When to visit Serengeti National Park : Serengeti national park is always full of surprises regardless of the time of the year. Serengeti national park is listed among the top wildlife destinations in the world, the park is also a world Heritage Site popular for its huge wildlife population include over 2 million ungulates, 4000 lions, 1000 leopards, 550 cheetahs and over 500 bird species living in an area of approximately 15,000 square kilometers.
As a tourist planning to visit Serengeti national park for a safari, visiting the park in the right time of the year helps you discover the gems of the park and enjoy your Tanzania safari. However the right time to visit the park depends on what you intentions are (what you intend to see during your safari visit).
Following The Great Migration
Serengeti national park offers extra ordinary wildlife viewing opportunities throughout the year and the Great Migration is one of the fascinating wildlife occasions you will have a chance to witness during your Serengeti safari.
The best time to see The Great Migration is during winter in which you will see the herds in Southern Serengeti while the Western Corridor and Northern Serengeti are the best places to visit during the summer and winter months. As you visit Serengeti national park to witness the Great Migration, it is important to keep it in mind that the migration is part of nature so it is entirely unpredictable.
Chances play a big role in witnessing the iconic river crossing when 2 million wildebeests accompanied by gazelles and zebras cross the Mara river with rapids jostling their bodies and crocodiles snapping at their hooves. In conclusion, choosing the right part of the Serengeti national park in the right period offers you more chances of seeing a spectacular migration movement.
Beyond the great migration
Although most travelers visit Serengeti national park to catch a glimpse of the spectacle wildebeest trek, the park has much more to offer such as sights of Golden – maned lions sunbathing on a rock, an elusive leopard chilling out on a branch of an acacia tree and a cheetah chasing a gazelles at a full speed of the never- ending sunburnt plains among others Serengeti’s magical beasts.
Some travelers tend to avoid visiting Serengeti national park during the Great Migration and some of the reasons are as follows
Note: the times of the year where the migration is witnessed are considered peak seasons.
- During the Great Migration, areas where this spectacular experience can be encountered tend to become busy with fellow travelers which can be bothersome in terms of your Serengeti safari.
- Most predatory species and most of the wildlife species in Serengeti a part from zebras and wildebeests are territorial and do not wander too far from their territories, so there is no need to follow the crowds.
- Most safari camps and lodges in Serengeti national park offer subsequently lower rates in April and May, this season is referred to as the green season.
- Outside of the peak periods, Serengeti national park and other Tanzania national parks including the Ngorongoro Crater Area are far less crowded whilst wildlife viewing options are still superb.
Avoid the crowds
The Great Migration is a great wildlife spectacle attracting lots of spectators and you might experience the heart of the migration to be a bit crowded with human species – visitors. Travelers that only visit the Seronera area may experience a Serengeti that feels crowded, sometimes too crowded for comfort.
Wildlife sightings that involve a big cat, whether it is a leopards, a cheetah or a lion pride attract many safari vehicles, many visitors and as a result their guides are obsessed with the big cats and the Big Five. Guides always feel that they would miss out when not joining a sighting when not joining a sighting.
Within minutes of a big cat sighting big called on a radio, all vehicles will congregate on that one sighting. There is a good reason for this, Seronera is the location of many lodges and campsites and is the most area of Serengeti national park. Within a 10 kilometers radius from Seronera the road network is busy with safari vehicles. In conclusion, being in Serengeti national park at the wrong time may lead to the misconception that the Serengeti is too crowded yet it is not, one only needs to wander or driver further to avoid such sightings.
To avoid the crowds or rather to experience Serengeti national park as it should be experienced, splitting your safari itinerary in two is a better idea. One portion of your trip in the heart of the migration action (in this area you will experience heavier vehicle traffic) and the other option in a remote out of season, location.
Options for the latter would be the Western Corridor between August and October, or the Mara – Serengeti Area between November and June. In these areas you will encounter the quality of wildlife viewing is almost or as good as in the Seronera area. During a Serengeti Safari, it is not impossible to spend time in the park seeing no other visitors.
If you wish to have Serengeti national park to your self during your Tanzania safari, travelling in low season is the best option, in the low seasons visitors numbers are low and camp rates are much lowers. Periods of low season in Serengeti national park are Mid-March to Mid- May (long rains) and early November to Mid- December (short rains) and the last two weeks in January.
Most travelers pick the dry season to visit Serengeti national park for a safari, the dry season takes place from late June to October. In the dry season animals are easily seen as they gather around rivers and waterholes to quench their thirst.
The Great Migration is at its absolute prime and chances of witnessing an iconic river crossing are at their best in the dry season, most of the safari lodges and camps remain open during the wet season when the rains turn the dry landscape of Serengeti national park into a lush, green oasis and the birthing (calving season) begins.
Dry season in Serengeti national park – June to October
- The thick bush thins out and wildlife is easier to spot.
- Animals will gather around the rivers and waterholes.
- Expect bright days and lots of sunshine with afternoon temperatures around 25°C / 77°F.
- Less chance of malaria, since there are fewer mosquitoes.
- Easier to spot the Great Migration including the iconic river crossings if you are lucky.
- Serengeti national park gets crowded, especially around the Seronera area.
- It gets relatively cold at night and early in the morning with minimum temperatures around 14°C / 57°F.
- Occasional cold fronts are possible, with temperatures close to freezing.
Wet season in Serengeti national park – November to May
- Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the Southern Serengeti – an excellent time to see predator action.
- A lush and green landscape.
- Fewer tourists and lower rates, especially in April and May.
- Birdwatching is at its best in this period
From November to February, rains are mostly short afternoon storms and seldom interfere with your trip.
- March to May is the peak of the wet season, in this period it tends to rain most days although seldom for the whole day. It is often cloudy.
It tends to rain most days, although seldom for the whole day. It is often cloudy.
Note: January to March can be crowded around the Seronera area.