the Serengeti, with our favourites being Alex Walker's Serian, Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp, Asilia's Olakira Camp and finally CCA Serengeti Under Canvas. The newer Ubuntu has been a welcome introduction as a more economical alternative.
If the idea of 'going mobile' is a little too adventurous then our favourite luxury lodges are Singita's Faru Faru, Sabora and Sasakwa or their Singita Mara Tented Camp, as well as Kleins Camp, Sayari Camp and Nomad Lamai Camp. The Serena and Sopa hotels, central and with good year-round game viewing, are the best accommodations for families with young children.
Serengeti: when to go
The Serengeti is one of the very few places in Africa where the game viewing is outstanding at any time of year. April and May see the heaviest rains but even then, the game viewing remains outstanding while the lodges are ridiculously good value and the park is quiet. We believe the very best times of year to be in the park are from January to March, when the herds of the Great Migration are calving, and from the middle of July all the way to the middle of November, when the herds are crossing the Mara river to or from Kenya.
Serengeti: what game will you see
There are so many different species in the Serengeti that this list could go on forever. The Serengeti's main attraction is the Great Migration, consisting of up to 2 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 350,000 thompson, impala and grant's gazelles. The predator viewing here is exceptional with approximately 3-4,000 lion and huge numbers of cheetah, leopard and hyena. Other game found in the park include topi, eland, hartebeest, buffalo, elephant, caracal, serval, bat-eared fox, hyrax, genet, hares, porcupine, aardvark, giraffe, jackal, mongoose, crocodile, monitor lizard, aardwolf, many kinds of primates including baboons, vervet and colobus monkeys, and over 500 species of bird.
Serengeti: activities on offer
The main activity in the Serengeti is daytime game driving. No night safari is permitted inside the national park but there are a number of lodges in the reserves adjacent to the Serengeti where night driving is available. Most notable are Singita's Grumeti Reserves (Sasakwa, Faru Faru and Grumeti Reserves Sabora), Kleins Camp and the camps in the adjacent Loliondo reserve; all offer night driving. Walking is also possible outside the park, and a couple of camps in the far north of the park allow walking within the park boundaries. Alex Walker’s Serian is the only camp in Southern Serengeti area permitted to walk. Speak to us for the most up to date information on walking inside the Serengeti as the rules change all the time. There are no boating safaris in the area.
Serengeti: the regions explained
The Serengeti National Park is absolutely huge. If you are intent on viewing the Great Migration then it is just as critical to stay in the right region for the time of year you are travelling, as it is to consider 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 Central Serengeti and the Seronera River Valley (good all year round)
The centre of the Serengeti is the Seronera region. Seronera is a network of river valleys that ensure year-round water supplies and keep the region incredibly rich in wildlife throughout the year. The area has phenomenal concentrations of game and sees the migration herds move north from mid April to late June and back south again in November and December. The only downside to this area is the number of large hotels and consequent volume of traffic on safari. We often use camps on the periphery of the area, giving guests the option of going into the busier area if they choose. Dunia Camp is our favourite camp here, along with the mobile camps when the migration moves through, specifically the Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp and Serengeti Under Canvas. For a more economical option, there is always Kati Kati.
Serengeti: the Western Corridor and Grumeti (May through to mid July)
The Western Corridor follows the path of the Grumeti River up towards Lake Victoria. This region provides superb wildlife action in May and June, when the migrating herds cross the crocodile-infested waters of the Grumeti. At this point camps such as &Beyond's Grumeti River Camp, Kirawira and Mbalageti come into their own. The two mobile camps that are particularly superb at this time of year are the Serengeti Safari Camp and Serengeti Under Canvas.
Serengeti: the North, Kogatende, Lobo and Lamai (July to November)
The northern reaches of the Serengeti remain fantastically quiet and largely unvisited, due to their relative inaccessibility (a good 10 hour drive from Seronera) and lack of large hotels. The Kogatende area used to be cut off from the rest of the Serengeti, but in recent years this area has seen some of the best camps in the country spring up. This area is mainly used in extended driving safaris and in flying safaris to two superb permanent tented camps - Sayari Camp and Nomad Lamai. From July through to the end of October the migrating herds are resident here, and this is the finest place to see the Migration's river crossings as the herds often cross the Mara River daily. This region has been described as 'ultimate paradise' for keen safari buffs and is the best place for walking safari inside the Serengeti National Park. All the mobile camps move up for here for the whole period: Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp, Serengeti Under Canvas, Olakira and Alex Walker’s Serian.
The Southern Short Grass Plains of the Serengeti (December through to April)
The Serengeti's southern plains are where the name of the park comes from. Vast grass plains stretch from southern Seronera into the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Outside the migration season, this area is not as good for game as the central Seronera region or the Western Corridor, but from December through to April the migration covers the entire area. February is a superb time of year to be here for the spectacle of the calving season, when 8,000 wildebeest are born every day for a two week period! The only two permanent lodges here are Ndutu Lodge and Kusini Camp, however, all the mobile camps move down to the area for the whole period. Alex Walker’s Serian is perfect choice for this area, being close enough to the migration and yet far away from the other mobile camps. For a more migration-intense location, Olakira, Nomads Serengeti Safari Camp and Serengeti Under Canvas work very well.
While we try and make our website as comprehensive as possible, if you would like some more background information on the Serengeti, or Tanzania in general, have a read through the Cadogan Guide to Tanzania and Zanzibar, written by our director Annabel. The most recent addition was published in 2005 so some of it might be slightly dated but generally it’s as comprehensive as they come. Click here for the relevant section.
Recommended lodges in this area:
Sayari is one of the best camps in the north of the Serengeti. It is a beautifully stylish and well furnished camp that combines luxury with a fantastic point for game viewing. The food is impressive and the all round service is of a very high standard. The north of the Serengeti offers a very private experience.
Serengeti under Canvas is one of the most luxurious mobile tented camps in the Serengeti, owned and run by &Beyond who are one of the top safari companies in Tanzania in terms of guide quality and luxury. The camp is very mobile, tracking the migration at all times of the year in a small intimate camp.
Lamai Serengeti is an absolutely fantastic lodge. It is of the highest quality and probably boasts the best service in the region. It sits upon the Kogakuria Kopje, with breathtaking views down onto the Lamai wedge. It is like a breath of fresh air when compared to a lot of luxurious safari camps with its quirky style and incredible location.