You can view as many documentaries you wish on YouTube, watch dozens of photos on Instagram or exchange twitter feeds with your friends, but nothing beats a road trip to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.
Enormous in size, (about 6500 sq miles), it is just impossible to comprehend the vastness of this wilderness: Miles and miles of uninterrupted savannah grassland dotted with thorn bushes and isolated hills and scattered crocodile-infested rivers.
An ancient rock formation and occasional acacia tree, also incredible is the sheer number of wildlife you come across in their natural habitat, which comprises of everything from the Big Five, Elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and rhinos to mostly unseen species of birds, packs of hyenas and warthogs, cheetahs, hippos and over 1.5 million of wildebeests and zebras as they assemble for the great migration.
The high season comes in June through October. This is when you get the driest weather and the most comfortable temperatures during the day and night. And prices are also most reasonable. But the rainy season from November to March has its advantages. There are many travel agencies and tour guides in Dar es Salaam and Arusha with experience in arranging your trip. You can call or pay a visit to their offices to arrange a detailed itinerary. Also, there are specialised websites emerging which cater for those wishing to plan their own itinerary. See www.tripindigo.com as an example.
It is also possible to plan your own trip. The places you wish to visit, where to stay and your game drive itinerary must be notified to the park management in advance to get special clearance.
Most of the airlines flying visitors into the parks have strict luggage weight restrictions, usually 15kg / 30 lbs. However, some airlines such as Flightlink have bigger carrying capacities and permit large amounts of additional baggage over their won 20kg / 42lb free limit. Because of weight restrictions, packing light is essential. But you may also not need much as most lodges provide complimentary laundry services.
Khaki and greens match well with surroundings. Dark colours are not recommended as they attract insects and the hard biting tsetse fly. It helps to think lightweight with tops and bottoms for maximum sun and insect protection. A light jacket for the cool evenings and a wide-brimmed hat to shield against the harsh sun should suffice. You can don binoculars, insect repellent, sun screen, sturdy walking shoes / boots, and fetch SD memory cards for your camera as you’re likely to take many photos. Depending on the accommodations you choose, a torch is a good idea. Ensure to pack everything is a soft duffel bag.
The most notable hotel in Serengeti is the 77-room Four Seasons Safari Lodge. The lodge is not a tented safari camp but a stable contemporary permanent structure that is built of timber, stone, and thatched roofs. It boasts three restaurants, a fitness center, a swimming pool, a kid’s club and a message center.
There are lodges for all budgets, as well as tented camps which offer the most authentic experience but can be pricey.
From private driver / guide 4x4s to shared game viewing vehicles, to self-drive; from horseback, on foot and even in some places via bicycle, you choose what suits you best, or even a combination.
Typically a tour of the Serengeti is pretty straightforward: Arise before dawn, head for a substantial breakfast, and then embark on a four-hour game drive led by a pleasant tour guide.
You will get breaks for the bathroom. But remember time flies fast when observing lions chasing antelopes or wildebeest fighting off crocodiles on the Mara River, giraffes munching on acacia leaves or an ostrich trying to mate with its partner.
You can spend the afternoons relaxing with a drink, or a visit to the spa, or a workout and a nap or hang out around the expansive grounds. Just watching the animals assemble near the hotel pool is one of the favourite pastimes for many guests.
Late afternoon is another opportunity to take the 2nd game drive of the day.
How much time you can spend in Serengeti National park is a matter of choice for many travellers. You can add as many days as you want depending on your pockets. Every day is wonderful and different in its way. Watching wildlife can be awe-inspiring, amazing and shocking at the same time.
Sometimes it can be cheaper to book a tour of Serengeti through a tour operator with a group of people, but some visitors prefer booking their solo tour.
A minimum of 3 nights but preferably 4 – 6 gives you the time for feeling the way of the bush, tuning your body to nature’s time and having the best experience.
Also have a look at Best Places To Visit In The Serengeti