Serengeti national park is one of the most popular parks in the world where each nature lover wants to experience when in Africa. The primary activity in Serengeti is the wildebeest migration which happens on the Northern Section of Serengeti in Mara echo system
Although the park is most famous for the wildebeest but there are many other things the park has hence we highlight for you the top 12 things to do in Serengeti national park that will spice up your package to Serengeti national park. You will enjoy the best game viewing on your open roof land cruiser when encountering a number of wildlife safari in Serengeti.
1. Great Migration
Something you wouldn’t want to miss in your Safari is the Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti. This is the largest single movement of wild animals in the world, deservedly listed as one of its eight Natural Wonders and an exceptional inspiration for a dream nature tour of northern Tanzania.
Around 2 million wildebeests, with hundreds of thousands of zebras, elands, gazelles along with a trailing retinue of predators, leave their calving grounds in southern Serengeti, around March and April, heading for the next water source.
Trekking via the south-central Seronera outskirts into the Western Corridor and Grumeti River arriving during the month of April to May and residing till June, and then finally towards the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya crossing the perilous Mara River around July or August onwards with a return via the same death-defying river, this time heading to the bearing of Lobo and Loliondo in eastern Serengeti around October to November.
The white bearded wildebeest journey continues back to the southern Ndutu calving grounds with arrivals starting around December with temporary residence till March
2. Hot Air Balloon
Balloon safaris in Serengeti National Park are a romantic and evocative way of experiencing the wilderness of Serengeti, as you gracefully and silently fly over the plains teeming with herds of wild life in the early morning.
Typically, a ballon safari begins between 6 am and lasts for around 1-2 hours, during which you will likely see the magnificent wildlife below over several square kilometres of the game park.
Ballon safaris are held regularly only in the Serengeti and take off from designated sites (in the Seronera area) where the disturbance to animals is kept to a minimum. Your safari vehicle drops you off at the take off site and picks you up from your landing site. The safari is followed by a champagne breakfast in the bush, a fitting end to your memorable flight in the Serengeti National Park.
3. Game Drive
Morning game drives which are done prebreakfast or after breakfast depending on the arrangement of the tour operator with their guests, morning game drives are the most common and most rewarding game drives in Serengeti. Catching with an early bird in the bush, most of the animals are more lively or active during morning time especially during dry season when the water is scarce and animals depend mostly on the early morning dues.
Big cats on sunbathing and mission of hunting is incredible, in fact 90% of the morning game drives are well stocked with true African wilderness experience with the best videos of African wilderness recorded in the morning. The second is the Afternoon game drive done after lunch, this is mostly common during transit on the first day when transferring from Arusha to Serengeti via Ngorongoro where one gets its lunch boxes open at Nabbi gate before we head inside the seronera area of Serengeti. Enjoy the best enroute game drive.
Sometimes these game drives are not much rewarding as the morning ones especially for the big cats they will be already hiding taking shelter due to hot sun but if one is lucky can still enjoy much as the morning one.
Full day game drive which is most done on our second day when we are in Serengeti we enjoy the best day waking up early have our picnic lunch boxes ready and hit the group drive most of the corners of the park. This is the game drive in which one fully feels the beauty and excitement of Serengeti national park with a lot of animals to be seen like Lions, tree climbing lions, leopards, Giraffes, Buffalos and many more.
Game drives are much rewarding in Serengeti where you can have enough time to explore the best wildlife of the Serengeti seeing animals like 16 species of Antelopes for example the Oribi, Kobs, Wildebeest, kundu and many more, big cats like Lions, Leopards and Cheetahs other animals include hippos, giraffes, buffalos and many more.
4. Night Game Drives
Night game drive in Serengetinational park is one of the best dream experience any one can ever wish to do second to the Balloon safari. It’s unfortunate that Night game drive in Serengeti national park are not allowed at all and if one is got your ae penalised for that.
The most common seen wildlife at night are the nocturnal animals like Bush Babies which got their name from their carrying style like newly born babies, Civets which is in the group of cats but like moving and hunting mostly at night, Aardvarks among others, birds like wood owls, night Jars and others.
There is a lot of action at night which can be experienced when these animals go for hunting and a majority like fresh meat and blood, you will be hearing songs of the night birds as they compete from different angles of Serengeti nationalpark. The Night game drive in Serengeti national park though not permitted can be done at the outskirts of Serengeti national park and they are mostly organised by the world-class lodges around the park.
The Night game drive in Serengeti national park takes only two to three hours starting from 8 pm to around 11 pm but within few kilometres away from the lodge compound. The Night game drive in Serengeti national park are also done from the outside part of the park around Ikoma area but has much to offer since most animals move around the area.
