Rift Safari
Traveling along the Rift Valley:
Serengeti National Park

Back
   
WHY SERENGETI IS SO UNIQUE AND IMPORTANT

Serengeti is undoubtedly the most important of all Tanzania northern parks.

It hosts 1.7 millions wildebeest; 250.000 zebras; 440.000 Thompson gazelles; 9.000 hyenas; 2.800 lions; 1.000 leopards; 500 cheetahs, elephants, hippos, rhinos, giraffes, buffalos, warthogs, jackals, bat-eared foxes, ostriches, genets, serval cats, caracals, mongooses, dik dik, impalas, oryx, waterbuck, eland, topi antelopes,crocodiles and over 400 species of birds [including many migratory Eurasian species] which confers to it the highest concentration of birds after the Tarangire.

The factors that make Serengeti so unique and important are basically three::

• The subsoil of the vast southern savannahs consists mainly of layers of granite and volcanic tufa which prevents trees to root which means that even during the green season sightings are much easier compared to other parks with dense vegetation.

• The great wildebeest migration [1.7 millions wildebeest; 250.000 zebras], a unique and exciting show which makes Serengeti worth a visit all year round. Even during the green season [from November to about mid-May] when herbivores tend to spread away from water sources the migration works as a catalyst and close to it you will find lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals and vultures all in attendance.

• The gazelles migration: during the dry season [from June to October, when the wildebeest migration has moved away from central Serengeti] gazelles are forced to abandon the vast southern Serengeti savannahs to concentrate along the water sources in the Central Serengeti. Despite lions, leopards and cheetahs are territorial animals [Serengeti lions tend to move within a radius of about 10 km; leopards within 15 km and cheetahs within 6-7 km] and although lions pride members are usually scattered singly in small groups that change from day to day as individuals come and go on their own initiative, the embitterment of conditions forces them to compress their territory close to the same water sources where gazelles are now grazing. At this time of the year, Central Serengeti is deemed to host the highest concentration of lions, leopards and cheetahs of all Africa. Sightings of reunited large prides, and up to a hundred lions and more than ten cheetahs just in one single day are possible without much luck. Territorial struggles become day by day more intense questioning not only alliances between male lions but also relationships within a single lions pride. Leopards and hyenas are chased off by lions, and cheetahs are chased by hyenas, lions and leopards. Out of the law of large numbers gazelles life is tougher than ever.

A Careful safari planning linking together migrations, areas to stay at, duration and travel time is required.

It is often said that Serengeti has become a very busy park. In Seronera indeed, in high season, it is not uncommon to see up to 15 - 20 vehicles all around a single cat but Serengeti is a large park extending on 15.000 square Km. and even in July and August there are areas with virtually no traffic. The surroundings of Seronera itself offer a network of tracks and alternative areas characterized by small streams and clusters of kopjes where even in peak season you can expect to be almost alone
taking advantage of the excellent game sighting and at the same time avoiding the worst of the traffic.
The key elements
for a successful safari are: proper planning of areas to visit and timing to move from one to another, exclusive use of the vehicle in order to enjoy maximum freedom and flexibility during your day, experienced guide with good knowledge of tracks and areas beyond that of animals.

After a careful planning, the small size lodges and tented camps are the answer to those wishing to enjoy an absolutely authentic wilderness experience which doesn't mean you have to sacrifice comfort or security. The tented camps have come a long way since the time of the first pioneering safari. They consist of large safari tents, with en suite bathroom, hot shower and solar panels electricity. Unfortunately they are more expensive than mid-range large facilities but if you cannot afford an entire safari in tented camps we encourage you to try them for at least a night or two. The Choice can go from mid-range camps such as for instance Oltepesi to the high-end camps such as Lemala Ewanjan or Sayari just to name two of them.
Reefer to Serengeti accommodation to read about all Serengeti facilities available area by area.


