Top 10 Things to Do in Serengeti National Park

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Endless rolling fields. Majestic beasts. The Great Wildebeest Migration. The world’s most beautiful sunsets. All this and more await you at the Serengeti National Park while you are on your Tanzania trip. Visiting the Serengeti is an intensely personal experience. You should definitely indulge in the kind of adventures that excite you, but here are some of the top things to do in Serengeti National Park.

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1. Game drives

Imagine this. You’re in a safari jeep, driving miles into the desert. You’re surrounded by mountains and craters. Right next to your jeep, you can see wildebeests gathering. After driving for a while, you spot a lioness, lounging after her midday meal. 

Doesn’t that sound straight out of a movie?

The Serengeti is well known for its large lion population, but it is spread across a very big area, so the best way to experience this is via game drives. You can do night game drives as well as day game drives, depending on the areas of the Serengeti you want to see and the animals you want to spot.

A colorful hot air balloon taking off on a clear day.
Take a hot air balloon tour for a panoramic aerial view of Serengeti's wildlife and nature. 

2. Get a bird’s eye view from a hot air balloon

The Serengeti is quite large and a great way to see a large portion of it is via hot air balloon. Go in the erly morning and you'll be able to see the sunrise across the peninsula, waking all the animals, as they run to seek cover or to continue their migration.

The view from these hot air balloons is stunning, as you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the world you’re currently in.

Keep in mind. This is an expensive affair, but one that is definitely worth it. Along with the hot air balloon, you will also get a tour guide, and a glass of champagne and a hearty breakfast after you land!

Wildebeests crossing the river during migration.
Witness the natural annual event - The Great Migration during your trip to Serengeti.

3. Witness the Great Wildebeest Migration

Nothing will make you wonder at the intricacy of life and the cruel beauty of nature more than the Great Wildebeest Migration, an annual event that sees the marching (and often, stampeding) of millions of animals (mostly wildebeest) across the vast Serengeti, all the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and back again. 

Hands down, the greatest wildlife experience you will ever have.

Want to know what makes it more exciting? These mammals migrate with their predators at their heels every step of the way! You will get to see lions, crocodiles, and a number of other apex predators when you follow the migration. The migration happens all year round but the location keeps shifting. Plan your trip just right, so you don’t end up missing it.

Maasi tribesmen around a bonfire during late evening in Serengeti National Park.
Immerse in the traditional culture and lifestyle of the Maasai tribe. 

4. Experience traditional Maasai lifestyle

The Serengeti is home to the Maasai tribe, a semi-nomadic tribe that has lived in Tanzania and Kenya for many centuries. There are quite a few Maasai villages in and near the Serengeti, and if you want to witness how the tribe engages in traditional ways of living, you should definitely visit one of these villages (known as bomas).

Many of these villages are happy to invite visitors!

You can learn about Maasai customs, rituals and traditions, visit a few of their living spaces, and even purchase handicrafts made using traditional methods.

An air charter safari about to take off during the day.
Hop on an air charter and take an aerial tour of Serengeti National Park. 

5. Hire an air charter

If you’re not a fan of hot air balloons, you should take out an air charter. These are the small chartered planes that travel between the seven airstrips in the national park.

Get that quintessential 50’s Hollywood feel.

Be prepared: the views might not be as wide as that of a hot air balloon, but this is definitely a unique experience you won’t get elsewhere: where else can you board a small flight (with a capacity of 13 people) and get an aerial view of animals stampeding below?!

The Olduvai Gorge surrounded by Serengeti's flora.
Visit the famous Olduvai Gorge on your Serengeti National Park trip. 

6. Visit the Olduvai Gorge

It is common knowledge that all human beings came from the continent of Africa, and in the Olduvai Gorge, you’ll be standing in a ravine that housed some of our ancestors over 2 million years ago. The gorge lies a few miles south of the Serengeti, and is famous for the human fossils discovered here by Mary Leakey — a discovery that transformed our understanding of human evolution. 

Head down to the cradle of humanity.

Walk down the gorge, and look at the footprints left by our ancestors 3.6 million years ago. Stop by the Oldupai Museum originally founded by Mary Leakey — you will not regret it!

7. Seek adventure at the Moru Kopjes

Picture this: you’re in the middle of the Serengeti, and you spot gigantic, round rocks rising from the earth. These are the Moru Kopjes, and they are scattered around the Serengeti, providing shade and water for all the animals that call the Serengeti home. They also provide a great vantage point for the predators.

 Visit the Moru Kopjes and you just might feel like you’re in Lion King.

The Moru Kopjes are not just for the animals, they have been visited by Maasai for centuries as evidenced by the rock paintings in these kopjes. This is also the best place to spot the African black rhino, so that’s a double win!

Hippopotamus with its mouth wide open
The Serengeti National Park is great place to spot hippos. There are numerous waterholes where hundreds of hippos wallow.

8. Explore the Retina hippo pool

A list of the top things to do in Serengeti National Park wouldn't feel complete without mentioning the Retina Hippo Pool.

The hippopotamus looks like a gentle, lazy giant; but it is actually one of the most ferocious animals on the planet. At the Retina hippo pool, you can actually see the lazy side of the 200 odd hippos that call this water body home.

The Retina pool is where the hippos gather to feed, bathe, and even fight!

There are a number of crocodiles in the pool, so you might even end up seeing a fight! Follow the necessary precautions when around the pool—after all, your safety is of utmost importance.

The Grumeti River during the day with dried logs scattered around.
The Wildebeest migration across the Grumeti River is a sight to behold. 

9. Visit Grumeti River

One of the most stunning views you’ll ever get in your life is catching the wildebeest migration, as the animals cross the Grumeti River.

Enjoy a picnic by the riverside and relax alongside wildebeest, elephants, hippos, and monkeys.

Mind you, this is not for the weak-hearted! The river is infested with crocodiles, and you will come face to face with the adage ‘survival of the fittest’, as the wildebeest swim across the river to get into the Maasai Mara, while battling the crocodiles trying to consume them. There are also lots of periods of calm where the animals are just lounging at the riverside and drinking from the waters.

A lion and a lioness look on at Seronera River Valley.
A visit to Seronera River Valley will leave you in awe with its picturesque views of Serengeti. 

10. Discover the Seronera River Valley

The Seronera River Valley provides postcard perfect views of the Serengeti. The entire region, surrounding the river, is brimming with unique flora and fauna. This valley is a scaled down version of the entire Serengeti- there are the rivers, the gorges, the mountains, and the animals!

This is an experience you will never forget.

Pack a bag. Stay in one of the local lodges, where you can hear the chatter of animals through the night. You can even spot wildebeests, zebras, elephants, gazelles, and even the predators like lions, cheetahs, and leopards.  

Published by Rasmus Juul Olsen, updated on August 8, 2023

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