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Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

It is in 1952 that the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania was established; making it a home to animals like birds, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, lions, wildebeests and zebras.
The Park has three sections. One of them is the popular Seronera Valley also called the Serengit by the Maasai; the other is the western corridor which has the Grumeti River, forests and dense bushes. Then the third section is the north Lobo area that links up with Kenya’s Maasai Mara Reserve – it is the least visited section of the national park.

What majorly attracts over 350,000 visitors annually to this 5,700 square mile national park is the great wildebeest migration. You are able to witness over two million gazelles, wildebeests and zebras move in a spectacular pattern in search of greener pastures across northern Tanzania and southern Kenya. This happens all year round.

The Serengeti climate, fauna and vegetation have not changed much in the past million years. The park is listed as one of the World Heritage Sites; regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa by UNESCO.

Wildebeest Migration

History of the Park

German explorer Bauman, is believed to have discovered Serengeti in 1892. However, the Maasai people are known to have grazed their cattle in the Mara region long before foreigners came. They called it “Siringet” which means great open space where the land goes on and on.

Lions at the time were the dominant animals in that area to an extent they were the hunters’ main reason for visiting and exploration. The British colonial administrators had to intervene since the lion population was running low. They came up with regulations to protect the area and started drawing borders of the reserve areas and in 1951, Serengeti National Park was established.

Today, Serengeti National Park is the largest park in Tanzania with more than 700,000 Thompson’s gazelles, 1,400,000,000 wildebeests and 200,000 zebras. This has contributed immensely the country’s earnings through tourism with a continuous flow of visitors.

Serengeti NP, Tz

Location of the Park

Serengeti National Park is located in the northern part of Tanzania, bordering with Kenya with Latitude and longitude coordinates at -2.332577, 34.832153. It ranges from 3,740 to 6,886 feet in altitude and still has some active volcanoes.

It is located in Serengeti district which is approximately 970kms from the capital city Dar es Salaam. This can take you up to 18 hours by car and 2 hours by plane.

If you must get to the national park by road, it is better to start the journey from Arusha town which is about 350 kilometers from the national park and can take you seven hours if you travel non-stop.
Traveling by air is a quicker alternative and the fact the national park has seven airstrips makes it easier for tourists to make a choice on which part of the park they can visit.

The national park is governed and managed by the Tanzania National Parks Authority together with 16 other national parks in the country which cover over 15% of the country.

The Serengeti’s four sections that include the Northern Serengeti area which is the least visited, the Western Serengeti area which offers wildlife viewing all year round including crocodiles and hippopotamuses; the Southern plains area and the Central Serengeti which is the most frequented section of the park due to it all year round viewing of wildlife.

The Best Time to Visit

The view of animals in the Serengeti National Park is good all year round but not for all parts of the park. The seasons have an effect on the movement of the animals within the park.

During the months of October and November, the national park receives some rains which attract wildebeests and zebras from the northern hills down the southern plains.
Then after the rains in April, May and June; they move towards the west and north.

A spectacular sight to behold happens in January and February when the wildebeests are calving. This marks the beginning of the annual migration cycle.

The wildebeest migration as its best during the dry season from late June to October; when the herd makes its journey to the Maasai Mara National reserve in Kenya.

This is also a good time for photographers to capture memorable pictures of animals especially the wildebeest river crossing.

Adventure Tourism Activities

Serengeti National Park is habitat to the highest concentration of large mammals in the world with animals like antelopes, elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, wildebeests and zebras.

Definitely following the wildebeest migration – where wildebeests and zebras move in search of greener pastures and fresher waters – is a major tourism activity.

The national park is home to over 500 bird species that include the secretary bird, ostriches, flamingos, eagles and many more. Therefore, bird watching is a major activity in this national park.

Serengeti national park is also home to the Maasai Mara people, whose rituals, tribe and traditional practices have remained intact over the years. It is a community you would want to visit, interact and spend time with.

The Oldvai gorge is another attraction. It is where the famous East African archaeologist, Dr. Louis Leaky extracted the oldest remains of early man. The bones dug out were from about a million years ago. This discovery changed the understanding of the evolution of man.

The Kopjes are protruding rocks around the park in the Serengeti. They offer a disguise and shade to animals and predators, including the black rhinos. This area has enough shade, water and grass for grazing.

The Retina Hippo pool in the Seronera Valley is a wonderful place to visit in the Serengeti National Park because it is where you will find large schools of hippos dipping in this pool. In the dry season, due their high numbers, and faced with water scarcity, fights normally break up between the hippos in search for a good cooling spot.

