The best safari adventures in Tanzania include a tour of Serengeti National Park. Recently awarded Africa’s Leading National Park (2020) for the second time in-a-row, the Serengeti stands out because of its massive size, unique ecosystem, and the world-renown annual migration.
The name Serengeti is derived from a Maasai word, which means “endless plains”, a fitting name for the 12,000 square mile (30,000 square kilometer) park, the largest national park in Tanzania’s northern circuit.
Serengeti National Park has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its significant ecosystem. The Serengeti supports a huge population of wildebeests, gazelles and zebras. It is estimated that over 4,000 lions reside in the Serengeti, as well as an important number of cheetahs - an endangered species. Further, Serengeti boasts the highest population of ostriches in all of Africa and is home to many species of birds which are found only in Tanzania. It is believed that the ecosystem of Serengeti National Park has changed very little in a million years, making it a place of scientific and historical significance. The Great Migration is perhaps the most popular feature of Serengeti National Park; it is the annual migration of millions of animals into Tanzania and is the largest movement of animals naturally observed anywhere on earth.
Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is a must-see feature of any great Tanzanian safari tour. The amazing landscapes are a photographer’s dream-come-true, wildlife sightings something truly unparalleled, and the overall experience something to remember for a lifetime.
Top Reasons to go to Serengeti National Park
The best tour of Tanzania should include a safari to Serengeti National Park. There are as many reasons to visit Serengeti as there are animals in this awesome park, but we’ve managed to narrow it down to the top reasons why you should visit Serengeti National Park.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
The largest movement of animals on the planet occurs every year in the Serengeti. Over a million animals cross the Grumeti River into Tanzania. Witness the surge of wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and many more, all migrating to the grasslands of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. This experience cannot be matched anywhere else in the world - photographers, especially, should come prepared to get award-winning shots of Africa’s great creatures.
The Serengeti truly is an endless savannah: tall African grasses stretch for miles to create picturesque plains, dotted with Africa’s iconic acacia trees. Predators prowl through the dun-colored grass, while butterflies and spectacularly-colored birds flutter through the trees. Sunsets across the Serengeti’s sweeping plains are a magical experience - the colors of the sky highlight Africa’s wilderness in a truly spectacular way. This Park is what many travelers picture when they think of a safari in East Africa - and it does not disappoint!
Unique National Park Wildlife
Serengeti National Park is considered to have one of the highest levels of biodiversity for any ecosystem in Africa. Further, it is assumed that much of the flora found within Serengeti has been unchanged for over one million years, making this park truly a place where visitors can step into history.
Visitors are almost guaranteed to witness the Big 5 most dangerous animals in Africa, including rhinos and leopards, which are usually the most difficult to spot. This is also a prime location to see rare animals, such as cheetahs, serval cats and wild dogs.
Meet the Maasai
The Maasai have been grazing their cattle and living in the Serengeti area for centuries - long before the first explorers ever stepped foot in East Africa. Just outside of Serengeti National Park are traditional Maasai communities. Visitors can meet this indigenous tribe and learn first-hand about their ancient traditions and deep connection to nature with a special cultural tour.
A unique experience available in Serengeti National Park is a night safari. Departing after nightfall allows for visitors to experience the rarely-seen nocturnal animals and catch predators on-the-hunt. Altezza offers this amazing African safari-in-the-dark to our clients: we have experience in leading Night Safaris and are prepared with the necessary equipment. Contact us for more information about this once-in-a-lifetime Night Safari in the Serengeti.
Hot air balloon Safari
The best view of the Serengeti cannot be found along any track or dusty road - for the absolute perfect Serengeti safari experience you need to take to the air, in a hot air balloon! Ideal for honeymooners, romantic escapes or unforgettable family vacations, flying over African plains in a hot air balloon is simply magical. This unique safari adventure is especially recommended during the Serengeti Migration, because it provides an aerial view of the millions of animals migrating into Tanzania.
