The place I had been looking forward to visiting the most on this trip was the Serengeti National Park. The Serengeti is the most visited park in Tanzania attracting thousands of tourists each year. Home to 3,000 lions, 1000 leopards and more than 2 million hooved animals, it’s no wonder why it’s such a popular safari destination.
The Serengeti is also famous for its Great Migration, which earned it the UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1981. The Great Migration is when two million wildebeest, gazelles and zebras travel over 800 kilometres every year for greener grass. They start in the south of the Serengeti and travel north with all their newborn calves towards the Kenyan border and up into the Maasai Mara.
As animal lovers, we were keen to witness this spectacular wildlife phenomena and we were not disappointed. Especially as we were incredibly lucky to see the famous Mara River crossing.
The Serengeti was the highlight of our safari this year for many reasons. We had very high expectations of this park and it’s nice to say that we were blown away by it. So, if you are planning a visit to Tanzania then I would strongly suggest spending a few days in the Serengeti.
Why should you visit the Serengeti National Park?
There are so many reasons why the Serengeti National Park should be on anyone’s bucket list. But what seems to draw everyone to this huge park is its incredible diversity of wildlife, including the chance to spot the “big five.” This includes lions, leopards, African elephants, the Cape buffalo, and the highly endangered rhinos. Sadly, we didn’t spot the rhinos while in the Serengeti but if you are very lucky, you might!
The big cats
Just as we went through the Southern main gate of the Serengeti, I looked to my left and right there, a couple of lionesses were walking along a few meters away in the dry savannah. It took us less than a minute inside the park to spot our first lions.
It only got better after that, especially when we spotted many cubs the following day, including some that were just 5 days old!
We were also lucky to see three leopards and a cheetah. We just couldn’t believe how many big cats we saw! It was truly incredible.
The Great Migration
The Serengeti is the only place in Africa where land animal migrations take place. The Great Migration is one of the great wonders of the world and a sight to be seen for any animal lover and wildlife photographers. It’s breathtaking to watch them all gather in huge groups, and even more so if you get to see a river crossing.
Watching a river crossing is a weird feeling when you know what lies beneath the surface of that water. It’s exciting, terrifying, happy and sad all at the same time. I cried when we saw a few wildebeest being taken by crocodiles. But I’d be so happy for the many that did make it across, even though we knew there were other predators patiently waiting across the river.
Although we didn’t encounter quite as many elephants as we did in Tarangire National Park, we still saw quite a few of them, including some mating quite close to our vehicle. It was quite a show!
Our guide said that it’s very rare to see them mating although it happens to be the second time we see this happening. The first time was in Chobe National Park in Botswana.
So, we saw elephants mating in the Serengeti on the first day and the next day we saw Giraffes mating! All the animals seemed to want to give us a little bit of action .
There are many giraffes in the Serengeti and they are pretty easy to spot! We were lucky to see some very young ones too which was so cute.
As we drove along the bumpy road of the Serengeti, we came across a clan of hyenas lying in the middle of the road. They’d obviously had a feed recently as they appeared rather full and lazy.
We also spotted a jackal who had just scored his next meal. Pretty gross but we all must eat!
Hippos are the most dangerous animal in Africa. Not the lions! They do look cute and chubby though and they make the funniest noises.
We saw quite a few hippos in the Serengeti although not quite as many as we saw in the Okavango Delta in Botswana and Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
Many more animals
The volume of animals and variety of species in the Serengeti is insane; it is absolutely teeming with natural life. We were also spoiled with gazelles, topis, hartebeest, baboons and even reptiles.
The Serengeti is for sure paradise for wildlife photographers! Make sure to bring a good camera and a good zoom!
Just as in Tarangire and Ngorongoro, the Serengeti is home to many types of birdlife, and we came across quite a few during our 4 days there. Some of the ones we spotted were Kori Bustards, Secretary birds, Heron, Hildebrandt’s Starling, Ground Hornbills, Vultures, Shrikes and Barbets.
It’s not always easy to photograph birds but a safari in the Serengeti is definitely a good place to practise!
The Untouched Scenery
Other than the wildlife, the untouched scenery of the Serengeti National Park is incredible and seeing it also is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The large empty plains of grasslands are dotted with flat topped acacia trees. You will have seen many pictures of it in your lifetime but being there is just something else. Of course, the sunsets in the Serengeti are another reason to visit. They are spectacular!
A Bush meal right in the wilderness
Our meals were included as part of our safari and one day our tour guide David stopped the car in the middle of nowhere. It was our picnic stop and he set up a table and chairs, and we enjoyed our lunch as he kept an eye out around us for animals. It was so much fun if a little scary. We absolutely loved it. It felt like we were the only ones around (and we were); just us and the wildlife, an incredible experience.
How long to spend in the Serengeti?
We spent 2 nights in Central Serengeti where we saw a whole lot of predators, and 2 nights watching the migration in the northern parts of the Serengeti. It was enough to see a lot of animals but to be honest I wouldn’t have been bored if we’d stayed longer! I absolutely loved being there. However, it must be about the budget too and we all know an African safari isn’t a cheap experience.
Where did we stay in the Serengeti?
We stayed in two different camps. One in Serengeti Central called Acacia Seronera Luxury Camp and one in the Northern part of the park near the Masa River called the Acacia Migration Camp.
Acacia Seronera Luxury Camp
This luxury camp only has 17 glamping tents available with private ensuite in each room. It guarantees total privacy and a more authentic safari experience. The camp is secluded and offers uninterrupted, jaw-dropping views of the Serengeti plains and an impressive concentration of wildlife throughout the year. We could see gazelles roaming by every night and morning.
The camp is unfenced, so guests are not allowed to wonder around alone at night without a member of staff. The resort staff will escort the guests safely to their respective rooms and all rooms have walkie talkies in case of emergency.
You will hear animals at night and can feel the true wilderness there. It might be scary for some, but we absolutely loved it, especially hearing the hyenas at night.
Acacia Migration Camp
The Acacia migration camp is conveniently nestled in the Kogatende area and is a semi-permanent mobile tented camp perfect for anticipating movements of the great migration.
It offers splendid views of the Serengeti Plains and is a perfect spot to watch both sunrise and sunsets. You can listen to the sounds of nature from your own bed and watch the many animals roaming around from your room. Like the Acacia Seronera, the Migration Camp is unfenced, so the same rules apply, and you need to be escorted to your room after dark.
Acacia Migration Camp has ten canvas tents, all furnished with en-suite bathrooms, flushing toilets and other essential amenities.
What do you need before you go on a safari in the Serengeti?
A good camera with a good lens is essential!
Some insect repellent to keep those mozzies away!
An action camera for wildlife videos!
Binoculars to observe the animals from afar
A hat… it gets hot!
Sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn
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