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Tanzania - Serengeti

The word 'Serengeti' is derived from a Masai word meaning 'endless plains', a fitting title for Tanzania's most famous national park. During the annual migration over a million animals undertake the treacherous journey to the western Serengeti and the Masai Mara. The large populations of lions, cheetahs and leopards are permanent residents.

The Great Wildebeest Migration - A natural phenomenon occurs annually across the vast plains of the Serengeti and into the Masai Mara in Kenya. Each year thousands and thousands of wildebeest and zebras make an epic journey in search of lush, grassy plains. Although the exact timings and route can change each year, the migration follows a similar path, mainly determined by the rainfall.

Between the months of December and mid-March the animals are found grazing on the Serengeti Plains.

The calving season occurs for a few weeks in February, when around 500,000 calves are born.

In March and April, as the plains become depleted, the wildebeest and zebras start their migratory journey west.

June and July normally sees the transition period between the rains and the dry season and the herds move north towards the Masai Mara.

Throughout the migration the wildebeest and zebras are at risk from predators.

During July and August they face a dangerous crossing of the Mara River. Many animals will die from drowning or crocodile attacks as they attempt the crossing.

Those who survive the crossing will reside in the Masai Mara between July and October.

Once the short rains start to fall in the South and East Serengeti, normally between October and November, the herds start to leave the Masai Mara.

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In the untouched seclusion of a remote, idyllic valley in the western corridor of the Serengeti National Park, east of Lake Victoria, lies the tented Grumeti River Camp.
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Klein's enjoys a fabulous location set on the edge of the Kuka Hills, commanding breathtaking views of the valley through which hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra migrate.
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Standing high on a bush-cloaked ridge, commanding panoramic views over the rolling plains and volcanic reefs of the Serengeti National Park, Kirawira Camp is the epitome of colonial-style safari luxury.
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Hidden among the rocky outcrops or kopjes of the vast, internationally renowned Serengeti plains, is a camp that exudes decadence reminiscent of old Africa.
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Singita Faru Faru Lodge is built in an iconic, ground breaking blend of traditional building materials used to create a stunning feel of retro-modernism.
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Deep within Africa's finest game reserve, the Serengeti, the Four Seasons Safari Lodge extends a friendly welcome to this stunning, luxury lodge.
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A place of infinite calm, surrounded by untamed majesty, Mbuzi Mawe offers a timeless blend of classical safari rusticity and the world-class professionalism of Serena Safari Lodges, Resorts and Hotels.
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Perfectly sited in a cluster of kopjes, Kusini is a permanent tented camp blended seamlessly into the delicate environment of the predator-rich plains of the Serengeti.
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Opened in September 2012, the seasonal Serengeti Pioneer Camp is the newest addition to the Elewana Collection of lodges, camps and hotels. The camp, with its panoramic views over Moru Kopjes, Lake Magadi and endless plains, is perfectly located for ...
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Inspired by a traditional African village, the lodge is rich in local atmosphere. Great attention has been paid to both architectural and decorative detailing making the lodge a picturesque delight.
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Looking out over the seemingly endless Serengeti plains, this hillside lodge is a tranquil oasis set in thousands of square kilometres of national park.
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Located off the beaten track in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti National Park, lying on top of the Mwaveni Hill, the Mbalageti Serengeti is one of the most exclusive safari living experiences.
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Overlooking Lake Ndutu in attractive acacia woodland surrounded by the short grass plains of the south eastern Serengeti.
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Olakira is an intimate mobile safari camp which moves twice a year between carefully chosen campsites, allowing for superb game viewing at all times.
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A mobile tented camp in Central Serengeti, strategically located to cover the vast Serengeti Plains. It offers comfortable accommodation and a unique opportunity to enjoy a real safari camp experience.
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Serengeti Simba Lodge is a small, intimate, owner-run property, located on top of a rocky outcrop affording stunning views over the endless plains in every direction.
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Serengeti Wilderness North & Ndutu 'seasonal' camps The Serengeti North Wilderness Camp is in the Kogatende area, the northern-most corner of the Serengeti National Park and is generally open July-October. This relatively isolated spot overlooks the ...
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The Mobile Camp has three different locations during the year, according to the movement of the wildlife, allowing guests to be located close to the migration.
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Lemala Ewanjan is set within the game-rich Seronera Valley in a secluded part of Central Serengeti. The camp offers breathtaking views of the Serengeti plains and its prolific wildlife and sunsets.
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Soroi Serengeti Lodge is set high on a plateau with panoramic views over the vast plains of Musabi in the western corridor of the famous Serengeti National Park.