These lodges have taken the advantage that the park is not fenced hence no boundaries and this has helped them satisfy the needs of their guests, Night game drive in Serengeti national park cannot be booked in advance instead it’s an arrangement the guest or tour guide can arrange with the camp on that very
5. Soronera River Valley
This is undoubtedly one of the best places in the entire Serengeti National Park where you can spot cheetahs and lions; with its water rivers and seasonal swamps, it is the ideal habitat for wildlife.
Leopards are commonly spotted on the branches of the sausage trees that line the Seronera river, where they usually drag their prey and hold it in a safe position, not reachable by other predators.
Some studies show that this is precisely one of the areas with the highest concentration of leopards in the entire Africa. The lions on the other hand are often spotted along the river always lurking, ready to catch prey who come here to drink.
Here reside several lion prides that are the subject of study and monitoring under the Serengeti Lion Project; the pride studied under this project are: the Maasai Kopjes pride; the Makoma Hill pride; the Campsite and the Seronera pride.
The river is also home to the huge Nile crocodiles, often standing motionless on the river banks with their mouth open, to regulate their body temperature. There are also hippos who spend their days immersed in water and you can often see just the ears and the big nostrils, while at night they emerge from the water bed and graze on the grass that grows near the river banks.
Visitors to the Retina Hippo Pool are permitted to leave the jeep and view on foot the hippos in the pool, where they are huddled together, that inevitably causes the break-out of fights for the territorial domination.
The Seronera River is also very popular among birdwatchers all year round to spot herons, egrets, grey crowned cranes, Egyptian goose, turacos, kingfishers, hoopoes, rollers and many other birds. Other animals that can be viewed regularly are: waterbucks, vervet monkeys and reedbucks.
6. Retina Hippo Pool
In the Serengeti National Park, the Retina Hippo Pool is well worth a visit.
Known by the name of Hippo Pools, it lies about 8 km North of Seronera, where the course of the Seronera river joins the Orangi river and forms this deep pond puddled by hippos spending the day immersed in the water.
Often you can only see their little pink ears and the big nostrils from where they blow out excess water and make bubbles; this is the best place in the park where to spot these huge, noisy mammals.
A visit to this pool is very interesting especially in the dry season, when there are more hippos than water; the huge mammals rest in the shallow water or the mud in search of coolness and shelter from the scorching sun, fighting each other for the best position.
This is one of the few places in the Serengeti National Park where you can leave the jeep and see hippos up close, and take advantage of great photography opportunities offered from one of the observation points.
Here is a picnic area where you can take a break or enjoy breakfast or lunch; on the sand you can see the unmistakable clover-shaped fingerprints left by these huge animals when, overnight, they leave the pool to graze on the grass around.
Contrary to their appearance, which makes them seem placid and relaxed, hippos can become very aggressive both with one another and with everyone else if anything gets between them and water; it is therefore advisable to be very careful when you are in their environment.
7. Bologonja Springs
A natural stream of water that seeps from the nearby Kuka hills, a short distance from the northern Serengeti border. The stream forms the start of the Bologonja river, that feeds the Mara river further north from here.
The area has a flourishing ecosystem that includes a growing forest and animals that either live here of come to drink or graze, promising tourists the chance to see something interesting.
Game drives of it and nearby areas, with more information available at the gate nearby. Animals that you could see there include elephants, buffaloes and a wide variety of birds.
Best time to visit is after the annual rainy seasons, when the roads are dry enough to easily drive on and the spring’s water volume bolstered. The wildebeest migration is usually in the area during October and November, but heads south of here until June of the following year.
Bologonja springs are located at the north western base of Kuka hills, and in the northern area of Serengeti national park. It also sits right next to Bologonja gate, and near the road to Keekorok.
For more information on this location, please see the map below.
8. Gurumeti River
Seeing the enormous herds of the Great Migration making crossings of the Grumeti in June and July is an excellent reason to visit this part of the Serengeti. While these river crossings are less well known than the Mara River crossings to the north – where the river is more dangerous, wider and has more viewing points – the Grumeti River, which is the first big obstacle for the herds to tackle, still offers some exciting sightings, with the added benefit of fewer tourists at the crossing points.
There are only a few places where you can do walking safaris in the Serengeti, which makes the walking safaris offered in the Grumeti Game Reserve particularly special. Spend hours on foot in the bush with a guide, not only tracking animals and learning about birds and insects, but also discovering fascinating medicinal and cultural uses for indigenous plants.
