SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti National Park is remarkably one of the oldest and the most popular national parks in the world. This protected area lies between the Mara and Simiyu region of Tanzania. It was founded in 1951 and in 1979, it was designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Serengeti National Park sits in an area of about 15000sq.km and it largely consists of woodland, grassland plains of Ndutu in the Southern Serengeti, Lakes which make up the Serengeti Ecosystem.
This park isn’t only famous for its endless plains but also for the gigantic wildebeest migration where nearly 1.5 million wildebeest and thousands of zebras migrate in search of what to feed on and water to drink. Serengeti National Park can be divided into 3 sections-the Southern regions which are also termed as Serengit denoting the land of endless plains; the Western corridor which is characterized by forests, dense bush, and Grumeti River while the Northern section, Lobo area connect with Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya.
History of Serengeti National Park
The history of Serengeti National Park can be traced back to 200 years when the Masai turned the open Eastern Mara region their grazing area. They described it as the ‘endless plains’ and this follows a visit by Austrian Oscar Baumann’s in the region around 1892. The word Serengeti was used by the Masai to mean the place where the land runs on forever.
Steward Edward White became the first American to visit enter Serengeti and he went ahead to record his exploration in the Northern area of Serengeti around 1913. He came back to Serengeti in the 1920s and camped around Seronera for about 90days. At the time, he and his colleagues shot about 50 lions. It was because of hunting lions that reduced their population and that is why the area was partially designated as a game reserve and occupied an area of 3.2sq.kms in 1921. It was later established as a reserve in 1929 and in 1951, it was turned into a national park.
Attractions in Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is an ultimate wildlife safari destination with diverse wildlife species which include among others warthogs, giraffes, klipspringers, roan antelopes, lesser Kudus, hartebeests, elands, impalas, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, golden wolf, serval, leopards, striped hyenas, grant’s gazelles, hippos, chameleons, zebras, hartebeests, waterbucks, topis, patas monkeys, dik-dik, aardwolf, crested porcupines, bat-eared fox wildebeests, lions. Reptiles including snakes like black mamba, African python, black-necked spitting cobra; rainbow agama Nile monitor lizards; chameleons, Nile crocodiles to mention but a few.
The birdlife in Serengeti National Park is estimated to be about 500 and while on birding tours, expect to identify birds such as black crake, Ashy starling, Masai ostriches, crowned cranes, Southern ground hornbill, marabou stork, lesser flamingos, helmeted guinea fowl, Kori bustards, red and yellow barbets, fisher’s lovebird and Hartlaub’s turaco.
Other attractions in Serengeti National Park include Lobo Valley in the Northern side of the park, Upper Grumeti woodlands, Mara River, Retina Hippo Pool, Lamai Triangle, Seronera Valley, Maasai Kopjes, Moru Kopjes, Lake Ndutu and many more.
Activities to do in Serengeti National Park
- Game drives
A game drive in Serengeti National Park is such a remarkable experience offered to visitors on Tanzania safari. One can choose to go for morning game drive, afternoon game drive or night game drive. The different wildlife species to sight on game drive in Serengeti National Park include warthogs, giraffes, klipspringers, roan antelopes, lesser Kudus, hartebeests, elands, impalas, elephants, rhinos, buffaloes, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, golden wolf, serval, leopards, striped hyenas, grant’s gazelles, zebras, hartebeests, waterbucks, topis, patas monkeys, dik-dik, aardwolf, crested porcupines, bat-eared fox wildebeests, lions.
- Witnessing wildebeest migration
The wildebeest migration is probably the major reason most tourists embark on Tanzania safari in Serengeti National Park. It is such an astonishing wildlife safari experience that takes place once in a year. Over 1.5 million wildebeests plus gazelles and zebras can be spotted migrating in search of what to feed on and drinking water.
Birding in Serengeti National Park is a great opportunity for you to spot out the diversity of bird species including among others the Ashy starling, crowned cranes, Southern ground hornbill, marabou stork, lesser flamingos, helmeted guinea fowl, Kori bustards, red and yellow barbets, fisher’s lovebird, Hartlaub’s turaco, Masai ostriches. Tourists on birding tours in this park are advised to come along with a pair of binoculars and cameras.
- Nature walks
Guided nature walks in Serengeti National Park provide insight into the park’s natural wonders. It allows you sight several birds, wildlife, plants and many more. The park features diverse habitats, each with distinct creatures for you to explore.