Map

The Serengeti National Park is located in northwest Tanzania and covers an impressive area of 14,750 km2. With a diverse ecosystem and a range of habitats, the Serengeti is home to some of the most unique wildlife on the planet.

The national park is divided into three main regions:

  • Serengeti plains – beautiful big sky country with sprawling grassland that most visitors associate the Serengeti with. 
  • Western corridor – mighty savannah covered in black clay soil and home to the crocodile-infested Grumeti River, a formidable barrier to the migrating wildebeest.
  • Norther Serengeti – wild woodlands and green hills. 

The Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest national park. The word ‘Serengeti’ is derived from the Masai word meaning ‘endless plains’, which accurately describes the vast savannah and grassland plains that make up a large part of the national park.

Long before its establishment as a protected area, the Masai used the plains as a place to graze their livestock and lived among nature in a semi-nomadic lifestyle that still continues to this day, although no longer in the Serengeti itself. In 1921, the British colonial rule set aside 3.2km2 to form a partial game reserve to protect Tanzania’s wildlife. In 1951, the Serengeti National Park was fully established and to limit the damage caused by human interference, the Masai communities were removed from the park eight years later, which still remains a controversial issue to this day. Rightly or wrongly, the Serengeti is still one of the few national parks that do not allow human inhabitants, save for those who stay in designated areas such as lodges and hotels. By enforcing this, Tanzania can continue to protect their native flora and fauna.     

The Serengeti is home to the largest lion population in Africa, boasting more than 3,000 individuals. Of course you can also see the rest of the Big Five here, including leopards, African elephants, African buffalo and the Eastern black rhinoceros. There are also many other mammals to see, such as jackals, hyenas, giraffes, warthogs and baboons, as well as reptiles such as crocodiles, cobras and monitor lizards. And with over 500 bird species to spot, birding fanatics will be busy looking out for secretary birds, kori bustards, crowned cranes and other species endemic to Africa.

From June to September, more than 1.2 million wildebeest travel between Tanzania’s Serengeti and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Visitors to the Serengeti during this time can witness this impressive migration, gaping with awe as wildebeest, accompanied by other herd animals such as zebra and antelope, thunder across the endless plains. 

The Serengeti is ideal to visit throughout the year. Regardless of the season, the national reserve always offers excellent opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitat.

Dry season - June to October

During the dry season, the vegetation is less dense and animals tend to congregate around waterholes and rivers. This makes it a lot easier to view wildlife on the savannah. If you’d like to witness the annual wildebeest migration, visit the Serengeti’s Western corridor between June and July, or the Northern Serengeti from August to September.

Thanks to the sunny skies and minimal rainfall, there are fewer mosquitoes and therefore less chances of contracting malaria. However, due to increased tourism, the national park does experience high foot traffic and accommodation often becomes limited. Be aware that mornings and evenings can get quite chilly, so warmer clothing is advised for those early morning game drives between June and August.

Wet season - November to May

During the wet season, the Serengeti is bursting with greenery and baby animals. Wildlife can sometimes be more elusive, but there is still so much to see. In particular, fans of bird watching should visit during this time as migratory birds can be spotted.

At this time, the national park draws less tourism. This means that rates for safari holidays can be significantly reduced. And even though it’s the wet season, the rain comes at short intervals in the afternoon or early evening, which is not likely to interfere with your African adventure. 

The Serengeti has much to offer to its visitors. Participating in game drives will add an educational element to your trip as you can learn much about the flora and fauna that you’ll see from our knowledgeable guides.

There is also an option of riding through the Serengeti on horseback. Saddling up and riding like a cowboy across the Great Plains is something many safari holidaymakers will remember fondly.

If you’re interested in African culture, visiting a Masai village is a necessary addition to your safari holiday. During your visit, observe how the Masai community continues to engage in a traditional way of living that has been passed down for generations.

For a unique experience, take to the skies in a luxury hot air balloon or private charter flight. You’ll have an incredible vantage point as you soar above the plains, allowing you to view the multitude of wildlife down below. This is especially spectacular during the annual wildebeest migration.   

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