THE MIGRATION AND THE MOST RELEVANT AREAS OF SERENGETI MONTH BY MONTH

Each year 1.7 millions of wildebeest and 250.000 zebras migrate circularly in the Serengeti for about 800 km. They both prefer the short grass which explain why they are usually seen together. Essentially three reasons causes the migration :

• The need of water: unlike other herbivores, such as for example oribi and eland to name a few, wildebeest and zebras need to drink once a day, at most one every other day. During the dry season they are forced to gather along the rivers banks along the Grumeti River in the western corridor from mid of may up to the end of June/beginning of July and along the Mara River in northern Serengeti and Masai Mara from beginning of July to mid of October/beginning of November]. Only the arrival of rains filling up the seasonal streams and waterholes and greening up pastures allow them to move away from the permanent rivers.

• The need of new pastures: the consumption capacity of 1.7 million herbivores far exceeds the regrowth capacity of the same pasture.

The extreme fertility of the short grass plains in southern Serengeti and northern Ngorongoro: each year from December to March wildebeest, zebras along with other herbivores including elephants come in these plains for calving. The low grasses that sprout from the mineral-rich soil contain very important nutritional elements which are passed on from the mothers to babies during lactation.

The location of the great migration month by month and area by area is reported below however it should be stressed that both the arrival of the rains and their entity can vary from year to year therefore neither the rut's timing nor the exact location of herds can be taken as guaranteed. Anyone interested to the wildebeest migration should spend at least 4 nights in the Serengeti and/or Ngorongoro Conservation Area [according to the month of travel] so to strategically distribute overnights and enjoy the necessary flexibility to explore the territory.


FROM DECEMBER TO MARCH

Areas: south-central Serengeti, south-eastern Serengeti and Ngorongoro north
Weather:
variable entity rains
Average temperatures: max 28° - min 18°
Landscape: tending to green .

Recommended at this time of the year: 2 nights in Seronera and 2 or 3 nights in Ndutu
Extra activities: walking safaris at Gol Mountains bordering Loliondo, Serengeti and Ngorongoro

In December the wildebeest migration should have entered the fertile short grass plains in southern Serengeti and northern Ngorongoro where, if rainfall patterns are regular, it will remain until the end of March when calves should be ready for the long 800 km journey across Serengeti. Once on the plains herds move all around in a quite chaotic way but always according to the pattern of showers and the consequent growth of fresh grass. They spread southwards in the western Olduvai plains nearby Makao and toward Kusini at the extreme south of Serengeti, back and forth the Gol Mountains or back and forth the long grasses plains of southern Serengeti. The most interesting areas to visit at this time of the year are:
• The Salei plains and the
Gol Mountains: these extremely fertile plains and the low grasses that sprout from the mineral-rich soil contain very important nutritional elements which are passed on from the mothers to babies during lactation. Herds come in from north via Loliondo and via Seronera, Moru and Gol Kopjes usually reaching first the Gol Mountains and later on the Salei Plains, even though their behaviors is strictly related to rains. While arid and deserted in dry season as soon as rains start the landscape become splendid. Along with wildebeest, zebras and gazelles you can expect to find here their predators and carnivores therefore to sight vultures [who nest in the nearby Olkarien gorge and Nasera Rock], lions, cheetahs, hyenas and with a bit of luck wild dogs. Resident game includes jackals, foxes, ostriches, honey badger. Thanks to the lack of trees and bush, kills should be easy to locate and extremely cruel if carried out by hyenas or wild dogs. Interesting as well the fact that the area is located inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area extending to Loliondo which means you are very likely to encounter here some Masai people. Due to the fact that this area is very rarely visited by the majority of tourists encounters occur in a non-commercial context enhancing your experience. Depending on the track that you will follow you might expect to see as well the shifting sands or pass by Olduvai Gorge. The shifting sands consist of some anthracite color sand dunes whose electromagnetism prevent the wind to disperse them causing instead their slow sliding year after years. Olduvai Gorge is is an important prehistoric site but all most relevant archaeological findings have been moved to Dar Es Salaam Natural History Museum therefore unless specifically requested we tend to skip its visit.
Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek: they both pertain to the system of short grass savannahs. The area is characterized by the two alkaline lakes and by the surrounding marshes. Migration apart, resident game nearby the lakes and the swamps includes elephants, ostriches, giraffes, impala, gazelles, 2 lions prides [the Masek pride and the Ndutu pride], cheetahs, spotted hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, jackals and more than 400 species of birds. With the migration on site working as a catalyst, the presence of carnivores and predators intensifies: ruppell's griffons and vultures come in together with other lions, other hyenas, other cheetahs, other jackals. If lucky you might also spot wild dogs, caracals and the most elusive striped hyena. There are no large facilities here but just a single little lodge and a cluster of semi permanent tented camps ranging from mid to high specification. It is necessary to book at least 6 / 12 months in advance
Kusini: in its chaotic pilgrimage after rainfalls and fresh green pastures the migration also reaches this extreme tip of south-western Serengeti. Here ends the savannah and the land gradually becomes more hilly and mountainous as you approach the reserve of Maswa. Resident game includes zebras, buffaloes, lions and cheetahs.

