Serengeti National Park Self-Driving Safari

Serengeti National Park Self-Driving Safari: Is It Really Worth It? Can it be done? Yes, it is possible to do a self-driving safari in the Serengeti National park and the experience is undoubtedly worthwhile it thought it needs planning, expertise, and a bigger budget. Making plans for a self-drive safari in the Serengeti has a certain allure. It is a truly individualized experience that puts your driving abilities to the test. Additionally, you have the benefit of independently discovering the flora and fauna that are present in the endless plain of Serengeti.

Due to variety of stunning attractions such as the great wildebeest migration and variety of activities such as the game drives, walking safari and hot air balloon safari, The Serengeti is arguably the continent’s most rewarding safari park. But it’s also a park that’s best appreciated when you’ve planned ahead. Among Tanzanian tour guides, the main routes from Naabi Hill gate to Seronera, the action’s hub, and from Seronera radiating to the east and west, are infamous for their difficult driving conditions. It’s a difficult route with rocky terrain and ribbons that are like washboards. Drivers are recommended to maintain a speed limit of at least 25 km/h or else they risk losing control and rolling their own vehicle.

The southern plains of the Serengeti, which include Ndutu and Seronera, are the areas that are easiest to access from Arusha. Exploring the western corridor and Lobo is worthwhile, but far away. It is advised to hire a safari vehicle and a driver-guide if you wish to explore less-traveled sections of the Serengeti.

The logistics of planning a self-driving safari in the Serengeti

Visiting the Serengeti with your own vehicle is more difficult than you may imagine, especially in comparison to many other parts of the world where organizing a road trip just entails hiring a car, choosing a route, and getting on the road. The first thing you should keep in mind is that prices will increase dramatically. Permit costs for autonomous vehicles are significantly greater than for tour companies. In addition, if you want to make the most of your time in the Serengeti, plan on driving 300–400 miles per day.

Serengeti National Park Self-Driving Safari
Serengeti National Park Self-Driving Safari

Accommodation in Serengeti for your self- drive safari tour

Having your own car gives you a lot of options when it comes to lodging. You may make those decisions while traveling, whether you want to reserve a lodge to splurge on yourself or spend the night at one of the free campsites.

Unfortunately, the cost of overnight stays also significantly increases the budget. Your main expense in the Serengeti will be fees and permits, whether you are staying in a lodge (60 USD per night per person), a private camp (50 USD per night per person), or a public campsite (30 USD per night per person). That fee may already be included in the total cost of Serengeti lodges. However, staying at a lodge on a budget will cost you $200 per person per night.

The most cost-effective method to see the Serengeti is via self-camping. You must still bring your own food and hire camping gear, though. Camping equipment is available for rent from numerous tour companies or your car rental provider for a reasonable cost.

Other activities inside the Serengeti national park

Those looking to go on a different kind of safari in Serengeti national park should consider walking safaris. Bookings for safari walks can be made at the Serengeti National Park’s visitor center; fees range from 20 to 25 USD per person, depending on how long the safari is. Additionally, if asked in advance, the resort can arrange balloon rides or game drives.

A straightforward park to explore during your self-drive safari in Tanzania is the Serengeti. There are signs posts practically everywhere you go, and the roads are in generally decent shape. Even though we would advise self-drivers to stick near the center of the park (more opportunities to see wildlife), you will be free to explore as far as you like or as deep inside the park as you can. Having an offline map is also quite helpful for quickly determining where you are.

What else to keep in mind during your Serengeti self-drive safari tour?

If your journey begins in Arusha city, be sure to be ready for what lies ahead. Purchase enough food to last you the entire time you will be in the park, at least 5 to 10 liters of water per person per day, plan your route to take in the sights you want to see, and attempt to obtain all required permissions in advance.

Before heading to the gate to pay for the park entrance in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, you must first get an entrance quote. This can be done in their Arusha office. You can pay with a MasterCard or Visa at the gate for the Serengeti National Park.

The trip from Arusha to the Serengeti requires a long and taxing drive. The conditions of the roads are not ideal, and Google Maps’ predicted travel times are wildly off. Take it easy on the way there and try to just take in the scenery. Here are the travel times from Arusha to the Serengeti.

  • Arusha to Karatu– 140 km in about 3 hours.
  • Loduare gate to Ngorongoro crater entrance – about 15 km in about 45 min.
  • Ngorongoro Crater to Naabi Hill Gate (Serengeti entrance) – 85 km in 2-3 hours.
  • Naabi Hill gate to Seronera (central Serengeti – location of most camps) – 60 km in approximately one hour.
  • Seronera to Lobo Ranger Post – 75 km in about 2 hours.
  • Returning from Seronera to Arusha can take anything between 6 and 8 hours.


  • Driving off-road can result in fines of hundreds of dollars, so stay on the road.
  • Even though the majority of guides don’t care, keep the set speed limit in place for national parks. Keep in mind that 90% of Serengeti accidents are caused by speeding.
  • Avoid pursuing the animals. They find it upsetting, and if a park ranger catches you, you might face steep fines of up to $1,000.
  • When viewing wildlife, park your car to the side, turn off the engine, and leave space for other cars to join you and take a look.
  • You should never get out of your car. This is for your own safety against predators like lions, cheetah, and leopards etc. that are many in the Serengeti.
  • Even if it should go without saying, it does. Never dispose any trash near the road. Even tossing banana peels into the bushes has an impact on the park’s biodiversity.
  • In the Serengeti, nighttime driving is prohibited. Drive only between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Self-driving safari in the Serengeti national park. Is it worth it?

The goal of a self-drive journey to the Serengeti is not to reduce costs. A scheduled private tour can be up to 100% less expensive than a self-drive tour. Additionally, long and taxing drives Together with your travel companion, decide in advance which leg of the journey will be driven. This is also another benefit of traveling with a tour company. A tour can greatly boost your chances of spotting an elusive lion, leopard, or cheetah, so keep in mind that guides are continuously talking with one another.

Last but not least, a lot of things can happen suddenly. A car issue, an unsettling encounter with an animal, or a flat tire additionally, dealing with this is best done in the company of a knowledgeable advisor.

Serengeti National Park Self-Driving Safari
Serengeti National Park Self-Driving Safari

However, nothing compares to the feeling of self-driving. The experience is as private as you want it to be, and you feel more in control of where you are going. Going on a self-drive is ideal if you decide on the spur of the moment to stay longer in the Serengeti or later explore another region of the country. It is also terrific preparation if you plan to drive across Central Africa.

Depending on what you’re looking for, both experiences can be incredibly fulfilling. Self-driving in the Serengeti might mean spending more money for an exhausting and underwhelming experience, though, if this is your first safari and you have never driven in challenging conditions. But if you’ve been to the Serengeti before, are interested in going back, and want to have a different kind of adventure, this might be the trip for you.

The conclusion: After you’ve finished exploring the Serengeti, you can add the Ngorongoro conservation area, the Lake Manyara national park where tree climbing lions can be found, the Tarangire national park, also known as the home of giants, the Arusha national park, where the second-largest mountain in Tanzania is located, and the Kilimanjaro national park to your Serengeti self-drive safari itinerary. This is because these are the attractions that are nearby the Serengeti National Park and are worth visiting for something special to increase your safari experience.

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