Tanzania / Travel Tips

Where is the Serengeti? and when should I visit

Where is the Serengeti

Like it? PIN NOW, Read later!

Are you planning an African Safari and wondering Where is the Serengeti?, when is the best time to visit Serengeti and Why is it considered the best place for Safari in Africa. Then you have come to the right place.

There are many things to know before visiting Tanzania for the first time like that Tanzania is home to the highest free-standing mountain in the world and the Serengeti National Park was open in 1952 and today its home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth.

If you’re wondering “What is Tanzania famous for?” – the country is known for wildlife, stunning beaches, and amazing cuisine!

Tanzania is home to 20% of the species of Africa’s large mammal population, found across its reserves, conservation areas, marine parks, and 17 national parks, spread over an area of more than 42,000 square kilometers (16,000mi²) and forming a stunning total of approximately 38% of the country’s territory.

What is the Serengeti

The Serengeti is a region in East Africa. It’s located in northern Tanzania and extends to southwestern Kenya. The region encompasses Serengeti National Park and a number of protected game reserves and conservation areas managed by the Tanzanian and Kenyan governments.

The name comes from the Masai ‘Siringet’, and it means ‘endless plains’. It’s mostly known for the wildebeest migration with over 2 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras, and 350,000 Thompson, impala and grant’s gazelles.

Many consider it to be the most spectacular remaining African wildlife spectacle. It’s extremely expensive and on most people’s Africa experiences bucket list.

The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years.

Where is the Serengeti

Where is Serengeti National Park located?

Serengeti National Park is one of Africa’s most famous parks. It’s located in Tanzania.

How to get to Tanzania

If you are wondering what country is the Serengeti in? It’s located in Tanzania.

Depending on where you are traveling from, Tanzania is reachable by car or plane.

There are direct and one-stop flights from overseas to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro (near Arusha) and Zanzibar Island.

The main airport is Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR) and its located 13km/8mi southwest of Dar es Salaam.

Arusha town is the starting point for Tanzania’s most popular Northern Safari Circuit. Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) is situated 46km/29mi east of Arusha.

How big is the Serengeti

It spans 12,000 square miles (30,000 square kilometers). The Serengeti is the second-largest protected area in Tanzania after Selous Game Reserve.

The Serengeti is divided into five distinct areas: – the central Seronera Valley, the Western Corridor, the Northern Lobo and Kogatende areas, and finally the Southern Plains.

The Central Serengeti

The Central Serengeti is a year-round destination thanks to its resident wildlife. It sees high volumes of visitors and gives travelers a high chance of seeing wildlife in the least amount of time.

The dry season in the Central Serengeti is from June to November and the best time to visit Serengeti (Central) is between is in April and November if you want to see the great migration.

Eastern Serengeti

The Eastern Serengeti is definitely ‘off the beaten path’ and is one of the most starkly beautiful sections of the Serengeti. Made up of grassy plains, rivers, and rocky outcrops, this area does not see many tourists but is an exciting safari destination.

It is home to all three species of big cats (leopard, lion, and cheetah) with a noticeably high concentration of cheetah.

The wildlife viewing in the eastern Serengeti is at its best during the dry season and reaches its pinnacle in November when the Great Migration passes through.

Northern Serengeti

The Northern Serengeti is a bit far and therefore it experiences fewer crowds and its a quiet area of the Serengeti.

The trip is worth it as it’s the best place to watch the dramatic Mara River crossings. With thousands of herds crossing the dangerous crocodile-infested river.

Southern Plains of the Serengeti

Serengeti translates loosely to “endless plains” in the local Maasai language. It could be argued that the seemingly never-ending, short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti were the inspiration for the name.

This seasonal safari destination is the most accessible area of the Serengeti and stretches from the Central Serengeti and the Seronera to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Lake Ndutu region is dotted with alkaline lakes home to flocks of pink flamingos.

This area is great for game viewing during the Great Migration from December to March. Most excitingly, the lush plains are the perfect destination and backdrop for the calving season during February when about half a million calves are born over a 2-3 week period and join the ranks of the huge herds.

Western Corridor

The Western Corridor is well known for the Grumeti River, which is the site of the Great Migration’s dangerous river crossings.

Thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle cross the crocodile-infested waters on their way to Kenya’s lush Masai Mara plains.

This remote section of the Serengeti National Park is the best place to visit if you want to witness the Great Migration from late May to mid-July.

Best time to visit Serengeti

where is the serengeti

The best time to go to Serengeti is between November and June.

You can visit Serengeti National Park year-round and you will see wildlife but if you want to see the great migration its best to visit during the dry season.

It’s also important to remember that wildlife can be seen year-round and some months there are fewer animals in certain parts of the park.

Best Month to visit TanzaniaSeasonCrowdsVacation in Tanzania Cost
Visiting Tanzania in JanuaryWarm days!HighHigh
Traveling to Tanzania in February Best month for the wildebeest calvingHighModerate
Visiting Tanzania in March Start of rain seasonModerateModerate
Visiting Tanzania in April Morning rain, sunny days and cool evenings.LowLow - many lodges close down
Visiting Tanzania in MayEnd of wet seasonLowLow
Visiting Tanzania in June The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration.HighHigh
Visiting Tanzania in Julybest month for seeing the migration.HighHigh
Visiting Tanzania in August Little to no rainfallHighHigh
Visiting Tanzania in September Spring - warm and sunny daysHighHigh
Visiting Tanzania in October Lots of sun.HighHigh
Traveling to Tanzania in NovemberHot AFHighHigh
Visiting Tanzania in December Warmest Month. Often reaches 30 °C daily.HighHigh

Why do wildebeest migrate

The reason the wildebeest migrate around the Serengeti, and into the Masai Mara is to follow the rainfall.

For their calving from December – March they always begin their cycle in the Southern Serengeti area of Ndutu and follow wherever the grass is greener.

When is the great migration in Africa

The wildebeest migration occurs approximately the same time every year, however, there are unpredictable natural factors that may alter the pattern by a few weeks each way.

The great migration starts around late October or early November when herds move down the eastern corridor of the Serengeti after leaving the Masai Mara. 

The animals head to the Southern Serengeti’s short grass plains below the Ngorongoro Highlands, which is not only a great place for gazing mammals in December but also beautiful sight with fresh green grass shoots and vibrant wildflowers.

By January ant latest March, most animals would’ve given birth and you’ll see cheetah cubs, bat-eared fox pups, and tiny Thompson’s gazelles all appear at around this time.

The grazing herds all begin to move northwest in June and by early August they will be in the Western Corridors of the Serengeti.

From here they continue northwards over the border from Tanzania into Kenya and into the Serengeti’s extension there, better known as the Masai Mara. 

The herds will spend September and October in Masai Mara until the grazing is exhausted before the relentless cycle begins again and they head south once more.

In conclusion, if you are wondering:

    • When is the great migration in Tanzania: November to early October
    • When is the great migration in Kenya: September – November

African Safari Guides

Now that you know where is the Serengeti, here are some guides to help you plan your next trip.


Travel Insurance for Tanzania

Use travel insurance while visiting Tanzania so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. There are a lot of adventurous activities to do in Tanzania, and it’s best to have peace of mind while driving, hiking and trying some of the best food in the world.

Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a booking after clicking on a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you!

1 Comment

  • Melissa Adams
    07/12/2016 at 4:48 AM

    Looks amazing! How are the rates

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

shares
error: Content is protected !!