Serengeti Safari Tanzania, Things To Do, Cost & Attractions
Serengeti a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it ranks among the world’s largest National Parks and among the top 10 Africa Safari destinations with unspoiled savannah grasslands bringing out the true wilderness. It’s the best Park for its remarkable Game viewing which can be enjoyed on a Serengeti Safari Tour and includes hosting the Great Annual Wildebeest Migration herd that includes over 1.5 wildebeest, 300,000 gazelles, zebras plus a atrail of different predators; it is a good place to see all the Big Five animals so you can’t be wrong on choosing to spend a few days of your African Safari along the Serengeti Plains.
The term Serengeti is a Maasai term that means “Endless Plains”. The Park is vast covering an area of 14,750 sq km and it is found in the Northwest of Tanzania. It is bordered by the Tanzania-Kenya border to the north, in the Southeast – the Ngorongoro (NCA), in the Southwest – the Maswa Game Reserve, and in the West lies two Game Reserves; Grumeti and Ikorongo, all these make up the overall Ecosystem of Serengeti.
Serengeti National Park is among world’s renowned wildlife sanctuaries with incredible numbers of predators all over the Savannah plains making it a perfect place to enjoy Serengeti Safari Tours. The wildlife highlight in Serengeti is the Great Migration where wildebeests together with Thomson’s gazelles and zebras migrate from the Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai-Mara. A Great Migration of over 2million wildebeests, 300,000 Thomson’s Gazelles, over 250,000 Zebras annually cross over to Kenya’s Masai-Mara via the Mara River.
Also large herds of buffaloes, elephants and giraffes are spotted around the park. The big cats such as the Lions, Cheetahs, and Leopards are a must see since they are all over the plains and it’s possible to see them hunting down their prey (this shouldn’t be watched by the faint-hearted though a great experience). Other animals found here include; White Rhinos, Black Rhinos, Topis, Impalas, Elands, Kongoni and Grant’s Gazelles.
Serengeti Great Migration Safari
Once every year more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras, 350,000 wildebeests migrate on a long match between the Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara of Kenya. The calving season as well as the river crossings during which the animals dodge the hungry giant crocodiles in the river is the main highlight of this migration. It is because of this annual migration that the Serengeti receives a very high number of holidaymakers and accommodations like the Four Seasons Safari Lodge become fully booked especially during the peak season
The best time to have a Serengeti Wildebeest Migration Safari is from June, July and August, the wildebeest migrating herd crosses River Grumeti and Mara River which are filled with hungry giant crocodiles as they return to the Masai Mara in Kenya. This is the most dramatic season along the course of the migration and because of that the number of tourists visiting the park is extremely high for that reason, holidaymakers are highly recommended to book their safari early to guarantee availability of accommodation.
What to do on a Serengeti safari?
Guided Game Drive Safaris
For tourists to view wildlife at their best they can go on game drives through different tacks which are great spots for wildlife. While on the Game drive you can get closer to the animals. The best time to have a Serengeti game drive is in the early morning between 6:00 am to 11:00am since most fierce predators like lions hunt in the morning, there is a lot of animal activity where you get to see the cheetah, zebra, eland and many more. Afternoon game drives run from 2:00pm to 5:30pm. Full day game drives run from 6:30am to 5:30pm.
Serengeti Balloon Safari
You can also go for a Balloon safari – you get a hence to explore above the Serengeti and all its breathtaking scenery and wildlife. Because the Balloon rides take a minimum number of 12 to 16 people depending on the size of the balloon-basket, you will be required to book your safari in advance. These rides begin very early in the morning at around 5:00am and they are concluded with a champagne breakfast.
Cost of a hot air balloon ride in Serengeti: these rides cost between US Dollars $499 and $599 for every adult
Watch the Wildebeest Migration
The highlights of the Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti that sees about 2million wildebeests, 300,000 Thomson’s Gazelles, and over 250,000 Zebras include the calving season as well as the river crossings during which the animals dodge the hungry giant crocodiles in the river. With millions of animals unanimously on the march, you should look forward to a lot of drama as this herd is commonly attacked by predators.
Guided walking safari
Another option is a Guided walking safari, here you are led by an armed park ranger on an easy terrain while moving at a low pace. This gives you chance to see well the plant, reptiles, insects, birds among others that you couldn’t see very well while seated in a car on the game drive ;something almost 60% tourists miss. A walking safari in Serengeti happens in a group of 6 to 8 people, with the age of 12 and above. The cost is about $500 per night in luxury safari camps.
