What is the best time to visit the Serengeti for game viewing?

by | Feb 9, 2022 | Travel Guide

Best time to visit the Serengeti in Tanzania
“What is the best time to visit the Serengeti?” This is one of the first and most common questions travellers ask, wonder and research. We try to break it down by the season to help you understand the Serengeti better. Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is world-famous, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for its incredible wildlife and is regarded as one of the best game viewing destinations on the planet. With an area of about 14,763 square kilometres, the park is home to a diverse range of habitats, including grassy endless plains, savannahs, riverine forests, and woodlands, each of which supports unique wildlife. But what is the best time to visit the Serengeti for game viewing?

The Seasons

The game viewing experience in Serengeti varies throughout the year, depending on the season. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect during each season:

November to February

The short rainy season begins in November, signalling the start of the great wildebeest migration and the calving season. The herds gather in the southern Serengeti to give birth, and predators such as lions, hyenas, and leopards lurk around, waiting for their next meal. As the herds continue to move towards the south central Serengeti through December and January, the newborns take their first steps in the world.

February to March

During this time, the wildebeest migration progresses northwards towards the central Serengeti. The herds cross the Grumeti River, home to some of Africa’s largest crocodiles, providing a thrilling spectacle. By March or April, the herds reach the Seronera Valley, where they graze on the lush grass. Large herds of zebras and gazelles also roam the area, and predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas can be spotted.

April to May

The long rainy season begins in April, transforming the park into a lush green paradise. The rain brings fresh vegetation, attracting herds of grazers such as zebras, wildebeest, and gazelles. This time of year also sees the wildebeest migration moving into the western corridor of Serengeti, where they cross the Grumeti River again. Game viewing can be slightly challenging due to the heavy rain and thick vegetation, but you can still see a wide range of animals such as elephants, giraffes, and predators like lions, cheetahs, and leopards. The plus side of this season however is that the park can be quite empty and give you a true sense of seclusion.

June to October

The dry season is considered the one of the best time to visit the Serengeti for game viewing. The sparse vegetation makes it easier to spot wildlife, and the animals tend to gather around water sources. This time of year coincides with the wildebeest migration, offering an unforgettable spectacle. Predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas are also more active during this time, as they take advantage of the dry conditions to hunt. You can see large herds of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles, as well as predators in action.

Another major highlight during this season is the Mara River crossing. A spectacle to witness as hundreds of wildebeest try to cross their major obstacle, the Mara River, which is infested with crocodiles and other predators. The herds gather at the riverbank, hesitant to take the plunge, while the predators watch and wait for an opportunity. When the first wildebeest finally jump into the water, the rest follow in a massive surge. Many wildebeest perish during the crossing, and the river turns red with blood. It’s a brutal but awe-inspiring spectacle that draws visitors from all over the world.

When planning a trip to Serengeti, it’s essential to consider the cost of travel and accommodation, which can vary depending on the season. The dry season tends to be the busiest and most expensive, while the rainy season is generally less crowded and more affordable.

What is the best time to visit the Serengeti then?

Well, the Serengeti has something unique and special to offer in every season. Whether you want to witness the wildebeest migration, see newborn animals during the calving season, or spot predators in action, Serengeti has something for everyone.

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