The Grumeti river is a popular attraction during the wildebeest migration.
What makes it spectacular is the sight of millions of beasts trying to cross this river to Maasai Mara. This river is crocodile infested so it is survival for the fittest as the animals try to make it across.

Key Facts to have in Mind

It is important to make a stopover at the Serengeti Visitor Centre for its self-guided walk through and get information about the history of the national park, its ecosystem and wildlife. You are also able to stop for lunch break since the center has an outdoor area, restrooms, a snack and coffee shop, and a gift shop. It is opened daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

The park can be accessed through three entry and exit points between 6:00am and 6:00pm daily. These gates are the Naabi Hill gate, Ndaka gate and Klein’s gate.

Park fees are affordable are rated according to age.
For children below 5 years of age, it is free of charge;
For children between 5 and 15 years the fee is USD 20 for 24 hours;
For adults above 16 years, the fee is USD 60 for 24 hours.
East African citizen and Tanzanian expatriates above 16 years of age, the fee is USD 30.
All park fees are exclusive of Value Added Tax.

Accommodation at the national park is based on choice from public campsites, special campsites, tented camps, and lodges. Some camps are permanent and open year round, others are mobile and the rest are seasonal. The largest number and greatest variety of lodging exists in the Central Serengeti region.
There are over 50 Serengeti National Park vacation packages to choose from and the recommended on is a three day package that costs between USD 1,200 to USD 2,200

There are up to 10 excellent Serengeti Safaris to choose from that range from 3 days to 15 days, and to have wonderful experience as your visit the Serengeti National Park, it is advisable to get a Tour Operator. Good tour operators should have updated websites with clear and up-to-date information. Their address should be permanent and should be professional in managing email responses and calls. It is better to look out for reviews about them to make a final decision to pick them.

30 thoughts on “Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

  1. This is really interesting. I have been searching for where to explore for my vacation but haven’t come to a final decision yet. I’m just hearing about Serengeti and reading this article I have been informed on the beautiful features and animals and other fascinating things over there. I think trying a new place where you have never been will be an awesome experience. Thanks for bringing this place to my notice.

    1. Lok, if your are in search for a new an unique experience, I recommend your try the 3 day Safari covering the most popular places of the Serengeti National Park. Day 1: Transfer from Arusha to Serengeti National Park. Day 2: Have Full day game viewing in the park and Day 3: Transfer back to Arusha and Departure.

  2. This is a topic close to my heart, I love reading about wildlife , particularly in Africa, it is one of my dream destinations.

    I enjoyed reading about the different areas of the park, where best to go to see the beautiful animals and landscapes in the Serengeti. Are there places to visit where I could learn about conservation projects too, how the animals are cared for nd what is being done to maintain their safety within the park. This would be very interesting for me to see and learn.

    A great article, thank you.

    1. Louise, I am glad wildlife is so dear to you and I hope one day you make it here in Africa. 
      You will have the opportunity to visit the Serengeti Conservation Project that focuses on anti poaching which protects the elephants and other wildlife in the national park. The project also focuses on protecting the Serengeti Black rhinos that were poached to near extinction in the 1990s. They continue to provide training equipment, logistical support and vehicle maintenance to a specialized ranger unit.
      I am sure you will be engaged throughout your entire visit.

  3. Thanks for writing this article on Serengeti national park, Tanzania 

    i have heard many thing about it and this makes me read more and more about it in this article. First of all, the Serengeti is one of the best national parks on the planet for animal sightings, irrespective of the time of the year.also the plains give you an authentic African feel and hot air balloon safaris present the Serengeti in an entirely new light.am from South Africa and I have been planing to go there for my vacation this year 

    1. Ajibola, I believe you are coming over to the Serengeti based on the high scores on your homework about this wonderful national park. You mention the hot air balloon safaris which give a marvelous bird’s eye view of the wildlife below; which is an experience to take away from visiting the Serengeti.
      See you this year.

  4. Hmm, this is indeed an interesting place to explore. Am a zoologist and I know quite well the kind of fun being derived from exploring national park. Although, I haven’t been to Tanzania before, when I do in the nearest future ,this serengeti national Park would be my first place to check out. This would be fun filled right? Ok, untill that time.

    I have explored many of the national parks we have in my country and they are just superb and natural. I love this article.

    1. Angel, I appreciate a comment from a zoologist because they know much about animals, their behavior and interaction with the environment. This does not surprise me that you have visited numerous national parks. 
      However, the fact that you have not been to been to the Serengeti means you have one more journey to make; and YES! it will be fun filled.