Bird Watching in Serengeti
Serengeti NP is a great famous Park for bird lovers. The park is home to 542 bird species and some of the species found here include; The Kori bustard, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Rufous-tailed weaver, Grey-headed sparrow, Variable Sunbird, Secretary bird, Purple Grenadier, Black-headed Heron, Yellow-throated sandgrouse, White-bellied go-away bird, White-crowned shrike, Red-backed scrub, D’Arnaud’s barbet, Decken-Toko Tockus, Dark Chanting Goshawk and many more. To see the migratory birds, you need to visit between November and April. About 100 Species of birds are restricted in Serengeti with 11 of them Endemic.
Where to stay in Serengeti, A monthly guide
Being a massive tract of land, where to stay in Serengeti National Park is determined by when you are visiting, the activities and areas you are visiting in Serengeti NP. The Serengeti Park Safari Lodge ranges from Luxurious lodges to the Budget camps; therefore you book where to stay basing on what you can afford. So basing on your choice we have broken down below the different regions where you can stay in different months of the year;
January to March
During this time you can stay in Ndutu region, because this is the season when the wildebeests are calving. Yes in this time you might not see the wildebeests crossing but you have a chance to see the Migration in its entirety. Over 10,000 young wildebeests are born in this time, therefore the predators are also everywhere trying to look out for a meal for themselves.
Some accommodation facilities include;
For Budget travelers: Kenzan Ndutu Camp
For Families: Ndutu Safari Lodge
Mid-range travelers: Kirurumu Mobile Camp
Adventurous Luxury travelers: Ndutu Under Canvas safari Camp or Angata Migration Camp
Honeymooners and Luxury travelers: Lake Masek Tented Camp or Sanctuary Kusini .
Please note that; some lodges in this region tend to be seasonal and sometimes close between April and October every year. Also, it is not possible to do personal Camping in Ndutu Region.
April to May
This period is a rainy season in Tanzania, and the wildebeests begin their journey north-wards in the Western Corridor or the Grumeti Region towards Kenya. Truth be told this is a great place for game viewing and because it’s a rainy season visitors get a chance to enjoy luxurious accommodation facilities at a fraction of the price. The tented camps or camping is not recommended during wet season and some luxurious lodges like Sopa, Four Seasons and Serena lower their prices also at this time of the year.
Accommodation facilities include
Mid-range travelers: Grumeti Migration Camp or Mbugani Migration Camp
Adventurous Luxury travelers: &Beyond Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp or Serena Kirawira Tented Camp or Mbalageti Serengeti or Melia Serengeti
This month starts off Serengeti’s peak season in the Seronera region (in Central Serengeti) which is the best place for Game viewing. In this season, it’s worth visiting the Seronera region at the heart of the Serengeti; you will view a number of lions, cheetahs, and leopards. Still you can catch the wildebeest migration as they continue to the North.
While in Central Serengeti you can stay at:
For Budget travelers: Seronera Campsite
Mid-range travelers: Sopa Serengeti or Kiota Tented Camp or Kenzan Tented Camp or Kat Kati Tented Camp
Adventurous Luxury travelers: Kubu Kubu Tented Camp or Serena Serengeti or Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp or Four Seasons Serengeti Safari Lodge or &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas or Angata
July to September
From July through September is when Serengeti receives more visitors. By this time the wildebeests are approaching the Mara River in the Northern Region near the Kenyan border and this is when the dramatic crossing of the river increases.
There are a number of lodes and camps open in these months and they include;
For Budget travelers: Lobo Campsite
Mid-range travelers: Chaka Tented Camp or Mara River Kati Kati or Kenzan Mara Tented Camp or Lobo Wildlife Lodge
Adventurous Luxury travelers: Angata Bologonja Tented Camp or Bologonya Under Canvas or &Beyond Klein’s Camp or Singita Mara River Tented Camp or Lemala Kuria Hills
October to November Safari
By this time most have crossed to Kenya’s Masai-Mara region therefore there are few visitors around Serengeti, but this shouldn’t put you of the Park is not so congested and since Serengeti can be visited all year round. Even without the wildebeest migration Serengeti still stand out- enjoy game viewing in the Seronera region. In fact giraffes, large herds of elephants, zebras, antelopes and many animals call Serengeti their permit home. So you can stay at any of the luxurious lodges or tented camps in this region.
By this time the circle of the Wildebeest Migration is full and they return to the Ndutu Region by December. In this time you can enjoy your Christmas or begin the New Year on a completely unique note as the Wildebeest start calving again.
