Travel Guide Tanzania: Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is home to Africa's "Big Five" and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
Serengeti National Park, renowned for the awe-inspiring Great Wildlife Migration, showcases two million wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes in its vast landscapes. As a captivating game reserve, it is home to Africa's iconic “Big Five” and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
Serengeti National Park
Savannah in northern Tanzania, east of Lake Victoria to southern Kenya
Approx. 30.000 km²
Lions, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, zebras, various antelopes - such as impala, wildebeest, waterbuck, kudu. Elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, rhinos and pigs as well as almost 500 bird species.
Day and night game drives, walking safaris, visit to Olduvai Gorge, cultural excursion to the Maasai, visit to the Serengeti Visitor Centre.
Best travel time
May to October (dry season), November to April (rainy season)
A highlight of the Serengeti National Park is the annual wildlife migration: huge herds of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras make their way to the various watering holes, pursued by potential predators.
Visiting Serengeti National Park
Location and wildlife
Located in northern Tanzania, Serengeti National Park is a breathtaking destination that showcases the beauty of nature. This huge park, which partially borders Kenya and lies northwest of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, covers about fifteen thousand square kilometres of savannah plains.
The highlight of Serengeti National Park is the Great Wildlife Migration: Every year, enormous herds of wildebeests, gazelles, giraffes and zebras embark on a journey to permanent water holes, followed closely by their predators. This extraordinary environment is considered one of the most impressive natural events in the world and makes Serengeti National Park so iconic. About 3,000 to 4,000 lions as well as many cheetahs, spotted hyenas and jackals roam the Serengeti National Park.
The park can be divided into three regions: Firstly, the Serengeti plains, where the wildebeest breed. Secondly, the western corridor is home to crocodiles and hippopotamuses. Thirdly, the northern Serengeti is characterised by hills and woodlands and provides the perfect habitat for elephants and giraffes. Serengeti National Park has it all: Grassland plains, savannah, riverine forests and woodlands. The park's landscape is diverse and captivating. The name "Serengeti" derives from the Maasai word "Siringet," meaning an open endless plain or "the place where land runs on forever."
Activities in the Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park offers a wide range of different activities to suit a variety of visitor interests, creating an unforgettable experience in this magnificent wilderness. Nature lovers can immerse themselves in the impressive landscape and nature on hikes and discover the park's special gems. Although there are no hiking trails in the park, guided walking safaris for one or more days offer the opportunity to explore the wilderness on foot. You can experience the wildlife and the surroundings up close.
History fans can visit the renowned Olduvai Gorge, a significant archaeological site focussing on human evolution. In Addition, a visit to the Serengeti is also a chance to see the famous Maasai, a semi-nomadic tribe renowned across East Africa. Their rich culture, daily life and traditions offer a good insight into their way of life. Moreover, thrilling game drives allow visitors to witness the abundant wildlife up close, while Hot Air Balloon Safaris offer a unique perspective, floating above the vast plains of the Serengeti. For a truly immersive experience, bush meals provide an opportunity to dine amidst the untamed nature of the park. Exploring the Serengeti Visitor Centre offers valuable insights into the park's efforts regarding ecology and conservation.
However, it is crucial to be careful when selecting a travel operator. Look for an ethical operator that prioritises authenticity over unethical practices. Ensuring an ethical and responsible experienced travel operator will contribute to the conservation of the Serengeti's remarkable ecosystem and the locals.
When is the best time to visit Serengeti National Park?
In the Serengeti National Park, it is possible to conduct safari activities all year round. The climate can be divided into two seasons: The dry season from May to October and the rainy season from November to April.
The dry season attracts many visitors because of the excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. The lower number of mosquitoes also makes it more attractive to some visitors. However, one must expect cold nights and hot days during this season. In the rainy season, on the other hand, there are short but intense rains, sometimes accompanied by spectacular lightning. During this time, you can observe newborn animals and a variety of bird species, especially near waterholes. The best time to travel depends on your preferences, as both seasons have their pros and cons.
Where can you stay in the Serengeti National Park?
For choosing accommodation in the quite extensive Serengeti National Park time of year, during which the visit takes place, should be considered. Some lodges are better or worse suitable, depending on the season: While a pricey lodge during the river crossing season may be worth it, it might not be ideal during the calving season.
Other than permanent lodges, visitors can also choose to stay in mobile camps, following the migration of the parks wildlife. Those are offering optimal locations throughout the year. However, the Serengeti's abundant animal population ensures sightings of predators and other wildlife throughout the year, even if the migration is not nearby for a few months.
Conservation and protection initiatives in the Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park faces numerous threats that jeopardise its ecological balance. Factors such as industrialisation, human population growth, farming, and poaching are significant risks to both the wildlife and the local communities surrounding the park. Recognising the need for protection, the first laws safeguarding the Serengeti's animals were introduced between 1921 and 1930. In 1935, hunting of lions was prohibited in the Banagi and Seronera regions, marking a significant step forward. In 1951, the area was officially designated a National Park, granting it the status of a game reserve and thereby a protected conservation area.
Efforts to conserve the Serengeti have increased in recent years: Aerial support has become an important part of monitoring migration and protecting wildlife in new conservation initiatives. The coordination with park wardens plays an important role in prevent poaching and countering other threats to the wildlife of the Serengeti.
The “Serengeti Conservation Project” has also engaged with various stakeholders to secure sustainable funding, with the goal of reducing poaching and thus protecting wildlife. Moreover, the conservation movement has witnessed an increase in volunteering projects and conservation activities aimed at supporting this unique biotope. These initiatives actively contribute to the preservation of the Serengeti's rich biodiversity and ensure its continued existence for future generations.
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