The Serengeti National Park – Everything You Need to Know

About Serengeti National Park Tanzania – Everything You Need to Know

Where is Serengeti National Park Located?

How Big is Serengeti National Park?  The country known as United Republic of Tanzania is the game reserve Serengeti National Park location, which is also known as the Serengeti Plain stretching beyond 14,763 kilometres squared (5,700 square miles). It is found in the Simiyu and Mara regions and covers 15,000,000 hectares (37,000,000 acres) of savannah, that is how large is the Serengeti National Park in hectares. The world’s biggest annual Serengeti National Park wildebeest migration of more than 1.5 million blue wildebeest, 250,000 zebra and Africa’s biggest lion population makes the park very famous. It faces a threat from population growth, deforestation, and ranching.

  • Latitude location Serengeti National Park – 2.3333° S
  • Longtitude location Serengeti National Park – 34.8333° E
Wildebeest crossing through Mara river
Wildebeest crossing through Mara river

Tanzania Serengeti National Park Etymology

What is the Serengeti National Park?

The word “Serengeti” is similar to the word Siringet of the Maasai people in the area, meaning “the place where the land runs on forever”

The History of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

When was Serengeti National Park Established?

By 1930, an area measuring 2,286 kilometres squared (883 square miles) was selected as a game reserve in the south and east is Serengeti. During the 1930s, the Tanzanian government set up a system of national parks to comply with the London Convention of 1933. The area became a game park in 1940. Strict protection was granted to the park in 1948 after the formation of the Serengeti National Park Board of Trustees to handle administration at the park.

The government put restrictions on the movements of Maasai who resided here and in 1951, the park bounders were completed. In 1959, 8,300 kilometres squared (3,200 square miles) were cut off in the eastern area of the park to re-establish Ngorongoro Conservation Area for accommodating the traditional land use meeting needs of the Maasai people in an area that supports multiple uses. In 1981, Serengeti National Park covered 12,950 kilometres squared (5,000 square miles), which didn’t makeup half of Serengeti.

The Serengeti National Park became famous after Bernhard Grzimek with his son, Michael released a film “Serengeti” and published a book.

Bernhard Grzimek with his son, Michael in the making of the movie Serengeti
Bernhard Grzimek with his son, Michael in the making of the movie Serengeti

What is Africa Serengeti National Park Famous For?

Africa Serengeti National Park Animals

Animals Found in Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park ecosystem is believed to have Africa’s largest population of lions partly because of abundant prey species. This ecosystem is home to more than 3,000 Serengeti National Park lions. The park has been a protected area since 2005 including the Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) during the dry season, the population African leopard is about 5.41 individuals per 100 kilometers squared (39 square miles).

Other mammal carnivores include approximately 3,500 spotted hyena, the cheetah, widely noticed because of gazelle in abundance, two jackal species, striped hyena, caracal,  African golden wolf, serval, 7 mongoose species, two otters species and honey badger. The EA wild dog disappeared in 1991 and was reintroduced in 2012 after

Herds of the African bush elephant recovered from a decrease in population during the 1980s resulting from poaching and grew to over 5,000 by 2014. There was a decline in the population of the African buffalo between 1976 and 1996 because of poaching, however, it grew to 28,524 by 2008. The population of the black rhinoceros reduced to around 10 during the 1980s because of poaching. Not more than 50 survive today, mostly in areas less prone to wildfires. The rhinos feed on grasses, Acacia, Crotalaria forbs, woody Indigofera, and shrubs.

A leopard with her cub sitting on a tree at Serengeti
A leopard with her cub sitting on a tree at Serengeti

More mammals include aardwolf, wildcat,  African aardvark, common genet, African civet, crested porcupine, African striped weasel, gorilla, ground pangolin, bat-eared fox, cape hare, and three hyraxes species. Primates include patas monkeys, yellow and olive baboons, and, black-and-white colobus and vervet monkeys are also observed in the gallery forests of River Grumeti.

