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A popular honeymoon destination and documentary location in northern Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park plains are home to the world’s largest movement of animals, often called the “Great Migration.”
Covering 5,700 sq. miles of savannah, the Serengeti is renowned for the incredible migration of over 2 million animals on a 300-mile loop following seasonal rains around the Serengeti and mara rivers by Masai Mara in Kenya.
The Serengeti is located just over 200 miles/8 hours driving from Arusha. Tourists often fly from Arusha to airstrips within Serengeti park.
A safari trip to the Serengeti National Park is a must-do on a trip to Tanzania.
The Serengeti is a World Heritage site and Biosphere Reserve, as well as the main tourist attraction in Tanzania
The Serengeti is one of the oldest and most scientifically significant ecosystems on the planet. Its weather patterns, fauna, and flora are believed to have changed very little over a million years, giving the area a prehistoric feel.
The landscape of the Serengeti Plain is also extremely varied, ranging from savannah to hilly woodlands, to open grasslands.
It is the best place in East Africa to see predators in action because of the open grass plains where the grazing animals gather, predators are numerous and easily visible to the safari-goer.
Accommodation is also excellent with numerous options from tented camps, and luxury lodges to camping grounds.
Visitors will be amazed by the variety and numbers of animals they will encounter, with close to 2 million animals, including the big five namely the African bush elephant, the lion, rhinoceros, leopard, African buffalo, spotted hyena as well as numerous hippos in the Serengeti Retina hippo pool.
Visitors will also find wildebeest, gazelle, giraffes, African bush elephants, big cats, black rhinos, and more spread across the endless plains.
Serengeti contains a high concentration of lions with over 3,000 of them found in the park and about 1.5 million wildebeests. A view of these huge beasts crossing the crocodile-infested river Mara has been included in the 7 wonders of natural Africa.
Over 500 species of birds can be found here including the Masai ostrich, secretary bird, kori bustards, helmeted guinea fowls, Grey-breasted spurfowl, blacksmith lapwing, African collared dove, red-billed buffalo weaver, southern ground hornbill, crowned cranes, sacred ibis and cattle egrets.
Other birds found include black herons, knob-billed ducks, saddle-billed storks, white storks, goliath herons, marabou storks, yellow-billed storks, spotted thick-knees, lesser flamingos, shoebills, abdim’s stork, hamerkops, hadada ibis, African fish eagles, pink-backed pelicans, Tanzanian red-billed hornbill, martial eagles, Egyptian geese, lovebirds, spur-winged geese, oxpeckers, and many species of vultures.
The most common plant species in Serengeti are Acacia trees, Acacia tortilis, Acacia Drepanolobium, and the Kigelia (Sausage tree).
The sausage tree is a large tree only sparsely found in the Serengeti, usually along the dry river banks. It produces remarkably long (up to 50 centimeters), succulent, but poisonous fruits that drop from the tree and release seeds as the pulp rots:
There are several species of fig trees in Serengeti National Park. The distinctive grey smooth bark with large buttressing intertwined roots and saucer-sized dark green leaves make them easy to identify. Figs are a common tree along the moist banks of rivers or growing in the rocky clefts of kopjes.
Even though animals still rule the plains of the Serengeti National Park, this area has an incredibly long history of human occupation. Not only humans but also human ancestors (Australopithecus Afarensis) lived in this area for almost 4 million years. Today, Serengeti National Park is still home to several indigenous tribes. One of the most famous tribes is the Maasai: this tribe is unique and popular due to its long-preserved culture. Despite education, civilization, and western cultural influences, the Maasai people have clung to their traditional way of life, making them a symbol of Tanzanian and Kenyan culture. Read more about the Maasai people.
There are multiple activities and things to do in Tanzania that can be added to your safari including walking safaris. Here are some other activities which visitors can consider during their visit to the Serengeti:
The Great Migration tour: A spectacular scene with millions of animals moving through the Serengeti National Park in search of food and breeding grounds.
Photo safaris: As safari destinations go, visitors on a photo safari will be in dreamland in the Serengeti where small groups of just 3 travelers can share a luxury photography tour with like-minded individuals and enjoy big game viewing whilst capturing their favorite moments.
Serengeti National Park walking safaris: Explore wildlife and private concessions on foot, an authentic and economical means of exploring wildlife in the Serengeti and Lake Manyara.
Hot air balloon tour package: A magical way of seeing the Great Migration in a hot air balloon flight over the landscape including the Seronera River Valley, Naabi Hill, Lobo Valley, northern Serengeti, Bologonja Springs, black rhinos in the Moru Kopjes and the Serengeti western corridor towards Lake Victoria.
Ngorongoro Crater tour: Although not part of the Serengeti National Park. the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is worth a visit, with a huge intact volcanic caldera and Olduvai Gorge with over 25,000 animals and thousands of Masai tribe members.
Serengeti luxury tours: With excellent game viewing. The Serengeti National Park also offers some of the very best luxury lodges in the world. With incredible décor, modernly decorated suites, excellent views, superb service, and food. These intimate safari experiences have it all to make the perfect Serengeti safari tour, popular with honeymoon safari couples.
4×4 safari: A stunning self-drive Serengeti journey will allow visitors to enjoy the very best wildlife at their own pace.
Geography: Located in the north of Tanzania, a trip to the Serengeti National Park is often combined with a trip to the Ngorongoro Crater.
Weather: Day-time high temperatures range from 24C/75F to 27C/80F with the last of the rain falling in May.
Best time to go: The best time to visit the Serengeti National Park is in the Dry season (from late June to October). This period offers the best wildlife viewing in general – with the wildebeest migration as its absolute highlight.
Wildlife viewing is good throughout the year, but certain areas are better at specific times.
The timing of the migration varies every year (the best chance of seeing it is during June and July) while the wildebeest calving is from late January to February.
Understanding the best time to visit Tanzania is useful as this impacts flight prices and availability.
Health: Malaria is present in the Serengeti and visitors should seek medical advice from their doctor and consider antimalarial medication.