The Serengeti is a national park comprising of 1.5 million hectares of land, which hosts both two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves. The remarkable ecosystem within the park is one of the oldest on our planet as the essential features of flora and fauna have essentially remained unchanged over the past million years. Patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves. In fact, remains of early humans and humanoids have been found in and around this area, dating back to three million years ago. The biological diversity is also high, with at least four endangered animal species calling it their home.
Explorers, writers, filmmakers, photographers and scientists from all areas of the globe have traveled to the Serengeti and have been wowed by the unique landscapes, animals and cultural encounters, all of which combine to create a world-class experience. But above all it is the migration for which the Serengeti is most famous: 1.5 million wildebeest, along with their zebra companions, circle round the national park and it's bordering lands following the rainy season for pasture and water throughout the year. So strong is their ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back. To find out more about the Great Wildebeest Migration, be sure to check out our dedicated page.
The Serengeti is famous for its abundant wildlife. Some of the most popular include:
- Wildebeest: between 1 and 2 million wildebeest travel through this region throughout the year.
- Lions: over 3,000 lions live in this ecosystem, making it the most populous on Earth.
- Leopard: around 1.000 inhabit the park, and are usually seen in the Seronera area.
- Cheetah: with an estimated population of 1,000, cheetah can be found throughout the park.
- Black rhinoceros: a very rare find as poaching has led to a vast decrease in their numbers, however have been spotted in central Serengeti
- Buffalo: abundant throughout the park.
Other abundant land animals which can be found scattered throughout the park include zebra, buffalo, spotted and striped hyena, colobus, baboon, vervet monkey, gazelle, giraffe, warthog, topi, eland, waterbuck, impala, antelope, kudu and many more. Reptiles are also present in the park, with Nile crocodiles being the most popular attraction at the Mara river.
There is also a huge ornithological interest in the park, which boasts around 500 bird species.
The Park can be divided into 3 sections. The popular southern/central part (Seronera Valley), is what the Maasai called the “serengit”, the land of endless plains. It’s classic savannah, dotted with acacias and filled with wildlife. The western corridor is marked by the Grumeti River, and has more forests and dense bush. The northern Lobo area meets up with the Kenyan Masai Mara Reserve, and is typically the least visited section of the park, with the notable exception of the summer months, when hundreds of thousands of wildebeest cross the Mara river.
The altitude of the park ranges between 920 and 1,850 metres (3,020 to 6,070 ft.) which makes it considerably cooler than the Tanzanian coast.
The climate in the Serengeti is usually warm and dry despite it's high altitude. Temperatures can range from as low as 15°C (59°F) in the early mornings and late nights to around 25°C (77°F) or slightly more at midday. There are also two rainy seasons: the long rainy season lasts between March and May and is comprised of heavy rainfall throughout the day. The short rainy season is between November and January.
Best Time to Explore
The Serengeti can be visited all year round. Travelers will usually arrange to see different parts of the park depending on the time of year in order to follow the great migration.
Due to their close proximity with the Serengeti, we highly recommend also visiting: