Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is a classic Tanzania safari destination, the most popular and most visited Tanzania safari destination famously known for the annual wildebeest migration. Serengeti national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site listed for being one of the undeniably excellent wildlife watching destinations in the world.
Serengeti national park is located in northwestern region of Tanzania bordering the Kenya border to the north which a continuation with the Maasai Mara national reserve of Kenya, to the south East, Serengeti national park borders Ngorongoro conservation area, Maswa game reserve to the southwest, Ikorongo and Gumet game reserve to the west and Loliondo game control Area to East. All these areas neighboring Serengeti national park form the larger Serengeti ecosystem which is one of the oldest ecosystem of the planet.
Serengeti national park covers an area of 14,763 square kilometers comprising of rolling grasslands, savannah, riverine forest and woodlands, the rolling plains of the park making it an incredible destination to visit during your Tanzania safari.
Serengeti national park is worldly famous for the annual wildebeest migration where more than 1.5 million wildebeests, tens of thousands of zebras and gazelles migrate in search for greener pasture and water from the plains of Serengeti national park to Maasai Mara national reserve and back. The annual great wildebeest migration is the largest movement of animals on the planet, while moving, waves of zebras arrive first while being followed by the wildebeests and more.
Serengeti national park is the best Tanzania wildlife safaris hosting a variety of wildlife species on top of the wildebeest migration, resident wildlife species found in the park include the big five, carnivore species, reptiles and primates. Generally wildlife species in Serengeti national park include lion, elephants, cheetah, buffaloes, waterbucks, warthogs, coke’s hartebeests, giraffes, hippos, common eland, dik-dik, bat eared fox, ground pangolin, crested porcupine, 3 species of hyrax, African golden wolves, 2 species of jackals, honey badgers, 2 species of otters, bat eared foxes, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus among others.
Reptiles in Serengeti national park include Nile crocodiles, leopard tortoises, serrated hinged terrapin, rainbow agama, Nile monitor, chameleons, African python, black-necked spitting cobras, puff adder and the black Mamba.
The park is a great Tanzania birding safari and one of the important birding areas in Tanzania hosting over 500 species of birds including resident and migratory bird species, birds found in Serengeti national park include Maasai Ostrich, secretary bird, kori bustards, southern ground hornbill, crowned cranes, black-headed Gonolek, Marabou storks, yellow bellied stork, lesser flamingo, black crake, Ashy starling, Hartlaub’s turaco, martial eagles, love birds, oxpeckers among others.
History of Serengeti national park
The area presently known as Serengeti was a grazing ground for the livestock of Maasai people specifically in the eastern Mara region, the area inhabited a bundant of natural wildlife. In 1913 the was made a hunting ground because of the huge number of animals, some of the first professional hunters to enter the area was Stewart Edward White who recorded his explorations in the northern Serengeti by 1913. During his stay in Serengeti over 50 lions were shot during the hunting sessions of Stewart and his companions, due to the hunting the lions became scarce which prompted the British colonial administration to form a partial game reserve of 3.2 kilometers in area. In 1929, a full reserve was formed which laid a foundation for the formation of Serengeti in 1951.
Following the declaration of the area as a national park, the Maasai people were peacefully evicted from the area and resettled to Ngorongoro conservational area a move which is still questioned up to today.
SAFARI ACTIVITIES TO DO IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti national park is the most popular and rewarding spot for Tanzania game viewing safari, game drives offer an opportunity to explore the four major areas of Serengeti that is Seronera, the south, Grumeti and the western corridor. Game drives in this park are offered as morning game drives, afternoon game drives, full day game drives and night game drives.
Generally game rives in Serengeti offer an opportunity to spot a variety of wildlife residing in Serengeti such as lions, zebras, leopards, cheetah, buffaloes, waterbucks, warthogs, coke’s hartebeests, giraffes, hippos, common eland, dik-dik, bat eared fox, ground pangolin, crested porcupine among others.
