The Serengeti National Park was an epic experience and a major highlight of my Africa trip. I also went on safari in Chobe in Botswana, Etosha in Namibia and Nakuru in Kenya, and while they were all great, the Serengeti was by far the best place to see animals in Africa. The Serengeti has the largest land animal migration and one of the largest lion populations in the world, and lions are always a favorite. What you see on safaris can never be guaranteed, but I was at the Serengeti during the wet and, therefore, low season and it was non-stop animal action.
My safari group was exceptionally lucky. We saw a lion hunt and attempt to kill a wildebeest and then a cheetah hunt attempt as well. Later on, the vehicle just ahead of us saw a successful lion kill and we arrived just in time for the aftermath. Our driver told us that the odds of seeing a lion attempt to kill is 1 in 500 and seeing a successful kill is 1 in 1000. Part of you wants the predator to win, but the other part of you doesn’t want to see an animal get killed.
A cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal, and her three cubs.
The leopard, a very rare animal to spot, hiding in the rocks.
Zebras and wildebeest. They stick together to protect each other against lions.
What to expect in the Serengeti:
You can access the Serengeti from Arusha in Tanzania, which is about three hours away by car. It’s popular to do a three day, two night guided tour of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater (but you can do longer if you can afford the money and time). The tours are small groups in a 4×4 vehicle with a driver. Camping is the cheapest option. It’s priced per day, so it depends on how many days you go and when you go, but expect to pay about $700USD for three days.
Your camera battery will drain rapidly with all the action, so bring an extra battery or alternate way to charge your battery. Your car may be able to charge while it’s running, but there will be competition.
While camping, there are showers, but there may not be hot water.
Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night in the Serengeti is a terrifying experience that is best to be avoided, if possible (unfortunately, I was not so lucky). The campsites are not gated, so the animals roam freely around the site while you sleep. If you have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the protocol is to open your tent and check outside for animals with your flashlight, before you get out. If you see green eyes, it’s not a predator. If you see red eyes, it’s a predator. But non-predators may still charge you. And you’re not supposed to run because the animals can feel the vibrations on the ground and they’ll assume it’s prey. Neither my or my tentmates’s flashlights were bright enough to detect any eyes, so we had no choice but to throw caution to the wind and just go.