The Serengeti isn’t your typical travel destination. Picture this: vast horizons that seem to stretch forever, dotted with the occasional acacia tree, and a ground that’s alive with animals big and small. I’ve backpacked through continents, navigated cities and countryside, but there’s something about Serengeti National Park that draws me back.
Every morning here feels like you’re waking up to a new adventure. And as the day winds down, the sunsets? They’re the kind that you’ll talk about for years. The park’s varied landscapes are a haven for an incredible array of wildlife. It’s not just about seeing animals; it’s about immersing yourself in a world that feels so different from our own. When you’re here, those wildlife documentaries you’ve watched? They come to life right before your eyes.
If you’ve got the Serengeti on your travel list, move it to the top. This iconic park is one of the most beautiful places in Tanzania and a symbol of the continent’s untamed beauty. Trust me, it’s one of those places that’ll redefine how you see the world. Ready to pack your bags and embark on this wild journey? To help you make the most out of your next trip, here are my top 12 things to see and do in Serengeti National Park.
Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Serengeti National Park? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this unspoiled vacation spot in Tanzania. So keep reading to discover all these unique Serengeti National Park places to visit.
Are you looking to witness the iconic Great Migration and spot the “Big Five” in their natural habitat? Or would you prefer to witness hot air balloon safaris that provide a unique aerial perspective of the vast plains, teeming with wildlife? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Serengeti National Park can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Serengeti National Park that you should know about.
One of the most iconic and dramatic scenes in the Serengeti unfolds at the Mara River. This river serves as a significant obstacle during the Great Migration. It’s where wildebeest and zebras face one of their most perilous challenges. The Mara River crossing is not just a simple wade through water. It’s a test of survival, with crocodiles lurking beneath the surface, waiting for an opportunity.
Visiting the Mara River during migration season is among the best things to do in Serengeti National Park. The riverbanks provide an excellent vantage point for witnessing the sheer determination of these animals. As thousands gather on the banks, the tension is palpable. Then, in a burst of energy, the brave lead and the rest follow, creating a chaotic yet mesmerizing scene.
To maximize your chances of witnessing this event, it’s advisable to stay in one of the camps or lodges nearby. Local guides, with their deep knowledge of animal behavior and migration patterns, can offer invaluable insights and ensure you’re in the right place at the right moment.
Central Serengeti, with its endless plains and scattered kopje, is a sight to behold from the ground. But from the sky? It’s an entirely different level of magic. Taking a hot air balloon ride over this part of the park provides a unique perspective. From the sky, you get a bird’s-eye view of the Seronera River Valley, which is vital for many animals.
As you ascend in the early morning, the beauty of the Seronera becomes evident. You’ll often spot hippos in its pools and lions sipping its waters. The nearby kopjes are ancient granite rock formations that stand out in the landscape. As you observe, you might see leopards or cheetahs on them, scouting for their next prey.
Adding to the experience, the Central Serengeti’s vastness becomes truly palpable from above. The sheer scale of the plains, dotted with herds of wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes, is a sight that leaves many speechless. The synchronized movements of the herds are captivating. Especially during migration seasons, it feels like a choreographed dance of nature, a spectacle unmatched in most parts of the world.
The balloon ride offers a silent, serene journey above the acacia woodlands and riverine forests of Central Serengeti. After your descent, there’s a tradition of celebrating with a champagne breakfast right in the heart of the wilderness. This isn’t just a ride; it’s an immersive experience into the very heart of the Serengeti’s diverse ecosystems.
Located in the heart of the Serengeti, the Seronera Visitor Centre is more than just a stopover. It’s a deep dive into the park’s rich history, ecology, and Maasai culture. As you walk through the exhibits, you’ll appreciate their thoughtful curation. You’ll learn about the park’s evolution, the variety of wildlife residing there, and the complexities of conserving such a vast area.
The outdoor trail, dotted with informative plaques, takes you on a mini-safari of its own. You’ll encounter life-sized replicas of some of the park’s most iconic animals, giving you a sense of their true scale. It’s a great spot for families, especially if you’re traveling with curious kids eager to learn.
