Eastern Serengeti, located to the east of the Serengeti National Park, is nestled within the eastern corridor of the park, east of the Naabi Hills. The Serengeti National Park prohibits activities that are exclusive to Eastern Serengeti, such as Walking Safaris and Night Game Drives, which are banned in other parts of the park.
Eastern Serengeti encompasses several attractions such as the colossal Mount Oldonyo Lengai, an active volcano, Gol Kopjes, the Lemuta Hills, Naser Rock, Angata Kiti, and the Salei plains. The Eastern block of the Serengeti even extends to the Lake Natron boundary to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is frequently visited, yet remains one of the least crowded areas of the park, owing to its remote, wild, and uncharted nature.
When the long rains season arrives, Eastern Serengeti transforms into an emerald-green carpet, reminiscent of the Southern plains of the Serengeti, from which it derives its name – “Siringit,” meaning boundless plains. The rainy season in Eastern Serengeti submerges the once lush plains under a green grassland that stretches into infinity.
During this time, the vast savanna becomes awash with life, teeming with animals such as the Thomson’s gazelle, migrating from Central Serengeti, allured by the lush grazing spots. Cheetahs also frequent Eastern Serengeti to hunt the gazelles, making it the African continent’s hotspot for these felines. The Gol Kopjes area offers an excellent opportunity to catch sight of these majestic creatures.
What to see and do in Eastern Serengeti
In the Eastern Serengeti, visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including game drives, nature walks, and balloon safaris. Some of the popular attractions in the area include the Gol Kopjes, Maasai rock paintings, and the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano.
The Eastern Serengeti is also home to several wildlife species, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo), cheetah, hyena, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and many more. It is a great destination for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers looking for a unique and unforgettable safari experience.
The highest concentration of hyenas can also be found in Eastern Serengeti during this season. Clans of up to 30 hyenas roam the Naabi Hills, the Gol Kopjes, and the Lemuta Hills, semi-nomadic predators that follow the herbivorous migration.
It is not uncommon to spot several lions roaming in the area. These felines typically have a designated territory that they defend, but some move with the herbivorous migration, while others are forced to leave their territory due to the lack of prey. Eastern Serengeti also plays host to part of the Great Migration, with herds arriving between December and April after the rains, descending from the Maasai Mara and Northern Serengeti Plains to nourishing Southern grazing lands. This migration can be seen from the Gol Kopjes Eastwards, through Angata Kiti to the Salei Plains and Mount Lengai.
The grasslands near the volcanic hills are particularly attractive to wildebeests due to the fertility of the soil. Apart from the aforementioned animals, it is common to see elands, African wild dogs, giraffes, hartebeests, jackals, and ostriches in Eastern Serengeti.
Wildlife and Birdlife
The Eastern Serengeti is a vast area of grasslands, hills, and woodlands located in the eastern part of the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania. This area is known for its spectacular wildlife and birdlife, including large herds of wildebeest and zebras, predators such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards, and a variety of bird species.
While the Eastern Serengeti may not be home to the “Big Five” wildlife that the Western and Central Serengeti are famous for, it is home to a diverse array of animals that are well worth seeing. Some of the highlights include:
- Lesser kudu – A type of antelope with striking spiral horns.
- Gerenuk – A long-necked antelope that is known for standing on its hind legs to reach leaves and branches.
- Bat-eared fox – A small carnivorous mammal with large ears and distinctive markings.
- Honey badger – A tough and tenacious animal that is known for its ability to take on much larger prey.
Location of Eastern Serengeti
The Eastern Serengeti is a region located in the eastern part of the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania. It is known for its vast plains, scattered acacia trees, rocky kopjes, and the massive presence of wildlife. The area is also famous for the annual wildebeest migration that occurs here from November to March.
How to get to Eastern Serengeti
The Eastern Serengeti is located in the southeastern corner of Serengeti National Park, and it can be accessed via several different routes. One popular option is to fly into the Kuro Airstrip, which is located just outside the park boundary, and then transfer to a safari vehicle for the drive to your accommodations.
You can also fly to the Seronera Airstrip or the Kogatende Airstrip, and then drive to the different camps and lodges located in the area. It is recommended to book a safari with a reputable tour operator who can arrange all the necessary logistics and ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
Another option is to drive from Arusha, which takes about 6 hours, or from Central Serengeti, which takes about 3 hours. Keep in mind that the roads in the Eastern Serengeti can be rough and bumpy, so be prepared for a bit of an adventure!
Top Attractions of Eastern Serengeti
One of the most popular attractions in the Eastern Serengeti is the Gol Mountains, which are a series of ancient granite hills that offer stunning views of the surrounding plains. Visitors can go on guided hikes to explore the area and see some of the wildlife that inhabits the hills, including klipspringers, hyraxes, and a variety of birds.
Another popular attraction in the Eastern Serengeti is the Lake Natron area, which is known for its flamingos and other bird species. Visitors can take guided walks around the lake to see the flamingos and other wildlife or explore the nearby waterfalls and hot springs.
Overall, the Eastern Serengeti is a must-visit destination for wildlife and nature enthusiasts, offering a unique and unforgettable safari experience.
When most people think of the Serengeti, they imagine vast open plains teeming with wildlife, majestic lions and towering giraffes. While the Western and Central Serengeti are certainly home to some of the most iconic wildlife in Africa, the Eastern Serengeti offers a different experience altogether. With its rugged terrain, lesser-known wildlife, and unique landscapes, the Eastern Serengeti is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to explore the diversity of Tanzania’s wildlife.
- Gol Mountains – These striking mountains rise up out of the surrounding plains, providing a dramatic backdrop for the wildlife that roams the area. The Gol Mountains are also home to several important archaeological sites, including ancient rock paintings.
- Lake Natron – Located just outside the park boundary, Lake Natron is a saline lake that is home to millions of flamingos. In addition to the birds, the lake’s bright red waters and rugged surroundings make for a stunning and otherworldly landscape.
- Ol Doinyo Lengai – Known as the “Mountain of God,” this active volcano is one of the most unique attractions in the Eastern Serengeti. With its steep slopes and rugged terrain, it’s a challenging climb, but the views from the summit are absolutely breathtaking.
- Empakaai Crater – This large volcanic crater is home to a beautiful blue-green lake, surrounded by dense forests and rolling hills. It’s a great place to spot wildlife, and the surrounding area is also home to several Maasai villages, where you can learn about traditional Maasai culture and customs.
Q: What is the best time of year to visit the Eastern Serengeti?
A: The best time to visit the Eastern Serengeti is during the dry season, which runs from June to October. This is when the wildlife is most active and the weather is most pleasant.
Q: Are there any lodges or campsites in the Eastern Serengeti?
A: Yes, there are several lodges and campsites in the Eastern Serengeti, ranging from basic campsites to luxury lodges. Some popular options include Serengeti Safari Camp, Nomad Lamai Serengeti, and Lake Natron Camp.
Q: Is it safe to visit the Eastern Serengeti?
A: Yes, the Eastern Serengeti is generally safe to visit, but it’s important to follow the advice of your guide and take necessary precautions. This includes avoiding walking outside of designated areas, keeping a safe distance from wildlife, and following all park rules and regulations.
The Eastern Serengeti may be lesser-known than its Western and Central counterparts, but it’s a destination that is well worth exploring. From the rugged mountains to the otherworldly landscapes of Lake Natron, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to discover here. And with a diverse array of wildlife that includes lesser-known species like the bat-eared fox and gerenuk, the Eastern Serengeti is a must-visit destination for any nature lover. So why not get off the beaten path and discover the wonders of the Eastern Serengeti for yourself?