Serengeti National Park

Home to the largest remaining unaltered animal migration in the world


Region: Mara

Category: National Park

To-do activities:

Great migration, hot air ballon safari, game drive, cultural tourism, walking safari, bush meals, visits to nearby attractions

Best time to visit:

For the great migration: July to November

For seeing predators: June to October


There are various lodges, tented camps, and campsites. You are better off sorting your accommodation before visiting the park. 

About Serengeti

There is no way one can speak about classic African scenery and wildlife without mentioning the Serengeti National Park. Serengeti (or Siringet - which means the land of endless plains) is part of the World Heritage Site that covers the Serengeti ecosystem – which includes the Maswa Game Reserve, Grumeti and Ikorongo Game Reserves, Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, and Loliondo Game Controlled Area.

The most common and exciting thing about Serengeti is the Serengeti National Park. The park is located in the Northern Central part of Tanzania, spanning across Mara and Simiyu regions. The park usually experiences the unique Great Migration – which sees over 2 million wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya every year. This makes the Serengeti National Park one of the best places to visit in the world – you can’t see such migration anywhere else in the world.

“Wilderness gave us knowledge. Wilderness made us human. We came from here. Perhaps that is why so many of us feel a strong bond to this land called Serengeti; it is the land of our youth.”

― Boyd Norton

In spite of the wildlife occupation, Serengeti has been home to Maasai for over 200 years. However, after the park was gazetted in 1951, the new rules did not allow the Maasai to graze their cattle as they used to and an imminent expulsion was on the horizon. This led to some protests and as a result, it was one of the key factors that led to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) being split from Serengeti - in 1959 - and the park boundaries extended up towards Kenya. The Maasai could now live and graze their cattle within the NCA. However, recently there have been some initiatives by the government of Tanzania to relocate the Maasai from their ancestral land to somewhere else in the country.

Interesting facts about Serengeti National Park

  • Serengeti harbors the largest remaining unaltered animal migration in the world where over one million wildebeest engage in an annual circular trek spanning across the Serengeti ecosystem found in adjacent countries of Kenya and Tanzania.

  • Serengeti was declared a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1979 because of its great migration and unique features and topology of the park. Click here to read more...

  • Home to the world’s largest populations of wildebeest, zebra, lion, cheetah, hyena and gazelles.

  • Gazetted in 1951, alongside the present-day Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti is the oldest national park in Tanzania.

  • Highest concentration of predator-prey in the world.

Our journey to Serengeti

It was my second time going through that route.  The first time was when I was in school (sadly I didn't document anything back then)

Serengeti is found 335km from the Arusha region. The park is contiguous with Ngorongoro Conservation Area (once as one before the split in 1959) and due to their closeness, the Crater gate is one of the only two major routes that one may use to get to Serengeti National Park by road. The other one is via the other end of the park coming from Mwanza, Bunda, or Mugumu. The other option is using charter flights from Arusha, Lake Manyara, and Mwanza.

We drove from Arusha to Karatu, a vibrant town just outside Ngorongoro with the goal of spending the night there before proceeding with our journey the following day. On our way, we stopped at the Lake Manyara viewpoint to enjoy the mesmerizing view of the beautiful peace of nature.

The Lake Manyara viewpoint is the single designated viewing area for Lake Manyara National Park that is situated outside of the park, on the rift valley wall, near the Ngorongoro Crater. From a higher vantage point, it offers breathtaking views of both Lake Manyara and the national park that surrounds it, providing an opportunity to see some of its grandeur without really going there.

Primarily, our journey was destined for Mugumu in Mara. I have been to Ngorongoro and Serengeti before so I was not that much thrilled about the park adventure. On the following morning, we had to change cars since it was a rainy season and our car wasn't a 4WD. The trip turned out to be a tourist visit to Serengeti National Park as we journeyed through the plains. En route, we had the chance to see all the “big” animals in very close proximity (2 metres away) and had the chance to get some “wild stories” from our tour driver-turned-guide. He even narrated to us how lucky we were because usually, tourists would pay tips to hundreds of dollars just to spot all the animals that we had seen. 

The journey back had a lot of challenges. It was December, a rainy season in Serengeti. This led to most of the bridges and some roads being flooded with water, hence making it hard for vehicles to pass through.

We spent over ten (10) hours trying to move from one route to another just so we can beat the time before the entry/exit gates close – which is 6 pm unless you want to sleep within the park. We got out of the park in time, got back to Karatu, and spent another night there. The journey back to Dar es Salaam had its own misfortunes. We had two tires bursting on a rainy, windy, and cold strip of Mombo at almost 10 pm. We fixed things but that was an adventure on its own

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