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Luxury Serengeti Safaris

Arguably the most iconic park in all of Africa, the Serengeti is a very special place. Known for its vast, open plains, filled with an abundance of wildlife, it’s no wonder that the team of Disney its inspiration from the Serengeti National Park, to create the much-loved Lion King. Elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, lion, impala, zebra – and many more – are aplenty, roaming the savannahs and grazing day into night.

Along with an abundance of big cats across the Serengeti, this national park is most famous for its annual migration of wildebeest – the biggest in the world. Every year, around 1.5 million wildebeest and 200,000 zebra make a pilgrimage across the plains of the Serengeti, covering a distance of around 300 miles. The herds are constantly on the move, in search of fresh rains and green pasture. Not only does this journey require stamina and strength, it also requires the utmost vigilance as predators are constantly following the herds.

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The density of wildlife in the Serengeti National Park is truly special, and while each area will offer a fulfilling safari experience, there are some areas better for sightings than others. When it comes to planning your safari, I will guide you to the best area of wildlife, taking into considering the time of year, and your interests and desires. 

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Gemma D Souza

Africa Specialist
Gemma DSouza Expert profile

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Gemma

Africa Specialist

The Serengeti National Park has such a range of accommodation, which makes it such a diverse safari destination. If this is your first safari, then a good starting point is understanding the differences between tented camps, and safari lodges. Tented camps are essentially a collection of canvassed tents – each with en-suite bathrooms and spacious bedrooms. These vary in size. Some of the more intimate safari camps have only five or six tents. Larger ones have around 18 tents. No matter which tented camp you choose, they will all have a main area and several lounge areas for you to sit and enjoy.

While the phrase ‘canvassed tent’ may seem basic, the standard of these camps can completely vary, often providing luxuries you may have not thought possible – like free-standing baths, plunge pools, outdoor showers, and butler service. The best thing about canvassed accommodation is that it is a real authentic experience, and you’ll often hear animals throughout the night like lion and hyena.

For those looking for less ‘canvassed’ accommodation, there are also larger lodges in the Serengeti National Park which you can stay in. These are often much larger and have facilities like swimming pools, spas, libraries and more. It’s worth noting that the experience will not be as intimate as the smaller safari camps, and these lodges are often in the central Serengeti region which is a slightly busier area than other remote locations. Do let our safari specialists know what sort of accommodation you like to stay in, and they will recommend and advise accordingly.

Lions in the Sernegeti WTG 1

When to visit the Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park can be visited and enjoyed as a safari destination throughout the whole year. Generally speaking, the period between June and October is regarded as the best time to go in terms of weather and visibility. This is the dry season which means that the grasses and vegetation is lower, making sightings that little bit easier. This is also the period when the wildebeest migration herds are up in the northern plains, which is a beautiful area of the Serengeti, and much quieter as the number of camps are fewer, and the accessibility is only via small aircraft planes.

That said, the period between January and March is also a fantastic time to visit the Serengeti National Park because it is the calving season for the herds, down in the Ndutu region. This makes it easy to combine with other destinations like the Ngorongoro Crater. The rainy season in Tanzania is between April and May, so many of the safari camps and lodges close during these months. For photographers, these months (as well as November which is also a shorter rain period) often provide dramatic backdrops and landscape images.

Read our Wildebeest Migration Guide

An informative guide to ‘The Greatest Spectacle on Earth’ including when to go and which are the best camps to stay at.

Our Wildebeest Migration Guide
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Advice from the travel experts

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Your Serengeti safari questions answered

Which is better, the Serengeti or the Masai Mara?

The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya actually share the same ecosystem. With that in mind, their landscapes and safari experiences are similar in some senses, and you will have a great safari in both. However, the Serengeti National Park is five times larger than the Masai Mara, so there is arguably more space and fewer crowds. The Serengeti National Park also gives you a bigger opportunity to see the wildebeest migration herds, as they migrate around the Serengeti for at least 8-9 months of the year.

What is the best month to visit the Serengeti?

I’d say that there is no ‘one’ best month to visit the Serengeti. The resident wildlife is fantastic in the Serengeti, so no matter what time of year you go, you will have a great chance to see elephant, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, crocodile, hippo, lion, cheetah and more. If you are particularly interested in seeing the wildebeest migration however, then certain months provide better sightings – such as February and March which is the calving season.

Can I stay in private conservancies in the Serengeti National Park?

Yes, there are private conservancies and land surrounding the Serengeti, such as Mwiba Lodge which sits on a private reserve adjoining the southern Serengeti. The benefits of private reserves are that only guests staying in the lodges are allowed to game drive here. Of course, this makes the experience more exclusive but this comes with a price.

How long should I do a safari in the Serengeti?

There is so much to see in the Serengeti that we’d recommend a minimum of four nights if budget allows. If you are combining different safari camps, then a split of three nights in each (a total of six nights) will give you a great insight into each camp, area and guiding experience. A day on safari in the Serengeti National Park will provide two safaris – one in the morning and one late afternoon. There is the opportunity to do full days on safari, particularly if you have the opportunity to see a potential river crossing.

Can I see the wildebeest migration herds in the Serengeti?

Yes, absolutely. The wildebeest migration is the ultimate test: survival of the fittest. It’s something that many people want to see, bringing thousands to Tanzania every year. Although the rain patterns change every year, we have an understanding of where they will be each month and, as a result, we can plan your trip accordingly. There are also ‘migration camps’ which are usually canvassed accommodation which moves throughout the year with the herds.

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