  5. Wow, nice review. Tanzania is one of those African countries on my list of must visit. I’ve always seen beautiful pictures and videos of the Serengeti Park and it’s break taking, especially that with the migrating cycle. And I have promised my kids a visit. So, now I know the best times to book the first visit as we all want to witness that migration. Since there are enough safari packages available,it shouldn’t be difficult to find something that suits our pockets and interests…. Thanks for the info. 

    1. Hello Vapz, I am glad to read that soon you will witness live what you all along have been seeing in pictures and videos. Your visit to the Serengeti National Park will be worth it for you and your lovely children.
      There are many safari packages to choose from and you will are guaranteed of seeing these animals all year round.

  6. It is a dream of mine to visit the Serengeti National Park, did you know that? Its beauty and -I dare say-“purity” and breathtaking. So are the wild animals which I adore, especially felines. I was wondering: is it possible to reach the park crossing the border of Kenya or should I fly to Dar es Salaam and then catch a fly to the nearest city? Which one is better in terms of cost and time? I count on you to decide!

    1. Effie, I didn’t know that you had plans to come check out Serengeti National Park. I fully support you with that decision since you will find lions.
      To access the national park you can fly to Arusha Airport; you don’t have to go to Dar es Salaam. It is the closest airfield to the national park. However, if you have plans of coming through Kenya, it is perfectly fine.

  7. Wow! It’s great and awesome reading this article! I never knew beautiful nature still exist in Africa, I’ve heard about the great serengeti park but I’ve not been opportune to know much about it, but thanks to this article. I never thought of traveling to Tanzania before but this great article had triggered my urge to have a sight of the serengeti park.
    I’ll definitely travel to Tanzania to feed my eyes with the beautiful nature of creation.
    Thanks so much for this great article

    1. Daniel, it is great that you have seriously considered visiting the Serengeti National Park. The good thing about that tour is that you can visit any time of the year and still get value for time and money.
      Do not forget to carry your camera to capture some good photos.

  8. Superb details about Serengeti National park, one of the most attractive sites in Tanzania! It is imminent that the wild beast migration is the most notable and famous part that makes this park an outstanding and impeccable one!

    This article must have given all the needed data about this park and hopefully anyone who intends to take a tour should recommededly go through this part!

    Thanks man!

  9. This is a beautiful website Edgar, my Daughter did a school project on African biomes and this website would have come in handy. She loves the bonsai trees and all the animals, I hope to someday get her there in person.

    1. Amanda, I am sure your daughter didn’t fall short of what to write about since Africa has nine of the fourteen terrestrial biomes. I am glad to read that this website would have been of help.
      Kindly find time with your daughter and visit Africa and tick wildlife viewing off your bucket list.

  10. Amazing article, I have never been in Africa before, but I really want to go one day and I heard lots of good reviews from people. Your article is so informative, you have covered everything in your article, locations, history, prices, where to stay, all tourist activities as well. I hope one day I will have opportunity travel to Tanzania and visit Serengeti National Park. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    1. Marius, what you mind has conceived, it will achieve. I will be seeing you soon or reading about your visit to one of the wonderful sites in Africa.
      I appreciate your comment. Thank you.

  11. For me, it would simply be a luxury to see the scenery plus the exotic wildlife. To have access to this park for a total of $60 USD is a steal, so to view the wildlife and how they interact for such a cheap price, to gain a first-hand experience at that, would be a dream come true for this aspiring traveler.

    1. Todd, thank you once again for visiting this website and still expressing the desire to one day take on a safari in Africa. As long as the interest is there, it will come to pass. Thank you for your comment.

  12. Wow. This looks like a great place to visit. 350,000 tourists a year is a lot of people! It is a huge accomplishment for the park authorities to be able to handle that many tourists and to also ensure that the animal’s ecosystems are being well maintained. I have seen many TV programs about the Serengeti national parks and have always wanted to see the animals up close. I am inspired to visit the park, but unfortunately, it will not be this year.
    Many thanks for your review. The pictures are great!

    1. Andrew, I appreciate your kind comments. It true the number of tourists can be overwhelming but the national park staff have adjusted accordingly. They have come to terms to the fact that the number of tourists is always increasing every year. It is not the wildebeest migration that racks in these numbers but the fact that wildlife roams the park all year round coupled with short wet seasons.

  13. I’ve always fancied visiting one of these parks, reading about them and seeing your great pictures makes me want to go there even more. Being an animal lover it really upsets me hearing about some of these wonderful species being hunted to the brink of extinction, i would love to see them in their natural surroundings. Great site, well done.

    1. Michael, I am glad that this post has reactivated the desire to visit this great national park. You will definitely have a great time given that you are an animal lover. The river crossing would work best for you as you would notice not all the wildebeests make it across.
      I appreciate your comment and look forward to reading that you indeed visited.

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