Explore the Northern Serengeti

Explore the Northern Serengeti : Everything You Need To Know : Compared to the Central Serengeti, the Northern Serengeti offers a different landscape. Rather than the huge open grasslands of the Central and Southern Serengeti, it has rolling hills, valleys, acacia trees, and riverine habitats. In quest of more fertile grazing areas, wildebeests travel to the Northern Serengeti from July to October. They encounter one of the largest obstacles of their journey here.  The great river Mara!

The Mara River, which flows through Maasai Mara and the Northern Serengeti, is the site of one of nature’s most amazing spectacles: the wildebeest river crossing. Many wildebeests are captured and drowned by the ferocious river currents, and the crocodiles lying in wait for their opportunity to strike. The wildebeests are aware of the threats, and if you are there, you can actually feel the tension in the air and hear the low, frightened grunts of the animals.


we suggest North Serengeti for guests going from July to October who have itineraries of six days or more and who don’t mind longer transfer times. The largest attraction in this area is without a doubt the massive herds of wildebeest and zebras (the great migration) that assemble here from July (anywhere from the second half of June to the first half of July) to October.

Witnessing massive herds of animals is a thrill that cannot be compared to any other wildlife sighting on a Tanzania safari. With a little bit of luck and patience, you might witness herds of wildebeests crossing the Mara River and being attacked by crocodiles.

Aside from the massive migration, there is more wildlife to be observed in the North Serengeti than in the Central Serengeti or other parks like Ngorongoro and Tarangire, but not as much in terms of variety or quantity. Therefore, it is not worthwhile to go to the North Serengeti during the off-season.

Traveling by car to the North Serengeti from Arusha takes approximately 11 to 12 hours. Thus, unless you intend to fly into and/or out of North Serengeti, we do not advise visiting the region on short itineraries, even from July to October.

You can bypass the North Serengeti if seeing the big five or just large cats is your main goal and you don’t care to witness wildebeest herds. Last but not least, including North Serengeti in your schedule may increase the cost of the tour (in comparison to including other parks) due to the high cost of Serengeti Park fees and the limited number of hotels that are more expensive than comparable-tier accommodations elsewhere.


Numerous creatures can be found in this area due to the diversity of habitats. Because the Maara River flows through the area, crocodiles and enormous pods of hippos are drawn to it. It’s also highly possible that buffalo, giraffes, and elephants will be present in this area all year. Other herbivores, including topis, impalas, and hartebeests, can also be seen scuttling around.

 Another popular reason to visit this part of the Serengeti is to see oribis, a rare type of antelope. However, there are also plenty of predators in the northern Serengeti. This region is home to lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, servals, and even bat-eared foxes. Of course, the wildebeest migration takes place in the area from July to August, if you visit during that time. Zebras and gazelles roam alongside wildebeests; thus, during those months, the region’s wildlife population truly soars. But the hills and forests of the Northern Serengeti can block your view of the wildlife.


Because it receives less rainfall than the Central Serengeti, the North Serengeti is drier and has a very distinct appearance. Because of this, there are fewer vegetation types in the North, with rocky outcroppings, acacia trees, and short grasses predominating. In comparison to the Central Serengeti, the North Serengeti supports fewer kinds of wildlife because of its less varied flora.


You might probably see several of the more well-known birds in the far northeast corner of the Lamai Wedge Triangle in the Northern Serengeti. It is common to see rollers, lovebirds, and red-headed weavers.

Explore the Northern Serengeti
Birding in Serengeti national park

The region’s hazardous river crossings and the abundance of dead carcasses that wash up the riverbanks draw vultures to the north. This is the place where you can see a variety of vultures soaring overhead. Aerial pheasants, turacos, helmetshrikes, and kingfishers can all be seen in the trees along the river.


A little further north, across the Mara River, is a wildebeest haven called the Lamai Triangle. Animals travel via the Lamai Triangle to enter Kenya’s Masai Mara because the two regions share a border. However, Serengeti Research Institute research has revealed that very little of the migration actually enters Masai Mara. Many of these animals remain inside Tanzania’s boundaries; others seek safety in the Lamai Triangle. This region’s undulating plains and savannahs contrast sharply with the remainder of the Northern Serengeti’s fragmented, steep landscape. There are very few acacias scattered around the area. Maybe that’s why there are so many herbivores in this area. In addition to zebras and wildebeests, other animals include topis, giraffes, elephants, buffalos, warthogs, and elands, which are Africa’s largest antelope.