Moru Kopjes: they are located in central-western Serengeti and link Ndutu to the Seronera Valley. At this time of the year the availability of water far away from rivers induces the migration of the gazelles who spread out from Seronera into the surrounding plains, obviously followed by their predators. Savannahs here consist of long grasses, less nutritional but more reliable than the short ones in between one rain and another, as a consequence during these intervals the area is frequented by wildebeest and zebra herds. While game driving through the kopjes, sightings of lions resting or waiting for the best moment to start chasing a prey are regular. The area also support a good deal of resident game including giraffes, buffalos, lions, antelopes, serval cats and caracals. In addition this is the only area in central Serengeti where, although very rarely, you can spot rhinos.
Gol Kopjes: they are set in south-eastern Serengeti. The area is deliciously wild and little visited which in itself is already an incentive. In addition likewise the Moru Kopjes it should be interested by both the gazelle and wildebeest migrations. As consequence the Gol kopjes should host at this time of year a high concentration of lions and cheetahs.
Seronera: it remains the best spot in order to sight leopards resting on the trees branches along the river courses.

Accommodation in central Serengeti

Accommodation in Serengeti south and Ngorongoro north

Migration December to March Masai kid in Ngorongoro plains

APRIL

Area: central Serengeti and southern Serengeti
Weather: intermittent 15/30 minutes downpours occurs usually in the evening and early morning

Average temperatures: max 27° - min 18°
Landscape: plains are covered with flowers and bright green hues.
Recommended at this time of the year: 1 night in Ndutu and 3 nights in Seronera.

By April zebras and wildebeest calves should all be born and the herds should have started to move northwards leaving behind the Ngorongoro short grass plains. At the beginning movements tend to be chaotic and lacking of a unique direction but it is usually at this time of the year that you will sight very large and impressive columns moving northwards and fights between males that seek to expand their provisional territories to include as many females as possible.
The most interesting areas to visit at this time are:
• Ndutu where at least some migration should still be grazing around. The area is characterized by the two alkaline lakes and by the surrounding marshes. Resident game nearby the lakes and the swamps includes elephants, ostriches, giraffes, impala, gazelles, 2 lions prides [the Masek pride and the Ndutu pride], cheetahs, spotted hyenas, hippos, crocodiles, jackals and more than 400 species of birds, including at this time thousand of flamingos. If lucky you might also spot wild dogs, caracals and the most elusive striped hyena.
Moru Kopjes: they are located in central-western Serengeti and link Ndutu to the Seronera Valley. At this time of the year the area is interested as well by the migration of gazelles who spread out from Seronera in the surrounding plains, obviously followed by their predators. While game driving through the kopjes, sightings of lions resting or waiting for the best moment to start chasing a prey are regular. The area also support a good deal of resident game including giraffes, buffalos, lions, antelopes, serval cats and caracals. In addition this is the only area in central Serengeti where, although very rarely, you can spot rhinos.
Gol Kopjes: they are set in south-eastern Serengeti. The area is deliciously wild and little visited which in itself is already an incentive. In addition likewise the Moru Kopjes it should be interested both by the gazelle and wildebeest migrations. As consequence the Gol kopjes hosts at this time of year a high concentration of lions and cheetahs.
In Seronera, beyond migration herds there should be
herds of elephants and buffalos as well as other herbivores such as giraffes. Seronera remains year round the best spot in order to sight leopards resting on the trees branches along the river courses.