Safari-goers will spend their days in the wilds of the Serengeti but relax in the comforts of luxury lodges situated in or near this National Park. Altezza works with the best accomodations to ensure our guests have an amazing experience: great food, fabulous wines and beverages all amidst incredible scenery. Altezza partners with top lodges which offer guests WiFi service and private verandas, but also include amenities and extras such as infinity pools, games room for young travelers and evening entertainment with performances by local, traditional Tanzanian dancers.
Serengeti Safari Tours & Packages
Night Safaris, Hot Air Balloon Rides, and Cultural tours - with so many options to make your African safari incredible, it can feel like a very big decision. Let Altezza help. Our professional safari planners work with you to select the very best options for your dream African safari in Tanzania, according to your needs and personal budget. Make your travel dreams come true with Altezza.
Tanzania luxury safari tours
Professional photographers or budding amateurs capture the best photos of African wildlife with Altezza. Altezza’s attentive driver-guides are sensitive to your unique photo-taking needs and will literally ‘go the extra mile’ to make sure you get not only that perfect shot, but even the exact angle, you’ve been searching for. Our vehicles have removable tops for that perfect photo and are outfitted with charging stations so you never run out of battery-power. Have the best photo safari in Serengeti with Altezza.
Serengeti Safari Cost
Altezza offers two types of safari tours in Serengeti National Park, classic and luxury. While there are some excellent budget safaris available, it can be hit-or-miss with camping and hiring contracted driver-guides, and Altezza refuses to take that risk with our guests. Instead, we ensure an outstanding mid-range safari led by our own expert guides and great hospitality offered at top lodges we personally visit every year for quality assurance.
Altezza believes that an ideal African safari experience is a blend of incredible nature and amazing comfort. Guests on a classic safari have an all-inclusive experience, access to swimming pools and on-site spas, as well as chef-inspired meals throughout their safari. A classic safari in Tanzania may be a bit more expensive compared to neighboring countries, but only Tanzania offers the Ngorongoro Crater, Zanzibar and the amazing Serengeti. In Tanzania, visitors have a better chance at spotting several species of endangered animals, including herds of elephants and cheetahs, and there are animals found only in Tanzania and nowhere else on earth. You can’t beat a safari in Tanzania!
If you’re looking for the absolute best safari experience, or are planning a spectacular vacation to celebrate a milestone, then consider a luxury safari led by Altezza. A luxury safari goes above and beyond, offering a truly extravagant adventure in the heart of wild Africa. Altezza understands how to blend nature’s exquisite beauty and wildlife with luxurious comforts and special extras for the journey of a lifetime. Learn more about Altezza’s luxury safaris here, or contact one of our professional safari planners to start arranging your custom luxury safari.
Serengeti Safari: Best time to go
The best time to visit the Serengeti is June through September, or late December through March. These seasons offer ideal, sunny and warm weather in the Serengeti with little chance of rain. However, some areas of the Serengeti (such as Seronera) may feel a bit crowded during these months. If you are seeking active wildlife, you might consider visiting during the rainy season (April - June, or November), while it may be wet, the animals are usually very mobile and easier to spot. For example, during the rainy season photographers may snap photos of elephants playfully spraying water at one another, and capture high-contrast photos of herds of zebras marching through vibrant green grass.
Serengeti National Park is one of the largest national parks in Tanzania, visitors should plan for several days to fully explore this wonderful park. Some of the top attractions include: Seronera Valley, the Western Corridor, Kogatende areas, Northern Lobo and the Southern Plains. Instead of rushing through this world-famous destination, take your time to experience and fully enjoy each beautiful feature of Serengeti National Park.
Which destination to choose in Serengeti?
The Serengeti is a massive national park; its greater ecosystem rivaling the size of the entire country of Belgium! To make it easier to navigate, Serengeti National Park is divided into four zones: Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern. The best Serengeti safari tours visit each zone to give guests the full Serengeti experience, because each area offers something unique.
The Northern zone, composed of Lobo and Kogatende areas, is one of the most popular of the Serengeti, especially during the Great Migration. Here, near the border of Kenya, visitors have the best vantage-point for the world-famous migration. Watch as millions of ungulates dare across the dangerous Mara River to reach Tanzania’s grasslands. After their arrival, the herds still must be wary of predators - such as lions and cheetahs - which are easily spotted in this area.
