Stewart Edward White, a hunter from America, set out in the year 1913 pushing south from Nairobi in search of vast open expanses and African wildlife, and that’s when he discovered paradise on earth – the Serengeti. The Maasai called it ‘Siringitu’, the place where the land always keeps moving, and used it to graze their cattle for millennia. Covering a stretch of 30,000 sq. km., the Serengeti National Park encompasses two UNESCO World Heritage Sites as well as two UNESCO Biosphere Reserves within its boundaries. The ecosystem present here ranks among the oldest on planet earth, and the flora and fauna of the Serengeti have remained unchanged for millions of years. With traces of humans dating back 2 million years to the time of the Early Man, it is easy to understand just how ancient the Serengeti really is. Serengeti National Park gets the following relevant safari ratings:
- Wildlife Rating: 5 stars out of 5
- Scenery Rating: 5 stars out of 5
- Bush Vibe: 4 stars out of 5
Serengeti National Park includes all kinds of ecosystems and this means that each area has its own wildlife and flora. From the acacia tree Savannah in the center to the wooded grasslands of the north, from the black clay plains of the west and the grassy expanses of the south to those rivers, swamps and lakes, each part of the Serengeti is worth visiting, every inch has its own story to tell.
The most obvious charm of the Serengeti is its Great Migration phenomenon. While the park is home to a number of animals, watching hundreds and thousands of wildebeests, gazelle and zebras make their way through the park in search of greener pastures and give birth to off-springs along the way is a sight for sore eyes. The Serengeti offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities outside the Great Migration as well. It is home to the elusive black rhino, kongoni, giraffe, elephant, eland, topi, buffalo, big cats and 500 species of birds.
Serengeti National Park’s fame and charm has attracted countless movie personalities, celebrities, poets, artists, writers, storytellers, directors and film crews over the years. The likes of Hugo von Lawick, Peter Mattheissen and Alan Root have entered its boundaries, but its most popular visitor was one Ernest Hemingway, one of the biggest patrons of African tourism and the man responsible for romanticizing safaris around the world. And since more than 90,000 tourists visit the Serengeti National Park each year, you’re sure to find tourists, irrespective of which season you choose for your explorations.
It is next to impossible to come up with a list of cons for the Serengeti, but the only thing you would want to know is that the Seronera area gets horribly crowded between the months of June – July and October – April. On the other hand, the list of pros keeps going on and on. First of all, the Serengeti is one of the best national parks on the planet for animal sightings, irrespective of the time of the year. Moreover, despite the hype, the plains give you an authentic African feel and hot air balloon safaris present the Serengeti in an entirely new light. There are fantastic lodges which offer splendid accommodation opportunities, catering to mid-range as well as luxury travelers. And then there’s the Great Migration which takes your Serengeti adventure to an entirely new level!
There are all kinds of accommodation options for those visiting the Serengeti. The most authentic experience can be found in mobile tented camps such as Olikara Camp and Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp. There are a number of permanent camps in the area as well. These resemble actual lodges, are far more romantic and are your best bet while visiting the Serengeti. Some of the best ones include the Grumeti Serengeti Tented Camp and Sayari Camp. Those wanting to stay in Central Serengeti, considered to host the best and most exciting wildlife experience, would find the Serengeti Serena Lodge, Dunia Camp and Seronera Wildlife Lodge to offer decent options.
The altitude ranges from 920 meters to 1850 meters, and this means that the temperature usually varies between 15 – 25 degrees C. The Serengeti climate is dry, but rainfall takes place in two pockets – the shorter season of October and November and the longer season of March to May. Bookmundi recommends you to visit the Serengeti in time for the Great Migration which takes place between June – July (river crossing) and January – February (birthing of calves).
The Serengeti National Park doesn’t just stand out in terms of its wildlife and natural beauty, but also in terms of its location. It is very easy to extend your vacation while visiting the Serengeti, per the following:
Ngorongoro Crater: The Ngorongoro Crater, another African destination famous for its exotic wildlife, is the most obvious destination to add to your list, and since it is located so close to the Serengeti, most tours include the Ngorongoro as well.
Lake Natron: Eerily beautiful, is what describes Lake Natron the best. Its alkaline waters are so high in their pH levels that it can literally burn the eyes and the skin of animals who aren’t adapted to its alkalinity. The lake is perhaps your best bet of capturing stunning photographs, not just because of its birds and bats and 2 million lesser flamingos, but also because the images reveal a House of Stone (House of Wax, anyone). No kidding. It looks like some mysterious force turned living animals into stone. So bear with the creepy feeling, and we promise you the most spectacular travel experience ever.
Tarangire National Park: The dusty red landscape presents a smattering of withered grass which makes Tarangire feel like a vast barren land, but a closer look is all you need to discover those beautiful animals. The park is, after all, full of wildlife. Wildebeests, antelope, buffalo, fringe-eared oryx, gazelle, long-necked gerenuk, elephants, hartebeest, zebra and all sorts of African predators, these are just some of the animals you get to see here. With more than 550 varieties of birds in the park, including the world’s heaviest flying bird and the world’s largest bird, Tarangire is also perfect for bird lovers.