Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is the most famous National Park in Tanzania and home of the world's largest concentration of big wildlife animals. It is a paradise and one of the seven natural wonders of the World. It's a World Heritage site and Man and Biosphere ReserveYour visit will be rewarded with breathtaking and unique biodiversity and physical features ranging from the great plains to rolling hills, valleys and mountains. The Serengeti offers so much within it's huge borders.

Serengeti Balloon Hippos

The Serengeti is the oldest National Park in Tanzania and the location is well known worldwide as the only Great wildebeest, zebra and buffalo migration left on the planet of up to 2 million animals. It is also forms the heart of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem which includes Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Loliondo Game Controlled, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Ikorongo Game Reserve, Grumeti Game Reserve, Kijereshi Game Reserve and Maswa Game Reserve. The park is located in the Northern Part of Tanzania, and it’s boarded by three regions; The Mara, Simiyu Region and Arusha in the east.

Serengeti Ecosystem and The Great Migration

The name Serengeti comes from the Maasai word 'Siringeti' meaning 'Endless Plains' which were formed 3-4 Million years ago when volcanic ash was blown across and covered these vast swathes of land from the volcanic mountains of The Ngorongoro Highlands. As an abundance of grasses grew up in the rich soil from this early beginning, man and wildlife have shared this magical place. 

The thick layers of ash has also preserved traces of early man. Olduvai Gorge or 'Oldupai' from the Maasai word relating to a particular sisal plant that grows in the area, was the first place where traces of an early stone tool culture were discovered. This area is considered to be the cradle of humanity and the earliest place exhibiting human technology. Homo sapiens are dated to have occupied the site 17,000 years ago.

As you stand on the Southern grass plains, you'll experience this vastness, and can witness one of the greatest concentrations of plain animals left on earth as they circumambulate the plains follow the rains in search of fresh grasses. 
Serengeti Migration Map
The number one attraction is game viewing via the main entrance at Naabi Hill Gate. This connects Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park. The park is enhanced by the multiple Game Circuits to which you may connect via the main roads. These run from Naabi Hill Gate to Ikoma Gate, Naabi Gate to Ndabaka Gate and Kleins to Ikoma Gate. 

Preservation

Grumeti River Crossing

The Central Serengeti was declared a Game Reserve in 1929 in recognition of the need to preserve this outstanding area. It covers approximately 14,763 square kilometres, roughly the size of Northern Ireland or Connecticut, making it Tanzania’s second largest national park behind Ruaha National Park in the South at 20,226 square kilometres. 

In 1951, the Reserve became Tanganyika’s first National Park, and in those days it included Ngorongoro Crater - the largest unbroken caldera (crater) in the world. Further alteration came in 1959 resulting in the Park boundaries of today. Part of the Serengeti plains and the highlands were designated to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, while extensions to the North and South were included to provide more protection for Migratory animals. 

Game Viewing

Serengeti Northern Tour
The number one attraction is game viewing via the main entrance at Naabi Hill Gate. This connects Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park. The park is enhanced by the multiple Game Circuits to which you may connect via the main roads. These run from Naabi Hill Gate to Ikoma Gate, Naabi Gate to Ndabaka Gate and Kleins to Ikoma Gate. 

Preservation

Hadzabe Lake Eyasi and the Serengeti Plateau

The Serengeti was originally inhabited by ancient hunter gatherers like the present day Hadzabe tribe above who still live there today as they did thousands of years ago. They now inhabit the land around Lake Eyasi and the Serengeti Plateau. They number around 2,000 but only 300-400 still live in the traditional way as superb opportunistic hunter-gatherers. They hunt animals, and collect honey, fruit, tubers and berries for food. They also use a wide variety of plant species for medicines. The future of the Hadzabe however is very much uncertain as overall population grows around them.

NgoroNgoro Maasai

Nowadays the vast majority of the plains are inhabited sparsely by the friendly warrior Maasai tribe who came from the north and they have an extensive history of their own. There are early Maasai rock paintings still visible at Moru where you will find historical special rocks used for making traditional sounds (Gong!, Gong!). When colonists arrived by the early 1900’s they found a land virtually unexploited and enjoyed exceptional hunting opportunities, particularly lion, leopard and buffalo. 

The Serengeti offers more than just an annual migration. Its colourful topography of mountains, rolling hills, rivers and plains provide year round habitat for many of the Serengeti’s wildlife species.

How To Get There

Serengeti Entrance

By Road

The Park can be accessed by road by tour operator-licenced 4WD vehicle only through 8 different gates. By air there are 7 airstrips all of which can be accessed from local or International Airports Nationwide. The 8 road gates are: Naabi Hill Gate, Ikoma gate, Ndabaka Gate, Kleins Gate, Tabora B, Lamai Gate, Handajega Gate and Ndutu Gate.

