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Serengeti National Park

And here's what we all came for: Serengeti National Park.  I half wish I could say it was overrated, crowded, didn't have much wildlife, etc.  But that's no the case at all.  The hype is real.  Just driving in on the main road, we saw several lions sitting along the dirt highway.  
Lions lazing under a tree - Serengeti National Park
Lions lazing under a tree - Serengeti National Park (Kassandra Magruder)

This is where the Big 5 happened for us.  We saw 2 rhino on the first day (blurry photos from far away, please see my note about a good zoom telephotos lens), we saw cheetah, lots of lions, elephant, a few leopard in trees, all the good stuff.

The migration was in the Seronera area, where we spent 2 nights and the game there was dense and intense!  

People often think the migration only happens from June to September, but then where do those hundreds of thousands of animals go the rest of the year?  The Great Migration is a big loop.  It moves throughout the year and in December of this year, it was down south close to Seronera, which is in the central Serengeti.

After 2 nights in Seronera, we headed north.  I normally wouldn't suggest this for my travelers, but I wanted to see what it was like up north on the Mara River, so I could better counsel my travelers.  While the game was FAR more sparse, the sighting we had were AMAZING.  We saw a huge pride of lions and had it all to ourselves as there wasn't another vehicle seen that entire day.  

Huge pride of lions in Serengeti National Park
Huge pride of lions in Serengeti National Park (Kassandra Magruder)

That is the pride we had all to ourselves for hours.  They were a bit off the main road on the way from Seronera to Kogatende.  I've never seen a male lion quite so majestic.  

Big Male in Serengeti
Big Male in Serengeti (Kassandra Magruder)

Being able to see the Mara River without the summer crowds was also a treat.  We followed a leopard that was stalking prey along the river and enjoyed great rates at Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge.  For people who want to skip the crowds and have been on safari several times before, there is something adventurous about being in the northern Serengeti on off season.

Leopard stalking along the Mara River
Leopard stalking along the Mara River (Kassandra Magruder)

Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge
Lemala Kuria Hills Lodge (Kassandra Magruder)

I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but for those who cherish those hard won moments when you see game and haven't seen another vehicle for a day or two, this might be worth investigating.  Sometimes the hardest won sightings are the most cherished.


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