The Serengeti is one of Africa’s renowned and captivating wildlife viewing area, the variety of habitat included in its pristine ecosystem guarantees a versatile safari filled with excitement and feelings of Africa authenticity. Year round, the Serengeti encompasses the highest wildlife census of all national parks including both residents and migratory animals. It is also home to the great migration, which entails the annual journeys of grazers such as the wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles as the relocate for green pasture. The word Serengeti derived from the Maasai word which translates the place where the land runs on forever-a most fitting description for this beautiful, unique park in Northern Tanzania, at 147635 km (5700 Sq miles) the Serengeti National Park is a home to the high density of large predators, and a host of the indisputably most impressive natural event the annual migration.
The seasonal and the annual migration are what make the Serengeti such a terrible location for a game drive through the year and its distinct seasonal changes that shape the migrations pattern. From late November to December the migrating herds arrive on the short grass plain of the eastern and south of Seronera which also extend into Ngorongoro Conservation Area, also known as the Ndutu Plains. These are the prime location to be when the calving season takes place. Large herds of wildebeest and zebra gather to give birth simultaneously and in turn triggering thrilling game hunting for the large predators. Until late February or March, the herds will remain on the plains, feeding on the fresh grass which is filled with valuable nutrition for lactating mothers. From the end of March to April the herds will start to move west as they prepare for their migration toward the north-by may until mid June the migrating herds are expected to pass through the western corridor, making the Grummet River a spectacular sighting with a small migration crossing alongside the aggressive Nile Crocodile.
The dry season begins the end of June to July and lasts entail the beginning to mid-October, where the herds will concentrate in the Northern Serengeti, making the Mara River one of the most popular destinations to see the excellent river crossing with poignant scenes, of confusion and panic among the herds attempting a successful river crossing. This marks one of the most spectacular natural events in the world. By mid to the end of October, the herds are heading back south again through western Loliondo and Lobo area, as the animals return to find the fresh green shoots on the short plain grass.
The Serengeti Eco-system
Recognized by UNESCO as a world site, the Serengeti eco-system consists of the following areas: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation, Maswa, Ikorogo and Grumeti Game Reserves, Ikona and Makao Wildlife Management Areas. Ngorongoro game controlled area village land and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserves. Aside from its largest herds of migrating wildlife, the ecosystem is also an important sanctuary to the continent’s most endangered species, notably the black Rhino and the African Wild dog.
When it comes to wildlife viewing the Serengeti is an unrevealed park which burst an impressive diversity and number of animals, with the highest concentration of large predators in the world with an estimate of 9,000 Hyenas, 3,000 lions 1,000 Leopards, along with the highest density of cheetah’s on the continent. The current estimated population of wildebeest here stands at a whopping 1.2 million and has more than 20,000 zebras, and about 400,000 Thomson Gazelles.
Things to do
Hot air balloon safari
More information can be found on the Serengeti balloon website here.
For many of our guest, flying over the Serengeti in a hot our balloon is on their must-do lists, the experience of witnessing the endless plain and the diverse wildlife from the sky will mark your safari as unforgettable. This activity can be booked throughout a year. Usually flying from Seronera, though the launch point can also vary depending on the season you will be traveling in (e.g. July: Northern Serengeti). After your flight, you will be treated to an “out of Africa” breakfast served with sparkling wine, as you watch the plains in all its morning grandeur.More information can be found on the Serengeti balloon website here.
This area includes the Northern Ngorongoro Conservation area and is home famous and seemingly Serengeti plains. As these short grass plain area rich in nutrients during the wet season, giant herds of wildebeest and Zebra congregate onto the plain after the first rains. Meaning that during this time of year, wildlife including large predators like lions is especially abandoned among the south Serengeti plains making your game drive parked with unforgettable sights. As the dry season approaches, a semi-desert takes the place of the Southern Serengeti plains and only a limited number of animals thrive, regardless, this area is still popular for several resident herbivores including giraffes, elephants, and impala that can be seen year around.
- – Lake Masek Tented Camp
- – Ndutu Lodge
- – Chaka Camp
- – Olakira Camp
- – Kusini Tented Camp.
- – Osupuko camp
Best known for Great Migration Crossing the grummet river. Northward migration from May – July.
- Reve Colobus Monkey & huge crocodiles.
- Large heatals of elephants & giraffes
- Wildebeest, Hippo, Topi, Leopard, and Lions (are the main species)
- The West Serengeti is a special place seldom explored by most tourist.
- The west Serengeti is commonly called the Western Corridor as the area takes the shape of giant Valley (Running East to West) that is flanked to the North and South by hills. This narrow corridor is about so miles along and flows towards lake Victoria, Game viewing highlights include the rare colobus monkeys, Nile Crocodiles, large herds of Topi antelope Elephant and good concentration of carnivores.
- Kirawira Serena Camp.
