6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Visit to the Serengeti

Written by Thomson Safaris
sunset in the serengeti


So, you might already know you want to visit the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania – and how could you not? It is, after all, one of the most beautiful places on earth. But how do you know you’re planning the best visit, seeing all there is to see, and making the most if this once-in-a-lifetime trip? That’s where we come in. We’ve been operating trips in Tanzania since 1981, so we have some tips for making sure your Serengeti visit lives up to your wildest dreams!
 

1. Know when to go…and when not to go.

One of the reasons we love the Serengeti so much is that it offers fantastic wildlife viewing year-round! As long as you avoid the rainy season and know what to expect during each time of year, you’re bound to have a breathtaking visit.
Here’s a look at what the different times of year look like in the Serengeti:

Green Season
Mid December-end of March
Days in the 80s, nights in the 60s (°F)
Lush green plains, with a chance of passing showers
Calving season takes place February-early March, so there is an abundance of baby animals!

 

Dry Season
Late May-November
Days in the 70s, nights in the 50s (°F)
Dry golden plains, with little to no chance of rainfall
The Rut (mating season) happens May-June, and the River Crossings of the Great Migration peak August-October

 

Rainy Season
April, early May, and early December
We do not operate scheduled trips during these times

 

2. Stay in multiple locations.

The Serengeti National Park is more than 5600 square miles – that’s about the size of the state of Connecticut! That means there is so much area to explore!

If you’re particularly interested in the Great Migration (like us!), you’ll want to make sure you’re visiting a part of the park that will get you closest to the action.

great migration river crossing

Seasonal locations in the Northern Serengeti are best for catching the River Crossings during the Dry Season, while locations in the Southern Serengeti are best during the calving in the Green Season.

migration herds in serengeti

wildebeest babies

Moving around to multiple spots will make sure you don’t miss out on any of the highlights.
 

3. Don’t skip over the Central Serengeti.

Although you’ll want those seasonal locations for viewing the Great Migration, you should also be sure you’re spending some time in the Central Serengeti – no matter the time of year.

The Central Serengeti region is known as “big cat country.” That means there’s no better place for sightings of lion, leopard and cheetah. Even as the migration herds move, this huge population of cats never dwindles.

male lion close in serengeti

In addition to the big cats, the Central Serengeti tends to be a hub for many other animals as well. Elephants, giraffe, warthog, gazelle, hippo, impala, topi, zebra and many more all call this part of the Serengeti home.
 

4. Stay in tented camps.

There’s no better way to fully immerse yourself on safari than to fall asleep to and wake up to the sounds of the wildlife. Between the distinctive cooing of the birds to the laughable noises of the wildebeest…these sounds make it undeniable you’re in Africa.

serengeti nyumba tent

Tented camps, with their canvas walls and undisruptive impact on their surroundings, are the best option for a truly authentic Serengeti bush experience. You’ll still enjoy the creature comforts you want (like a real bed and private en-suite bathroom), without sacrificing any magical safari moments.

On top of that, tented camps are often seasonal, meaning they can put you in the best position for wildlife viewing. Imagine waking up and starting your safari just minutes from camp – or even while still in camp!
 

5. Change your perspective.

As much as we love spotting wildlife from the Land Rovers, one of our favorite ways to see the Serengeti is from above, by hot air balloon!

These optional rides are available in multiple locations within the park, so you’ll always have a chance to take to the skies.

hot air balloon flight at dawn over serengeti

Beyond the magical serenity that comes from seeing the sun rise on the endless plains, you’ll also have the chance to see wildlife and landscapes from above. Like the “hippo highway” trails forming patterns all across the grasses. Or massive herds of wildebeest moving as one. Being in a hot air balloon allows you to go “off-roading” a bit, getting views and proximity like never before.

Your morning zen break

Few things are more serene than floating over the Serengeti in a hot-air balloon at dawn.
Let us transport you there for 15 seconds of zen.
[sound on]

📹 Kendra Zdanowski

Posted by Thomson Safaris on Sunday, March 7, 2021

 
It all concludes with a full English breakfast out in the bush. Sipping champagne while surrounded by the Serengeti in every direction is a surreal and unforgettable experience!
 

6. Hakuna Matata!

Although you might be coming to Tanzania very excited for the migration, or anxious to check the Big 5 off your list, don’t worry if it doesn’t happen!

giraffes in tanzania

The Serengeti is so expansive and has so much wildlife diversity to offer, it will surely keep you entertained, surprised and amazed each and every day. From seeing the silly leg-spread of a giraffe grabbing a drink and the iridescent wings of a lilac-breasted roller, to the spritely saunter of a young warthog and the brightly colored bottom of a baboon…even if you miss the migration or can’t spot the black rhino, the Serengeti has plenty more to make up for it. Don’t get too hung up, and just let yourself have fun! Hakuna matata!