Southern Serengeti

 

Grassy plains studded with granite kopjes extend endlessly across the scenically beautiful Southern Serengeti, which stretches from the bottom of the Central Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Maswa Game Reserve. It’s one of the best areas to see the animals of the Great Migration: visit between December and May to see the huge herds of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle arriving to calve, and then at the beginning of the dry season making their way northwards again in search of green grass. February is a particularly good month to visit the Southern Serengeti to see thousands of baby wildebeest taking their first steps on the savanna – and being targeted by hungry lion, cheetah and hyena, which are in abundance in the region.

calving season in the serengeti

The Southern Serengeti is a seasonal region, as during the dry season, from May to October, when the plains are parched and there’s not much left to graze, most of the herds have left the area.

Because much of the Southern Serengeti lies outside the national park, lodges and camps permit off-road driving, which is not allowed in the rest of the park.

Highlights

A safari in the Southern Serengeti is all about seeing the Great Migration in action on daily game drives, whether it’s baby wildebeest being born and taking their first steps on the lush green plains in the early months of the year, or watching the vast herds on the move as they track their course northwards towards the Masai Mara. The Southern Serengeti is one of the places where you can see the full circle of the Great Migration: the herds returning to graze in December with the start of the green season, the birth of the babies in January and February, and the departure of the herds as the grass starts to dry at the end of the rains.

ngorongoro crater wildlife

The Southern Serengeti is one of the few places in the Serengeti where you can do walking safaris. Exploring the bush on foot is one of the best ways of immersing yourself in the wilderness, and learning about the smaller creatures that you miss on game drives. And then there’s seeing large game on foot: truly thrilling encounters that make for an exceptional safari experience.

Hot air ballooning is offered in the Southern Serengeti, with a launch site located in the area. A gentle sunrise flight will give you incredible views over the vast plains, and a totally different kind of wildlife spotting. February is an excellent month to do a hot air balloon safari in the Southern Serengeti to see baby wildebeest being born on the savanna.

The Serengeti Cheetah Project, located in the Southern Serengeti, is monitoring cheetah numbers in the hopes of helping to conserve this very vulnerable species. Some camps in the area help the cheetah conservation by asking guests to collaborate in cheetah research by submitting photos and any details about the cheetahs they’ve spotted on game drives.

Travel tips

luxury safari southern serengeti kusini camp Credit: Kusini Camp

  • Due the seasonality of game viewing in the Southern Serengeti, there are only a few permanent lodges in the region, as well as one permanent tented camp. There are several mobile camps, ranging from affordable to luxury, that are open during the months of the Great Migration. Other options include lodges situated on private concessions bordering the Southern Serengeti.

  • Be sure to reserve far in advance for a trip to the Southern Serengeti during the Great Migration months of December to May, as the few lodging options get booked up.

  • The Southern Serengeti is an excellent area to base yourself in if you’d like to combine your Serengeti safari with a few days in the nearby Ngorongoro Conservation Area.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)

day 1 to 2

  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)

day 3 to 4 to 5

  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)
  • Affordable Ngorongoro and Serengeti Safari (6 days)

day 6

Departure

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Serengeti in January

January falls during the green season, and receives an average of 14 days of rain in the month. It’s one of the warmest months of the year, with day time highs reaching 29C. The Southern Serengeti and Ndutu Region are the best places to be in January, when the herds have congregated on the lush green plains to graze and to calve. Travel tips Falling between the “long” and…

Serengeti in September

September falls within the Serengeti’s dry season. It’s slightly warmer than August, with day time averages of 28C, but nights are still cool, falling down to 15C. The Northern Serengeti is the best region to travel to in September to see the Great Migration herds crossing the Mara River into Kenya. Travel tips September offers the chance of exciting Mara River crossings in the…

Serengeti in November

The short rains usually begin this month, bringing fresh green grass to the plains. November is one of the rainiest months of the year, receiving an average of 17 days of rain in the month. There may still be some animals crossing the Mara River in the Northern Serengeti at the start of the month. However, to see the big herd movements, stay in the Seronera Valley in the Central…

Serengeti in February

February has the same climate as January – warm days with highs of up to 29C, and some rain – an average of 14 days a month. February is the best month to see wildebeest calving in the Ndutu Region and Southern Serengeti. Travel tips February is peak wildebeest calving season, so if you want to see baby animals being born – as well as lots of predator action – then this is…

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The Serengeti has much to offer high-end travellers, with a wealth of luxury lodges and tented camps scattered across the reserve and on its outskirts. Permanent lodges – which can be small or have dozens of rooms – have the full range of amenities, from tennis courts and gyms to spas and swimming pools where you can watch wildlife drink from water holes while you cool off. Tented…

Affordable safari in the Serengeti

Credit: Kusini Camp The most affordable way to visit the Serengeti is to book a holiday package which includes transport from Arusha, lodging, meals, park fees, as well as game drives and other activities at the safari lodge. You can also hire your own 4x4 and self-drive in the park, although you can often get better value for money with packages. While the Serengeti has a…

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