Serengeti National Park is the most famous of Tanzania’s national parks. It occupies vast areas, covering 14,763 square kilometers, and wildlife conservation is at a high priority. Serengeti was gazetted in 1951, and accepted by the World heritage Convention as a World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve in 1981. With more than 4 million mammals, among them wildebeests, Thomson-gazelles, zebras, impalas, topies, buffaloes, Grants-gazelles, giraffes, and warthogs, Serengeti is an excellent park for game viewing.
Every year in May or June, zebras and wildebeest carpet the northern Serengeti, undertaking a circuit of 1000 km as they thunder westwards searching for new pastures, waterholes and young grass of the park corridor. Predators prowl the plains, and Serengeti is the only place where one can witness this annual movement, also called “The race for life”.
The vast grass fields make Serengeti a paradise for predators. There are most hyenas, but the national park is especially known for its lions, and you should be very out of luck not to capture quite a few lions on camera while you are in the park, even the black manned male lions.
The first thing you spot after the drive in at Naabi Hill is a vast, flat area of short grass, not a tree in sight for miles. As you approach Seronera in the center of the park, the grass is longer and there are plenty if acacia trees to be seen on the savanna. On the other side of Seronera – in the western corridor in the direction towards Lake Victoria and north towards Lobo and Maasai Mara – the terrain becomes more occupied. Serengeti National Park is set between 900 and 1850 m above sea level.
Most tourists come to Serengeti from Arusha, as part of a safari, which also includes Tarangire, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro. The distance from Arusha is 320 km, and the drive takes around 6 hours. You can also fly directly to the small air stripe at Seronera.
The best time to see this park is between December and May, when the wildebeest migration is in the south, and if you are lucky, you will catch the annual movement of wildebeest and zebras in May or June.