Largest of Tanzania’s national parks, and arguably Africa’s premier game park, the Serengeti is the setting for the most awesome wildlife spectacle on earth. Each year, more than two million wildebeest and zebra begin their great circular migration across the open plains and acacia woodlands. Huge columns of advancing zebras and ungainly wildebeest stretch as far as the eye can see with the predators following alongside.
In their wake follow the predators: lion, cheetah and hunting dogs with vultures circling overhead. Serengeti means “endless plains” in the Masai language and within its boundaries are more than three million large mammals. The extensive grasslands are interspersed with “Kopjes”, islands of rocky outcrops which are home to their own wildlife communities which include leopard and hyrax to name a few. Other common species found here are hippo, giraffe, eland, impala and other antelope, baboons, monkeys and a profusion of almost 500 birds. The Serengeti will leave the visitor with images of vastness and breathtaking beauty.
Conditions in the Serengeti are rarely taxing in the daytime during the Dry season (June to October), when the temperature stays nice and warm. It’s a different story at night, when the mercury can take a deep dive. The heat creeps up a few degrees during the Wet season (November to May), though the odd cold front can introduce a chill.
Most safaris to the Serengeti start from the town of Arusha. The best option to get there is to fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) which is situated about 46km/29mi from Arusha.
It is also possible to fly into Julius Nyerere International Airport (DAR), just outside of Dar es Salaam, and use a domestic flight to get to Arusha Airport (ARK) or Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).
The most convenient way to get from Arusha to the Serengeti is by taking a small plane to one of the various airstrips in the park. The drive from Arusha to the Serengeti is about 325km/202mi and will take about eight hours. It is a bumpy ride and, for a large part, over dirt roads – but the trip offers beautiful scenery. You’ll surely see some wildlife on the way or may even do a game drive en route.
Every year, over 2 million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle migrate from the Serengeti to the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. If you're there at the right time, you can spot herds of wildebeest and zebra stretching to the horizon.