Reptiles include serrated hinged terrapin, leopard tortoise, rainbow agama, Nile crocodile, Nile monitor, African python chameleon, puff adder, black mamba, and black-necked spitting cobra.

Birds of Serengeti National Park

More than 500 species of birds found in Serengeti National Park can be viewed including, Masai ostrich, helmeted guineafowls, blacksmith lapwing, oxpeckers, African collared dove, kori bustards, red-billed buffalo weaver, Grey-breasted spurfowl, crowned cranes, secretary bird, sacred ibis, black herons, white stork, cattle egrets,  goliath herons, southern ground hornbill,  yellow-billed stork, lesser flamingo, abdim’s stork, hamerkops, spur-winged geese, hadada ibis, African fish eagles, saddle-billed storks, pink-backed pelicans, knob-billed ducks, marabou storks, Tanzanian red-billed hornbill, spotted thick-knees, martial eagles, Egyptian geese, shoebills, lovebirds, and many vulture species.

Great Migration

The great migration in Serengeti National Park is the longest migration on land in the world. The whole migration is 800 kilometres (500 miles). About 1.5 million wildebeests move from the south to the north into Maasai Mara. Five hundred wildebeests are born from January to March. The herds move from the southern plains in March to begin migrating,] Plain zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, common eland join the wildebeest migration. Between April and May, the herds go through the Western Corridor. When the dry season begins, the herd goes north into Maasai Mara for greener grass.

To reach the Maasai Mara, these animals cross the Mara and Grumeti Rivers as well as encounter 3,000 crocodiles. For each wildebeest caught by the crocodiles, 50 are engulfed by the water. At the end of the dry season in late October, the herds go back south. About 250,000 wildebeest including 30,000 plains zebras every year die from predation, disease, thirst, drowning, or exhaustion.

Serengeti National Park Facts About Geology

Archaean granite-gneiss plutons (2.72–2.56 BYA) and Archaen Nyanzian System greenstones (2.81–2.63 BYA make up the basement complex, uplifted 180 MYA)  to form elongated hills and koppies, the Neoproterozoic Mozambique Belt having granite and quartzite, including the Neoproterozoic Ikorongo Group, having siltstone, sandstone, and shale and that create linear ridges. The southeast section of the park has Ol Doinyo Lengai Holocene-aged volcanic ash and Neogene-aged volcanic rock. The Mbalageti, Grometi,  Orangi and Mara, rivers flow toward the west to Lake Victoria, as the Oldupai River flows to the east into  Olbalbal Swamps.

On the eastern section of the Serengeti National Park is the Serengeti volcanic plains, a Tropical Plain Ecozone. These grasslands grow on volcanic ash deposits from the Kerimasi Volcano, which erupted 150,000 long ago, also from the eruption of Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, which formed calcareous tuff layer including calcitic hard-pan soil (vertisols) because of rapid erosion of the natrocarbonatite lava from the volcanoes.

Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano Lava
Ol Doinyo Lengai Volcano Lava

Serengeti National Park Geography

Location of Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park covers 14,750 kilometre squared (5,700 square miles) of woodland, riverine forest, savanna, and grassland plains. The Serengeti National Park is in northwestern Tanzania, bordering the Kenyan border in the north, where joins the MMNR. In the southeast is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve lies in the southwest, Grumeti and Ikorongo Game Reserves in the west, and the Loliondo Game Control Area in the northeast and east.

Serengeti National Park Climate

The Serengeti National Park Grassland is extremely diverse, ranging from hilly woodlands to open grasslands to savannah. The area’s geographic diversity is because of the severe conditions of weather in Serengeti National Park that affect its area, especially the potent combination of wind and heat. The varied habitats in the area may have come from various volcanoes, whose activity formed the basic geographic elements of the grassland by adding craters and mountains to the landscape.

The Mara River that flows through MMNR to Lake Victoria from the Kenyan highlands is the only river permanently flowing in the Serengeti ecosystem.

