Best wildlife destination & home to the Great Migration
The Serengeti is an epic expanse of grasslands and plains, home to stalking predators, clouds of migrating birds and stomping masses of zebra, wildebeest, gazelles and impalas, all of which embark on an epic cyclical journey around the region, every year, as part of the Great Migration.
The Serengeti ecosystem covers a large expanse of northern Tanzania and extends into southwest Kenya. The Kenyan part of the region is known as the Maasai Mara, while the Tanzanian part is home to the famous safari destination, Serengeti National Park.
A true natural wonder to behold, the Great Migration is the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world and has granted the region a status as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and one of the 10 Natural Travel Wonders of the World.
The Seronera area, in the centre of the national park, as well as the southern areas, are the most popular for both wildlife and tourists. Big cat sightings are commonplace, though you might be competing with other jeeps for a chance to see them.
The Seronera River and the trees that grow along its banks are home to many leopards, lions are often found around the kopjes and Makoma Hill, while the vast Serengeti Plains are where you’ll see the most cheetahs.
The Grumeti area, in the west, has a great vantage point for herd migration between late May and early July, while the Grumeti River is a great place to spot lions, leopards, hippos and enormous crocodiles.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, head towards the Mara River in the north of the Serengeti, it is more costly to get to but it receives far fewer visitors. Elephants graze here in the dry season and the migration passes through between August and November.
If you have enough time, head outside of the Serengeti National Park and you’ll be rewarded with relatively crowd-free trips to Ikorongo Game Reserve, Loliondo Game Controlled Area (which also hosts Maasai cultural activities) and the mineral-rich, highly alkaline and disturbingly blood red Lake Natron.
The Serengeti’s migration has been described as “The Greatest Show on Earth” and when you get the chance to see these herds moving in an ancient pattern across the land, it’s easy to see why. A Serengeti safari is a must-do for any wildlife enthusiast venturing to Tanzania – it’s a truly magnificent experience.
Best times to visit Serengeti National Park
The Great Migration is a year-round phenomenon, influenced only by the rains, as the herd moves in a continuous clockwise direction around the Serengeti and Maasai Mara. As the main draw of a visit to Serengeti National Park, you may wish to check the migration pattern to help plan your safari trip.
The herds can be found on the Ndutu plains of the southern Serengeti from December to April, with the calving season taking place in January and February. In April and May the rains start and the herd moves west, crossing the perilous waters of the Grumeti River to get to the lush pastures of the northern Serengeti and the Maasai Mara.