Accommodation in Serengeti south and Ngorongoro north


Accommodation in central Serengeti

Migration in April Gnu in Ngorongoro crateroro

MAY

Area: central Serengeti, south-eastern Serengeti and western Serengeti [western corridor]
Weather: dry season is replacing green season with only occasion and rains

Average temperatures: max 27° - min 18°
Landscape: plains are starting to turn dry

Recommended at this time of the year: 2 nights in Seronera and 2 nights in Grumeti.

Rainfall patterns can vary every year but May usually demarcates the beginning of the dry season. The wildebeest migration should be now on the move toward the western corridor forming endless columns moving westwards following two main ruts: the former leading them to Kirawira following the Mbalageti River west of Seronera, the latter following the Grumeti River north of Seronera. At the same time the progression of the dry season starts to trigger with increasing force the gazelles and other herbivores into Seronera. The migration of gazelles is followed step by step by predators.
At this time of the year
the most interesting areas to visit are:

• In the western corridor: the Musabi and Mbalageti plains [migration apart, these plains host the highest population of topi antelopes of all Africa and if lucky you might spot the rare Patas monkey]; the circuit along the Grumeti River [where wildebeest and zebras start to mass up until there's so little space left that they are forced to cross the river packed with Nile crocodiles and hippos in order to reach pastures on the other side. The branches of the trees along the riverside are also favorite residence to white colobus monkeys and leopards]; the Ndabaka plains south the Grumeti River towards Lake Victoria and the Ruwana plains north the river [these plains support a good deal of resident wildlife including buffalos, elephants, impala, giraffe, waterbuck, roan antelopes and the largest population of topi antelope left in Africa , lions and cheetahs. If lucky you might sight as well the rare Patas Monkey].
• In central Serengeti: the area of Seronera and its surroundings offer a rewarding network of tracks and alternative areas characterized by small streams and clusters of kopjes where you should sight both herbivores and their predators
;
In central-west Serengeti the Moru Kopjes, one of the most scenic areas of Serengeti linking Ndutu to the Seronera Valley. Resident game includes giraffes, buffalos, lions, antelopes, serval cats and caracals. In addition this is the only area in central Serengeti where, although very rarely, you can spot rhinos.
In south-eastern Serengeti the Gol Kopjes: despite the dry season progression a good deal of gazelles should still be grazing here obviously attended by predators. A diversion to Gol should be potentially rewarding.

Accommodation in central Serengeti

Accommodation in western Serengeti

Migration in May Migration in Seronera

JUNE

Area: western Serengeti [western corridor]
Weather: dry season with odd rains

Average Temperatures: max 27° - min 17°
Landscape: mainly dry

Recommended at this time of the year: 2 nights in Seronera and 2 nights in Grumeti.

By June the wildebeest migration should have reached Kirawira. At the beginning herds are reluctant to cross the river which is somehow reduced to a stream but absolutely packed with crocodiles. As they mass up the space becomes increasingly unbearable and finally crossings, in order to reach the pastures on the other side of the river, become inevitable. Anyway some of them will be able to avoid the crossing and scattered herds can commonly be found grazing in the plains of Mbalageti and Ndabaka.