- Ubuntu Camp
- Mbalageti Safari Lodge.
This area comprises of vast long-grass plains surrounded by rocky hills, and rivers courses neighboured with after leopard – occupied acacia trees on top of exceptional game viewing of the most significant population of carnivores in Africa.This region also holds resident to park headquarters and research facilities, which have reliable sustained resident wildlife. In central Serengeti, expect to see all four large predators (lions, cheetah, leopard, and Hyena) on your game drive, since it is home to several endearing rivers. Year-round resident animals (including but not limited to buffalo, hippo, and Warthogs) as migratory animals. Cheetah, Hyena and Thomson’s gazelle accumulate in this area throughout the dry season making the central Serengeti area. The best sport for wildlife viewing during the dry months, be mindful that much of the lodging situated in this area, so anticipate a high number of other tourist and game vehicles.
- Serena Lodge
- Pioneer Camp
- Dunia Camp
- Serengeti Acacia Camp
- Katikati Camps
- Kenzan Camp
- Tortilis Camp.
This area contains forested rolling hills combined with open grassy areas and numerous streams composed of underlying granites, while rarely explored, what the northern region somewhat lacks in its wildlife densities it makes up for with its maximizing landscapes and vacant wildlife viewing. Resident herbivores include Hippo, Giraffe, Topi and Elephant which are most clustered in this part of the Serengeti than any other, despite the thick bush and woodlands, predators such as lions and hyenas are still habitually seen. Cheetah and Leopards are fairly more difficult to sport but not impossible.
- Serengeti Migration Camp
- Serengeti bushtops
- Lemala Kurya Hills
- Sayari Camp
- Mara River Camp
- Olakira Camp
- Acacia Camp
Similar to the Southern Serengeti plains, a semi-desert lake over the eastern plains during the dry season and transforms back to short grass plains during the wet season. Making it a plaintiff wildlife viewing area – especially for Cheetah. In the green season, out of the entire Serengeti and in all Africa the best cheetah viewing – can be found in Eastern Serengeti as they follow the Thompsons Gazelles migration to these grass plains. Here you will also see the greatest consideration of hyenas and a reasonably high number of lions in the wet month.
- Sametu Camp
- Namiri Camp
With close to two million wildebeest on the move along with thousand of Zebras the animal migration is a spectacular wildlife movement takes place through the year. Most visitors are familiar with the “Great Migration” which takes place in both Tanzania and Kenya, at the Mara River where the herds cross every year to follow the rain and to seek for food. However, for the rest of year as the migration move from the Mara River back to the Central Serengeti and down to the Southern plains, each season marks a unique pattern a different landscape and all kinds of thrilling action.While the wildlife movement is hard to predict, every year the migration will typically follow a very similar pattern and at Malaki Safaris, we customize our safari itineraries according to the migration movement and the 4 seasons that we have categorized as follows:-
Late January and March/Southern Serengeti and Ndutu plaints NCAA.During the calving season the flat plains makes the migration viewing all the more spectacular as over a million wildebeest and zebras are estimated to gather in the southern plains each year, the calving season typically lakes between January and early March, though it can sometimes be early or late depending on the rain pattern, this is the spectacular season to visit Tanzania as you will have the opportunity to be a midst large herds of zebras and Wildebeest – as far as the eye can see, the herds gather between Southern Serengeti and the Ndutu plains. (Ngorongoro Conservation Area) To give birth simultaneously, do to the mix of volcanic soils of the southern plains when the rainfall occurs. A growth of highly nutritional rich grass that is beneficial for lactating mothers will prompt the herds of wildebeest and zebras to feed here. As a result, this attracts larger groups of predators animals such as lions, cheetah, leopards, and hyenas, to prey on the young and the weak, with luck and exceptional guiding, you will have a chance to see thrilling chase and stumbling upon young cubs and newborn!
Since the Ndugu plains allows off-road game drive in the northern circuit, this is a truly unique experience for photographers, and wildlife enthusiasm sits like all of our drive guides are highly aware of the teeming wildlife in the plains, and they conduct game drive carefully and professionally, as not to distribute the wildlife, though off road game drive is permitted at Malaki Safaris we aim to respect the animals territory and strive to preserve its natural environment, safe distances between our guests and wildlife will be carefully and respectfully maintained, and to ensure that our vehicles will not become on obstacle to any wildlife activity in this area.
As this will be in the mids of the rain season in Tanzania, the roads will be less dusty compared to the dry season. The temperature will be moderate (between 20-25 oC/68-77 oF, and a bit colder in the early morning and evenings, between 10-15 oC/50-59 oF.
Green season & Grumeti River CrossingApril to early July / Western & Central West Serengeti – Ikoma Region.
April and May are known to belong rainy season in Tanzania, and while many may try to avoid safari during this period, it is, in fact, a spectacular season to come for a visit. The rainfall rejuvenates the dried out plains, giving it a broad new lush green coat and the parks are transformed into a replenished heaven for the animals that dwell within.
