Covering a space of 14,750 square kilometres, it’s safe to say that Serengeti National Park is massive. Needless to say, it’s near impossible to walk through. And potentially very dangerous. The best way to experience this amazing place and catch a glimpse of the Big Five? By jumping onto a Game Drive. Operated by many tour groups, Serengeti Game Drives involve getting into a van or off-road jeep and sightseeing from the safety of a vehicle. Our advice when booking a Drive? Be specific about the animals you want to see and the ecosystems you want to experience, as there are many different routes to take and ways to around the park.
Stop at the Serengeti Visitor Center
Science nerds and history buffs, you’ll geek out at the Serengeti Visitor Centre. The ultimate source of knowledge when it comes to the history of the park and its biodiversity, no trip to Serengti is complete without a stop here. With a marked path for self-guided walks, take some time to explore the many exhibits on Serengeti’s wildlife and ecosystem. There’s also a massive picnic area and café, so you can get your caffeine hit while recharging in the shade. Soak up as much knowledge as you can at the Serengeti Visitor Centre.
Visit a Maasai Village
Serengeti isn’t all wildlife and natural beauty: it’s also the traditional homeland of Maasai people. This semi-nomadic African tribe, who live in the Great Rift Valley along northern Tanzania and southern Kenya, have a long history with the Serengeti. With tonnes of knowledge about the plain and ecosystem, the Maasai continue to live in their traditional way. What better way to learn about this unique culture than to visit a Maasai village? This is a great chance to learn about Maasai customs, traditions and lifestyles, as well as support local artisans by buying jewellery, art and textiles directly from the producers.
Get an Aerial View of the Serengeti
Want to see Serengeti from a different point of view? Turn up the thrill factor by taking a hot air balloon ride across the Tanzanian skies. Be blown away by the sight of the National Park sprawling out underneath you as you admire the tranquillity from the clouds. To add to the wow factor, most hot air balloons take off at dawn, for two good reasons: a) there’s lots of animal movement on the ground when the sun rises, and b) the view of the sunrise over the plains is nothing short of spectacular. It might cost you an arm and a leg, but with a glass of champagne and breakfast above ground, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t regret.
Things to do in Serengeti
As staple of Tanzanian cuisine, ugali is served with almost every course. Made using maize flour that’s boiled until it forms a dough-like consistency, ugali is East Africa’s answer to polenta. Eaten as a bread substitute and served with everything from bean soup to curry, ugali is sure to make an appearance on your trip to Serengeti.
Doughnut lovers, let us introduce you to your new-favourite Tanzanian treat: mandazi. These rich, East African doughnuts have a coconut milk base, which is flavoured with cardamom and coconut flakes. Eaten with curries or over some chai, mandazi are welcome at practically every meal.
Much like its Indian counterpart, Tanzanian chai tea is spicy, fragrant and sweet. Made by brewing sticks of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and pepper, Tanzanian chai is thickened with milk and sugar and enjoyed all day long. You’re sure to have a cup (or ten) on your trip to Serengeti.
What are essentially bananas used for cooking, plantains grow in abundance all over Tanzania. One of the country’s favourite snack foods is Ndizi kaanga, which means ‘fried plantain.’ Soaked in lemon juice and fried in butter and oil, these sweet treats will have you wanting seconds!
Indian migrants have had a massive influence on Tanzanian culture – especially when it comes to food. As much of a staple in Tanzanian cuisine as they are in India, chapattis are beloved by all. This fried, flaky flatbread is prepared fresh for every meal, and eaten with everything from slow-cooked meat to curries.
Food in Serengeti
If you’re jumping onto a Serengeti safari, you’re probably wondering what you’re going to be eating. With its mix of African and Indian flavours, you can rest assured that the Tanzanian foods you’ll encounter won’t disappoint. From waking up to ugali to snacking on fried plantain and chapattis, here are five foods to try on a trip to Serengeti.