Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is one of the most renowned wildlife parks in the world and is well known for its great migration. The variety and sheer numbers of wildlife in the Serengeti is unmatched to anywhere else in Africa, which is why it is such an integral part of a Tanzanian safari. The Serengeti is vast and beautiful and guarantees an exceptional year-round safari experience, but it is the great migration, in which tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra take part, that is the most well-known and considered the greatest wildlife show on earth.
The Serengeti is made up of vast, open savannahs located in the north west of Tanzania and is approximately 14,763 sq. km in size. Its name derives from the Maasai word “Siringet” which means ‘a vast land that runs forever, where endless plains meet the sky’.
This incredible park is broadly divided into four distinct areas: The Central Seronera Valley and Southern Plains are vast, open grasslands ranging from north of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to Loliondo and the Maswa Game Reserve, dotted with acacia trees and teeming with wildlife from November to April, although resident game can be found here all year round. The Central Seronera Valley, home to Nimali Central Serengeti Camp, has open plains, rocky outcrops and hills providing the perfect backdrop for any safari. The migration passes through in April/May but the resident game here is phenomenal with a high concentration of lion, leopard and cheetah. The migration can be viewed in the south or the west of Seronera from November to June which makes this a great area to be based from during this time.
The Western Corridor is marked by two rivers, the Grumeti and the Mbalageti, consisting of a beautiful riverine forested area with some dense bush. This area boasts a wide variety of birdlife and is also home to good, year-round game on the Grumeti Reserve. The migration passes through from May to July where the wildebeest cross the Grumeti River as they head north.
The Northern Serengeti is home to a mixture of valleys and plains, gently rolling hills and small rivers and kopjes and stretches from Seronera to the Kenya border. It is a much quieter part of the Park and the areas of Lobo and Kogatende have very good, permanent wildlife. The migration comes through this area between August and October as they head down from Kenya’s Maasai Mara reserve and this is the best place to view the spectacular crossings at the Mara river. The Kogatende region will be home to the new Nimali Mara Camp, opening in 2019.
Although wildlife viewing in the Serengeti is good throughout the year, it is not always easy to predict when and where the migration is going to be, primarily due to the rainfall pattern. The best time to visit Tanzania for the wildebeest migration is between October and July. The wildebeest are in the Serengeti during this time before they head north and return to the Maasai Mara.