Early June marks the beginning of the dry season, which lasts from about
the end of May to the end of October. By early June, the skies have
cleared and all the parks have begun their season of change. The landscape
changes dramatically as the parks dry out starting first with the plains
and last with the woodlands. The weather will be mostly sunny with only
a slight chance of rain.
Temperatures are pleasant with an average high of 81 degrees and an average low of 56 degrees. However, the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater can get quite cold at night and in the early morning. Visitor numbers drop off dramatically at the beginning of March and during April and May the parks are completely empty of tourists. Visitor numbers are still low in the beginning of June but begin to rise to moderately high numbers at the end of June.
Seasonal Wildlife Highlights
Serengeti National Park
Northern Serengeti (Woodlands)
Not recommended during June.
Western Serengeti (Woodlands)
June Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 1 - 2 Days
June Wildlife Highlights: Wildebeest Migration, Lion, Giraffe, Impala, Crocodile, Hippo
The western corridor straddles the northward migration route of the wildebeest migration. Typically in mid May (the end of the wet season), the great herds will depart the southern and eastern Serengeti plains and begin their long journey around the Serengeti ecosystem in search of greener pastures. The northward wildebeest migration is divided between two main population groups that have two different northward migration routes. The first and largest group follows the Mbalageti and Seronera Rivers from the southern plains into the western corridor. These herds will remain in the northern reaches of the western corridor until about July when the dry season completely parches the land and they must venture north towards Kenya and its greener pastures. The second main group heads directly north from the plains through the Central Serengeti and directly into the Northern Serengeti and Masai Mara without entering the Western Serengeti.
By June, water has become scarce out on the plains and the vast grasslands have been reduced to stubbles. The great herds and many other animals have been forced to the woodlands for foraging and water. The migration should be in full swing as the herds make their way from the plains to their transitional range located in the Western Serengeti. The mass movements of the migration combined with the continuation of the wildebeest rut in the beginning of June makes this an exciting time for a safari in the Serengeti. Predators will also be highly visible as some follow the migration and other resident ones take advantage of this time of plenty. The Western Serengeti is the place to be in June. It is the very best time to visit the Western Serengeti and game viewing should be spectacular. This makes Kirawira and Grumeti River Camp in a prime position to catch all the action.
The Western Serengeti is also home to significant numbers of resident wildlife. There are large populations of resident wildebeest and zebra that do not join their migratory cousins as they pass through every year on their journey northwards. Other resident animals include giraffe, buffalo, eland, topi, impala, waterbuck and Thomson’s gazelle. These resident animals support large concentrations of predators including lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. The big cats are frequently sighted but not to the extent as seen in the central Serengeti.
Central Serengeti (Plains/Woodlands Border)
June Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 1 - 3 Days
June Wildlife Highlights: Wildebeest Migration, Zebra Migration, Thomson’s Gazelle Migration, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Giraffe, Buffalo, Hippo
The Central Serengeti offers superb game viewing year round due to its abundance of resident animals. Specifically, the Seronera River Valley in the Central Serengeti is a ‘must see’ on every safari regardless of the specific month of travel.
Game viewing in Central Serengeti is at its best during the dry season (June - November) as resident animals are more concentrated in the immediate area due to the lack of water on the plains. Resident herbivores include impala, buffalo, hippo, warthog, topi, hartebeest and giraffe. Resident carnivores include lion and leopard.
In addition to the resident wildlife, significant concentrations of migratory animals are found in the Central Serengeti during the dry season including cheetah, Thomson’s gazelle and hyena. The Thomson’s gazelles migrate to the eastern short grass plains during the wet season and then back to the Central Serengeti during the dry season. The majority of the cheetahs in the Serengeti are also migratory in that many of them follow the Thomson’s Gazelle migration to the Central Serengeti during the dry season. Additionally, hyenas are semi-nomadic and many of them can be found in the Central Serengeti during the dry season, where the majority of their den sites are located. During the wet season, they ‘commute’ to the Eastern Plains to take advantage of the abundance of animals found on the plains during this time. Accordingly, you will likely encounter an array of resident animals plus migratory gazelles, cheetahs and hyena from about June to November in the Central Serengeti.
There are 12 documented resident lion prides just within a one-hour game drive radius from Seronera. During the dry season, the resident prides begin to shift west and north in their territories and concentrate in the central region of the park. The dry season is a particularly good time for lion viewing in the Central Serengeti.
The Seronera Valley in the Central Serengeti is also one of the best areas in Africa to spot the elusive leopard. You will likely encounter this majestic cat in the branches of the sausage trees that dot the banks of the Seronera River.
In addition to the Western Serengeti, the Central Serengeti is located on the northward migration route for a significant proportion of the wildebeest herds. It is also located on the main path for the migratory zebra herds. The zebra migration differs from the wildebeest migration in that the zebra take a more northerly departure off the plains. Many move directly north through the Central Serengeti and towards Kenya without entering the Western Serengeti.
Overall, June is the best month of the year for game viewing in the Central Serengeti with the migration pouring through plus the array of resident animals. It is certainly the favorite month for the resident lion prides of the Central Serengeti.