Thanks to its popularity, there are many comfortable hotels and lodges in the Northern Serengeti. Those visiting the Serengeti often pair a trip to Seronera to cover the main highlights of the Great Migration for the best Serengeti safari park tour.
Views and landscape
The Northern zone offers incredible panoramic views over picturesque African landscapes of hills, forests and stunning rock formations, all with the brilliant Mara River cutting across. Here is an ideal location to view the annual river crossing, as herds of wildebeests and zebras struggle across the river and then spread across the grasslands to graze. There is nowhere else in Africa quite like the Northern Serengeti, and you must be there to truly experience this phenomenon of nature.
Animals to watch
The Northern zone is particularly quiet, although herbivores are active inhabitants. This makes it an ideal location to spot cheetahs, the beautiful big cats that are notoriously elusive. While these animals are often difficult to spot, the best chances to score that photographic “trophy” are in Northern Serengeti.
Of course, the main attraction of the Northern Serengeti is the Great Migration. Each year, over a million wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of zebras, gazelles, impalas and other ungulates make the treacherous crossing over the Mara River, seeking green pastures. They must brave the Nile Crocodiles and hippos of the river, and then outrun predators such as lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas.
This is nature: in all its beauty and danger, reality that is not romanticised, but remains just as it has been for millions of years. This is the Great Migration!
And the best location to catch it all is in the Northern Serengeti.
When to visit
The best time to visit the area is from the middle of July to the beginning of October, when the river crossing is most likely to take place. Another good option to consider is November, when the animals start returning to prepare for calving.
Bordering the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater area is the Southern Zone of the Serengeti. It is common for safari goers to first visit the renown Crater and then pass straight to the Southern Serengeti, or vice-versa. The main attractions of the area are Lake Ndutu and the broader Ndutu area.
The landscape of the Southern Zone is ideal for wildlife viewing in all seasons, and visitors are sure to spot many animals, both near and far. Witness the miracle of life during calving season here in Southern Serengeti’s Ndutu area where wildebeests birth their young every year.
Views and landscape
Southern Serengeti is the stuff of safari dreams: vast, open plains filled with herds of zebras and wildebeests, and marked with rock formations (called ‘kopjes’, which were the inspiration for Pride Rock in Disney’s Lion King). Yes, these landscapes are real, and you can experience them in Southern Serengeti.
Lake Ndutu, especially, is a favorite location to visit in Southern Serengeti. It is a seasonal lake edged in acacia trees and home to many species of birds, including flocks of vibrant pink flamingos. As a popular water source for the area, visitors are sure to spot predators such as lions or leopards hiding in the trees, as well.
Animals to see
Due to the terrain of short grass and protruding rocks, it is easy to spot African wildlife in the Southern zone. Look out for giraffes, elephants, and zebras, especially. Watch the wildebeest’s calving season in the Ndutu area for an amazing experience. Big cats, such as lions and leopards and occasionally, cheetahs, are on the prowl in the Southern zone.
When to visit
Calving season starts in January and goes through March. This is the best time for visitors to see thousands of new baby wildebeests and other ungulates make their arrival into the world and try out their wobbly legs. For survival, wildebeests can stand up and run within a few minutes of birth!
Western Serengeti is the starting point of the Great Migration, from the Grumeti area. The Grumeti River is famously crossed every year by millions of wildebeests and hundreds of thousands of other ungulates, such as zebras and gazelles. Visitors will take in the Grumeti and Ikoma areas in Western Serengeti.
Views and landscape
The quintessential plains give way to lush acacia forests and green hills of the Western Serengeti. Visitors are swept up in Africa’s diverse beauty while they explore forests filled with various types of monkeys and tropical birds; and visit mighty rivers, teaming with dangerous crocodiles.
Animals to see
The Western zone provides the opportunity for safari goers to see all types of Tanzania wildlife: Nile crocodiles in the Grumeti River; elephants and buffalo across green hills; Colobus monkeys, waterbuck and hartebeests in the forests. The Western zone offers visitors a phenomenal African safari experience that will surely be a major highlight of their tour.
