Serengeti National Park, located in northern Tanzania, is renowned worldwide as one of the most spectacular wildlife destinations on the planet. Spanning an area of over 14,750 square kilometers, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is famous for its vast savannahs, abundant wildlife, and awe-inspiring natural beauty. In this guide, we’ll explore the enchanting attractions and thrilling activities that draw tourists from across the globe to the Serengeti.

Geography and Wildlife

The Serengeti’s landscape is characterized by endless grasslands, dotted with iconic acacia trees and rocky outcrops known as kopjes. The park is home to the world’s largest terrestrial mammal migration, with millions of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles traversing the plains in search of fresh grazing grounds. This epic journey, known as the Great Migration, is a sight to behold and is considered one of the greatest natural spectacles on Earth.

In addition to the migratory herds, the Serengeti boasts a diverse array of wildlife, including the Big Five – lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinoceroses. Other species commonly spotted in the park include cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, hippos, and a myriad of birdlife.

The Great Migration: A Natural Spectacle

Serengeti National Park is synonymous with the legendary Great Migration, one of the most awe-inspiring wildlife spectacles on the planet. Witness millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles traverse vast savannahs and crocodile-infested rivers in search of greener pastures. This annual migration, often described as the “Greatest Show on Earth,” is a testament to the eternal cycle of life and death in the Serengeti.

The Big Five: Majestic Encounters

Serengeti is home to the famed Big Five—lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhinoceros. The park’s diverse landscapes, from grassy plains to acacia woodlands, provide the perfect backdrop for close encounters with these magnificent creatures. Embark on game drives guided by expert trackers, and let the thrill of spotting a lioness on the prowl or a massive elephant herd leave an indelible mark on your safari experience.

Balloon Safaris: Soar Above the Savannah

For a truly unique perspective, Serengeti offers the opportunity to take to the skies in a hot air balloon. Drift above the vast plains as the sun rises, casting its golden light over the awakening landscape and the animals below. A balloon safari offers a bird’s-eye view of the Serengeti, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Serengeti’s Big Cats: The Predator’s Playground

Serengeti National Park is renowned for its thriving populations of big cats—lions, leopards, and cheetahs. The open grasslands provide the perfect hunting grounds for these apex predators, and observing their majestic and often dramatic interactions is a highlight of any safari. Serengeti’s kopjes (rock outcrops) also serve as favored resting spots for these regal felines.

Diverse Ecosystems: Varied Landscapes to Explore

While the Serengeti is famous for its expansive grasslands, it encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems. From the iconic savannahs to acacia woodlands, riverine forests, and granite kopjes, each region of the park offers a unique experience. The Serengeti’s landscapes change with the seasons, ensuring that every visit provides a fresh and captivating perspective.

Birdwatcher’s Paradise: A Symphony of Avian Diversity

For bird enthusiasts, Serengeti National Park is a paradise teeming with over 500 bird species. From majestic eagles to colorful rollers and graceful storks, the park’s diverse habitats create an ideal environment for birdwatching. The Serengeti is a symphony of birdcalls, adding a melodic layer to the savannah’s natural soundscape.

Tourist Activities at Serengeti National Park

What can you do in the Serengeti? The main attractions in the Serengeti are nature walks, game drives, Hot Air Balloon Safaris, Bush meals, visiting the Serengeti Visitor Center, visiting Olduvai Gorge, visiting the Ngorongoro Crater, observing the Wildebeest Migration, visiting the Maasai, Camping, exploring the Bologonja Springs, the Lobo Valley, The Moru Kopjes, Bird Watching, Swimming, the Hippo Pool and Lake Natron. We will now discuss all of them in more detail.

Early morning game drive

A game drive in the Serengeti is without doubt the most popular thing to do. It is the best way to see big 5 and other resident creatures. Animals in the Serengeti are very active in the morning and evening hours. The morning game drive starts at sunrise and ends at around 11: am. It is designed to allow tourists spot nocturnal animals retreating back to their holes/dens or observe herbivores going out to graze. The morning game drive is also excellent for spotting hyenas, wild dogs, lions, cheetahs, leopards and hippos (as they return from a night of grazing outside the pools). Lions love hunting in the night and early in the morning before the sun gets too hot.