Serengeti Safari Cost
When we talk about Serengeti Safari Cost, there are a number of things we should look at that will influence the overall cost of your safari as highlighted below:
the preferred level of comfort; the more comfort you will get in terms of accommodation, say whether you choose to sleep at a budget facility, or mid range or luxury lodge like Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge will dictate the cost of you safari
Secondly, the time of year you visit: in case you visit during the peak tourist season from June to October you should expect that the cost of safari will be higher since even the accommodation prices are higher. In the off-peak tourist season that comes from November to April the prices of accommodation are lower so the cost safari is lower
Lastly are the additional activities you will be engaging in: Activities like a hot air balloon safari which cost between USD $500 and USD $600, spa treatments, guided walks and cultural tours to the Maasai people.
Below is a table showing the estimated accommodation costs during the peak and off-peak tourist safari season.
|Budget Accommodation Safari Cost||Mid-range Accommodation||Luxury Accommodation|
|Off-Peak Season||$450 – $600||$600 – $750||$850 – $1200|
|Peak Tourist Season||$ 500 – $650||$700 – $1050||$1100 – $1650|
What to wear on a Serengeti safari
Because this is mainly a wildlife viewing destination, we highly recommend that you wear the appropriate clothing for the different activities.
Sweaters, scarf, warm Serengeti Safari Jacket especially for the early morning game drives
Good hiking boots with ankle support especially for the nature walks
Rain jackets for those traveling in the wet months
A camera is also highly recommended say a Bridge Camera with a Zoom a focal length of 400mm
Light weight clothes are also good for the day tie when the sun is up
Sandals and flip flops are good to wear while back at the lodge
Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat with a wide brim to protect you against the sun
Best time of year for a Serengeti safari
Generally Serengeti is considered an all year round destination, however, when we talk about the best time to have a safari in this park, we can best guide you depending on which activity you wish to engage in. Below is a guide on the best time to visit the Serengeti basing on the different activities.
Best time to watch the wildebeest river crossing:
In the months of June, July and August, the wildebeest migrating herd crosses River Grumeti and Mara River which are filled with hungry giant crocodiles as they return to the Masai Mara in Kenya. This is the most dramatic season along the course of the migration and because of that the number of tourists visiting the park is extremely high for that reason, holidaymakers are highly recommended to book their safari early to guarantee availability of accommodation.
Best time for bird watching in Serengeti national park:
Bird watching is an all year round activity in Serengeti but the best time is from November all through to April. This is the time when the North African and European migratory birds come in but also it’s the nesting time for the resident bird species.
Best time for wildlife viewing in Serengeti:
Wildlife can be viewed all year around concentrated along the Serengeti Plains. Though there are some specific times/seasons with better wildlife viewing. In general, the best game viewing time is from June all through to October (it’s a dry season). The times to view the migration changes every year though the best time would be from June to July and between Late January and February where the wildebeests are calving.
How to get To Serengeti National Park ?
The largest numbers of safaris to Serengeti National Park start in Arusha town. However the park can be accessed by either road or air.
By Air: The easiest way to connect to the Serengeti is by flying from the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) located approximately 6 kilometers from Arusha Town. There are also flights from the Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) as well as from Arusha to the different airstrips with the park. This makes it easy to combine Arusha to Serengeti Safaris across Kenya
By Road: by the road the park can be accessed on an 8 hours drive covering a distance of 325km or 202 miles. Although the ride is somewhat bumpy, you will enjoy different views of wildlife. You will be able to drive through the renowned Ngorongoro Conservation area and there you may choose to visit the Ngorongoro Crater Area and then proceed to the Serengeti on 3 hours covering a distance of 140 kilometers to central Seronera area.
Serengeti Safari Packages 2020 / 2021 / 2022
3 day Safari, Serengeti & Ngorongoro Safari
Day 1 Arusha
Day 1 and 2 Serengeti Safari
Day 3 Ngorongoro Crater and return to Arusha
Cost $ 1100 per person
Accommodation type: Mid range.
3 Day Luxury Serengeti Safari , Fly In
Day 1 Arusha
Day 2 Serengeti Safari
Day 3 Arusha
5 Days Serengeti, Tarangire , Manyara and Ngorongoro
Day 1 Arusha
Day 2 Tarangire Safari
Day 3 and 4 Serengeti Safari
Day 5 Visit Ngorongoro Crater and transfer to Arusha
Cost $ 1900 per person
7 Days Tanzania Wildebeest Migration Safari
Day 1 Arusha
Day 2 Lake Manyara Safari
Day 3 Ngorongoro Safari
Day 4,5 and 6 Serengeti Wildebeest Safari Africa
Day 7 End
Cost $ 5500 per person