In central Serengeti the progression of the dry season forces gazelles and antelopes to gather along the permanent water sources and rivers
.
Despite lions, leopards and cheetahs are territorial animals [Serengeti lions tend to move within a radius of about 10 km; leopards within 15 km and cheetahs within 6-7 km] and although lions pride members are usually scattered singly in small groups that change from day to day as individuals come and go on their own initiative, the embitterment of conditions forces them to compress their territory close to the same water sources where gazelles are now grazing. At this time of the year, central Serengeti is deemed to host the highest concentration of lions, leopards and cheetahs of all Africa. Sightings of reunited large prides, and up to a hundred lions and more than ten cheetahs just in one single day are possible without much luck. Territorial fights become day by day more intense questioning not only alliances between male lions but also relationships within a single lions pride. Leopards and hyenas are chased off by lions, and cheetahs are chased by hyenas, lions and leopards. Out of the law of large numbers gazelles life is tougher than ever.

Accommodation in central Serengeti

Accommodation in western Serengeti

Migration in June Migration at Musabi Plains

JULY

Area: central Serengeti, north-eastern Serengeti [Lobo], Serengeti Mara
Weather: dry season

Average temperatures: max 27° - min 17°
Landscape: golden dry

Recommended at this time of the year: 2 nights in Seronera and min. 2 nights in Lobo / Serengeti Mara

Statistically between the end of June and beginning of July the wildebeest migration, fragmented in several herds, abandons the western corridor and move to Serengeti Mara. It normally follows two main ruts: the first one known as northern corridor sees some herds passing north of Seronera, the second one sees some herds passing via Seronera and continuing towards Serengeti Mara via Lobo. It is hard to predict where exactly herds will be found. Some years some herds can still be reached with a daily game drive from Seronera until mid of August, some others already by the beginning of July the migration will be found in the Mara region therefore out of reach from Seronera. A safari seriously aiming to track the wildebeest migration should include at least two nights in central Serengeti and two nights in Lobo or Serengeti Mara located further north. Accommodation in Serengeti Mara is normally arranged with high-end safaris since the majority of the lodges and tented camps in this area are quite expensive. As far as mid-range safaris are concerned accommodation tent to be arranged in Lobo reaching the Mara wedge with a daily game drive.
• Lobo: its
one of the most scenic areas of Serengeti characterized by rolling hills, relieves and huge kopjes [granite formations] used by cats as observation's points. Migration apart, it supports throughout the year resident lions prides, leopards and cheetahs. Herds of buffalos as well are commonly seen along with elephants. Even in high season only 20% of Serengeti visitors reach this area of the park.
• Serengeti Mara e Lamai wedge: proceeding northwards for about 100 km you will reach one of the most remote areas of Serengeti topographically very similar to the Kenyan Masai Mara, which is in fact its extension. The river, packed with huge Nile crocodiles and hippos, is particularly wide down here and crossings are very scenic. Resident game includes impala, antelopes, giraffes, oribi and elands and a good numbers of lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas. Elephant are also there although they tend to move often. Only 5% of Serengeti visitors reach this area of the park. There are just a few camps and tented lodges and in order to get a room you should book at least 6/12 months in advance.
• central Serengeti: even assuming that the migration of wildebeest and zebra is definitely out of reach, because of the the excellent sightings in central Serengeti during dry season we would recommend you to spend here at least two nights.
The progression of the dry season forces gazelles and antelopes to gather along the permanent water sources and rivers. Despite lions, leopards and cheetahs are territorial animals [Serengeti lions tend to move within a radius of about 10 km; leopards within 15 km and cheetahs within 6-7 km] and although lions pride members are usually scattered singly in small groups that change from day to day as individuals come and go on their own initiative, the embitterment of conditions forces them to compress their territory close to the same water sources where gazelles are now grazing. At this time of the year, Central Serengeti is deemed to host the highest concentration of lions, leopards and cheetahs of all Africa. Sightings of reunited large prides, and up to a hundred lions and more than ten cheetahs just in one single day are possible without much luck. Territorial struggles become day by day more intense questioning not only alliances between male lions but also relationships within a single lions pride. Leopards and hyenas are chased off by lions, and cheetahs are chased by hyenas, lions and leopards. Out of the law of large numbers gazelles life is tougher than ever.

