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Serengeti in December: Short Rain, Safari and Weather Tips

December in the Serengeti: Witnessing the Shifting Landscape.

The Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, transforms throughout the year, and December offers a unique perspective on this vast ecosystem. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect: Overview of Serengeti National Park: The Serengeti is a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for the Great Migration, the largest mammal movement on Earth. With sprawling savannahs, woodlands, and incredible biodiversity, it’s a photographer’s paradise and a wildlife enthusiast’s dream.

Serengeti Weather and climate in December

December marks the beginning of the “short rains” season. Expect pleasant daytime temperatures averaging 28°C (82°F) with cooler nights around 16°C (61°F). Brief afternoon showers are common, but they clear quickly, leaving vibrant green plains and dust-free skies – perfect for capturing stunning wildlife imagery.

Why Visit Serengeti in December

  • Catch the Migration on the Move: Witness the wildebeest herds on their journey south from the central Serengeti towards the Ndutu region. December offers a chance to see them traverse the plains in vast numbers.
  • Lush Landscapes: December’s rains transform the parched savannas into a lush green paradise.
  • Fewer Crowds: Compared to the peak dry season, December offers a quieter safari experience with fewer visitors.
  • Birdwatching Boom: The short rains attract migratory birds, offering an opportunity for keen birdwatchers to expand their life lists.
  • Hot Air Balloon Safaris: Soar above the vast plains of Serengeti in a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of the breathtaking landscape and its inhabitants below.
  • Nature Walks: Take leisurely nature walks accompanied by knowledgeable guides to gain insights into the park’s flora, fauna, and ecosystems up close.
  • Cultural Encounters: Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the Maasai people by visiting traditional villages and participating in cultural activities and ceremonies.
  • Photography: Clear skies and dust-free conditions make December ideal for capturing breathtaking wildlife shots.
  • Game Drives: Embark on exhilarating game drives through the Serengeti wilderness, accompanied by experienced guides who will help you spot elusive wildlife such as leopards and cheetahs.

Where To Go in Serengeti in December

For unparalleled wildlife viewing experiences in December, head to the Seronera region, which boasts a high concentration of game year-round. Additionally, exploring the northern reaches of the park, such as the Lobo and Bologonja areas. Offers the chance to witness the Great Migration as thousands of wildebeest and zebra traverse the plains in search of greener pastures.

Central Serengeti (Beginning of December): Spot the migration in the Seronera region before they move south.
Southern Serengeti & Ndutu Area (End of December): Witness the herds concentrate as calving season approaches.

What to Do in Serengeti in December

  • Witness the Great Migration: Take a guided safari to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of the wildebeest herds on the move.
  • Explore Diverse Wildlife: Look out for predators like lions and leopards, as well as elephants, zebras, giraffes, and a plethora of other animals.
  • Go Birdwatching: With resident and migratory species, December is a prime time for bird enthusiasts.
  • Explore the Landscape: Witness the transformation of the plains from dry savanna to lush grasslands.

What To Bring for Serengeti in December

  • Pack light, breathable clothing for warm days and cooler nights.
  • Bring a rain jacket for the occasional showers.
  • Don’t forget a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
  • Binoculars are a must for wildlife viewing.
  • A camera with a zoom lens is ideal for capturing wildlife encounters.

Crowds & Costs – Serengeti in December

While December sees fewer visitors compared to peak season, there might still be crowds during the holidays. Accommodation rates might be slightly lower compared to peak dry season.

December is a busy and wet month in the Serengeti. It is during the “short rains” period in the Serengeti, and receives just a bit less rain on average than November. Expect wet weather in December, as the short rains begin to fall in the Central Serengeti1. The wildebeest herds will move quicker now, as far south as possible, towards the Southern Plains which they usually reach within a couple of days. If you prefer to have the Serengeti to yourself, travelling in low season is your best option

Serengeti in December FAQs

Embark on an unforgettable adventure to Serengeti in December and experience the magic of Africa’s most iconic wilderness destination. From thrilling wildlife encounters to breathtaking landscapes, Serengeti beckons travelers to discover its beauty and wonder.

Is it safe to visit the Serengeti in December with the rains?

The short rains are usually brief and shouldn’t disrupt your safari. December is a warm and wet month in Serengeti National Park. The average daytime maximum temperature is around 28°C (82°F), whilst at night 15°C (60°F) is normal. December falls during the “short rains” period in the Serengeti, and receives just a bit less rain on average than November. The wildebeest herds are expected to move towards the Southern Plains which they usually reach within a couple of days.

What if I miss the migration in December?

The calving season continues through March, offering alternative opportunities to see the herds.
December offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty and wonder of the Serengeti National Park. With lush landscapes, fewer crowds, and the chance to witness the Great Migration on the move, it’s a perfect time to plan your African safari adventure.

Is December a good time to see the Great Migration in Serengeti?

While the peak of the Great Migration typically occurs from June to August, December still offers excellent opportunities to witness parts of the migration, especially in the northern regions of the park.

Are mosquitoes a concern in Serengeti in December?

Due to the short rains, mosquitoes may be more prevalent in December. It is advisable to use insect repellent and wear long-sleeved clothing to minimize the risk of mosquito bites.

What wildlife can I expect to see in Serengeti in December?

December is an excellent time for wildlife viewing in Serengeti, with opportunities to see the Big Five. As well as giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and a variety of bird species.

Are there any special events or festivals in Serengeti in December?

While there are no specific events or festivals held within the park. December is a festive time in Tanzania, with celebrations marking the holiday season and cultural festivities in nearby communities.

December is a good month to catch the herds on the move from the Central to Southern Serengeti. Depending on the rains, the calving season may also begin towards the end of the month. While December falls during one of the rainy seasons in the Serengeti, the afternoon thundershowers usually clear up quickly, so they don’t tend to cause much disruption to a safari. The rains have turned the plains of the Serengeti lush and green, and the skies are dust free, which makes for great photos.

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