Though not in great numbers, lions and cheetahs also call this place home. You won’t find it congested because not many tourists frequent this area. No other car will obstruct your view. You have more freedom to wander about in this area because there aren’t any official trails.

In comparison to the rest of the Northern Serengeti, the Wogakuria sector, which is somewhat to the north and closer to the Mara River, offers an entirely different landscape. Although the majority of the Northern Serengeti is rugged, steep, and covered in forests, the vast plains of Wogakuria stretch out in front of you. There are also differences among the trees that grow in this area. Here, terminalia-tree wood forms the edge of the grassland. The majority of other trees in the Serengeti do not have leaves as broad as those on Terminalia trees.

The Oribis, a unique species of antelope found only in Tanzania, live in these forests. On the other hand, cheetahs prefer open grasslands. Because they are so prevalent in Wogakuria, it is easy to identify cheetahs there. The kopjes found in this area serve as a haven for buffalos and a place of refuge for klipspringers. In addition to them, this area is home to giraffes, gazelles, ostriches, and leopards. You can explore Wogakuria en route to Lamai Triangle.

The Kogatende Ranger Post is located south of the Mara River, below the Lamai Triangle. Poaching and other serious criminal operations were once common in this area of the Serengeti in the 1950s and 1960s. In order to help the rangers find the poachers and keep themselves safe, a station in the shape of an old fort was constructed. There is still a ranger post, and guards are routinely positioned there. If these rangers are available, you are welcome to speak with them and find out more about their goals, worldview, background, etc. The station was constructed in the style of a fort to shield rangers from poachers.

The Bologonja River flows through the thick woodlands of the small yet breathtaking Bologonja Springs region in the northeastern part of the Northern Serengeti. Birds are drawn to the trees as well, and you might probably see crowned cranes, rollers, kingfishers, and hoopoes here. Vervet monkeys and baboons also favor this area because of its abundance of canopy. This area’s grass and water draw antelopes like steenboks and reedbucks. Leopards are drawn to this area because of the trees there as well. Here in the woods, they blend in with their coats. They are quite good at hiding, though, so it will be difficult to identify them. There’s the Larelemangi salt lick, which is located down the Bologonja creek.

Animals suck salt licks, which are mineral deposits on rocks or the ground, to augment their diet. The damp ground at Bologonja, close to the river valley, has been deposited with vital minerals where water seeps into the earth. Large herds of buffalo and elephants are drawn to the area due to the mineral deposition, and they lick the damp ground in order to obtain all the necessary nutrients.

The eastern edge of the Northern Serengeti’s Lobo Valley contains a mosaic of many topographies. Life is supported by the valleys, forests, hills, kopjes, open grasslands, and numerous rivers in this area. In the Lobo Valley, the migration stays put for a while between September and November as it heads back south. Therefore, during those months, it is easy to spot gazelles, zebras, and wildebeests grazing on the fresh grass of the plains. This area is favored by leopards because it contains forests. They may be hiding among the yellow acacia branches and keeping an eye on their surroundings.

 There are cheetahs in this area as well; they are typically seen in the wide grassy plains. Of course, there are also lions in this area. You can definitely locate the largest pride of lions in Lobo Valley lounging on the granite kopjes or taking a nap under the trees. All three of the big cats become more active during migrations because more game lures and predators are present in the area. However, year-round residents of this area include buffalo, gazelles, klipspringers, impalas, and steenboks. Thus, herbivores and large cats always have an abundance of food and water. In addition to all of these creatures, there are a lot of elephants in Lobo Valley. However, a number of studies have observed that the elephants in this area are more hostile. They may move their trunks, make loud noises, and engage in fictitious charges while keeping their ears apart, but they don’t actually hurt anyone. Your armed and trained ranger will be by your side to protect you in the event that things get dangerous.

The Upper Grumeti Woodlands are located on the western side, close to Lobo Valley. The Grumeti River crosses the northern Serengeti in one place. This area’s banks are home to a verdant woodland, thanks to the nutrients the river brings in. These woodlands are home to tamarinds, mahogany, figs, and palm trees. Vervet monkeys and occasionally even colobus favor such a location. Fish eagles, kingfishers, and turacos are among the birds that can be seen in the trees near the banks. There will be crocodiles lazing on the banks of the river and hippos splashing around. The entire area is covered in various varieties of acacia trees, with the exception of the woodlands near the riverbank. There are flood plain acacias, green thorns, and whistling thorns. These woods provide a haven for herbivores. This place is home to giraffes, topis, buffalo, impalas, and gazelles. Furthermore, because this area is covered with a large number of trees, leopards naturally move across it soundlessly. In this area, cheetahs and lions also prowl. 


