The central Serengeti consists of the plains woodland border and transition zone. In this area, the great Serengeti plains gradually diffuse into gentle rolling hills and the woodland habitat that dominates the western and northern regions of the park. The lions share of the lodges are located in this region as well as the park headquarters and the various research facilities. All these facilities are located here for good reason as not only is this area centrally located but it also supports an amazing abundance of year round, resident wildlife.
Seronera is one of many world famous attractions in the Central Serengeti.Seronera Valley supports a much greater diversity of resident wildlife than anywhere else in the Serengeti including elephant, giraffe, impala, waterbuck, hippo, topi, reedbuck, buffalo and baboon. This resident prey in turn attracts the highest concentrations of large predators in Africa (lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah) and a multitude of smaller predators (mongoose, jackal, serval and bat-eared fox).
Famous for lions, cheetahs and leopards
Home to the legendary Seronera Valley
Huge diversity or resident wildlife
Extraordinary year round wildlife viewing
Game viewing in central Serengeti is at its best during the dry season (June – November) as resident animals are more concentrated in the immediate area due to the lack of water on the plains. Resident herbivores include impala, buffalo, hippo, warthog, topi, hartebeest and giraffe. Resident carnivores include lion and leopard.
In addition to the resident wildlife, significant concentrations of migratory animals are found in the Central Serengeti during the dry season including cheetah, Thomson’s gazelle and hyena.
During the wet season, there is still plenty of resident animal action but most of the migratory gazelles, cheetahs and hyenas have left for the plains. There are 12 documented resident lion prides within a one-hour game drive radius from Seronera. All these prides are resident and can be seen year round. The Seronera Valley in the Central Serengeti is also one of the best areas in Africa to spot the elusive leopard.
Attractions in Central Serengeti
Tremendous wildlife viewing opportunities exist at the Maasai Kopjes.The craggy hollows and smooth granite crests of these towering granite kopjes are home to one of the Serengeti Lion Project’s most studied prides, called the Maasai lion pride. The nearby swamp, where the rare Bohor reedbuck can be found, is also the famous hunting spot for the resident lion pride. Kopjes are remarkable in that they have their own little ecosystem with a range of vegetation and wildlife including hyrax, mongoose, lizards and birds.
Seronera Valley is the Big Cat Capital of Africa! There is simply no better place in Africa to observe large carnivores in action! Excellent encounters are available year round and it is not unusual to encounter all four large predators (lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah) during the course of a day along with a multitude of smaller predators (mongoose, serval, fox and jackal). Seronera is actually derived from the Maasai word ‘siron’ meaning the place of the bat-eared fox
Turner’s Spring is a magnet for wildlife during the dry season. The springs are named after Myles Turner, who was chief game warden from 1956 to 1972. Due to his anti-poaching efforts, the great herds of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuary still roam free today. There are three lion prides within a 10-mile radius, and each is studied by the Serengeti Lion Project. The game track also offers excellent leopard viewing as these elusive cats are often seen peering from the acacia trees that line the road.
The prey rich area of Makoma is a famous hunting ground for lions, cheetahs and hyenas. There is tremendous conflict in this area between lions, hyenas and cheetahs as they compete with each other for food in this small but prey rich area. The wooded Makoma Hill is a good spot to see giraffe, elephant and buffalo. Directly in front of the hill lies a small but idyllic plain, which is used extensively by cheetahs and hyenas. The centerpiece of this plain is the beautiful Thatch Kopjes, a den site for the local lion pride.
Excellent leopard and lion viewing can be found along the Seronera River. The Seronera River, with its seasonal swamps and deep pools of water, is ideal leopard and lion habitat and there is perhaps no easier place to see both these species of big cats in action. Large lion prides base themselves along the river where they ambush their prey. Leopards are commonly spotted in the branches of the sausage trees. A study found that a portion of the Seronera River boasts the highest concentration of leopards in Africa.
The Seronera region, as the most popular area of the park, has a wealth of lodging options ranging from budget-friendly through to mid-range and up to all-out luxury, with some of the park’s best high-end properties. Budget travellers can camp under the stars at the rustic Seronera Campsite, while travellers looking for mid-range options will find affordable lodges and camps – many of which are family friendly and offer the full range of amenities such as WiFi. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to luxury camps: there are mobile camps which move with the Great Migration herds (and don’t scrimp on comfort, with proper beds, hot bucket showers and private butlers), beautifully designed lodges with private infinity pools and activities such as guided meditation sessions in the bush, bush picnics and stargazing.
The park headquarters are also based in Seronera (close to the airstrip), where there’s a visitor information centre, a curio shop and a café.
The Seronera gets particularly busy during the most popular months of June and July and October to April and sightings can be overpopulated. If escaping the crowds is your priority and you’re travelling in these months, consider booking your lodging in another part of the park.
Some of the lodges and camps offer short walks in the bush of two to four hours with Maasai guides, who’ll teach you about the smaller creatures and the plants that you miss on game drives. If walking is something you’d like to experience, do some research on lodges that offer this activity.
Seronera is accessible by road on a six-hour drive from both Arusha and Mwanza, but the easiest option to access this part of the park is to fly into the Seronera airstrip and stay at a lodge that caters for fly-in travellers: they’ll come and pick you up from the airstrip and provide game drives in their vehicles.