- Hot air balloon tours
Hot air balloon tour in Serengeti National Park is a rare wildlife experience where visitors catch a glimpse of the park’s diverse wildlife while above the ground instead of being in the safari vehicle. Visitors have the opportunity to see several savanna dwellers including giraffes, elephants, lions, rhinos, buffaloes, antelopes, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, golden wolf, serval, leopards, striped hyenas, wildebeests, birds to mention but a few.
The other safari activities you can engage while on Tanzania safari in Serengeti National Park picnicking tours, camping, and cultural tours.
- Best time to visit Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Reserve can be visited at any time of the year. To witness the wildebeest migration, Serengeti National Park is best to visit between December and July. In case you are interested in spotting predators, the best months to visit this park are June, July, August, September, and October.
- Accommodation in Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Reserve has a wide range of accommodation choices. They range from budget to luxury. Luxury accommodation includes Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp, Soroi Serengeti Lodge, Kati Kati Tented Camp. Mid-range accommodation alternatives include Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, Seronera Wildlife Lodge, Lemala Ewanjan Tented Camp, Serengeti Sopa Lodge, Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp, and the budget options include Serengeti Acacia Camps, Osupuko Serengeti Camps and many more.
- How to access Serengeti National Reserve
Serengeti National Reserve is accessible by road and by air. By road, you can spend 8 hours driving from Arusha Town to Serengeti National Reserve. Visitors who will start their journey from Arusha town can get to the park via Naabi Hill gate. If you are driving starting from Mwanza, you will enter the park via the Ndabaka gate.
By air, you can take private charter flight services from Kilimanjaro International Airport, Arusha Airport to Serengeti Kusini Airstrip, Lobo Airstrip, Seronera Airstrip, Kogatende Airstrip. These airstrips are close to Serengeti National Park.
Related Tanzania National Parks – Where to go for a Tanzania Wildlife Safaris Tour
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Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a magnificent wilderness area of its own and also a designated World Heritage Site that is worth exploring on Tanzania safari. It is an extensive protected area with stunning volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and also features as a home to complete big five African game. This conservation area was founded in 1959 and occupies an area of 8292sq.kms. View Details Here
Tarangire National Park takes its name from Tarangire River and exceptionally, it features among a few safari parks which offer tourists on Tanzania safari with unique and authentic experiences. This park straddles within the Northern circuit of Tanzania, Lake Manyara region and it is famous for its large herds of elephant migration which make it an excellent Tanzania safari destination. View Details Here
Lake Manyara National Park is of no doubt one of Tanzania’s exceptional safari parks tourists on Tanzania safari should consider a must-visit. It is approximately 126kms Southwest of Arusha Town. Lake Manyara National Park was founded in 1960 and it covers an area of only 330sq.kms which makes it one of the smallest parks in Tanzania. Lake Manyara National Park is surrounded by Tarangire National Park and Serengeti National Park. View Details Here
Mahale Mountains National Park is set along the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Kigoma area Western Tanzania. Compared to other protected areas, Mahale Mountains National Park is remotely located providing tourists on Tanzania safari with exceptional wilderness experiences. It takes its name from the Mahale Mountain range which lies at its border. Mahale Mountains National Park. View Details Here
Kilimanjaro National Park is undoubtedly one of the most magical Tanzania safari destinations. It derives its name from the magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro which itself it an outstanding safari site to explore on Tanzania safari. This park is set near Moshi Town in the Northern side of Tanzania above the rolling hills and plateau of Amboseli National Park. View Details Here
Ruaha National Park is set in the heart of Tanzania, approximately 130kms away from Western Iringa Town. This park was founded in 1964 and it is named after the Great Ruaha River that flows on its Southeastern side. It sits in an area of about 20226sq.kms making it the most extensive national park in Tanzania and East Africa at large. It covers a section. View Details Here
Udzungwa Mountains National Park is one of the best parks to visit on Tanzania safari. In 2015, this park was ranked the third best place to visit by the New York Times. It is situated south of Mikumi National Park and it is popular as the Galapagos of Africa. It takes its name from the word Wadsungwa which denotes Kihehe language as people. View Details Here
Rubondo Island National Park is one of the 2 only stunning island safari parks which straddle in the islands of Lake Victoria. From western Mwanza, this protected area is 153kms away and its highest point is Masa Hills in the South which stands at altitude of about 1486m. It was gazetted as a game. View Details Here