Serengeti National Park, the highest concentrations of predators in Africa

During our trip through Tanzania, we spent 3 days in the beautiful Serengeti National Park, the world’s most extensive protected grassland and savannah ecosystem. Serengeti is the oldest and most famous national park, also a World Heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th worldwide wonder.  It‘s worldwide known for the Great Migration, when up to 2 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 350,000 Thompson, impala and grant’s gazelles migrate from one side of the park to another in search of fresh grazing. This wonder of nature is also a great ”party” for predators like lions, leopard and crocodiles that stands along the river banks waiting to grab their prey.

Serengeti National Park, lions' family resting in the grass
Serengeti National Park, lions’ family, resting in the grass

The Park is over 14 763 square kilometres in size and can be divided into four parts, according to their unique vegetation and landscapes: the Serengeti Plains with short and long grass, the central part of Seronera with acacia savannah, the Western Corridor with  extensive woodland and the Northern Serengeti with hilly and densely wooded areas. Scattered throughout Serengeti savannah, there are several outcrops of granite that stick out like rocky islands in a sea of grass.

Serengeti National Park, Kopjes by zebras and giraffes
Serengeti National Park, Kopjes by zebras and giraffes

They are called kopjes and were formed thousands and thousands of years ago when the soft volcanic rock that covers Serengeti were eroded to expose the ancient metamorphic rock below. These rocks provide a habitat for many animals because of the presence of a variety of plants, water, caves for dwelling and last but not least,  a vantage point for Serengeti’s many predators. It’s usual to see lions or leopards climb up the kopjes to take a rest or to wait for their prey.

Serengeti National Park, open grassland with a herd of gnu
Serengeti National Park, open grassland with a herd of gnu

The predator viewing here is exceptional with approximately 3000 lions and a huge number of cheetah, leopards and hyenas that control the vast plains and savannah woodlands. Serengeti also boasts great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, many kinds of primates including baboons, velvet and Colobus monkeys, thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle and more than 500 species of birds.

Serengeti National Park, a beautiful lion
Serengeti National Park, a beautiful lion

Exploring its beautiful grasslands and endless savannah, we spotted hundreds and hundreds of animals but above all a considerable quantity of lions and cheetah.  We’ve visited all the most famous savannah national park through this amazing continent, and we’ve never seen an incredible concentration of predators like in Serengeti.

Serengeti National Park, a leopard with its prey
Serengeti National Park, a leopard with its prey

The best memories we’ve kept in our mind are a big group of lions resting in the grass just a few meters from my vehicle, 3 cheetahs playing together, a cheetah with its 4 babies and a beautiful leopard eating an antelope. As the Australian born war correspondent and author of popular histories and books about Africa Alan Moorehead said, “anyone who can go to the Serengeti, and does not, is mad!”.


Need to Know about Serengeti National Park

1. When to go

The rainy season lasts from November through May, whereas the dry season runs from June to October. June and July are also the coldest months of the year. The dry season is the best time for game viewing because the animals are concentrated along with permanent water sources.

Serengeti NP ranges from 920 m to 1850 m in altitude, therefore, could be cold at night and in the early mornings above all during the dry season (sometimes the temperature could even reach 5 degrees).

Serengeti wildebeest migration: it’s one of the most spectacular events of the whole Africa and consists in the movement of vast numbers of the Serengeti’s wildebeest to Masai Mara National Park (and back) in search of green pasture, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland and impala. The exact timing of the Serengeti wildebeest migration is entirely dependent upon the rainfall. It’s possible to see the migration all year round (the wildebeests migrate in a clockwise movement around the Serengeti National Park), but the most spectacular moment is from June to October when thousands of them crossing the Mara river (northern Serengeti) with many predators such as lions, cheetahs and crocodiles ready to catch their preys.

2. Local tour operators

Tanzania is not such a cheap country and to get the most out of its wonders, and it’s good to book a trip with a local tour operator choosing to sleep in the campsites with your tent. We can suggest contacting Easy Travel and tourRoy SafarisWorld Tours and Safaris, Dorobo Tours and Safaris and Earthlife expeditions. The tours to visit the parks of the “northern circuit” usually start from Arusha.

Alternatively, you can also have a look on the web platform Viator that offers tours around Tanzania managed by local tour operators. Another good way to look for your Safari is by using the website safaribookings.com.

Self-drive: another option is to rent a 4WD vehicle and self-drive through the parks. In Arusha, you’ll find some rental cars companies that provide you with the right vehicle to drive to the gravel road networks of the parks. You can try with Arusha car rental and safaris, Roadtrip Africa, Seasons Tanzania. 

3. How to get there

If you are coming from Arusha (so as Tarangire NP, Lake Muro NP, Lake Manyara NP, Ngorongoro CA), you’ll enter from the south-western gate of Naabi Hill

4. Where to sleep

The sections of Serengeti NP are three. The most popular is the southern-central part called Seronera valley (classic savannah dotted with acacia trees); the Western corridor (dense bush and forests); and the north section, where the park meets up the Masai Mara Np, called Lobo (hilly and densely wooded areas). We spent 2 full days around Serengeti (1 night in Lobo area and 1 night in Seronera area). Click here to see the map of the parks and the location of the accommodations.

 

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