Great Migration -Wildebeest - Tanzania

Serengeti National Park

Tanzania

‘Serengeti’ comes from the Masai word ‘siringet’, which means ‘a place where the land goes on forever’. But it’s also a place where time goes on forever. The ecosystem has barely changed at all since early man first walked here two million years ago.

The landscape is a combination of nutritious grasslands and sparse woodlands: grassy areas dotted with Acacia trees, the iconic image of the Serengeti. The entire ecosystem spans 30,000 km² from north Tanzania extending to south-western Kenya.

Around 14,750 km² of that is made up of the Serengeti National Park, the oldest in Africa and the most famous protected area in the world. The National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has been named as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.

The sheer concentration of wildlife, as well as the spectacle of the Great Migration, makes the Serengeti National Park one of the most popular destinations in Africa for safari-goers. It’s estimated that the National Park receives around 90,000 visitors a year.

If you’re planning on visiting this extraordinary, awe-inspiring land, here’s everything you need to know about the Serengeti National Park.

The Regions of the Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park is made up of four predominant regions:

The Southern Plains
Flat, open areas of short grassy plains stretching from southern Seronera into the Ngorongoro Conservation area. This is the classic landscape the Serengeti is famous for.

The Central Seronera Valley
A network of river valleys whose rich grazing lands attract the largest concentration of wildlife in the region.

The Western Corridor
Stretching west to the edge of Lake Victoria, the Western Corridor follows the path of the Grumeti River, where the first perilous river crossing takes place during the Great Migration.

The Northern Serengeti
The most remote area of the Serengeti National Park and the best place for visitors to witness the famous Mara River crossings along the border that separates the Serengeti from the Masai Mara National Park.

Wildlife

The National Park has the largest concentration of predators in Africa. Wildlife protected in this region includes the big five: buffalo, lions, leopards, elephants and rhinos.

There are around 3-4,000 lions here, as well as large numbers of cheetahs, spotted hyenas and jackals.

However, the Serengeti National Park is not just home to predators and the big five, even if they are the park’s biggest attractions. Here you’ll also find elephants, giraffes, mongoose, baboons, bat-eared foxes, aardvarks, over 500 bird species including ostrich and eagles, colobus monkeys, monitor lizards, rock hyraxes, agama lizards, and giant Nile crocodiles and hippos that lie beneath the murky waters of the Grumeti and Mara Rivers.

But the biggest attraction of the Serengeti National Park for many visitors is the annual migration of around 2 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras, gazelles and impala that follow the rains in search of food and water.

Viewing The Great Migration

The Great Migration is an annual journey running in a clockwise direction north from the Serengeti plains of Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya, and then down again.

January to February
At the beginning of the year, herds congregate on the edge of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on southern edge of the park to feed on the nutrient rich grasses of the Southern Plains. It’s also calving season. Over a three-week period, usually in February, around half a million wildebeest calves are born.

March to April
The Southern Plains get drier and drier, so the herds gradually move westwards, up along the Western Corridor towards the heavy rains of the north.

May to June
The migration moves north along the western edge of the Serengeti, arriving at the Grumeti River. June is the perfect time to visit the National Park and get a chance of witnessing this gruesome yet spectacular fight for survival.

In order to reach the greener grasses of the Northern Serengeti, the herds must cross the perilous Grumeti, home to enormous Nile crocodiles and hippos. The hungry crocodiles lie below the surface, ready to strike out as thousands of wildebeest line up along the banks of the river.

But the danger isn’t over. Those that survive the Grumeti River Crossing are weakened and exhausted, making them easier prey for the predators that are waiting for them on dry land. Lions lie in wait, ready to spring, while spotted hyenas and vultures fight for the leftovers.

July to October
The herds can now be found in the Northern Serengeti. But as the dry season continues and the grasses begin to yellow, they follow the rains, heading further north towards the Masai Mara of Kenya.

Before they can leave the Serengeti to enter the Masai Mara National Park, they must face the most perilous river crossing of all: the Mara River, a mass of deep, powerful currents, steep, slippery banks and home to large, hungry crocodiles.

Some die from the fall, others are dragged underwater by the crocodiles, while many drown in the turbulent waters of the mighty river. Gruesome and traumatic as it is, the Mara River crossing is a spectacular display of survival of the fittest. Most visitors to the Serengeti National Park come from July to October specifically for this dramatic, yet awe-inspiring event.

November to December
As the rains begin to fall on the Serengeti, the herds start to make their way back down again along the eastern side of the National Park.

By late December, most of the herds are back on the Southern Plains, pregnant and tranquil. They will stay here until the whole cycle begins again.

Serengeti National Park Example Itineraries

All of the trips we create for Serengeti National Park are designed and tailored specifically for you. We create each trip from a blank piece of paper, building the holiday you had dreamed, using our experience, knowledge and contacts to design the ultimate experience.

Below are some of examples of trips in Serengeti National Park that we have created, designed to showcase the destination, our expertise and create some inspiration.

13 Day Itinerary

Guide Price: £8,000pp

Guide Price: $9,600pp

7 Day Itinerary

Guide Price: £10,000pp

Guide Price: $12,000pp

12 Day Itinerary

Guide Price: £13,200pp

Guide Price: $15,900pp

10 Day Itinerary

Guide Price: £15,500pp

Guide Price: $18,600pp

Our Accommodation in Serengeti National Park

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