The Seronera Visitor Centre offers more than just information. There’s a picturesque picnic area, shaded by acacia trees, inviting visitors to relax and dine in nature. The park is alive with the sounds of birds chirping. Coupled with the gentle rustle of leaves, it creates a tranquil setting, ideal for relaxation after exploring the exhibits.
Among the coolest things to do in Serengeti National Park, a visit to the Seronera offers a blend of education and entertainment. And while you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to chat with the park rangers. Their firsthand experiences and stories add a personal touch to the vast expanse of information available.
If you’ve ever wanted to see hippos up close, the Retima Hippo Pool is the place to be. Located in the Central Serengeti, this spot is a favorite gathering place for these massive creatures. On any given day, you can find dozens of them lounging in the water, grunting, and interacting with each other.
While hippos might look docile, they’re known to be quite territorial, especially in the water. The viewing platform at Retima offers a safe vantage point to watch these giants without disturbing their natural behavior. It’s fascinating to see them play, fight, and even witness the young ones being protective of their space.
But it’s not just about the hippos. The pool attracts a variety of bird species, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise too. From herons to storks, the avian life here is vibrant and diverse.
For those looking for a unique wildlife experience in the Serengeti, the Retima Hippo Pool is a must-visit. It’s a reminder of the diverse ecosystems within the park and the importance of preserving these natural habitats.
Nestled within the vast plains of the Serengeti, near the Seronera region, lies the Serengeti Cheetah Project. This initiative, standing strong since the 1970s, is a beacon of hope for the dwindling cheetah population. As you traverse the park’s trails, you might consider a detour. This side trip provides a unique glimpse into the realm of these fast-moving cats.
The project’s base camp, set against the backdrop of acacia trees and golden grasslands, welcomes visitors with open arms. Here, you can engage with dedicated researchers who spend their days tracking and studying the park’s cheetah population. They’ll regale you with tales of specific cheetah families, their territorial skirmishes, and heartwarming moments of cub rearing.
The Serengeti Cheetah Project enhances the visit with educational presentations. Visitors can view captivating photos and videos showcasing cheetahs in the wild. These sessions are packed with information. They also shed light on the challenges these majestic animals face, from shrinking habitats to clashes with humans.
Beyond the thrill of spotting a cheetah sprinting in the wild, a visit to this project provides a deeper understanding of the intricate balance of the Serengeti ecosystem. This initiative speaks volumes about the park’s dedication to conservation. It’s undeniably one of the unique things to do in Serengeti National Park.
While the Mara River often steals the limelight with its dramatic migration crossings, the Grumeti River, located in the park’s western corridor, offers its own brand of wildlife magic. This river is a lifeline for many of the Serengeti’s inhabitants, especially during the drier months.
As you approach the Grumeti, you’ll be struck by the dense riverine forests. They line its banks, offering a vivid contrast to the neighboring savannah. These forests serve as a sanctuary for colobus monkeys. These primates are recognized for their distinctive black and white coats and are an uncommon sight in the Serengeti.
But it’s the river’s resident crocodiles that truly capture the imagination. Some of these ancient reptiles grow to immense sizes, rivaling those found in the Nile. They lie in wait, often unseen, for the wildebeest herds that come to drink and cross, leading to some heart-stopping wildlife encounters.
The Grumeti might not witness the same animal numbers as the Mara during migration. However, its consistent water supply guarantees regular wildlife encounters. From lumbering elephants to graceful giraffes, the Grumeti River showcases the Serengeti’s biodiversity in all its glory.
If you’re hunting for that quintessential Serengeti experience, Seronera Valley should be on your radar. Located smack in the middle of the park, this area is a magnet for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike. Why? It’s all about the water. The valley’s year-round water supply ensures a steady stream of animals, making every game drive feel like you’ve hit the wildlife jackpot.
