Serengeti Safari Lodges
The Serengeti National Park is one of the most famous safari destinations in the world. Its vast open savanna plains allow the wildlife to move according to the commands of the seasonal rains., untroubled by park boundaries. Below is our guide to the Serengeti safari lodges in different areas of the park.
The Serengeti Eco-System
With the Serengeti National Park at its heart, the Serengeti eco-system comprises much of northern Tanzania. This includes the Ngorongoro Crater and the Masai Mara National Reserve and its associated game conservancies.
More than other safari destinations, the best place to stay in the Serengeti depends on when you are travelling. You’ll also need to consider your tolerance towards seeing other safari vehicles. The Serengeti is very busy when the wildebeest migration begins.
The Wildebeest Migration
Up to two million wildebeest and half a million zebra live in the Serengeti National Park. Combined with thousands of impala and other antelope, it is the largest concentration of wildlife in the world. This attracts predators which has led to its popular nickname of ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.
Life on the Serengeti is a complex cycle defined by the rains. The Wildebeest migration is the continual circular movement of animals as they trek up to 800 km. They trek north through the Serengeti National Park into the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya in search of new grazing lands, and then back down again. The wildlife migration spills out into buffer game management zones beside the park. Here wild animals co-exist alongside the local Masai.
Age old question: Best time to visit the Serengeti?
- From mid-December to March, the short grass plains of the Ndutu south are alive with herds of wildebeest and zebra. But at other times the south is a little empty as the wildebeest migration heads north.
- When the long rains begin in April, the plains are at their most beautiful. Vivid with wildflowers and packed with game. This is a perfect time for photographic safaris as the quality of light is magical.
- From April to June, the Serengeti National Park is the theatre for the most impressive wildlife show on earth: the wildebeest migration. Hundreds of thousands of plains game begin moving north-westwards to the Seronera. This spectacular moving feast is trailed by predators: lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena. Given the Seronera’s centrality, you can stay here and still travel north to the Western Corridor. So this makes Seronera busy area throughout the migration.
- Some time in July, huge columns of wildebeest and zebra congregate at the Grumeti river. They need to cross the crocodile-infested river to the permanent water of the Masai Mara, Good lodges here include Grumeti River Lodge and the Singita lodges in the Grumeti Reserve.
- The Northern Serengeti lies between the Seronera and Kenya. Given its northern position, it is less crowded than the Seronera. Check out Sayari Camp and Serengeti Migration Camp.
- East of Serengeti is the Loliondo area, belonging to the Masai. This is part of the Serengeti eco-system with plenty of permanent game and the migration. Plus its camps can offer night drives. Between October and November you can see the migration as it returns south into Tanzania. We recommend Nduara Loliondo Camp, andBeyond Klein’s Camp and Suyan Camp.
- The short rains begin generally in November. The wildebeest migration returns to the south-western Serengeti. This return is much more scattered and sporadic over several weeks.
Serengeti Hot Air Ballooning
A balloon flight over the Serengeti must be one of the most memorable ways to celebrate the African bush! Wake before the birds and drive through the dark to the balloon launch site. Soon you are soaring high above the savanna. As the pilot lets the wind take you where it will. Watch from aloft as the first animals come to drink at a river below. All too soon it is time land to enjoy an alfresco bush breakfast. And to toast the best possible start to a day on safari.
Seasonal and Mobile Camps in the Serengeti
Several Tanzania safari operators have focused on luxury mobile camps. These all have the comforts of permanent camps. So perhaps it is wrong to even call them mobile. They are pitched in locations carefully chosen many months in advance. But the whole camp does relocate two or three times a year. So they can follow the migration as it heads north. Nomad Tanzania are masters at this and their Serengeti Safari Camp was the original. But it is now joined by Serengeti under Canvas and Asilia’s Olakira.