Serengeti National Park
Size: 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq miles)
Established: 1951 – became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1981
Distance from Arusha: 335 km (208 miles)
Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value, it has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa
Where is the Serengeti?
The Serengeti is the main component of a Northern Tanzania Safari Itinerary. It is a vast stretch of endless plains brimming with wildlife in the North East of Tanzania – Tanzania’s border changes it to Kenya’s famous Masai Mara. It is only a short flight from Arusha (along with many other Northern airstrips!) – a flight you absolutely must consider if you are ever visiting other Northern Tanzania parks. Many travellers also visit Northern Tanzania to experience the vibrant Maasai culture in the Ngorongoro Highlands, but also to go into the Ngorongoro Crater itself. There are also other smaller surrounding parks, Lake Manyara and Tarangire, but these are more “add on” destinations – The Serengeti in our view is the real star of the show.
With the Serengeti only 335 km (208 miles) from Arusha it is still a very long drive due to the roads. If you are driving to the Serengeti National Park it is recommended to stop off on the way. We would like to point out that if you are interested in visiting the Ngorongoro Crater on the way, it is best to get to the rim the afternoon before and then spend the whole next day in the Crater.
Best time to visit
Following the Wildebeest migration from Serengeti National Park to Maasai Mara National Reserve, the best time is December to July and to see the predators the best time is June to October.
Recommended number of days
Due to the amount to be seen in the reserve it’s recommendable to have three or four day’s safari. If you are interested in photography, the longer you stay the better chances you have to get the ultimate photos.
There is such a variety of species to be found in the Serengeti and definitely too great a number to mention here, which is why it is such an integral part of a Tanzania safari. The park’s main attraction is the Great Migration, consisting of up to 2 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 350,000 thompson, impala and grant’s gazelles – many consider it to be the most spectacular remaining African wildlife spectacle. The predator viewing here is exceptional with approximately 3-4,000 lion and huge numbers of cheetah, leopard and hyena. Other animals commonly found in the park include topi, eland, hartebeest, buffalo, elephant, caracal, serval, bat-eared fox, hyrax, genet, hares, porcupine, aardvark, giraffe, jackal, mongoose, crocodile, monitor lizard, aardwolf, many kinds of primates including baboons, vervet and colobus monkeys, and over 500 species of bird.
The Wildebeest Migration
Every year, over 2 million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. If you’re there at the right time, you can spot herds of wildebeest and zebra stretching to the horizon.