Guided Nature walks

Nature walks are an excellent way to discover the Serengeti in a way that would not be possible while on a standard game drive. The Nature walks are unpredictable and you don’t follow specific tracks. This allows you to spot reptiles, birds, insects and other rare plants along the way. Most nature walks are organized by some of the accommodation facilities. You will be escorted by an armed ranger who is experienced in the terrain and knows about the different species in the park.

Hot Air Balloon Safari

If you want to have a different perspective of the vast Serengeti national park and can afford it, we highly recommend a hot air balloon safari. From thousands of feet above theground, you will get an aerial view of the plains and the animals that roam it. Hot air balloon safaris are particularly popular during the wildebeest migration allowing travelers to observe them in the thousands. Hot air balloon safaris start in the morning and ends with champagne breakfast in the African wilderness. Hot air balloons can take between 12 to 16 people. You need to book your tour in advance and prepare to pay about $500. Hot Air balloon safaris are excellent for honeymooners and those planning to celebrate an anniversary or birthday party. You will never forget the experience of getting a bird-eye view of the Serengeti plains and Africa’s famous wildlife.

Meals in the Bush

If you are traveling with a partner or are planning to spend your honeymoon in the Serengeti, you will find having dinner in the middle of the African wilderness something to remember. Most of the good hotels can arrange dinner under the stars with well-set tables.

Visit the Serengeti Visitor Center

If you are wondering about where to get all the information you need to know about the park, then you must visit this Visitor center. The Centre contains exhibits and other detailed information about the Serengeti, the ecosystem and its history. After touring the facility, you can also visit the gift and coffees shops. Alternatively, you can go for relaxation in the picnic area.

The Olduvai Gorge

The Olduvai Gorge is also known as the “cradle of mankind” because it is where the very first human remains where excavated by the Leakey family. The Gorge is found in the nearby Ngorongoro Conservation Area and within the East African Rift Valley. The Leakey family established a research base there and in so doing discovered several fossils and tools that were over 2 million years old. These tools and human remains can be seen from a small museum in the facility.

Wildebeest Migration

Over 1.6 million herbivores (zebras, gazelles and wildebeest) migrate between the Serengeti National Park and the Maasai Mara National Reserve each year. As they move, they go through great challenges and have to evade predators like lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs. One of their greatest challenges is crossing the Mara river as they cross to Kenya. They have to cross the crocodile infested river and deal with the high current. If they cross at the wrong point of the river, they risk drowning or stampeding on each other leading to thousands of deaths. The wildebeest migration attracts tourists to the Serengeti because it offers countless opportunities to witness the great battles between prey and predator. Travelers can also spend the whole day watching the wildebeest graze or give birth (calving).

Visit the Maasai

The Maasai are semi-nomadic pastoralists living in most parts of Southern Kenya and Northern Tanzania. They are arguably the most known East African tribal group. They have a tall stature and put on vibrant/colorful attire. The Masai have lived within/close to the Serengeti plains for the last 300 years (after migrating from Sudan). They still believe in their ancient traditional practices and values. A visit to one their villages (bomas) is an excellent opportunity to learn about their culture and traditional beliefs. They are very friendly and will show you how to hunt, milk domestic animals, cook traditional food and much more. After visiting the individual homesteads, you can also visit one of the local schools, attend traditional dance performances and buy handicrafts.


