When is the best time to visit the Serengeti National Park?
The best time to visit the Serengeti is in the dry months of June and July when the migrating herds have massed together and are moving north. There is the possibility of witnessing them cross the Grumeti River. You can witness the more famous river crossings of the Mara River around August/September in the north of the park. February is the best time to visit the Serengeti National Park for the wildebeest calving. During this time the green southern plains are covered by hundreds of thousands of animals, mainly static, enjoying the rich grasses of the plains. The dry months from June to October offer the best general wildlife viewing although the Serengeti offers amazing wildlife viewing throughout the year.
Why should I visit the Serengeti National Park?
The great migration
Which of the Big 5 can I see in the Serengeti National Park?
5 of the Big 5. The Black Rhino is however very rare. Cheetah and the spotted hyena are common sights while the Wild Dog are present but very rare.
Special animals/behaviour in the Serengeti.
The Serengeti is famous for its annual wildebeest migration, river crossings and the large crocodiles in the Mara River. Each year in excess of 1,500,000 wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thonson’s Gazelle join the trek for fresh grazing following a circular route. Predators follow the migration and sightings of big cats hunting is frequent and often exhilirating. Scavangers such as the Spotted Hyena, Black-backed and Golden Jackal are always in attendance.
What is the weather like in the Serengeti?
The year is divided into the Short Rain Season (November & December) and Long Rain Season (April & May) and the intermediate dry seasons. In November and December, it is hot, with humid temperatures up to 35C with short thunderstorms in afternoons or evenings. April and May are the wettest. The best time to visit the Serengeti National Park is in the dry season of July to October when it is pleasantly warm. It can get quite chilly in the dry, cool season of June to September.
About the Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world. It is unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value, and has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa.
The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was established in 1952. It is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth – the great migration of wildebeest, Thompson Gazelles and zebra. The Serengeti also boasts tens of thousands of impala, Grant’s gazelle, topi (tsessebe), hartebeest, eland and other antelope. This abundance of antelope is a fantastic hunting ground for the predators for which these plains are famous. There are resident populations of lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and birds to add to an already superior safari experience.
How big is the Serengeti?
The Serengeti National Park covers 14,763 km² and can be divided into 3 sections. The first, the Seronera Valley; the southern and central area, characterised by endless plains dotted with acacias. The second, the western corridor; This area is centred around the Grumeti River, has more forests and dense bush. The third, the north, Lobo area; This area extends in to the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya. Animals know no borders and freely cross between these two countries.
This movement of animals, that is the great migration, is completely driven by the rains of the region. This huge number of animals is highly dependant on the availability of an abundance of food and they are acutely aware of where and when the rains will be falling and move in anticipation. This instinct to move is so strong that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.
The Wildebeest travel through a variety of parks, reserves and protected areas and through a variety of habitats.
The Southern Serengeti
The southern plains of the Serengeti National Park are mostly flat, with gently rolling grasslands, interspersed with the occasional rock outcrops, or kopjes. It is however just the centre of a whole ecosystem which covers more than double that area, and includes Grumeti Reserve, Ikorongo Game Reserve, Loliondo Controlled Area, Maswa Game Reserve, part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and also Kenya’s relatively small Maasai Mara Game Reserve. This combined area is often referred to as the Greater Serengeti area, or the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem.
Vast short-grass plains cover the south of Serengeti National Park, stretching into the north of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the south-west Loliondo and Maswa Game Reserve. Occasionally there are small kopjes which, like the forests around Lake Ndutu, harbour good populations of resident game. However, around these oases of permanent wildlife, the majority of this area is flat and open. It’s alive with grazing wildebeest from around late-November to April, but can be very empty for the rest of the year.
The Western Serengeti
The Serengeti stretches to the west, almost to Lake Victoria. Here it narrows into what’s known as the Western Corridor. The key feature of this area are the two rivers, the Grumeti and the Mbalageti, which run almost parallel, each supporting a band of most, evergreen riparian forest. This area sustains a very good permanent game population, including plenty of zebra and wildebeest, all the predators and forest ‘specialists’ like colobus monkeys. The birdife is particularly varied. The migration passes through between about May and July – pausing to gather momentum before crossing the crocodile-rich waters of the Grumeti River, into the Grumeti Reserve.
The northern Serengeti
The northern section stretches from Seronera in the south to the border with Kenya. This section is typically gently rolling country, broken by small rivers and occasional hills and kopjes. There are good permanent populations of wildlife in several areas here, including the very beautiful Lobo Kopje. It’s interesting, varied country that is less trodden, making it so much more enjoyable, even when the migration is here, between about August and October. In this northern section you can enjoy the spectacular crossings of the Mara River. A particularly stunning are is the wild Lamai Wedge – the area of land between the Mara River and the Kenya Border – which includes the picturesque Wogakuria Kopje, and a beautiful series of game-rich valleys and plains. This is the only area of the national park where off-road driving is acceptable.