On a continent known for its wildlife and safaris, few national parks hold the same iconic status as the Serengeti, Tanzania’s oldest and most popular reserve. Home to all of Africa’s Big Five, this massive park spans some 12,000 square miles of savannah, open plains and rugged cliffs that some one million wildebeests, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 gazelle call home.
Each year, these animals make a three-week pilgrimage from the Serengeti to Maasai Mara in search of better grazing and more plentiful water. This incredible event, commonly referred to as “the great migration,” is unlike any other game viewing experience on earth. The sheer volume of animals can make passing in safari trucks nearly impossible, as thousands of zebras and wildebeests fan out over the plains. Regardless of the time of year, travelers will likely spot prides of lions, giraffes, rhinos, and maybe even a cheetah.
Travelers looking to witness the migration should plan to visit the park between May and August and from October to December. While the concentration of animals is less impressive between June and October, visitors can still find an impressive array of wildlife and will likely catch predators on the hunt. The Serengeti has four lodges and six tented camps within its borders that offer travelers a variety of accommodations. Visitors can hire 4x4 safari trucks, participate in morning, day and evening game drives, or embark on a pricey—but impressive—hot air balloon safari.