It’s time for a true adventure. Today we are going on a Serengeti Safari!
An African safari has been on my travel wishlist for a long time, so I added a 3 day Serengeti safari to the end of my Mount Kilimanjaro trip. I booked my trip with a company that I cannot recommend, but I still loved the experience of seeing the big five (leopards, rhinos, lions, buffalo, and elephants) in the wild.
It was like seeing The Lion King in real life! Serengeti is Swahili for “endless plain” and it is a geographic area that contains the 5,700 square mile Serengeti National Park. Much of the park is a savannah with few trees, making it easy to spot animals.
A highlight of my trip was getting to see a pair of lions in a standoff with a leopard over territory on a rock. It looked like Pride Rock and reminded me of The Lion King.
Here is what you can expect on a Serengeti Safari:
It’s easier to find animals that you might think.
I had thought that we might be driving around searching for animals, but there are so many animals in the Serengeti that it seemed like they were lined up waiting for us.
You will see so many different species of animals.
I saw the big five (leopards, rhinos, lions, buffalo, and elephants) plus baboons, wildebeests, giraffes, zebras, vultures, ostriches, hyenas, cheetahs, hippos, warthogs, flamingos, impalas, meerkats, and gazelles.
Expect early mornings.
The animals are very active and easy to find in the morning so you will probably set off on a game drive at sunrise, which is usually around 6:15 am.
It’s very dusty.
The roads are very dusty, you should pack something to cover your nose and mouth. The people on my safari all got sore throats from all the dust we inhaled. After three days in the dust (plus the five days on Mount Kilimanjaro which was dusty at times) my sinuses were so messed up that I couldn’t really hear out of my left ear.
Camping is an option.
It sounds a little scary and potentially dangerous, but you can camp in the Serengeti. No, these camps are not fenced in, which means that animals can roam through. Some camps have rangers that patrol the area, others do not. I did not camp, but people in my jeep were camping and they said it was a bit nervewracking since they heard animals all night. When they woke up the camp was surrounded by buffalos.
I recommend a luxury tent camp or a lodge.
At the end of the day, you are going to be dusty and tired. You will want a hot shower and a comfortable bed. I liked the Serengeti Heritage Camp which is a luxury camp with big canvas safari tents with real beds and running water. Still, expect the animals to be nearby. I was woken up by a heard of zebras passing by my tent, which might not sound scary, but when it happened I didn’t know which animal it was, someone at the camp told me the next morning. Because the camp was in the wild, guests need to be escorted to and from their rooms when it is dark. A guide with a large spear and a powerful flashlight would guide me.
Go to the Ngorognoro Crater too.
This giant crater is home to lots of wildlife. The crater was formed by a volcano that exploded and collapsed on itself, and the 3,200 square mile space has grassy planes, ponds, and a large lake that is home to thousands of flamingos. We saw rhinos, lions, hippos, zebras, wildebeests, flamingos, hyenas, and more here.
Consider booking directly through a safari lodge.
I booked my trip with Acanela and I wrote more about the experience here, but the bottom line is – go with another company. My sister has gone on several safaris and she has had great luck booking safari directly with lodges. Companies like Acanela and World Expeditions are just middlemen who just book the trip with a locally-based company on your behalf. If you book directly you can probably save money. Do your research and read reviews first.
Have you been on a safari? I would love to hear about it in the comments!