Can I do a day trip to the Serengeti from Arusha?

Can I do a day trip to the Serengeti from Arusha?
Drive time on Google Maps from Arusha to the Serengeti National Park (Seronera Airstrip)

Tl;dr: Traveling to Serengeti National Park is not your typical day trip; it’s a place where you’ll probably want to spend more than one night to fully immerse yourself in the wildlife and to have the best chance of seeing different species. Plus, the logistics simply don’t make sense (unless you’re willing to pay expensive fees to fly).

Traveling from Arusha to Serengeti National Park for a day trip is typically not feasible. Let’s say you want to visit the Serengeti for just a day. You could either drive or fly.

Option 1 - Traveling to the Serengeti from Arusha by Road:

The drive from Arusha to the Serengeti National Park gate at Naabi Hill takes about 5 hours, not including the time it takes to go through Loduare Gate to pass through the Ngorongoro Crater area, where you’ll need to pay additional fees, and the time to process your entry at Naabi Hill into the Serengeti.

Once past the gates, you're likely to be in Central Serengeti (Seronera), which is another 1.5-hour drive, such as going from the gate to Kubu Kubu Tented Lodge where you could stop for a hot lunch to refresh.

Since you’re traveling to the Serengeti primarily to see animals, add another 2 hours for wildlife viewing on your private game drive.

All-in-all, this day trip would likely total a minimum of 15 hours (travel to and from the Serengeti, plus 2 hours of game drive). If you were to leave at 5 AM, you would return home by 8 PM, and driving at night through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area back to Arusha is not advisable and a drive you’d want to avoid.

Option 2 - Traveling to the Serengeti from Arusha by Flight:

Alternatively, you could fly from Arusha. Flights typically leave in the morning from ARK (between 8 AM - 10 AM) and take about 1-1.5 hours. If you leave at 8 AM, you’d arrive at Seronera Airstrip around 9:30 AM, where a driver and guide would meet you to start your game drive. However, your game drive would occur during the hotter hours of the day when animals are typically seeking shade and not easily visible. Additionally, most flights leave the Serengeti relatively early in the afternoon, making your safari feel rushed and limiting your time exploring.

Other Considerations:

Given these factors, trying to fit a day trip to the Serengeti from Arusha significantly reduces your chances of seeing wildlife. Instead of feeling relaxed and enjoying time parked beside a herd of elephants, you’ll be rushed to leave the park.

If you opt to drive and attempt a day trip, consider the toll on your driver/guide. Driving for a minimum of 15 hours through the early morning and late night is not ideal and is strongly discouraged.

What are my options?

We recommend planning for more than one night in the Serengeti. If driving from Arusha, you can include other National Parks along the way (Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, etc.). We offer many safari options that allow for this; check out some of the trips listed below:

If you prefer just the Serengeti, consider flying in and out of Arusha or Zanzibar with this trip:

That’s all! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our team at [email protected], or if you’re looking to explore more trip options, check out our page below:

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