By Air

Serengeti Access by air
You can be driven by your operator from Arusha to the Naabi Hill Gate inside The Serengeti National Park which is 272km. You will pass through The Ngorongoro Conservation Area but you can stop off there and sleep on the crater ridge to enjoy the awesome views over the caldera and visit the primordial crater the next day. There are many other Parks and sites to see along the way. Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire Park, Olduvia Gorge for instance. We can make it all part of your wonderful Safari experience at Tontu Safaris.

Serengeti Gates and Camps Map
From Arusha to the Kleins Gate it is 420km. Mwanza is on the shore of the Great Lake Victoria, rich in world famous varieties of aquatic diversity as seen in the British Natural History Museum. From Mwanza to the Ndabaka Gate it is 141km.

From Mwanza to the Ikoma Gate through Mugumu District it is 253km. From the Sirari Boarder to Ikoma it is approximately 158km via Kiabakari - Butiama and Mugumu. From Sirari to Ikoma Gate via Nyamongo, Mugumu it is 138km and from Sirari – Lamai Gate via Nyamongo it is only 67km.
Northern Circuit

Best Time to Visit

Serengeti National Park Great Migration

The park can be visited throughout the year as you can if you wish catch up with the Great Migration wherever it is on it's never-ending path around this great region. However the ideal season is between Mid-May to Mid-October. The short rains starts from early November to December while long rains starts from January to March where the wildebeest to birth their calves in the Southern short grass plains.

The Attractions

Hippopotamus

These are unique places where tourists can visit, normally for their intrinsic or natural beauty, cultural value, or historical significance. They offer recreation, leisure, adventure and enjoyment. Attractions in the Serengeti are vast, diverse and spread into several zones / corridors and habitats.

The Great Migration

The spectacle that is the Great Migration is the annual rotation of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores around the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem and is one of the greatest wonders of the natural world. It begins in the Serengeti short grass plains of the south-eastern Serengeti. The signs of dwindling is the first impetus for this primal trek. The horizon fills with more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 500,000 Thompson’s gazelle, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators along the way.

In essence, the wildebeest are taking advantage of the strongly seasonal conditions, spending the wet season on the southeastern plains of the Serengeti, and the dry season in the woodlands of northern Serengeti. The Wildebeest give birth between January and March on the short grass plains. The migration is rarely ever the same in terms of precise timing and direction, as local conditions influence grass growth. The Wildebeest may therefore move off the open plains earlier in some years and remain in the northern woodlands for longer in others.

The Mara and Grumeti River Crossing

In and around October every year, nearly two million herbivores including wildebeest and zebra travel from the northern hills toward the southern plains, crossing the Mara and Kirawira Rivers, in pursuit of the rains in April. They return to the north via western passage, once again crossing the Mara and Kirawira rivers. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Circular Migration.

The Kopjes Lion Oasis

The Serengeti has interesting rock outcrops like an oasis in the desert which serves to catch water and provide shape for prides of local lions which lie in wait for the passing migration. They are pronounced 'Copy' from the Dutch meaning 'Little Head'. Technically known as inselbergs, the intriguing rounded shapes of these ancient granite rocks are the result of cracking and erosion from exposure to sun, wind and rain. They provide for a wealth of wildlife and plants also. In fact, without such environs, lions and other large animals would be unable to survive the dry season on the plains.

Lions Serengeti Kopjes

The main groups of kopjes are: Barafu, Gol, Wogakurya, Maasai, Loliondo, Simba and Moru kopjes are outstanding for their size and profusion of resident wildlife including lion, leopard, serval, caracal and even rhinoceros and elephant. Gol and Barafu kopjes provide important habitat for cheetah and are used by wildebeest in the wet season.

Maasai and Loliondo Kopjes provide outlooks for resident Lion and Large Cobras can often be seen sunning themselves on the rocks. Simba Kopjes support a great variety of animals and birds including Giraffe, Baboon and Lion (Simba) for which they are named.

Rare and Endangered Species

Tanzanian Wild Dog

The most prominent endangered species in Serengeti are the Black Rhino and Wild Dogs. There is concerted effort to protect these rare species and this enables tourists to still enjoy seeing these animals live a full live in the wild.

African wild dogs sometimes known as ‘painted dogs’ or ‘painted wolves’ are one of the most beautiful yet endangered carnivore species in Africa. Native to the open plains of sub-Saharan Africa, they are formidable hunters that live in highly social packs dominated by a top (or ‘alpha’) mating pair.

Predators

Lions and hyenas supports one of the highest concentrations of large predators in the Serengeti. Approximately more than 3,000 lions and 7,500 hyenas prey on the 'moving feast' and on resident herbivores. Other predators such as leopard, cheetah, jackal, serval cats, caracals and others play a major role in maintaining the ecosystem's stability.

Leopard

Leopard

Crocodile

Crocodile

Hyena

Hyena