The Serengeti is one of the world’s most famous national parks, annually hosting the Great Migration of over 1.5 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra who follow the grass to and from the neighbouring Maasai Mara in Kenya, as well as an incredible variety of wildlife which is resident year-round.
At 14,750 square kilometres (5,700 square miles), roughly the same size as Connecticut, its name derives from the Maasai siringet which means ‘the place where the land runs on forever’, an apt way to describe its panoramic savannah plains which stretch to the horizon. Dotted with umbrella acacia and tumescent baobabs, wandering giraffe, dozing lion prides, lumbering elephant herds and cheetahs on the lookout from atop termite mounds, it is the quintessential East African landscape.
Spanning almost to Lake Victoria, the Western Corridor follows the forested courses of the Mbalageti and Grumeti Rivers. It is on the south banks of that latter where the migration concentrates between May and June, exhausting the grass before braving the enormous Nile crocodiles that have been lying in wait for many months in an incredibly dramatic safari spectacle.
Across the river is the private Grumeti Reserve and the remote (and therefore quiet) northern stretch of the park toward the border with Kenya. The migration reaches the Mara by September and October though many animals still remaining on the Tanzanian side, turning south in November and reaching the short-grass plains of the southern Serengeti in December and spreading out across a huge area including the Maswa Game Reserve, Mwiba Wildlife Reserve and Ngorongoro Conservation Area before calving in February.
The centre of the Serengeti, around Seronera, has some fabulous wildlife on offer, even after the migration passes through on its way northward April and May, but it is also one of the busiest areas, and we prefer to plan safaris to quieter, more remote areas of park (or one of the exclusive private reserves which border it) for the best safari experience depending on when you want to travel. We can also arrange stays at a number of mobile safari camps which move every few months following the migration, which work well paired a stay at a permanent luxury lodge.
When to Go
The migration is usually in the area from July through to September. However, it's still an excellent place to go right through to November.