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How to Visit the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania’s Greatest Treasure!)
The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is one of the most stunning and uniquely bio-diverse locations in the world It is also filled with some of the world’s most amazing natural wonders.
“Serengeti” literally translates to “endless plains” in the indigenous Maasai language, and it’s easy to see why!
With huge open savannah lands that stretch for miles into the distance, it’s clear to see why the Serengeti National Park is a listed World Heritage site.
The Serengeti occupies a large area of Tanzania, with many unique and diverse sections – all with their own resident animals.
This makes it a little difficult to decide where to go and what to see when you are planning a safari in the Serengeti National Parks.
That is why we have provided a breakdown of the areas (and events!) that are a must-see when visiting the Serengeti, and its surrounding parks and reserves.
You can also read the key summary at the end of this article.
The Serengeti National Park Layout
The Serengeti National Park is nearly 15,000 square kilometres in size and lies between northwest of Tanzania, the Kenyan border and the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Reserve which is home to a huge range of unique and diverse animal life. Because of this, most tourists opt to explore both parks simultaneously.
The Serengeti is divided into three sections
- the central plains
- the western corridor and
- the remote Northern Serengeti.
Each of these diverse regions offers a uniquely stunning landscape that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
If you’d love to go on a safari adventure in the Serengeti, here are some great experiences to check out:
The Serengeti’s Central Plains
The central plains are the heartlands of the Serengeti. It is also one of the most biodiverse places in all of Africa.
The plains consist of many unique and interesting landscapes. These often become main stops and attractions for tourists when on safari in the Serengeti National Park.
The Seronera Valley lies in the central plains and is commonly referred to as the Big Cat Capital of Africa.
This savannah valley offers year-round encounters with all four of Africa’s largest predators.
Seeing large packs of lions and hyenas is also common.
By paying close attention to the sheltered tree lines on the edge of the valley you may even have the chance of spotting the elusive leopard or cheetah.
The long grass plains of the central Serengeti are home to the vast legions of zebras that migrate to these areas during the green season.
The area also contains rare species like aardvark and pangolin which feed off the towering clay termite castles that dot the landscape.
Southwest of the Central Plains lies the Moru Kopjes. This is one of the best known habitats of the rare black rhino.
In addition to seeing one of the most elusive giants in the world, you can visit the Serengeti Rhino Project visitor’s center.
Here you can learn more about the areas conservation strategies and Rhino saving project.
Another highlight in this region is Gong Rock where you can view a series of thousand-year-old Maasai paintings or visit the saline Lake Magadi where flamingos gather in the thousands!
The Western Corridor of the Serengeti National Park
The Western Corridor is formed around the Grumeti River and the forested valleys that make this one of the most densely covered areas of the Serengeti National Park.
The area is considered one of the best locations in the entire park to witness the great wildebeest migration.
The Grumeti Woodlands is one of the most popular areas in this part of the Serengeti National Park.
Safari enthusiasts that visit this region during the migration will often witness thousands of wildebeest risking a dash across the waters of the Grumeti River (as Nile crocodiles snap at the edges of the vast herds).
The surrounding woodlands in this region are also the habitat of the rare black-and-white colobus monkey.
The Mbalageti River Valley is another must-see Safari destination of the Serengeti.
It links the open plains to the woodlands and forms a natural corridor.
This valley offers phenomenal game viewing opportunities of animals in the tens of thousands.
The vast and open Musabi Plains is a stunning and rarely visited area on any Serengeti Safari. It is the preferred breeding ground of the topi antelope.
The edges of the Musabi plains are covered in acacia woodlands which support herds of both giraffes and elephants.
The Northern Serengeti
The Northern region of the Serengeti National Park consists of mostly hills and thick woodlands.
It is one of the most remote and difficult to access regions of the park.
This unexplored wilderness truly feels like a different world which makes it one of the most rewarding regions to explore.
The Lamai Triangle is a watershed area just north of the Mara River and is one of the dry season refuges for the tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebras on migration between July and November.
It is one of the Serengeti National Parks best-kept secrets for viewing the migration as it is a far less visited region than its Kenyan counterpart across the border.
The Bologonja spring is an idyllic oasis that is hidden in the remote northern Serengeti.
Fresh water and shaded woodlands here provide a home for colourful birds, unusual antelope species like the mountain reedbuck and it also attracts herds of buffalo and elephants which visit the Larelemangi salt lick.
Wogakuria is a uniquely special region of the Northern Serengeti National Park. It comprises of open savannah grasslands which has resulted in the highest clustering of cheetahs in the entirety of the Serengeti.
The beautiful central Wogakuria Kopjes is also home to old buffalo bulls and the klipspringer antelope which leaps along its rocky habitat.
The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro Crater is located south of the Serengeti and is one of the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. It is often referred to as Africa’s garden of Eden .
The Ngorongoro Crater is a popular stop for Safaris moving from Arusha to the Serengeti National Park.
The 2,000 feet high walls of the Crater form a natural amphitheater that contains tens of thousands of resident animal species.
The central plains of the crater are filled with buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, elephants and even the rare black rhino. This area also has packs of cheetahs who hunt the plains and lions that can be found lazing at the many watering holes in its centre.
Lake Magadi attracts thousands of flamingos every day which add dazzling colors to this beautifully stunning natural landscape.
This crater is truly one of the world’s most fantastic animal habitats. It is an absolute must-see stop when on safari in the Serengeti National Park!
The Great Wildebeest Migration
The great migration is by far the most sort after wildlife experience in all of Africa.
Even though the Serengeti is home to many resident animal species, tourists who go on Safari in the Serengeti National Park are usually most eager to catch a glimpse of the great migration.
Afterall, it is an absolutely incredible natural event.
The migration sees over 2 million animals most of which are wildebeest, gazelles and zebras moving in huge columns in pursuit of rain waters across Kenya and Tanzania.
Giver the amount of land the animals cover during the great migration, we have broken the key locations down by the best time of year.
That way you can better plan your next safari in the Serengeti National Park.
From January to March:
- The migration is best seen from the northern edge of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
- This is also the start of the birthing season, so you can witness the first steps of nearly 8000 new-born calves every day.
From April to June:
- The herds move in search of fresh grass in the central plains and western reaches of the Serengeti National Park.
- At the end of May you can witness male buffalo regularly fighting as part of the mating seasons. The crack of horns can be heard across the Serengeti.
From the start of July – August:
- the migration begins dangerous river crossings in the Northern Serengeti as the herds start the migration over the border into Kenya
- These huge river dashes provide one of the most dramatic spectacles of the migration.
- Thousands of animal’s storm river crossings while hundreds of crocodiles snap at their flanks, hopeful for a tasty meal.
From September to early November:
- A relative calm falls over the migrating herd
- The take time to animal’s rest in the plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara reserve, before turning south and once again, beginning the outstanding spectacle of crossing the Mara River.
November through to December:
- The migration move down from Kenya and across the eastern limits of the Serengeti National Park
- During this time they are also pursued by predators and big cats across the open plains.
- By December the herds are usually spread throughout the eastern and southern reaches of the Serengeti and the ever-lasting cycle begins once again.
A Guide to the Serengeti National Park for Solo Travellers
The Serengeti National Park truly is one of Earth’s greatest treasures – a once in a lifetime experience.
Nowhere else on this planet has such outstanding natural beauty.
Make sure to research your safari routes and locations before you go to enjoy some of the most amazing spectacles that this animal haven has to offer.
Also ensure to time your trip to see the best of the Great Wildebeest Migration.
if you’d like to go on safari in the Serengeti National Park, you can check out some great local experiences here.