Tanzania's iconic Serengeti National Park covers nearly 6,000 square miles of Northern Tanzania up to the border with Kenya's Masai Mara. The topography of the park is generally flat, characterised by huge open grassland plains where the herds of wildebeest graze during the annual Great Migration. The Migration is what draws most visitors to the Serengeti and offers the chance to see herds of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest grazing and moving through the park as they search for fresh grasses. The fact that this is an annual cycle means that almost the Serengeti serves as a year round safari destination and we can recommend the best camps to see the migration from depending on the time of year that you are visiting.
Accommodation in the Serengeti is varied, comprising of permanent lodges such as Lemala Kuria Hills and Singita Sasakwa, which offer the very best in luxury accommodation. By their nature, the permanent lodges are best visited when the migration is in that specific area, however, if you visit out of season then there is excellent resident game around such lodges and you do benefit from the areas being much quieter. There are also a number of fixed tented camps, which give a really authentic safari experience without copromising on comfort. Good examples of these would be Serengeti Pioneer Camp or Serengeti Kusini. These camps are very popular with visitors who want an authentic tented safari experience, but without compromising on the excellent food, great service and luxuries that have become associated with modern safaris. There are also a number of semi-permanent "mobile" camps which move 2 or 3 times a year to follow the migration. These are tented camps, but again, there is no compromise on luxury and they offer an excellent chance of seeing the migration no matter what time of year you visit them. Camps such as Olakira and Kimondo are great examples of these mobile camps and very popular with our clients.
Being a natural phenomenon, the pattern of The Great Migration and where the herds will be at a particular time of year is difficult to predict but, broadly speaking, they move along the following lines. January to March they are in the Southern part of the Serengeti before moving North through April and May, although as this is the long rainy season many camps are closed. June and July sees many of the herds split up, with some heading through Seronera region of the Central Serengeti and others heading up through the Western Corridor and Grumeti Reserves. August and September tend to be the most popular months to see the migration in the Northern Serengeti (and also Kenya's Masai Mara) and this is when the iconic river crossings can be seen. October and November sees the herds move through the Eastern part of the reserve before heading back towards the Southern area for December when the cycle starts all over again. Naturally, this is driven by the rains and availability of fresh grasses for the herds, but it is a good overview of where they will be at a given time.
Lions, Leopards, Cheetahs, Elephants, Wildebeest, Zebras, Thompson's and Grant's Gazelles, Elands, Topis, Kongonis, Impalas and Buffalo. There is an abundance of bird life in the park with birds of prey, vultures and many grassland, woodland and marsh species. There are over 500 species of bird recorded including the unusual looking secretary birds, martial eagles and ostriches.
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- The Great Migration is naturally the main highlight of the Serengeti - the location of the herds varies depending on the time of year so please speak to us about when you are planning to go and we can suggest the best camps for you.
- Ballooning over the Serengeti is a truly magical experience and one we would recommend for all visitors. The early start means you can watch the sun rise over the plains and spot animals from the air before returning to terra firma for a delicious Champagne breakfast.
- The park offers superb year round game viewing, even at times when the migration isn't around, so do consider it out of migration season - the big cat sightings are especially good.
- The Serengeti region boasts more than 500 bird species, 5 of which are endemic to the region.
- Spend a few nights in one of the mobile tented camps that follow the migration route for a true wilderness experience.
- June and July: The rains break and the plains become a spectacular carpet of green bringing all manner of wildlife and birdlife out to enjoy the lush grasses. Excellent for predator sightings as well. The Migration is moving through the Central and Western sectors of the park.
- August and September: This is regarded as peak time for the Serengeti as the herds congregate in the North of the park, crossing over into the Masai Mara and back. This is the best time of year to see the iconic river crossings. Warm days and cool nights are common and it tends to be very dry at this time of year.
- October to December: Another good time of year for safari although there can be some rains in November however this does make the safaris after the rains very good.
- Singita Grumeti Reserves offers the chance to enjoy horseback safaris on their private concession, a wonderfully different way to enjoy your game viewing and see the Serengeti.
- For close up cheetah sightings head for a stay at Namiri Plains. This exclusive area has been closed to visitors for 20 years, recently re-opening as one of Africa's premier locations for cheetah sightings.
- Although they can mean long days, driving safaris (with your own private guide) offer a chance to see the wonderfully varied landscapes of the Serengeti.
- June is a fantastic time of year to enjoy the Serengeti, especially in the central region around the Moru Kopjes. Try a stay at Lemala Ewanjan Camp, a beautiful place to stay offering one of the best sundowner spots in Africa.
- Mwiba Lodge is located in a private concession and is an ideal getaway for watching the wildebeest calving period from November to May
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