  • Altitude Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park altitude – Approximately 3,020 to 6,070 feet

  • Serengeti National Park temperature – The temperatures mainly trend within a 26 degrees Celsius (79 F)

The Serengeti National Park Africa Plains

The Serengeti National Park plants can be categorized into three zones: Serengeti grassland: The prominent feature of this grassland is the nearly treeless plains in the south. Predators use kopjes, granite formations here as observation posts. The Volcanic Plains is an edaphic vegetation community that thrives on soils got from volcanic ash got from volcanoes nearby.

Western corridor: The major geographic feature is Mbalageti and Grumeti rivers. There are some tiny mountain ranges and huge groups of riverine forest. The Serengeti National Park great migration goes through the corridor between May and July. It extends to Lake Victoria. The location is more flat compared to the northern areas of the park with more having dense plant cover compared to the southern grassland. Northern Serengeti: open woodlands dominated the landscape, mainly Commiphora and hills, including Mara River on the border with Kenya and Seronera in the south. It is relatively inaccessible and remote.

Wildebeest in the Western Corridor

Human habitation is not allowed in the park apart from the staff of Tanzania National Parks Authority, researchers including employees of the various hotels, campsites, and lodges. Seronera is the main settlement with a primary airstrip.

Management and Protection of the Serengeti National Park

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization listed the park as a World Heritage Site. It’s placed in Category II protectorate area covered by the system according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which means that it must be under management to protect the ecological processes or ecosystem.

Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA) is the body that administers all Tanzanian Parks. Myles Turner was among the Serengeti National Park’s initial game wardens, is appreciated for containing rampant poaching.

Serengeti National Park Threats

Mara River’s hydrology has changed because of cutting down trees in the Mau Forest area. Invasive plant species here include Feverfew, Siam weed, Mexican sunflower, and Prickly pear. The four percent growth in the human population on the park’s western side. Additionally, growing livestock use increased the amount of land switched to ranching and farming. Poaching kills around 200,000 animals every year and some of these are animals in Serengeti National Park.

Major 5 Interesting Facts About Serengeti National Park

1. Best Time to Go to Serengeti National Park

For those wondering about the best time to travel to Serengeti National Park, it is highly recommended to first consider the Serengeti National Park four seasons before anything else:

  • Months of January to March – The season which the game park is the greenest)
  • Months of April to May – Herds of animals start moving towards the northern side, especially in Serengeti’s central zone. This season is best time to visit Serengeti National Park if you are looking to take a lot of beautiful photos of animals.
  • Months of June to July – Vegetation in the game park start wilting and making a very suitable environment for big cats to hunt their prey. This season is Serengeti National Park best time to visit if you are looking to see some wild action.
  • Months of August to October – This is the driest season and it is the time when there are huge movements of herds from the Mara river heading towards Maasai Mara in Kenya. And in reverse, the wildebeests usually go back in the same to the Serengeti’s central zone.

These 4 seasons should you give you guidance on the best month to visit Serengeti National Park basing on your preference on what you are planning to do and expect.

Note: Serengeti National Park in December is usually the best time to visit the park if you want to avoid the peak tourist season (end of June to the beginning of September)

2. How Much Does It Cost to Visit Serengeti National Park?

Serengeti National Park Cost

You have to plan your finances way ahead before you go visit the park.

The first thing to consider in your expenses will be all Serengeti National Park fees:

Serengeti National Park Entrance Fee

Foreign visitors entrance fee Serengeti National Park categories (as of year 2022):

  • Children (newborns to 5 years old) – No charges
  • Children (5 years old to 16 years old) – $30 USD
  • Grown ups (16 years and older) – $60 USD

Serengeti National Park Safari Cost

There are numerous Serengeti National Park safari packages available in market, all depends on the tour operator you choose and your preferences.

The following major travel sites would be a recommended go to place to browse for available Serengeti National Park tour packages:

  • Tripadvisor Serengeti National Park Travel packages
  • Expedia Serengeti National Park packages

3. Serengeti National Park Vacation Options

Listings of Safaris in the Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park Accommodation Choices From Various Sources

4. Getting to Serengeti National Park

There are numerous ways on how to get to Serengeti National Park:

  1. The first and favorite option visitors use on how to go to Serengeti National Park is by flying to Kilimanjaro International Airport. From here, you will have varieties of local flights to a number of airstrips that are present in the park.

