Exhilarating Serengeti; a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the Great Migration. This vast national park is Tanzania’s gem and many who come here will have a trip of a lifetime. A fantastic park for game tracking, there are fewer places in Africa as exciting or breathtaking when it comes to animals. If you’re planning your next safari trip to the Serengeti National Park, please take a look at some of our featured camps and check out our guide to some of the key animals of the Serengeti below.
Herds of buffalo can be seen all year round in the Serengeti. Known also as the Cape Buffalo, these large beasts which are a part of the famous Big Five, can reach 1.5 metres in shoulder height and can weigh up to 750kg. They are bulk grazers and can often be seen in large herds on grassy areas.
During the 1800s, elephants were hunted to almost extinction in the Serengeti but by the 1960s and 70s, the elephant population started to flourish again. By 2014, elephant numbers had reached over 7,000 and today, this noble creature can be spotted in herds from as small as 2 to as large as 24. African elephants can be spotted all over the Serengeti National Park during early morning, late afternoon and in the evening during their typical feeding hours.
The giraffe is the tallest living mammal and there is a thriving population in the Serengeti. Arid savannah with trees form their habitat and they are known to be extremely friendly. 50-75% of all calves in the park are hunted by predators such as lions.
The Great Migration sees more than 1.5 million wildebeest move in unison, together with zebras, impalas and gazelle, make the circular move in search of greener pastures. The best time to see wildebeest on the move is June / July when the herds cross over the Grumeti River, and late August/ early September when the Mara River crossings into Kenya take place. Alternatively you can see them in the Southern Serengeti in January / February when they calve.
Together with the 1.5 million wildebeest, the Great Migration also includes 300,000 zebra and gazelle species such as Grant’s gazelle and Thomson’s gazelle. The wider period from June to September is the best time to visit the Serengeti for general viewing or visit in the months of June and July to witness the crossing of the river when crocodiles in the Grumeti can be seen feeding on the crossing herds.
Lions are Africa’s biggest carnivore and are one of The Big Five on safari. They prey on antelopes, wildebeest, buffalo and zebra and are often seen hunting in prides. Mobile tented safaris in the park are often timed to the cycles of the annual migration to increase chances of sightings.
These solitary cats can be tough to spot because they hunt on their own and they spend much of their time in remote areas. But keep an eye out by the river banks, in trees where they take their prey and other watering holes as the leopards of Serengeti like to drink here. They can also be spotted in the denser parts of the woodlands.