Mara River Crossing

Observing the Mara River crossing is the most well-liked activity in the Northern Serengeti. Zebras and wildebeests come to the north in July and September, when they get ready to cross the river. Typically, the activity peaks in the middle of July and August. Even though the river is teeming with crocodiles, the animals realize they must cross it to go to the greener areas. You can sense the anxiety and strain in the air as they get ready to cross the treacherous waters while you’re sitting in your car close to the crossing place. And the mayhem that results from the animals battling the fierce currents and crocodiles produces a unique ecological phenomenon. It really does provide for a very special experience.

 Hot Air Balloon Safari

The Hot Air Balloon Ride is another well-liked North Serengeti pastime. A hot air balloon flight will offer you the chance to take in the stunning slopes, hills, and meandering rivers from above in the sky because this region’s topography differs from the rest of the Serengeti. Seeing wildlife from above is one of the other joys of a hot-air balloon safari. A variety of species, including zebras, giraffes, elephants, and lions, may be spotted going about their daily lives. Because you’ll be able to see the herds from a distance, the view from the balloon is also ideal for seeing the wildebeest migration.

The Hot Air Balloon Safari will begin early in the morning, at approximately 6 a.m., and you will be picked up from your lodging between 4:00 and 5:30 a.m., depending on how far you are from the launch point.

Walking safari

An immersive and thrilling way to take in the distinctive scenery and, of course, wildlife of the North Serengeti is to go on a walking safari. Experienced guides will lead you on an up-close and personal encounter with the natural world, offering you insights into the behavior, ecology, and habits of the local flora and fauna.

The Walking Safari takes place in the Kogatende area in the north, near the Mara River. If you choose this option, we will make reservations for you on a safari with TANAPA, who will assign you a knowledgeable park ranger. The safari is scheduled to begin at 6:30 a.m. and last for a minimum of four hours. Anything more than an hour will be seen as a long stroll, while a four-hour walk will be considered a short walk.

Please make sure you wear pants that completely cover your legs and comfy sneakers that you can walk for hours in during the walking safari. Additionally, you should avoid wearing black, blue, or other dark colors on your clothing since they attract flies, which may be very bothersome.


The climate in the Serengeti is mild and often pleasant. Even though the afternoons are lovely, it can get chilly at night and in the mornings, so you should pack warm clothes for those times.

June through October is considered the dry season. In this period, highs of 25°C (77°F) and lows of 14°C (57°F) are possible.

November to May are when the wet season occurs. There are extremes in temperature: 26°C (79 °F) and 15°C (59 °F). 


Because the big cats, elephants, giraffes, and several other herbivores and birds call this region home year-round, game drives can be undertaken there any time of the year. However, mid-July to August is a perfect time to visit the Northern Serengeti because of the migration, which will be in the area and raise the animal population in the North. You will also be able to view the famed river crossings during this period.


By car, the Northern Serengeti may be reached from Arusha in around 11 hours. We don’t make this trip in a single day due to the distance and the driving conditions. One option is to go via the Ngorongoro and Central Serengeti, stopping for game drives and relaxation on day one in the Central Serengeti before continuing on to the North Serengeti the following day, with game drives en route.

 An alternative would be to travel to Lake Natron on the first day, where you could do a flamingo walking tour in the evening, and then drive the next day to the North Serengeti. If you choose to drive, we advise making a circuit out of your trip by going one way via Lake Natron and the other way via Central Serengeti and Ngorongoro, rather than going back and forth via Central Serengeti.

Another well-liked method of traveling to the North Serengeti is by air. There are numerous daily flights, both ways, connecting Arusha/Kilimanjaro/Zanzibar and the North Serengeti during the migratory season. 


In which months do we recommend visiting this region? We advise traveling to the Northern Serengeti between July and October, as this is when the great migration is predicted to occur there.

What is the distance between the Central and North Serengeti? With game drives along the way, the Northern Serengeti is roughly five hours away from the Central Serengeti. It will take roughly three hours to get here if there are no game drives.

How many days do we recommend spending in the North Serengeti? We advise visiting the North Serengeti for a minimum of two days and ideally three days during the migration season, which runs from July to October.