Lions here have a peculiar habit: they climb trees. It’s not something you see every day, and it’s a spectacle that leaves many visitors reaching for their cameras. And while lions often steal the show, the leopards bring a different kind of allure. Cheetahs, with their stealthy moves and lightning-fast chases, add another layer of drama to the landscape.
Birdwatchers, get your binoculars ready. The valley boasts a bird list that’s 500 species strong. From the vibrant lilac-breasted roller to the imposing martial eagle, the skies and trees here are alive with color and song.
So, if you’re jotting down the must-visit spots in the park, make sure Seronera Valley is right up there. It’s not just about the big cats; it’s about immersing yourself in one of the richest wildlife hubs in Africa.
Moru Kopjes is one of those understated gems in the Serengeti that, for many, remains a delightful discovery. These massive granite rock formations rise dramatically from the plains. Often referred to as the “islands in the sea of grass,” they serve as nature’s skyscrapers. The views from atop are breathtaking, offering a vantage point to see the vastness of the Serengeti.
But it’s more than just a scenic spot. The wildlife here is abundant. Around the base of the kopjes, lions often bask in the sun, while leopards use the rocks as vantage points for hunting. The nooks and crannies of these formations provide shelter for a myriad of creatures, making every game drive around them a unique experience.
Adding to its allure, some rocks feature ancient Maasai paintings, silently narrating tales of a time long past. These artworks provide a fascinating insight into the region’s cultural history.
For travelers seeking a mix of adventure, wildlife, and a dash of history, Moru Kopjes is an essential stop. It might not always be in the limelight. However, those who venture here find its raw, unspoiled beauty hard to forget.
If you’re looking for a less-traveled spot in the Serengeti, Lobo Valley should be on your radar. Situated in the northern part of the park, this area is a bit off the beaten path. It makes it a perfect escape from the more crowded central zones. The landscape here is diverse, with rolling hills, open plains, and dense woodlands.
During the Great Migration, herds of wildebeests and zebras pass through Lobo Valley. This makes it a prime location for witnessing this natural spectacle. But even outside the migration season, the area is teeming with wildlife. Elephants, giraffes, and various antelope species are common sights. Plus, with fewer vehicles around, you get a more intimate and undisturbed wildlife viewing experience.
Lobo Valley also boasts a network of underground rivers, which means water is available year-round. This attracts a plethora of animals, especially during the dry season. The presence of permanent water sources also means predators, like lions and leopards, are frequently spotted.
For those wanting to experience the Serengeti’s wild side without the crowds, Lobo Valley is a top pick. It offers a genuine, unfiltered taste of African wilderness.
One of the best things to do in Serengeti National Park is to venture to Gol Kopjes. This region is often referred to as the “Lion’s Playground,” and for a good reason. The unique rock formations, known as kopjes, are a favorite lounging spot for lions. These granite outcroppings provide an excellent vantage point for these big cats to scan the plains for potential prey.
But it’s not just about lions. The vast grasslands surrounding the kopjes are a haven for cheetahs. These swift predators often use the tall grass as cover, stalking their prey before launching into a high-speed chase. If you’re lucky, you might even witness one of these incredible hunts in action.
Gol Kopjes was also a significant area during the Great Migration. As wildebeests and zebras move through, the region becomes a hotspot for action. Predators and prey in a tense dance of survival.
Visiting Gol Kopjes offers a raw and intense safari experience. The combination of unique landscapes and abundant wildlife makes it a must-visit when in the Serengeti. Don’t miss out on this authentic African adventure.
The Serengeti isn’t only about wildlife; it’s also home to the Maasai, one of Africa’s most iconic tribes. Taking a cultural visit to a Maasai Village, known as a “boma”, offers a unique opportunity. You can learn about their traditions, way of life, and deep connection to the land.
Upon entering a boma, you’ll be greeted with traditional songs and dances, a vibrant display of Maasai culture. The Maasai warriors, with their red shukas and beaded jewelry, share stories of their nomadic lifestyle, cattle herding, and rites of passage. It’s a chance to understand the challenges and joys of living in harmony with nature in such a wild setting.
