A Starter Guide to Planning A Serengeti Safari

If you’ve been dreaming of a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience that will leave you with countless unforgettable memories, a safari trip is right up there with the best. Among the most iconic destinations for a safari is the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Here’s our quick-fire starter guide to planning a Serengeti Safari.

Travelista Editor Jessica Ruth Gibson on safari in the Serengeti back in 2016

A Starter Guide to Planning A Serengeti Safari

Where is The Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park is located in north-central Tanzania and spans 5,700 square miles (14,763 square km) of some of the best grassland range in Africa. Spanning the Mara and Arusha regions of Tanzania, it is partly adjacent to the Kenya border and is northwest of the adjoining Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

What Animals You’ll See On A Serengeti Safari: The Big 5

Established as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981, the park is home to herds of wildebeests, gazelles, and zebras. You’ll also see lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, and giraffes. By covering ground in the nearby volcanic Ngorongoro Crater, you’ve got a good chance of seeing the Big 5 on a Serengeti safari holiday. The Big 5 in safari terms includes; lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and African buffalo. If you spot all 5 on one safari holiday, you can see it as a huge success.

The Best Months To Do A Serengeti Safari

The peak seasons for the Serengeti are from January to February and June to October, while low seasons are from April to June and November to December. Costs during the peak season can spike, but besides the cool and dry weather, there are also more mammals, birds, and newly born wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles to be seen. However, even travelling on a budget in low seasons can lead to breathtaking sights like the Great Migration (in April / May), one of the world’s last mammal migrations that see East Africa’s wildebeests travel through Kenya and Tanzania. Regardless of whether you go at the peak or low season, you will be rewarded with unique experiences, o we recommend planning the time of travel to suit your budget.

Getting There

There are two ways you can reach Serengeti National Park; by road or by air. By road, the most common route is through the Naabi Hill Gate. This drive from Arusha can take a hefty 7 to 8 hours. If you can stretch your budget a bit, you can also travel by air for a shorter trip. Airstrips in Kusini and Ndutu primarily serve those renting luxury tents, while the Seronera airstrip welcomes most of the travellers coming into the park. Flights from nearby airports start at £172 for a round trip.

Things To Do During a Serengeti Safari

Planning a Serengeti National Park adventure involves planning what you want to see. On top of that, you’ll have to prepare to pay for transit fees, accommodations, and park fees. To simplify the process, connect with a tour operator like Focus East Africa Tours or Serengeti African Tours to choose an itinerary that resonates with you while also streamlining costs. You can take a multi-day camping tour that stretches from Serengeti to the volcanic Ngorongoro Crater or go on organised game drives to view local wildlife. For a more laid-back experience, you can opt for other activities like cultural tours to Maasai villages or hot air balloon rides, which can cost around £430 for an hour.

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What To Pack For a Serengeti Safari

Aside from planning when to go, how to get there, and what to see, there are some specific items you need to back for your Serengeti adventure. Because you will be outdoors for most of the day, bringing sun protection is crucial. Look for a reliable sun cream that contains at least SPF 15 for UVB protection and 4 or 5 stars for UVA protection. We love the La Roche Posay Anthelios lotion, which offers SPF 50 and a 5-star UVA rating, and the Coola Classic Body spray, which offers SPF 30 and can be quickly absorbed by the skin.

UV rays can also cause eye damage, and Tanzania has a high UV rating of 12 – for comparison “the UV Index does not exceed 8 in the UK (8 is rare; 7 may occur on exceptional days, mostly in the two weeks around the summer solstice).” In order to protect your eyes from the strong UV rays, it’s important to buy a quality pair of sunglasses. Brands like Tommy Jeans, Ray-Ban, and Burberry offer high-quality pairs with various tints, lens options, and shapes to suit your tastes. Beyond style, they have also developed advanced technologies to protect against eye-damaging UVA and UVB rays through a lens coating.

Finally, protect yourself with insect repellent, as an abundance of insects can put you at risk of discomfort or even illnesses. The RID Tropical Insect Repellent is an Australian brand considered one of the best in the market and may provide you with hefty protection.

We all dream of an adventurous vacation, but it’s crucial to prepare. This guide can offer a few starting points as you get started on your Serengeti safari experience. Visit our travel category for more travel tips.

Read: 11 Incredible Things You May See On Safari


Jessica Ruth Gibson is the Founder and Editor of Travelista and an award-winning travel content creator of 10 years. She lives in York, UK with her son and has travelled to over 50 countries; her favourites being Italy, Canada and Vietnam.

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