The Best Time to Visit the Serengeti: An Expert Guide for Every Traveler

By Claudia Smargiasso | 17 January 2024

Discovering the best time to visit the Serengeti is essential for planning a memorable African safari. The Serengeti, renowned for its vast landscapes and the epic Great Migration, offers different experiences throughout the year. This guide focuses on optimizing your safari experience by pinpointing the ideal times to visit.  

Optimal seasons for the best time to visit the Serengeti

1. The Calving Season of the Great Migration (Late January to March)

  • Why it’s the best time to visit:

    This period is a spectacle of nature, with thousands of wildebeest and zebras giving birth within days of each other. It’s an extraordinary time to witness the raw beauty of the Serengeti.  
  • Weather conditions:

    Expect occasional rains that transform the plains into lush landscapes.  
  • Season highlight:

    Predators and newborns provide unparalleled wildlife viewing opportunities. 
  • Top tip:

    At this time of the year the northern Serengeti has very few visitors, but the resident game is excellent, and the landscape is green and lush. If you have time for two camps in the Serengeti, get away from the crowds and head north. 

The Calving Season sees the vast herds of wildebeest on verdant plains giving birth

2. The Long Rains (April to Early June)  

  • Why it’s the best time to visit:

    Fewer tourists and a green, blooming Serengeti await those who don't mind a bit of rain.  
  • Weather conditions:

    Frequent rains, leading to some inaccessible areas, but rewarding with vibrant scenery. 
  • Season highlight:

    Perfect for photographers and those seeking solitude in nature.  
  • Top tip:

    If you are travelling on a tight budget or want to spend longer than just a few nights in camp, this is the most economical time of the year 

Lions laze in the lush grass of green season

3. The River Crossings of the Great Migration (June to September)  

  • Why it’s the best time to visit:

    This is the most sought-after spectacle of the Great Migration, complete with the high drama of the immense herds of wildebeest plummeting headlong across rivers studded with hungry crocodiles. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the best times to visit the northern Serengeti.  
  • Weather conditions:

    It’s cool and dry, making it ideal for game drives. 
  • Season highlight:

    The dramatic river crossings are a key feature of the Migration and a quintessential Serengeti experience. 
  • Top tip:

    The northern Serengeti is very busy at this time of the year, with hundreds of vehicles trying to view river crossings. Include another safari camp away from the migration or some time on the beach to unwind at the end of your safari. 

The herds of wildebeest cross rivers teeming with hungry crocodiles

4. The Short Rains (October to November)  

  • Why it’s the best time to visit:

    The return of the rains rejuvenates the Serengeti, offering a fresh perspective on the landscape.  
  • Weather conditions:

    Mild showers interspersed with sunny days.  
  • Season highlight:

    Birdwatching is exceptional during this period.  
  • Top tip:

    Early October may still see river crossings in the northern Serengeti, without the peak season pricing.  

Two cheetahs in the rain

5. The Dry Season (December to February)  

  • Why it’s the best time to visit:

    Wildlife congregates around water sources, making this period excellent for animal sightings.  
  • Weather conditions:

    Hot and dry with clear skies.  
  • Season highlight:

    Suitable for first-time visitors seeking abundant wildlife.  
  • Top tip:

    Most visitors tend to be in the south at this time of the year, leaving the rest of the Serengeti relatively free of tourists despite excellent resident game. 

Guest on a walking safari during the dry season, with a hard of animals in the distance

Essential tips for visiting the Serengeti 

  • Advance planning: For the best time to visit the Serengeti, book well in advance, especially for peak seasons like the river crossings.  
  • Expert guidance: Our team of safari experts can help you plan your dream safari using their extensive knowledge and expertise.  
  • Pack smartly: Be prepared for varying weather conditions, regardless of the season, and remember that smaller aircraft have a strict luggage limit.  

Final thoughts 

The best time to visit the Serengeti depends on your interests, whether it's the calving seasons, the river crossings, or the tranquillity and exclusivity of the less busy seasons. Each season in the Serengeti offers a unique and unforgettable safari experience.  


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