Visit a local Maasai community to see how people from the tribe live on the edges of the Grumeti Reserve. You’ll get to meet with subsistence farmers and their families and learn about what daily life is like – such as how villagers need to invent non-invasive ways to prevent elephants from trampling their crops.
9. Lobo Valley
This valley is spectacular not only for its landscape but also for the presence of animals, both herbivorous and carnivores, thanks to its permanent water sources.
Compared to the rest of the Serengeti, the best big cats, i.e. lions, leopards and cheetahs, abound in the Lobo Valley; as well as in Seronera, this is the only place where you can view all of them on the same day.
The second largest lion pride of the Serengeti National Park lives here; the Lobo pride comprises about 26 individuals; it is quite common to spot them while dozing at kopjes during the hottest days.
Food sources are certainly not lacking here: there is an extraordinary concentration of preys; the Great Migration passes through this valley and some herds linger here in the dry season; this is the happiest time for lions because food is always assured.
The Lobo Valley is a pristine, remarkable place of great beauty, scattered with woodlands, open plains, ranges of hills and spectacular granite kopjes; there are different sources of water, such as Gaboti River, Bololgedi River and Lobo Springs.
The dominant feature in the valley is Lobo Hill, which flanks the Eastern side of the valley.
The right time to visit is in the dry season, from July to November, the best months are from September to November when the dry season is near to the end and the animals are all concentrated on where to find water sources for their survival; in these months Lobo becomes one of the best places in all of East Africa to spot the animals.
10. Moru Kopjes
The Kopjes are very scenic rock formations and very interesting from a geological point of view; they consist of a very old granite, called “Moru” in Maa language, the language spoken by the Maasai, meaning “old”, they have been eroded over the millennia by atmospheric and biological agents; what we see today are a number of large reddish boulders and the reason why they have this typical colour is due to the oxidation of the iron contained in them.
They can be visited throughout the year because there are always good opportunities for interesting sightings, thanks to the constant presence of water sources attracting many animals, both herbivorous and carnivores, especially during the dry season; the kopjes are especially loved by big cats, particularly lions, but also leopards and cheetahs, as they are excellent lookout points to observe prey.
The Moru Kopjes lie Southwest of the Central Serengeti, where the River Mbalageti Valley begins; here there is plenty of water, shade and grass for grazing.
This is the only point in the Serengeti National Park home to the remaining population of black rhinos who in the past decades have been decimated by poaching, so with a little luck you can spot them.
The Serengeti Rhino Project has a visitors’ centre here, where you can learn many interesting facts about these beautiful animals and the conservation policy being employed to save them from extinction.
The Kopjes are located in a transitional zone: looking Southward and Eastward lie low-grass pastures, that are green immediately after the rainy season and turn golden during the dry season; while looking Northward and Westward you can see the beginning of the wooded area of the Serengeti National Park.
The Moru Kopjes cover an area of several kilometres and they can be seen from a distance, emerging from the vast surrounding plain; erosion has rounded and partly disintegrated them over millions of years; many euphorbia candelabrum trees grow in the vicinity with their branches stretching towards the sky.
Here you can get off the vehicle and stand on the kopjes, paying attention that there are no potentially dangerous animals, such as lions or cheetahs or snakes
11. Olduvai Gorge
Olduvai Gorge is a canyon carved by water through the southern Serengeti plains. Its chief claim to fame is the rich treasure-trove of human and animal fossils that it has yielded. Few places in the world can match the Serengeti’s long human history and this fact has earned this part of Africa the title ‘Cradle of Mankind’. There is a museum and visitor’s center overlooking the gorge as well as a daily lecture by a department of Antiquities guide.
Located roughly halfway between Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge is one of the most significant palaeontological sites in the world – showing evidence of inhabitation by early humans as far back as 1.9 million years ago..
Surrounded by stunning gorge country and striking monoliths, the Olduvai Gorge Museum showcases early stone tools and fossil remains, and is seen as a crucial archaeological site when it comes to understanding the evolution of humanity.
12. Naabi Hill
These broad hills covered in Acacias are surrounded by grasslands. They serve as one of the entrances to the Serengeti National Park. Moreover, they offer a shelter to antelopes, elephants and giraffes.
They are also the area of residence of the Naabi lion pride and many cheetahs.
From December to April the Great Migration takes place to the East and South of the Serengeti and its heart is located right in this area. There are only wildebeests and zebras as far as the eye can see and, by reaching the top of the Hills, there is a 360° view of the herds. There are so many specimens it is hard to see the green of the grass.