When to visit
The best time to visit Western Serengeti is from May to July. This is when the lucky visitors may spot the Grumeti River crossing.
Those who want to experience top luxury lodges for a discounted price should consider visiting during the low season, March to May, when the prices go down due to the rainy season.
Central Serengeti (Seronera)
Central Serengeti is undoubtedly the most exuberant part of the park. The number of wild animals here is probably the highest of all, and the wildlife is teeming here all the time. It is also here where the largest number of hotels and lodges can be found.
Central Serengeti is without a doubt the most active part of Serengeti National Park. While other areas of the Serengeti may have their best times of year based on the season and migration patterns, in the Central Serengeti there is always guaranteed excellent wildlife viewing. Here, visitors will discover the highest number of animals in the park, as wildlife is teeming in the Central zone in all seasons.
The Seronera airstrip is also located in Central Serengeti, and guests can choose to fly in or out of here directly. A flight from Serengeti to Arusha or Moshi takes an hour or less and offers unmatched aerial views of Tanzania’s most iconic destinations.
This is also the place where amazing Hot Air Balloon Safaris depart, a truly spectacular way to witness the Great Migration.
If you are interested in flying or having a Hot Air Balloon tour, please contact us to arrange your special safari adventure.
Landscape and views
The Seronera area offers the most diverse ecosystem of the Serengeti, ranging from savannah and rivers to acacia woodlands. Don’t miss the Retina Hippo Pool for a chance to watch a huge population of hippos interact with one another in their natural habitat, a must-see for any great African safari.
Animals to see
Capture the entire “Tanzania Collection” here in Seronera: big cats are sure to follow the migration, and no matter the season, some will be passing through Seronera because of its convenient location.
When to visit
From June till October the weather is sunny, but, truly - this location is recommended all year round! Seasonal discounts are available from March till May.
Animals & Birds you’ll see during Safari in Serengeti
Visitors will have a chance to see nearly all the wildlife of Tanzania through the breadth of the full Serengeti National Park: from big cats to primates; flamingoes and other unique birdlife; elephants and giraffes; rock pythons to crocodiles; endangered rhinos and wild dogs, you’re sure to spot it in the Serengeti. The Serengeti’s diverse and massive ecosystem ensures that bird watchers, nature enthusiasts and animal lovers are all sure to get a real-life sighting of their favorite creature.
Packing for a Serengeti Safari
Packing for a safari is a bit different than a typical vacation - this is an adventure! You should have sturdy walking shoes and several layers, because nights can become chilly. Also, most hotels and lodges offer swimming pools, so you should bring a bathing suit. Because the list is quite varied, Altezza has made it easy for you to prepare: find a detailed packing list here.
Is a Serengeti Safari Safe? - Safety Tips
Absolutely, a Serengeti Safari is safe! Further, the animals are also kept safe, unharmed and free in their natural habitat. To ensure this experience remains safe for all, and that the animals do not have their freedom inhibited, please follow these basic precautions:
- No not attempt to feel the animals, including monkeys which may hang around picnic sites
- Stay inside the vehicle at all times, except at approved rest stops, with the permission of the driver. This includes keeping your arms, legs and head inside the vehicle, as well
- Properly supervise children at all times
- Do not shout or intentionally disturb the animals in any way
There are few health precautions while on safari. Altezza ensures that all tours are provided adequate bottled drinking water for the duration of their safari, and guests are asked to avoid drinking tap water and only consume bottled water, for their own health.
Some guests have concerns about malaria or other fevers while traveling in Tanzania. The truth is, the risk of infection from Tse Tse flies or mosquitoes in the Serengeti is minimal. However, to further reduce your risk, consider wearing a long-sleeved shirt in the evenings, sleep under a mosquito net (provided at all lodges and hotels used by Altezza), and wear mosquito repellant.
Yellow Fever has been eradicated in Tanzania and to ensure it remains that way, all visitors to Tanzania must have proof of a Yellow Fever Vaccination. This is required upon entry to Tanzania, so please have the official vaccine card prepared.
Finally, drones are not permitted within Tanzania National Parks, including in the Serengeti. This protects the animals and ensures no visitors are exiting the vehicles to retrieve drones.