2. The second popular way of how to visit Serengeti National Park is through road. Safari vehicles operated by Serengeti tour operators or self driven ones (not recommended) are usually the available choices to get you to the park.

The drive is approximately 8 hours from the city of Arusha.

Serengeti National Park Airport

If looking for a major airport with international airlines, then the airport closest to Serengeti National Park will be Kilimanjaro International Airport.

But in terms of distance, closest airport to Serengeti National Park is Grumeti (GTZ), it is about 2 hours away from the park.

Flights to Serengeti National Park Tanzania https://www.serengeti.com/flights-to-serengeti.php

Distance from Major Cities and Other Destinations

  • Distance from lake Manyara to Serengeti National Park – About 3 hours, 132 kilometers
  • Distance from Arusha to Serengeti National Park – About 4 hours, 235.5 kilometers
  • Dar es salaam to Serengeti National Park – About 17 hours, 1,014.6 kilometers
  • Mwanza to Serengeti National Park – About 2 hours, 135.8 kilometers
  • Nairobi to Serengeti National Park – About 4.5 hours, 256.3 kilometers
  • Serengeti National Park to Zanzibar – About 4 hours (including transfers), 685 kilometers
  • Distance from Dar es salaam to Serengeti National Park – About 17 hours, 1,014.6 kilometers via B1
  • Distance from Kilimanjaro airport to Serengeti National Park – About 7 hours and 54 minutes, 442.0 kilometers via B144
  • Distance from Nairobi to Serengeti National Park – 4 hours and 30 minutes, 256.3 kilometers via B3 and C12
  • Distance from Ngorongoro to Serengeti National Park – 1 hour and 24 minutes, 62.2 kilometers via B144

5. Map of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania

Serengeti National Park Google Maps

Serengeti National Park Google Maps
Serengeti National Park Google Maps
Map Serengeti national park
Map of Serengeti National Park Tanzania

Serengeti National Park map pdf – Africanworldheritagesites Serengeti

Frequently Asked Questions and Other Interesting Facts About Serengeti National Park

  • Where Serengeti National Park: 
    • What country is Serengeti National Park in (Serengeti National Park country)? – The park is very famous around the world, but not everyone knows exactly Serengeti National Park is in what country.

For those who do not know Serengeti National Park is located in what country, the United Republic of Tanzania is the country that is home to Serengeti National Park. Next time you look in your map and wonder Serengeti National Park is in which country, check out the eastern side of Africa and find Tanzania.

  • What city is Serengeti National Park in? – Mara region
  • Masai Mara Serengeti National Park – These two areas create what is now known as the Serengeti Ecosystem. Both Serengeti National Park Masai Mara are well recognized as one of the best place to sightsee animals especially during the wildebeest migration that starts from Tanzania to Kenya seasonally.
    • Ngorongoro crater Serengeti National Park Comparison:
      • Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro crater Tanzania
        • Both of these conservation areas are home to the big five animals. But in terms of vegetation Serengeti seem to have a large variety, something that is reflected to the different species of animals who call the park the home. While Ngorongoro is mainly plain shortgrass to a big extent, together with vegetation that are swampy and Lerai forest. These conditions seem to be more favorable mostly to animals such as Zebra and other grazers.
        • In terms of number of animals, Serengeti is home to more animals than Ngorongoro
      • For more information about Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro crater Tanzania visit https://www.tanzaniaparks.go.tz/
    • Kruger National park vs Serengeti

Kruger is an elephant preferred habitat due to its dense forest while Serengeti is a more of a terrain that is plain and open perfect for predators such as lions.

    • Serengeti National Park vs Masai Mara

In terms of size, Serengeti is way bigger than Masai Mara. Because of this, it is a bit easier to sightsee some animals such as the Rhinos in Masai Mara than Serengeti because of its smaller size.