- – The rain typically occurs in the morning and evening and rarely affect the game drives during the day.
- – Due to the fact that April and May fall into the low season in Tanzania, the rates are also the lowest.
- – As the rains move from the south to the western Serengeti, the migration herds will be tried into the Western Corridor, where they will cross the Grumeti River.
- – While this is a relatively small crossing when compare to Mara River crossing in the next season it is also one of the most highly anticipated events in the annual migration, as the Grumeti River host the Nile Crocodile, the world’s largest crocodile making the crossing a risk decision for the wildebeest and zebras.
The Western Corridor also beats of a diverse topography including floodplains, Savannahs open woodland, scattered forests, small hills, and valleys, aside from the Nile crocodiles, Western Serengeti is also home to the rare colobus monkey, wild days resident pride of lions that roam about the region can also be seen throughout the year.
In the month of June and July, the migrating herds will begin to move upwards to Northern Serengeti, passing through the Grummet reserve and Ikoma area for those who have a longer itinerary. We would recommend spending time in both the western corridor and the Kogatende area in the Northern Serengeti.
As April and May are part of the long rain season, the rainfall will be sporadic throughout the day, through the heavier rain typically occurs in the early morning and evening time contradictory to general belief, the rain does not stop game viewing rather, the cool weather after the rain makes the wildlife more active, the daytime temperature would be between 12-25oC /59-77oF, within the early morning and evening in the cooler 10-15oC / 50-59oF.
Dry season & the Mara Crossing.Mid-June – July to October/Northern Serengeti (Lobo bologonja and Kogatende) typically from mid-July, the majority of the migrating herds will have arrived at Kogatende area in time for the Mara River Crossing.
After depleting the grass and water in the western corridor and Grumeti. The Northern Serengeti remains relatively pristine when compare to the Seronera Central Serengeti, as well as its counterpart, Maasai Mara in Kenya as tourists have only begun to visit this area in the recent years, depending on the rain pattern, if it is a dry year, then the first herd of wildebeest can be at the Mara River by early July in a wet year, the herds would move slower, arriving by mid-August, the Northern Serengeti boasts of many kopjes, small hills and thick woodlands which provide plenty of hiding place for the big cats, though the leopard are more elusive in this area, lions and hyena can be regularly sported during the day, as well as cheetahs, other resident Wildlife includes Hippos, Giraffes, Impalas, Topi, Thompson Gazelles as well as large concentration of Elephants.
The Mara river crossing is indisputably a must see if you are an aid wildlife enthusiasts the sheer size and scope of this river crossing is astonishing, to say the least, a survival for the fittest as the wildebeests and the zebras attempt to cross the river with predators at every turn, it is important to note for those who plan to visit during this time of the river crossing that the exact time of the river crossing cannot be guaranteed, as the migration location will ultimately depend on the rainfall pattern. Also witnessing crossing require a lot of patience, as well as how many days you can spend waiting by the river bank, we typically recommend our guests to spend at least two to three nights in the Northern Serengeti on their safari. If they wish to see the cross during this time. Our experienced driver-guide who knows the area inside out will seek out the best location for excellent viewing of the crossing and to be here to give you the interesting facts and information about the migration and the northern Serengeti while you wait for the crossing.
During July to the beginning of October, the weather can be only and dusty. This is our winter in Tanzania, and the temperature can be as low as 5-10oC / 41-50oF in the early morning and evening while, the average temperature in the daytime can still be quite warm, between 20-25oC / 68-77oF.
Short rain season.
Mid October – November / Central Serengeti and Western Serengeti.As the migratory herds move back into Tanzania, they start into three groups that each take different roots, the Western, Eastern and Southern Serengeti. The Central Serengeti will typically have the more significant number of the herds, and with the Eastern Corridor being less accessible, Central and the Western Serengeti are after the most popular locations during these months.The Central Serengeti will have plenty of resident game, and with the migration returning, the game viewing will be even more diverse and exciting as the resident predators will have an abundance of food during this time, with scattered forests, the Serena valley, and open plain, this area will allow easy game access with more ground to cover compared with Western and Eastern Corridor, for those who prepare a more exclusive game drive this time, Western Serengeti could be a suitable choice for game drives.The Western Corridor can be visited when staying in central Serengeti, as our driver guides can make day trips and visit the area. That is typically less crowded.
As November to early December is considered low season in Tanzania, the parks are less crowded, enabling more exclusive game drives to compare to the other seasons, the rainfall also makes the game viewing exciting as it would be the first rain after a long dropout during the dry season, the pricing for accommodation is also great for those who prefer to keep the costs down.
During this time, the weather can be quite warm during the daytime 20-25oF / 68-77oF though after the rain and during early morning time. The temperature typically drops in the low 10-15oC / 50-59oF.