Northern Park Circuit
The Northern Park Circuit (Serengeti a.k.a. Masaai Mara on the Kenya side, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and/or Tarangire Parks) in the country of Tanzania in east Africa, represents Africa’s best value for dry safari where guests can witness the great migration, the big five, the Rift Valley Wall, the Serengeti Savannah, iconic baobab trees, the Masai tribe, the primitive Hadzabe and Datooga tribes, collapsed volcanoes, active volcanoes, driving safaris, walking safaris, night time safaris, tree climbing lions, hot air balloon rides, orphanage and school visits, snake farms, horse riding safaris, etc.
Lion Dog African Safaris use Pop Up Roof Safari Vehicles (scroll down to the Safari Guides & Safari Vehicles section) and venues on the northern park circuit can consist of Permanent Tented Camps, Mobile Tented Camps, Lodges and Bivouac Camping. (scroll down to the Game Safari Venues section)
Due to the wide expanse and diversity of the northern park circuit, safaris of the northern park circuit tend to be more of a “gypsy” style of safari where the travel party is often on the move safari-ing from camp to camp with down time mainly in the evenings only.
Some clients on a tighter schedule, or those less inclined to enjoy the long drives between the camps or lodges, may opt to fly small planes between camps providing a more “tranquil” safari however much is missed with this Fly-In philosophy.
There are a number of good times to visit the Northern Park Circuit as discussed under the next heading. Refer to map on right for location(s)
Timing a Tour to the Northern Park Circuit
JANUARY | FEBRUARY
January and February are excellent months to safari the Northern Park Circuit . The weather is hot with clear skies . The bulk of the migration is taking place in the Ndutu area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti, thereby eliminating the need to drive deeper into the Serengeti as is necessary at other times of the year; and this is also the time to witness the spectacle of the wildebeests’ mass birthing attracting many predators and scavengers. Wildlife are more active at dawn and dusk, and this is also the best time for night drives. The third park on the Northern Game Park Circuit to visit after the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater is Lake Manyara from January to July.
MARCH | APRIL | MAY
The weather on the Northern Park Circuit is very unpleasant with heavy long downpours of rain in this period. Bring heavy rain gear if planning to visit during this time. Any time of year is a good time to see wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater. In the Serengeti, the bulk of the migration is taking place in the middle southern part of the Serengeti requiring some driving on very muddy and sometimes impassable roads. The wildebeest are rutting at this time.
JUNE | JULY | AUGUST
The weather is very pleasant at this time of year.
In the Serengeti, the bulk of the migration is taking place in the western corridor and moving northwards. This means that there is a much greater driving distance required in order to witness the migration. In June, you might catch the tail end of the mass migration crossing the crocodile infested Grumeti River. In August, you might catch the migration crossing the crocodile infested Mara River.
It needs to be said that only about half the animals in the Serengeti actually participate in the mass migration, and many of the big cats for instance stay in certain territories year round particularly in the central Serengeti. Even though the mass migration has the majority of animals in the western Serengeti, there are still fantastic game viewing opportunities elsewhere in the Serengeti, so June, July and August is still a good time to visit even the lower Serengeti.
The third park on the Northern Game Park Circuit to visit after the Serengeti and the Crater is Tarangire which is teeming with wildlife from August to December.
SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER
The weather is warm and dry in these months . In the Serengeti, the bulk of the migration is taking place in the very northern part of the Serengeti predominantly into the Masaai Mara Park in Kenya where tourist congestion is very high compared to the Serengeti side in Tanzania. Witnessing the migration in the northern Serengeti requires a much longer drive into the Serengeti. In SEPTEMBER you might catch the tail end of the mass migration crossing the crocodile infested Mara River. The northern part of the Serengeti is relatively remote and the camps tend to be more on the pricey side.
NOVEMBER | DECEMBER
The weather is generally warm, overcast, with intermittent short rainy spells.
In the Serengeti, the bulk of the migration is taking place in the north western part of the Serengeti heading due south and/or towards the central Serengeti. This means that there is a much greater distance required to drive in order to witness the migration. The northern part of the Serengeti is relatively remote and the camps tend to be much pricier although there are some exceptions.
Timing a tour in combination with other locations
LDAS suggests that clients rely on our expertise to determine the best time for their custom African tour.
When clients are able to go when the overall conditions are best, LDAS finds that it sends a good percentage of clients in January February and September October, when all the variables are considered. Between the two periods, in the southern hemisphere, the weather is generally cooler in September and October than in January and February when the temperatures are hottest. The only bad time to go to Africa is when the rains are heavy in the regions being considered.
Northern Park Circuit Africa