But on the other end, the size of Masai Mara makes it a bit more crowded than Serengeti in terms of hotels and lodges can be harder to escape large concentration of people if not preferred.

    • Tarangire National Park vs Serengeti

Tarangire is the best park to go to if you prefer to encounter a less concentration of tourists while going on your Safari but at the same time being able to see more animals. This is possible in Tarangire because it is not that popular compared to Serengeti.

       The big 5 animals in Serengeti National Park Tanzania are also found in Tarangire

  • How big is the Serengeti National Park?
    • Serengeti National Park size – 14,763 kilometres squre
    • Serengeti National Park area – The area of Serengeti National Park is found in the east side of Mara region and Simiyu region north eastern portion, containing one of the top range of grassland in the continent of Africa and probably the world.
  • Popular Serengeti National Park Wildlife
    • Cheetah Serengeti National Park – The park is the best destination for sightseeing Cheetahs. The approximate number of this fast animal remaining in both Serengeti and Masai Mara today is about 3,000 only.
    • Serengeti National Park big five – Cape buffalos, rhinos, lions, elephants and, leopards
    • Serengeti National Park elephants – There is an increase in the number of elephants in the park from year 2014, whereby it was 6,000 to 7,000 and more as of year 2020 (Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute – TWRI statistics)
  • Serengeti National Park Kilimanjaro – Mount Kilimanjaro is in the Northern circuit of Tanzania, the area that is very close to Serengeti. You are able to have glimpse of the mountain from Serengeti because o that.
  • Things to Do in Serengeti National Park: Before you head to Tanzania for your safari, it is highly recommended you figure out what to do in Serengeti National Park first. Here are a number of activities in Serengeti National Park a tourist can do
  • How to reach Serengeti National Park
    • Where to fly into for Serengeti National Park – There are no direct flights to Serengeti from any country. But here is a quick guide on how to fly to Serengeti National Park cheaply and simple tips from other tourists on Tripadvisor
    • How do you get to Serengeti National Park using other means apart from flying?
        • Road through Serengeti National Park – the government of Tanzania is still in the planning of a major commercial highway through the park, which also potentially cross through the route used by the wildebeest during the migration. Read more about this on rspb.org.uk
    • Flights from Nairobi to Serengeti National Park – Expedia.ca
    • Zanzibar to Serengeti National Park – Flightlink.co.tz
    • Moshi to Serengeti National Park – Tripadvisor
    • Serengeti National Park from Dar es salaam – Romeo2rio.com
  • Airports near Serengeti National Park (Airport Serengeti National Park)
    • Nearest airport to Serengeti National Park – There are a couple of options for airports in Serengeti National Park, for starters the closest international airport near Serengeti National Park is Kilimanjaro International Airport.

Kilimanjaro international airport Serengeti National Park approximate distance is 7 hours and 54 minutes in terms of time, and 442.0 kilometers via B144

Another Serengeti National Park closest airport is the Arusha airport

  • Best time to visit Serengeti National Park Tanzania – Since the country is tropical in terms of climate throughout the year, there are lots of options in terms of when to this visit. But, the best time of year to visit Serengeti National Park is between the months of June to September and months of January to February.
  • Serengeti National Park conservation – Serengeti National Park weather, natural habits and the wide variety of animals makes the area a top priority for conservation. Get more details here about conservation activities of Serengeti at Serengeti.com
  • Serengeti National Park address – There is no specific address for the park, but for any questions regarding it use the following address:

TANZANIA NATIONAL PARKS. Postal Address Tanzania National Parks P.O Box 3134 Arusha Hotline: +255 (0) 272 970 404. Fax: Nō: +255 (0) 272 970 408

  • Serengeti National Park hours – 6am to 6pm

Pictures of Serengeti National Park Tanzania

Images of Serengeti National Park Sunset

Serengeti National Park Photos of Lions

Serengeti National Park Pictures of Wildebeests

Other Serengeti National Park Images

Explore more fun facts about Serengeti National Park by visiting Nomadicexperience.com

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