Accommodation in central Serengeti

Accommodation in north-eastern Serengeti

Accommodation in Serengeti Mara

Migration in july Hippo pools nearby Seronera

AUGUST

Area: north eastern Serengeti [Lobo] and Serengeti Mara
Weather: dry season
Average temperatures:
max 27° - min 17°
Landscape:
golden dry

Recommended at this time of the year:
2 nights in Seronera and min. 2 nights in Lobo / Serengeti Mara

By mid of August the migration should have reached the Serengeti Mara and be definitely out of reach from Seronera.
A safari seriously aiming to track the wildebeest migration should include not less than two nights in the Serengeti Mara or alternatively in Lobo. Accommodation in Serengeti Mara is normally arranged with high-end safaris since the majority of lodges and tented camps in this area are quite expensive. As far as mid-range safaris are concerned accommodation is usually arranged in Lobo reaching the Mara wedge with a daily game drive.
• Lobo: its
one of the most scenic areas of Serengeti characterized by rolling hills, relieves and huge kopjes [granite formations] used by cats as observation's points. Migration apart, it supports throughout the year resident lions prides, leopards and cheetahs. Herds of buffalos are commonly seen as well along with elephants. Even in high season only 20% of Serengeti visitors reach this area of the park.
• Serengeti Mara e Lamai wedge: driving northwards from Lobo for about two hours one of the most remote areas of Serengeti topographically very similar to the Kenyan Masai Mara, which is in fact its extension. The river, packed with huge Nile crocodiles and hippos, is particularly wide down here and crossings are very scenic. Resident game includes impala, antelopes, giraffes, oribi and elands and a good numbers of lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas, elephant are also there although they tend to move often. Only 5% of Serengeti visitors reach this area of the park. There are just a few camps and tented lodges and in order to get a room you should book at least 6/12 months in advance.
central Serengeti: even with no wildebeest migration around game viewing in central Serengeti during dry season is so good that we would recommend you to spend here at least two nights. The progression of the dry season forces gazelles and antelopes to gather along the permanent water sources and rivers. Despite lions, leopards and cheetahs are territorial animals [Serengeti lions tend to move within a radius of about 10 km; leopards within 15 km and cheetahs within 6-7 km] and although lions pride members are usually scattered singly in small groups that change from day to day as individuals come and go on their own initiative, the embitterment of conditions forces them to compress their territory close to the same water sources where gazelles are now grazing. At this time of the year, Central Serengeti is deemed to host the highest concentration of lions, leopards and cheetahs of all Africa. Sightings of reunited large prides, and up to a hundred lions and more than ten cheetahs just in one single day are possible without much luck. Territorial struggles become day by day more intense questioning not only alliances between male lions but also relationships within a single lions pride. Leopards and hyenas are chased off by lions, and cheetahs are chased by hyenas, lions and leopards. Out of the law of large numbers gazelles life is tougher than ever.

Accommodation in central Serengeti

Accommodation in north-eastern Serengeti

Accommodation in Serengeti Mara

Migration in August Serengeti cheetahs

SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER

Area: Serengeti Mara
Weather: dry season
Average temperatures:
max 28° - min 18°
Landscape:
golden dry

Recommended at this time of the year:
2 nights in Seronera and min. 2 nights in Lobo / Serengeti Mara


