If you’re anything like me, then you have a healthy obsession with animals. And anyone who loves animals and enjoys seeing them has spent some time in front of a nature channel show or documentary about the wild animals of Africa. And if you’ve seen images of Lions, Elephants and other wildlife in Africa, there’s a good chance you’ve had glimpses of the Serengeti.
Below pictures I took on my safari of some of the amazing animals you will see in their natural habitat and the Top 5 Tips you need to know when planning a Serengeti Safari.
5. Best Time to Go
It’s both important to take into account the climate and the timing of the Great Wildebeest Migration. As for the climate, Serengeti’s Dry season is from June to October. There are two Wet seasons. The ‘short rains’ are from November to December, and the’long rains’ are from March to May. Based on both the rain seasons and the Wildebeest Migration that people say begins in May and takes a few months, would mean the best time to go is between June and October as you’ll be likely to avoid the rain (where it’s harder to see the animals in the higher grass and in no need to go to watering holes where you often see animals on a safari).
4. Comfort Level
Besides the timing, one of the first things you probably want to establish is the comfort level you’d like. Usually the biggest difference between the safaris and the prices of the packages you’ll find are where you’ll sleep.
Do you want to sleep in the comfort of a 5 Star Lodge, or do you want to sleeping in a tent with a thousand stars!? These are the 2 extremes, with many options in between in terms of prices and what you’ll be offered in terms of vehicles, food, sleeping, etc.
The price will also depend on the amount of nights you’d like and the destinations you want to visit. You spend most of your time in the vehicle, so I recommend you ask for the specifications of the vehicle you’ll be riding in as in comfort, and pictures to see for yourself. Make sure it has a removable roof, and electric outlets for charging your cameras and gadgets, etc.
3. Pick your parks
There are several parks to visit in Tanzania, but the most recommended to visit and the one’s I visited are the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation area. Either way keep in mind that the safari is more than just seeing the animals, you also see some stunning landscapes and other parks can offer beautiful scenery more than animals.
2. What Camera do you need to Take?
I used to think that you needed a big professional camera and big long lenses to get any good shots of the animals, but the truth is that on the safaris you often get a chance to get close enough to the animals where you don’t need a special camera or lens. Sometimes they walk right by your car within meters/feet of you. That being said, if you do have a big camera and lenses with great zooms it will dramatically improve the quality of your pictures due to the close ups and details you’ll be able to capture. I used my compact mirror-less camera and my mobile phone for the pictures on this post (including these lions below).
1. What to Pack
-Comfortable clothing that will be good in both the heat of the day (like shorts and tank tops), and clothing for cold weather as the temperature drops after sundown. Especially if you are camping at the Ngorongoro crater which gets cold at night.
-As for footwear you don’t really do any walking, I did it hiking sandals and was comfortable.
–Make sure that the company you book your safari with are bringing you a sleeping bag if you don’t have one, and you can also rent one.
-Snacks if your company doesn’t include them as you spend many hours in the vehicle between meals
-Headtorch or flashlight as they are always handy, especially if you are doing a camping safari.
-Money for handcrafts/artwork/souvenirs (you’ll see beautiful things at great prices), or even to buy beers or drinks that are not included in your safari.
-Ear plugs. They are light, tiny and can make a huge difference when trying to sleep.
How to get there
Almost all safaris start from Arusha. You can get to Arusha from Dar es Salaam by flight or by bus that takes 12 hours. Buses leave Ubungo station between 6-9am every day for around $10 USD for regular coach buses.
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My safari was sponsored by Face of Africa Adventures,
but of course all views are my own
10 Fascinating facts about the Great Wildebeest Migration
Good explanation of the Wildebeest Migration