Serengeti – National Park

9 May 2022

After visiting Tarangire national park and a good night’s sleep, we headed to Serengeti National Park!

  • Introduction

Serengeti Park is THE park to see in Tanzania (and even in Africa). It’s a huge park in the north of the country with incredible wildlife! According to the seasons it is more interesting to go to the North (during the great migrations) but I stayed rather in the South. In 2021, entrance to the park was $70 per person. However, don’t expect to see the whole park in 2-3 days. It’s so big and there are so many tracks that you will stay in a small part. Note that it is possible to take a hot air balloon ride for the sunrise. But otherwise it is forbidden to drive at night in the park!

  • Journey up to Serengeti

You should know that to get to Serengeti Park, you have to cross the Ngorongoro Reserve. We start at a very beautiful point of view on the old crater. It’s best not to get there too early, otherwise you risk seeing only fog. And that would be a shame because it’s beautiful!

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The journey is quite long, it’s really not hot on the heights and the tracks are really in poor condition and very dusty. But we can see varied landscapes really very beautiful. We meet a lot of Maasai with their herds. There are also villages you can visit ($50 per car) but I didn’t want to. I read that it was not very authentic, more of a fair for tourists. This is not at all what interests me as a meeting.

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We also pass near the “Olduvai Gorge” site, the most important archaeological site in East Africa. Discovery site of Paranthropus boisei and Homo habilis. Two skulls are highlighted on a stele to represent them.

Then we arrive at the “Serengeti” sign, the guide tells me that after the migration, the horizon is filled with wildebeests who have come to enjoy the greenery.

  • First afternoon

Shortly after entering the park, we spot two adult lions. One of them gets up to get a little closer to admire him a little more!

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Then we receive a call to go see a group of lionesses just on the side of the road. We stop for a moment to admire them.

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Another call announces the presence of a leopard. Quite rare to see because they live rather at night. And besides, when too many cars approach, they usually get down from the tree and run away without even being spotted in the grass. We wait a long time without success then we decide to leave the location.

Then we take the direction of the camp where we will sleep in order to drop off the cook. We then continue a bit until nightfall. We receive a call to indicate that a lioness is hunting. We won’t see her but I can sense the stress in a monkey family. The hypersensitive that I am still has trouble attending this show. Their expressions much closer to human expressions make their fear palpable for me. They take refuge in trees to protect the whole troop.

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  • Nyani camp

You should know that the campsites in the park are not protected. Technically any animal can come among us. But since we are strangers to them, they usually don’t come near. The comfort is of course spartan, I didn’t expect better but I heard a lot of people complaining… And yes in the middle of an African national park, of course it’s not a campsite comfort! But a shower with cold water is fine!

There is still electricity to recharge the batteries and even wifi! Certainly little free time but you can buy coupons for more time. At nightfall we hear the lions roar, it’s quite impressive! On the other hand, I was woken up by the cold in the middle of the night and it is not necessarily advisable to go out alone in the dark night to reach the toilets!

  • Second day morning

The second day, the guide tells me to leave very early, as soon as the sun rises. We thus admire the park from the first light. We see the hot air balloon which allows tourists to admire the sunrise in the park. The cook stays at camp with his friends for the day.

A first car tells us to have seen a lioness and two lion cubs (hidden in a bush now). We wait a bit, luckily the lion cubs come out and allow us to admire them. We barely see them in the tall grass, without the first car we would never have seen them!

Then we will “lose” ourselves in smaller and distant paths where we are alone. The guide is looking for a leopard and therefore chooses areas with trees. After a few paths crossed, here it is😍. I think that was my best moment. We were really close to him, alone.

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Not being “afraid” of other cars and the hustle and bustle (as we were alone), he remains quietly sleeping, gets up from time to time when birds approach to land in the tree (bad idea !). After some time we decide to leave him, we pass a car and we ask them not to call the other guides to keep his peace.

Our next search is the cheetah! We cross a first on a small hill. He got up just as we passed, great luck otherwise we might not have seen him! You should know that sometimes cheetahs get on 4x4s to get a better view (no danger for us if we keep our arms inside, the whole car is just an “object” for him).

A little later we are called to see 5 others (including 4 young ones). They are far enough from the road for good photos but it is always a pleasure to observe them. A car affiliated with the park approaches to take their picture (only cars allowed to leave the paths).

Another spot with a cheetah is spotted but there are already quite a few cars when we arrive. Luckily he moves up to bed right next to our car 😊.

Last sight of the morning: a group of 7 lionesses lounging by the side of the road!

  • Lunch break

We stopped for lunch at the Serengeti visitor center. I have to say it feels great to get out of the car and eat out. You can buy a cold drink there too if you wish. After my lunch, my guide suggested that I have an explanation of the park by an apprentice guide practicing his French. FYI, even though it’s officially free, tipping is expected.

This small circuit retraces the history of the park, bones of different animals are shown to us. It is also explained the importance of the guards to fight against poaching. It also explains how migrations work, who moves when and how far. This site is also open and it turns out that a few days before, a leopard had lodged in one of the trees, they (humans) had to quickly leave the place.

  • Second day afternoon

Leaving the visitor center we come across a group of 3 male lions sleeping (on their backs!!). I had to watch carefully at first to be sure they were breathing well as they didn’t move a millimeter. We wait a while but as they do not decide to move we leave for the next meeting.

My guide takes me to the edge of a river full of hippos! I must say that it’s quite fragrant as a spot! It’s really impressive to see them pile up like that. And when they yawn and let their powerful jaws be seen, we understand why they are a very dangerous animal!

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We then return to spend the night at the camp in the Serengeti. Of course I was also able to see elephants, giraffes, antelopes (several species), buffaloes, hyenas and jackals, birds, a moose, etc.

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