Safari in Serengeti National Park
Serengeti is located in Tanzania and the base for visiting Serengeti is Arusha. Many safari tours combine Serengeti with Ngorongoro Game Reserve. Arusha is not very far from the border with Kenya, so there are some tours available from Nairobi, rather than Dar Es Salaam.
Serengeti Safari Tours
Most of Serengeti and Ngorongoro tours depart from Arusha. So if you are visiting Tanzanian National Parks only, then you should head to Arusha directly. If you are also visiting Kenyan National Parks such as Masai Mara and Amboseli, then I recommend you to take a tour departing from Nairobi to visit both Kenyan and Tanzanian National Parks.
Serengeti from Arusha
If you come to Arusha, there are several 3 to 5 days tours including the visit to Serengeti National Park available.
Serengeti from Nairobi
Serengeti and Ngorongoro Tours are also available from Nairobi. There safari tours are usually combined with some of Kenyan national parks. So the duration is longer and price is higher. But if you are prepared to spend a week or two in wilderness, then these tours are highly recommended. You can visit major national parks both in Kenya and Tanzania.
Serengeti tours from Moshi
If you are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and staying in Moshi, then some safari tours available from Moshi. However, if you like to choose from many options, you should move to Arusha.
The photo below shows a mother lion carrying her cubs in her arms. She was hiding her cubs in the bushes as the elephants approached. This was the only time we saw such a scene.
Land of Volcanic Ash
The Serengeti is a land of volcanic ash. Here and there you can see places called kopjes after old volcanoes, but it seems that the ash that makes up the plateaus is volcanic ash that erupted from the volcanic belt around nearby Ngorongoro.
As you can see, the Serengeti is generally flat, with just enough of the horizon visible, but accented in places by rocky terrain. These rocky areas provide shelter for lions and are home to reptiles and other small animals.
The photo below shows a pygmy mongoose using a rocky outcrop as a nest. This photo was taken at the Seronera Lodge, a typical lodge in the Serengeti National Park. Many of the lodges in the Serengeti are built to make good use of such rocky terrain, and the atmosphere is quite nice.
Below is a clip-springer, a member of the antelope family that prefers rocky terrain.
The Cat of the Serengeti
The Serengeti is home to a variety of feline animals, including lions. Some of these animals are not easily seen in other national parks. Of course, you will not see them every time you visit the Serengeti, but you will almost certainly see lions, followed by cheetahs.
You will be very lucky to see other feline animals. Below are photos of four of them, the smallest of which, the wildcat, was finally not seen.
First, the caracal.
First is the caracal. Unfortunately, we were only able to photograph its rear view, but its distinctive ears can be seen. This cat is about the size of a medium-sized dog.
Next is a cheetah. Here she is eating a gnu baby.
And the serval. A small but very beautiful cat.
Finally, the leopard. They are arboreal and often hide in the bushes, so we rarely see them in spite of their numbers, and I have only seen them once in about five trips to the Serengeti. This was taken with a 500 mm telephoto lens.
The gnu in the Serengeti
The Serengeti has all the typical wildlife you might imagine when you hear the word safari, but the most famous are probably the gnus. At times of year when the gnus are abundant, it really does seem like there are gnus as far as the horizon as far as the eye can see.
The scene often seen on TV of a large herd of gnus crossing a river is the Mara River on the border with Kenya, where the gnus herd makes a great migration between Tanzania and Kenya, chasing the grass. Across the Mara River is Kenya's Masai Mara game reserve.