During these months drought obliges the herds to graze in the Mara region along the homonymous river which originates in Kenya and flows into Lake Victoria in Tanzania. Contrary to a popular belief, at this time the wildebeest migration is not completely concentrated in Kenya. As a matter of fact herds straddle the Kenya/Tanzania border since there is as much of the Mara river in the Masai Mara as there is on the Serengeti side where indeed the river is considerably wider and crossings more scenic.
It is worth noting that the border between Serengeti and Masai Mara is closed and while animals are free to move the same does not apply to vehicles. Considering that in the Serengeti Mara there are about 200 beds while in Masai Mara there are about 5000 the border closure translates into a considerable advantage for those who are staying in Tanzania. Accommodation in Serengeti Mara is normally arranged with high-end safaris since the majority of lodges and tented camps in this area are quite expensive. As far as mid-range safaris are concerned accommodation is usually arranged in Lobo reaching the Mara wedge with a daily game drive.
The most recommended areas of Serengeti at this time of the year are:
• Lobo: its
one of the most scenic areas of Serengeti characterized by rolling hills, relieves and huge kopjes [granite formations] used by cats as observation's points. Migration apart, it supports throughout the year resident lions prides, leopards and cheetahs. Herds of buffalos are commonly seen as well along with elephants. Even in high season only 20% of Serengeti visitors reach this area of the park.
• Serengeti Mara e Lamai wedge: driving northwards from Lobo for about two hours you will enter one of the most remote areas of Serengeti topographically very similar to the Kenyan Masai Mara, which is in fact its extension. In the first part of your trip the landscape features gentle rolling hills, open grassland and patches of woodlands. The closer you get to the Mara River, more beautiful the landscape will become, dotted by kopjes with distant view over the hills and escarpments of the Masai Mara. Migration apart, resident game includes impala, antelopes, giraffes, oribi and elands and a good numbers of lions, cheetahs, leopards and hyenas, elephant are also there although they tend to move often. Some of our clients have sighted rhinos as well. Only 5% of Serengeti visitors reach this area of the park. There are just a few camps and tented lodges and in order to get a room you should book at least 6/12 months in advance.
central Serengeti: even with no wildebeest migration around game viewing in central Serengeti during dry season is so good that we would recommend you to spend here at least two nights. The progression of the dry season forces gazelles and antelopes to gather along the permanent water sources and rivers. Despite lions, leopards and cheetahs are territorial animals [Serengeti lions tend to move within a radius of about 10 km; leopards within 15 km and cheetahs within 6-7 km] and although lions pride members are usually scattered singly in small groups that change from day to day as individuals come and go on their own initiative, the embitterment of conditions forces them to compress their territory close to the same water sources where gazelles are now grazing. At this time of the year, Central Serengeti is deemed to host the highest concentration of lions, leopards and cheetahs of all Africa. Sightings of reunited large prides, and up to a hundred lions and more than ten cheetahs just in one single day are possible without much luck. Territorial struggles become day by day more intense questioning not only alliances between male lions but also relationships within a single lions pride. Leopards and hyenas are chased off by lions, and cheetahs are chased by hyenas, lions and leopards. Out of the law of large numbers gazelles life is tougher than ever.

Accommodation in central Serengeti

Accommodation in north-eastern Serengeti

Accommodation in Serengeti Mara

Migration in September and October Leopard in Ngorongoro

NOVEMBER

Area: Lobo and Serengeti central
Weather: short light rains

Average temperatures: max 28° - min 18°
Landscape: dry with principles of greening