TThe visit also provides insight into their traditional homes. These homes are made from mud, grass, and cow dung, designed to be easily dismantled and moved as they follow their herds. While there, you can also purchase handcrafted beaded jewelry, with proceeds often going back into the community.
Engaging with the Maasai offers a deeper understanding of the Serengeti beyond its animals. It’s a reminder that the park has been home to humans for centuries. Their stories are just as captivating as those of the wildlife.
The vast plains of the Serengeti are intersected by rivers and waterholes, and the Seronera River stands out as a lifeline for many animals. Taking a safari along this river offers a different perspective on the park’s wildlife. Especially during the dry season, animals congregate here for water.
As you drive along the riverbanks, you’ll witness scenes straight out of a nature documentary. Elephants quenching their thirst, lions waiting in ambush for unsuspecting prey, and crocodiles sunning themselves, ready to snap into action. It’s a dynamic environment where every moment holds potential for drama.
Among the unique things to do in Serengeti National Park, a Seronera River safari offers unparalleled opportunities for photography. The reflections of animals in the water create a mesmerizing view. The play of light on the river, combined with the backdrop of the Serengeti landscape, results in stunning shots.
Don’t forget to pack your binoculars! Birdwatchers will be delighted as the river attracts a variety of bird species. From herons to kingfishers, there’s much to see. Whether you’re a seasoned safari-goer or a first-timer, the Seronera River promises an experience that’s both thrilling and deeply immersive.
Looking for more content on the top things to do in Serengeti National Park? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Serengeti National Park:
The Serengeti offers unique experiences throughout the year. For witnessing the iconic Great Migration, plan between June and July. Tanzania is one of the cheapest places to fly in July with best deals and accommodations. However, if you’re keen on fewer tourists and a more serene atmosphere, the off-peak months are ideal. Each season has its charm and wildlife spectacle.
The best part? With a little bit of research and flexibility, you can find amazing deals on the cheapest places to fly to in Africa in these months.
Absolutely. The Serengeti, while wild, ensures visitor safety, especially on guided safaris. Expert guides are trained to prioritize safety while providing an immersive experience. Always heed their advice, and you’re set for a safe, unforgettable journey.
It’s possible, but not typically advised for newcomers. The Serengeti’s vastness can be overwhelming, and a seasoned guide not only ensures safety but also enriches the experience with their knowledge of wildlife and the park’s intricacies.
For the Serengeti, pack lightweight, breathable attire, a sturdy hat, ample sunscreen, and a pair of binoculars. A camera with a good zoom is crucial for capturing those once-in-a-lifetime wildlife moments.
Certainly. The Serengeti boasts a variety of accommodations, from opulent lodges to more rustic campsites. Your choice depends on the kind of experience you seek and your budgetary considerations.
Most travelers fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport. From there, you can opt for a domestic flight or a road trip to the park. Many prefer guided tours, which often include transportation arrangements.
The Serengeti National Park is globally renowned for the Great Migration, an awe-inspiring spectacle where millions of wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes traverse its vast plains in search of fresh pastures. This natural phenomenon, combined with its diverse wildlife and iconic African landscapes, makes the Serengeti a top destination for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.
Absolutely. Serengeti National Park offers an unparalleled wildlife experience, showcasing nature in its rawest form. From witnessing the world-famous Great Migration to spotting the Big Five, the park promises unforgettable moments. Its vast landscapes, teeming with diverse fauna and punctuated by breathtaking sunsets, make it a must-visit for any avid traveler or nature lover.
The Serengeti National Park stands out as one of the world’s premier wildlife destinations. With its vast plains, diverse ecosystems, and the spectacle of the Great Migration, it’s no wonder travelers flock here year after year.
If you’re seeking an authentic African safari experience, this is the place to be. The park offers countless opportunities for wildlife spotting, photography, and simply soaking in the natural beauty.
Remember, while the Serengeti’s attractions are numerous, it’s essential to plan your visit well to make the most of it. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-timer to Africa, the Serengeti promises an adventure you won’t soon forget. Safe travels!