Camping in the wilderness is also one of the popular activities while on a safari in the Serengeti. Your hotel should provide you with all the camping gear, a chef and armed guards. Camping is even more exciting if you travel in a group. You would have fun with your group-mates as you party under the African sky. Basic tents cost about $50 per night while the luxury tents can cost $900 per night. Regardless of whether you go for the budget or luxury tents, the results are the same. You will still get to experience what it is like to sleep in the African wilderness with the beautiful sounds of birds, hungry lions and nervous herbivores

The Bologonja Springs

These beautiful springs are found in the northeastern corner of the park. The Bologna springs offer some of the most scenic views in the Serengeti.  The springs provide water which allows vegetation to thrive throughout the year. This in turn attracts several species of small primates, birds, migrating animals, giraffes, elephants, steenbok, mountain reedbuck and many other plant eaters. Because of their remoteness, you get to explore them without the large crowds seen in central Serengeti.

Night Game Drive

Ever wondered what it would feel like hearing the sound of wildlife in the night? A night game drive is the perfect answer. Whereas Night game drives are generally not permitted in the Serengeti National Park, a number of outfitters can arrange it in neighboring reserves. The Serengeti and private conservancies are home to many nocturnal animals like civets, aardvarks, nightjars and bush babies. Night game drives also offer travelers a chance to observe zebras, hyenas, impala, giraffes, jackals and foxes. Lions, hyenas and Leopards are very active at night. It is the best time to spot them take down prey.

Visit the Lobo Valley

The Lobo valley is the best place to spot lions and the other big cats in the Serengeti. The big cats are attracted to the valley because of abundant prey and permanent waterholes. Apart from the big cats, the Lobo Valley also attracts baboons, elephants and giraffes. Between July and November, the valley is the center of the great migration. Tourists flock the valley to observe zebras, wildebeest and gazelles enjoying the lush green grass in the area.

Visit the Moru Kopjes

Remember the Lion King’s Pride Rock? Well that was a Kopje. Kopjes are rocky areas that dot the Serengeti plains. They are covered with vegetation, small pools and shade. This is where lions and other predators go to rest as they lookout for prey. The Moru Kopjes are the most popular and impressive within the Serengeti. They also contain old Masai paintings. From the top of the Kopjes, you can scan the horizon with your binoculars and get beautiful views of wildlife in the plains. The Moru Kopjes are the best place to spot black Rhinos.

Bird Watching

The Serengeti National Park is home to 542 recorded species of birds. 100 of them are permanent residents of the park while 11 are endemic to the Serengeti. There are also migratory birds that visit the park between November and April. They come all the way from Europe and North Africa. The species to look out for are the great African Ostrich, vultures, Black-headed Heron, D’Arnaud’s barbet, Dark Chanting Goshawk, Decken-Toko Tockus, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Grey-headed sparrow, Purple Grenadier, Red-backed scrub, Rufous-tailed weaver, Secretary birds, The Kori bustard, Variable Sunbird, White-bellied go-away bird, White-crowned shrike and Yellow-throated sandgrouse.

The Retina Hippo Pool

This is not a swimming pool but where hippos wallow in. The pool is found in the Seronera sector of the park and attracts hundreds of hippos. Hippos and buffaloes are arguably the most dangerous animals to humans in the Serengeti. The pool offers you a chance to observe them and take great photos. Tourists are allowed to explore the pool on foot as they watch the watch the hippos fight for the best spots. After watching the mammals and taking photos, you can go for lunch at the picnic area.

Lake Natron

Lake Natron is located four hours’ way from Serengeti. It lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation area. The lake is salty and filled with algae. Despite that, several salt-loving organisms have adapted to it. The Lake is also home to countless birds including over 2 million lesser flamingos. Flamingos thrive here because of the abundant algae and absence of predators/ humans to disturb their breeding cycles. If you are birder, nature lover or want to do something different, this is one place you should put on your bucket list.

Serengeti National Park is a true African paradise, offering visitors an unparalleled safari experience amidst breathtaking landscapes and incredible wildlife encounters. Whether witnessing the Great Migration, exploring ancient archaeological sites, or embarking on thrilling game drives and walking safaris, there is no shortage of adventures to be had in this iconic destination. With its rich biodiversity and commitment to conservation, the Serengeti continues to inspire and captivate travelers from around the world, ensuring its place as a bucket-list destination for generations to come.