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Overview

The Serengeti is probably the world’s most famous game reserve, and few would seriously argue with the assertion it is also the finest safari destination anywhere in Africa. The centerpiece of a cross-border ecosystem that also includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, Serengeti is notable first for its vast, untrammeled landscape, as epitomized by the horizonless short-grass southern plains from which its name derives (Maasai for "endless plain"). The park is the main host of the world’s most impressive mammal migration, an ongoing year-round event involving some two million ungulates, mostly ...

The Serengeti is probably the world’s most famous game reserve, and few would seriously argue with the assertion it is also the finest safari destination anywhere in Africa. The centerpiece of a cross-border ecosystem that also includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, Serengeti is notable first for its vast, untrammeled landscape, as epitomized by the horizonless short-grass southern plains from which its name derives (Maasai for "endless plain"). The park is the main host of the world’s most impressive mammal migration, an ongoing year-round event involving some two million ungulates, mostly wildebeest but also zebra, gazelle, eland, hartebeest, and various predatory hangers-on. Great herds of buffalo are also a feature of the park, along with smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and it is also one of the most reliable places in Africa for close up encounters with lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena and other large carnivores. Birdwatchers are also in for a treat, with the massive ostrich, along with endemics such as Fischer’s lovebird and grey-throated spurfowl. The Serengeti can sometimes feel like a victim of its own popularity, with the central plains around the Seronera headquarters tending to be overpopulated with 4x4s in high season. Fortunately, however, it is a big place, and the north and west of the park remain refreshingly uncrowded. For those who really want to get away from the modern world, it is also possible to arrange walking safaris into wilderness areas whose usage is limited to a handful of low impact operators.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Philip Briggs for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The park lies in northern Tanzania, bordered by Kenya. Serengeti National Park is widely regarded as the best wildlife reserve in Africa due to its density of predators and prey.
  • Language: Kiswahili or Swahili, English and Arabic
  • Currency: Tanzanian Shilling
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    The park can be visited at any time. However, if you want to see the wildebeest in large numbers, December-July is when they stick to the accessible south-central plains (calving usually takes place in January/February). They are usually in the north from August to October, when river crossings are regular. March-May is the low season, due to the rains, but wildlife viewing is still excellent at this time of year, tourist traffic is very low, and many lodges offer bargain prices.