The Serengeti is an iconic wildlife safari destination. The sprawling plains of the Serengeti National Park stretch as far as the eye can see and this 14 000km2 area is home to a variety of landscapes, habitats and ecosystems.
The vast Serengeti can be split into five regions, each offering travelers a unique experience.
This area is the vibrant, beating heart of the Serengeti. The Central Serengeti sees high volumes of visitors due to the large amounts of resident wildlife. This gives travelers a high chance of seeing wildlife in the least amount of time. The central Serengeti is the quintessential image of a Serengeti safari; stretches of savanna grassland dotted with acacia and baobab trees. The Seronera River Valley is beautiful and the year round water supply keeps the area rich in predator and prey. The Central Serengeti is a year round destination thanks to the resident wildlife and reaches its peak in the dry season from June to November. For a chance to see the Great Migration, the best times to visit are April and November.
The Western Corridor is a remote section of the Serengeti which stretches to Lake Victoria. This area is well known for the Grumeti River which is the scene of treacherous river crossings that form part of the Great Migration. Thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle make their way across the crocodile infested waters en route to the lush plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya. The best time to witness these crossings is from late May to mid-July.
The Northern Serengeti is a quiet area of the Serengeti thanks to its remote and secluded location. Expect far fewer crowds here as it requires long travel times to get to the northern area. The trip is worth it as the Northern Serengeti’s landscapes are varied and beautiful and it is home to exciting wildlife. It is also where travelers can watch the dramatic Mara River crossings. Herds that are thousands strong make the dangerous crossing, attempting to avoid the crocodiles as they do so. The best time to visit with a high chance of seeing the river crossings is from July to September.
Serengeti translates loosely to “endless plains” in the local Maasai language. It could be argued that the seemingly never ending, short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti were the inspiration for the name. This seasonal safari destination is the most accessible area of the Serengeti and stretches from the Central Serengeti and the Seronera to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Lake Ndutu region is dotted with alkaline lakes home to flocks of pink flamingos. This area is great for game viewing during the Great Migration from December to March. Most excitingly, the lush plains are the perfect destination and backdrop for the calving season during February when about half a million calves are born over a 2-3 week period and join the ranks of the huge herds.
The Eastern Serengeti is definitely ‘off the beaten path’ and is one of the most starkly beautiful sections of the Serengeti. Made up of grass plains, rivers and rocky outcrops, this area does not see many tourists but is an exciting safari destination. It is home to all three species of big cat (leopard, lion and cheetah) with a noticeably high concentration of cheetah. The wildlife viewing in the eastern Serengeti is at its best during the dry season and reaches its pinnacle in November when the Great Migration passes through.