Recommended at this time of the year: 2 nights in Seronera and 2 nights in Lobo

Statistically November marks the beginning of short light rains in central and southern Serengeti which gradually green up the pastures anyway forecasts on the exact location of the wildebeest migration are not easy. If starting from mid of October there has been significant rains filling up seasonal waterholes and streams then we could expect to find at least some herds in central Serengeti and even in the south-eastern Serengeti. If the rains has not been sufficient to create seasonal watering sources or if rains didn't occur at all then we would face a migration reluctant to leave the permanent rivers. In years of prolonged drought the migration rut itself is subject to change for instance the migration could abandon the Mara region but heading back to the western corridor [western Serengeti] instead than southwards. The reason is that the consumption capacity of 1.7 million herbivores far exceeds the regrowth capacity of the same pasture and the unique alternative left to herds is to reach another pasture, even less nutritional but close to a permanent water source.
The most strategic choice is probably to stay both in the central Serengeti and Lobo.
Lobo: despite the uncertainty of atmospheric phenomena, in our experience there tend to be here a good deal of wildebeest and zebras. Lobo is a great base to explore the whole of the northern Serengeti from Bologonja to the Mara region and migration apart the area support a good number of resident animals, which include impala, antelope, giraffe, eland and oribi, cheetah, herds of buffalo, elephants, lions pride and leopards .Hippos and crocodiles are regularly sight in the Mara River. The number of visitors who reach this area at this time does not reach that 20% of those who visit the Central Serengeti and this is certainly an additional incentive.
.
Central Serengeti: this area should be in any case a winner. If short rains has arrived, reving the southern pasturesand filling the seasonal waterholes, then there are good possibilities to find the migration or at least a part of it in central Serengeti, if not in south-eastern Serengeti as well. At the same time the gazelles migration should have start to occur and you could expect to find herbivores spread in the savannahs surrounding Seronera obviously followed by their predators, in such a case game driving for instance in the Gol Kopjes could be a very rewarding experience. Contrary if the rains didn't occur yet or if they had been too light then gazelles would be forced to stay along the permanent water sources of Seronera and so would do their predators. Likewise July, August, September and October the concentration of lions, leopards and cheetahs will be at peak levels and sightings of large prides, over a hundred lions and more than ten cheetahs just in one single day possible without much luck. Territorial fights would remain intense questioning alliances between male lions but also the relationships within a single lions pride. Leopards and hyenas would be chased off by lions and cheetahs would be chased by hyenas, lions and leopards. Out of the law of large numbers gazelles life remains tougher than ever.

Accommodation in central Serengeti

Accommodation in north-eastern Serengeti [Lobo]

Migration in November View from Lobo Wildlife Lodge

SERENGETI WEATHER AND INTERESTING LINKS

Interesting links:

Official site of Serengeti National Park: www.serengeti.org

Carnivores monitoring and conversation project: www.tanzaniacarnivores.org

January and February: both months fall within the green season that is supposed to start in November and stop within mid of May. However they tend to have little rain compared to the months that precede and follow them [respectively 7 and 4 days per month] and a good number of sunshine hours [respectively 7 and 8 hours per day out of approx. 12 hours daylight all year round].

March: usually by mid of march the long rains start. Despite an increase of the rainy days the amount of sunshine hours per day remains quite high.

April: It is the wettest month of the year which sees rains for 18 days on 30.
Intermittent 15/30 minutes downpours occurs usually in the evening and early morning. Sunshine hours per day remain to an average of 5 out of 12, basically half of the day, and the sky tend to clear which shows how bad weather here could be a good summer somewhere else in the northern hemisphere. We would anyway recommend to avoid camping.

May: within mid of may rains usually stop and sunshine hours increase to the average of the driest season.

June and July: can be considered dry season but while rainy days drop to 5 per month, sunshine hours per day are the same of May since temperatures start to drop and the sky tend to become more hazy.

August: it represents the peak of the dry season, the sky could still be a bit hazy.

September and October: these are also dry season months although some years by mid of October some early short and light rains might start to occur. The sky is normally clear and temperatures are increasing.

November and December: the short light rains should start to occur in this November and end within the end of December but there's a good number of sunshine hours and the sky is usually clear.

NOTE: the histogram above represents the statistical average of rainy days per month and sunshine hours per day for the Serengeti region. In this regard, it must be said that as in the rest of the world in Tanzania as well the climate is changing and there are years in which, for instance, a month like April does not experience rains while traditionally dry months turn out to be wet. The chart and the relative comments should be taken as a reference guide but with no absolute value.