Drones are only allowed under special permits, if you have further questions please contact us directly.
Things you need to know about Safari in Serengeti National Park
Best time to see the Great Migration
The Great Migration usually occurs from mid-July to early October, when the herds cross the river and is best witnessed from Northern Serengeti.
Other opportunities for incredible animal sightings include November, when herds return to prepare for calving and January through March, which is the Wildebeests Calving season in Southern Serengeti.
How to Avoid Crowds?
The Serengeti is a massive national park, and you likely won’t feel crowded even if it is “busy”, as it is easy to take a different route or road than another safari car. The times it may feel crowded is when several safari vehicles are all congregating in one area for an animal sighting and is more likely to occur during the Great Migration.
Some locations, such as Seronera, for example, may become more congested especially during the high tourist season in July and August. However, it is still relatively easy to avoid the bustling by getting an early head start. Safari tours are permitted to leave as early as 6 am, so if you agree to take your breakfast to-go, you can have a sunrise safari and perhaps even spot some incredible wildlife, all in the serene quiet of the early morning.
If you are truly after a remote experience, consider booking your safari during the rainy season. While it will be wet, you’ll stay warm and dry inside your vehicle and have a chance to experience the Serengeti during a truly beautiful time; green and lush forests, flourishing grass and well-fed animals. There are much fewer tourists during the months of March-June and while it rains steadily, the sun usually appears every day and makes the trees and savannah grass sparkle in the light.
How do you get to Serengeti
There are two options for reaching the Serengeti for your dream safari: driving by vehicle or flying in a bush plane.
Of course, a flight is the more expensive option, but it is quite affordable considering the awesome experience and the chance for an air safari! Altezza recommends this option for special occasions, such as honeymoons, anniversaries or a once-in-a-lifetime experience for you and your child. Flying to the Serengeti saves a great deal of time and is more affordable if you choose to focus on the Serengeti Park alone, instead of visiting several National Parks during your Tanzania Safari tour.
Driving to Serengeti National Park can be a 7-hour direct drive from the Kilimanjaro International Airport, resulting in a full day’s drive to reach the park. To offer the best experience on your Tanzania tour, Altezza offers packages that include a visit to Serengeti National park as well as other nearby parks. While driving to the Serengeti, visitors will pass top attractions along the way, such as Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Manyara National Park. Instead of simply driving past these awesome destinations, Altezza has designed packages that allow travelers to experience Tanzania as they move closer to the Serengeti, so that no time or fun is wasted along the way.
Check out some of our tour packages that include the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and another top Tanzanian park:
Best and Most Popular Serengeti Safari Packages
Altezza tours offer multiple days in the Serengeti, as it requires 2-4 full days to really enjoy the best aspects of Serengeti National Park. With Altezza’s carefully planned safari packages nothing is wasted and the safari experience is enriched as visitors see more sights and experience more wildlife in Tanzania.
How many days do you need in Serengeti?
For the best Serengeti safari, visitors should schedule 3-5 days, this allows time to visit all of the major attractions and not feel rushed while moving through the park. However, due to the Serengeti’s vast size, it is possible to have 7 or more days in the Serengeti and still feel like it was not enough to fully embrace this world famous national park. Allow for a minimum of 3-4 days, but feel welcome to plan a longer safari in the top safari destination in the world!
What is the best month to visit the Serengeti?
From June till October and from late November till March for the most animal movement. However, other months often offer discounts during the off-seasons. Don’t discount the low season; the Serengeti is simply beautiful during the rainy season, when wildlife is playful and greenery is abundant.
What do you need to take for Safari?
You should pack items for warm weather as well as chilly evenings, we recommend bringing:
- 1- 2 pairs light trousers/pants
- 1 pair of comfortable walking shorts or a loose-fitting skirt
- A pair of sturdy walking shoes, and another pair of comfortable shoes for at the lodge
- A swimsuit, as most hotels and lodges have swimming pools
- A light jacket or fleece
- 2 long-sleeved shirts or blouses
- Regular shirts for every-day wear
- A hat, for sun
For a complete list, please see our Safari Packing List.
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