Serengeti is listed among the top birding spots in Tanzania, the park is a birder’s haven hosting over 500 species of birds making the park a must visit destination during your Tanzania birding safari. Birding is one of the thrilling Tanzania safari activities offered in Serengeti national park offering an opportunity to watch various species of birds including water birds, song birds and migratory bird species from Europe and North Africa regions.
Birding experience starts as early in the morning and if possible it may take the whole day, some of the birds you should expect to see during Tanzania birding safari in Serengeti national park include Maasai Ostrich, secretary bird, kori bustards, southern ground hornbill, crowned cranes, black-headed Gonolek, Marabou storks, yellow bellied stork, lesser flamingo, black crake, Ashy starling, Hartlaub’s turaco, martial eagles, love birds, oxpeckers among others.
Birding in Serengeti national park can be done throughout the year but the best recommended period is months from November to April which is a breeding period for most birds in the park and it also migratory birds from Europe and Africa arrive in the park.
Hot air balloon safaris
Hot air balloon safaris is a very breathtaking and romantic way of exploring the beautiful and scenic endless plains of Serengeti national park, hot air balloon is an activity you wouldn’t want to miss during your Tanzania wildlife viewing safari. Hot air balloon safari offers aerial views of the park and its rich attraction such as wildlife and beautiful landscape, watch the wildebeest migration and offers an exceptional opportunity to take pictures.
Hot air balloon safaris in Serengeti national park sets off from 3 sites that is central Serengeti, south Serengeti plains and western Serengeti, this activities starts as early as 06:00 am and when you arrive at the loading site you meet your pilot and wait as the balloon is being inflated and prepared for launching then return by 09:30 am. Each balloon carries to maximum of 16 people per flight.
Walking safaris are exhilarating activity to do in Serengeti during a Tanzania safari, Tanzania walking safari in Serengeti are done on foot and they are led by an armed and experienced guide for protection. Walking safaris offers a close interaction with nature found in the endless plains of Serengeti national park and as you walk through the park you get an opportunity to enjoy views of animals such as lions, elephants, buffaloes, nile crocodiles and birds most especially around the Grumeti river.
Cultural tours in Serengeti offers a visit to the fascinating Maasai community and offers unforgettable insight into the Maasai lifestyle. The Maasai people are semi-nomadic people spread across regions of Kenya and Tanzania, during your Tanzania cultural tour in the Maasai community you will witness the beautiful Maasai homestead/villages composed of circular thatched huts locally known as the bomas, learn more about maasai customs, rituals and traditions, participate in rearing of the livestock, milking the cows and goats, purchase beautiful and unique handicrafts made in traditional methods among others.
HOW TO GET TO SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti is situated in the remote corner of Tanzania in the northern region and as a famous Tanzania safari destination, the park is easily accessed conveniently from Arusha by either road or air means of transport depending on the choice of a tourist.
By air, Serengeti is accessed by use of both international and regional air travel, by international air travel the most recommended entry is Kilimanjaro international airport lieing between Moshi and Arusha and in a distance of 200 miles from the southern entrance of the park.
Regional air travel to Serengeti are offered from Kilimanjaro international Airport or Arusha airport on a flight of 1-5 hours to one of the 9 airstrips serving the park namely Seronera airstrip, Grumeti, the Lobo, Kleins, Kogatende, Kusini, Ndutu, Kirawira and Sasakwa airstrips.
By road means of transport, Serengeti is accessed from Arusha on a drive of approximately 8 hours, you can either use private or public means of transport. Serengeti national park is accessed using four main entry and exit points namely Naabi Hill gate, Ndabaka gate, Klein’s gate and Bologonya gate.
ACCOMMODATION IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Accommodations in Serengeti include safari lodges, tented camps, seasonal camps and camping sites and these are situated in 5 specific migration areas, accommodations in Serengeti national park are categorized as luxury, midrange and budget and they are as follows.
Accommodation in Serengeti include Melia Serengeti lodge, one Nature Nyaruswiga Serengeti, Serengeti Simba lodge, Four seasons Safari Lodge, Elewana Serengeti Pioneer camp, Serengeti Serena Safari lodge, Seronera wildlife lodge, Lemala Ewanjan Tented camp, Mbuzi Mawe Serena camp among others.