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The Serengeti and beyond
Main focus of the northern safari circuit is the great wildebeest migration in the Serengeti. This year round event in Africa’s most famous safari icon offers far more than vast herds on the move – prides of lions, leopard, cheetah and other resident game always feature. There’s also far more to see in this massive eco-system that includes Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and Manyara.
As expected the “northern circuit” attracts significant numbers of visitors especially during the peak seasons from June to September and December to March.
The secret to safari success is crowd avoidance - find some top tips on how to plan a migration safari.
Kenya is a good option for catching the migration between July and October and the country offers slightly more cultural and eco-system diversity. Tanzania however is a better wildlife experience especially when the wild southern and western regions are included in a safari - if the migration is your main interest in East Africa the northern circuit is the best bet between November and March or July and October.
We use Arusha as our starting point and whenever possible include Tarangire, Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater as we move north to where the real action occurs.
See the full migration map below or find out how the migration actually works.
...safari spots en route to the Serengeti
Tarangire offers a privileged glimpse of old Africa with large family herds of migrating elephants and dry season concentrations of game from July to October. This relatively quiet park is set within a rugged wilderness that includes swathes of ancient baobab trees. Birdlife is especially good during the wet season from November to April. Tarangire’s secrets are found away from the north sector.
Lake Manyara National Park includes a stunning alkaline lake of the Great Rift Valley system, forming two thirds of the park itself. Lakeshore habitats are home to large elephant and buffalo herds and over 380 recorded bird species. Manyara’s diversity has qualified it as a World Biosphere Reserve. A largely under-rated park, the secret is to overnight in the furthest reaches from the entrance.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a World Heritage Site and top game-viewing destination is also a significant archaeological treasure. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world’s largest inactive volcanic calderas with a rich diversity of wildlife and the paleontological site of Olduvai Gorge. The secret to any visit here is to overnight in the foothills and drop into the crater in the afternoon.