Tanzania is blessed with the world’s Garden of Eden. Serengeti is an approximation of the word used by the Maasai to describe the area, siringet, which means “the place where the land runs on forever”. This name couldn’t be more appropriate. Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park was established in 1951 and has since become synonymous with unforgettable safaris in Africa.
The Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when some six
million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and
300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing.
Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the
most scintillating game-viewing in Africa with great herds of buffalo,
smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of
eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle.
People are often overwhelmed by the dimensions of the park – the
Serengeti stretches 14,763km² (5,700 miles²) north to Kenya and
bordering Lake Victoria to the west. Serengeti has the highest
concentration of large mammals on the planet and it’s famous for its
2,500 lions – the largest concentration found anywhere in the world.
The park also has over 518 identified bird species, ranging from the
outsized ostrich and bizarre secretary bird of the open grassland, to
the black eagles that soar effortlessly above the Lobo Hills. A
staggering 100 varieties of dung beetle have been recorded, as well as
hundreds of other insects and amphibians.
Many guests planning their safari ask which part of the park is the
best and when they should come. Each area is special and much depends on
the time of year.
Open woodlands and hills dominate Serengeti’s northern area
which ranges from Seronera area to the Kogatende area with the Mara
River on the Kenyan border. The north is most famous during two parts of
the wildebeest migration when tens of thousands of animals are crossing
the Mara River. The spectacle of the Mara crossing attracts many
predators looking for an easy meal.
It is also critical to the life cycle of some of the park’s
crocodiles – for them this is a time of abundance. The two most
impressive periods to visit Serengeti’s north for migration viewing are
from July to August and in November. However, the north is amazing at
other times of the year because is it filled with animals and very few
visitors. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra, the bushy
savannah is the best place to find some of the park’s large herds of
elephant, giraffe and many types of antelopes.
The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest
park. Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers.
Solitary leopards haunt the acacia trees, while a high density of
cheetahs prowl the south-eastern plains. Almost uniquely, all three
African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a
host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous
aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat.
But there is more to Serengeti’s north than large mammals and
predators. Gaudy agama lizards and rock hyraxes scuffle around the
surfaces of the park’s isolated granite koppies. We regularly spot birds
of many species – bee-eaters, rollers, cranes, vultures, superb
starlings, hornbills, storks, Egyptian geese, ducks, weaverbirds, eagles
and guinea fowl. Another highlight are flocks of peach-faced lovebirds –
spectacularly beautiful and as noisy as a construction site. The
woodlands are home to so many species –it’s a bird-lovers buffet!
As awe-inspiring as the game viewing is, so is the liberating sense
of space that characterises the Serengeti Plains, stretching across
sunburnt savannah to a shimmering golden horizon at the end of the
earth. Yet, after the rains, this golden expanse of grass is transformed
into an endless green carpet flecked with wildflowers. And there are
also wooded hills and towering termite mounds, rivers lined with fig
trees and acacia woodland stained orange by dust.
The north has some amazing lodges to enjoy. One of our favourites is
the Serengeti Migration Camp; a tented wonderland, overlooking the
valley and the Grumeti River filled with resident hippos. This luxury
camp is often referred to as ‘Out of Africa’ chic. It comes with only a
handful of tents, extraordinary food and even a split-level lounge deck
that has a bean-shaped pool, complete with white parasols and loungers.
Two sets of French doors give onto the deck, with khaki director
chairs and roped off banisters – the perfect place to sit and enjoy the
view. And what a view it is!
Like most safaris, your day begins with an early morning game drive –
usually starting around dawn when the animals are at one of their most
active phases. Within minutes expect to be surrounded by an astonishing
variety of wildlife –perhaps a herd of Cape buffalo, impalas and other
herbivores. Flocks of birds eat the insects that the animals stir up
through their grazing.
Returning to camp for a grand breakfast of juices, yogurts, cereals,
eggs, sausages, and many other choices, guests enjoy their meal sitting
outside overlooking the animals walking past. Spending the hotter
portion of the day enjoying this gorgeous property, guests are often on
their verandas or by the pool before lunch is served.
By 2pm, expect to take off on an afternoon safari with expert guides
who know the area like we know our own gardens. One highlight for many
is spending time at a filled-to-capacity hippo pool. With crocodiles,
many water birds and hundreds of hippos, this is an experience for the
As your day of adventure winds down, the northern Serengeti usually
blesses us with one of her ridiculously glorious sunsets. The hues of
orange, yellow, pink and purple, plus the smells and sounds of the bush,
make for a lifetime high.
is the only Maasai-owned safari company in East Africa. We specialise
in wildlife safaris and treks in Tanzania’s world famous national parks
including the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Mount Kilimanjaro. Book
your Serengeti safari with us now