Eastern Serengeti (Plains)
June Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 1 Day
June Wildlife Highlights: Cheetah, Hyena, Eland Migration, Thomson’s Gazelle Migration (early to mid June only)
The Eastern Plains of the Serengeti are extremely seasonal. During the dry season, you will likely encounter only a few hearty Grant’s gazelle. However, the eastern plains come to life in the wet season (November - mid June) and offer incredible game viewing for certain species of animals. A day trip at the minimum should be included in every green season itinerary. June is a tough time to call for wildlife viewing on the eastern plains. Depending on the cessation of the rains, the eastern plains will dry out sometime between about mid May to mid June. These eastern plains dry out quickly due to the shallow soil base and the migratory animals tend to depart quickly. Accordingly, it is usually hit and miss through mid June. By late June, the eastern plains will likely be devoid of wildlife.
The GOL Kopjes, located on the Eastern Plains, boasts the highest concentrations of cheetahs in Africa during the wet season. The majority of the cheetahs in the Serengeti are migratory in that many of them follow the Thomson’s Gazelle migration to the eastern short grass plains during the wet season and then back to the Central Serengeti (plains/woodland border) during the dry season.
The Eastern Plains are also the main wet season range of the giant eland migration. Additionally, you will likely find large clans of hyenas numbering up to 30 individuals in a single group. Hyenas are semi-nomadic and ‘commute’ to the Eastern Plains during the wet season from their den sites located in the Central Serengeti.
East of the Serengeti way out beyond the GOL Kopjes are the Eastern Plains of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Hundreds of thousands of migratory wildebeest range both the southern and eastern plains. You will likely encounter thousands of wildebeest from the GOL Kopjes, east through Angata Kiti and into the Salei Plains by the active volcano Mount Lengai. This is an extremely beautiful and remote area of the Eastern Plains and if you are adventurous enough to visit you will be rewarded with superb off the beaten track game viewing.
Southern Serengeti (Plains)
June Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 1 Day
June Wildlife Highlights: Wildebeest Migration and Zebra Migration, Lion, Cheetah, Elephant (early June only)
By mid June, water has usually become scarce out on the southern plains and the vast grasslands have been reduced to stubbles forcing the great herds to the woodlands. Depending on the cessation of the rains, the southern plains will dry out sometime between about mid May to mid June. Similarly to the eastern plains, the southern plains dry out quickly due to the shallow soil base and the migratory animals tend to depart quickly. Accordingly, it is usually hit and miss through mid June. By late June, the southern plains will likely be devoid of wildlife.
The southern Serengeti steals the show in the wet season until about early June. The life giving rains that generally begin in mid November and last through early May trigger the great wildebeest migration into the plains of the South Serengeti and the northern Ngorongoro Conservation Area. As the rain subsides in May and the grasses have been reduced to stubbles, the great herds slowly begin to form and start their long march northward towards their dry season ranges. When the great movement begins is heavily dependent on rainfall patterns. The most likely scenario is that in the beginning of May the main herds will be located in and around the southern Serengeti. By late May they will have begun moving north-west towards the western corridor with a smaller group moving directly north. The end of May and early June is also the time of the spectacular annual wildebeest rut, which is an amazing sight to behold.
During the dry season (including June) when the migratory animals have moved off the southern plains and into the woodlands, we recommend a one-night stopover on your way from the Central Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Crater. A night in the southern plains will provide for excellent walking and hiking options, cultural interactions with the Maasai and a chance to explore this beautiful part of the Serengeti ecosystem. The southern plains of the ecosystem in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) offer the best walking safari options plus the best cultural opportunities. Olduvai Camp, located on the southern plains of the NCA, is the ideal place to spend a night if you are interested in the aforementioned activities. More Serengeti National Park Information.
June Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 1 - 2 Days
June Wildlife Highlights: Black Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion, Cheetah
The Ngorongoro Crater, described as one of the wonders of the world, is an amazing natural sanctuary not to be missed. Game viewing here is among the very best Africa has to offer and is excellent at any time of year. The crater is very small at only about 10 miles across. With just one game drive in the Crater, it is possible to circumnavigate the crater several times and see all the main highlights. However, every safari we offer includes two separate game drives in the Crater over a course of two days including one early morning 6AM drive. The goal on the early morning game drive is to be the first person in the Crater that day. Animals are generally more active in the morning, which makes the early morning game drive option an excellent choice.
The crater is not a self-contained ecosystem and some animals do migrate in and out of the surrounding NCA but not in any significant numbers to warrant tailoring your itinerary. The main factors for planning are weather and visitor numbers. In June, the crater will still be somewhat green and visitor numbers will begin to increase to moderately high numbers. More Ngorongoro Crater Information.
Tarangire National Park
June Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 0 - 2 Days
June Wildlife Highlights: Elephant, Giraffe, Impala, Raptors
The wildlife rhythms of Tarangire are almost directly opposite to those of the Serengeti. Tarangire comes into its own during the dry season (July - November) when enormous populations of elephants and other animals are drawn to the Tarangire River and other sources of permanent water within the park. During the wet season, many of the animals disperse into the surrounding areas of the greater ecosystem.
By June, the surrounding areas are beginning to dry out and many of the animals will begin to migrate back into Tarangire from the greater ecosystem. The large herds of wildebeest, zebra and elephants start to appear usually sometime in June. Wildlife viewing will be fair to good as there are moderate numbers of resident animals around. Expect to see fairly large concentrations of elephants but just not massive numbers found in the dry season. With a little luck, you might see herds numbering up to 100 individuals as opposed to the 300 or more strong herds commonly found in the drier months. Lions are still resident within the park but they are generally more difficult to find. Though game viewing will not be at its best, the landscape will be especially beautiful.
Due to the above conditions, we generally only recommend Tarangire for the curious adventures or for longer itineraries during June. Game viewing in the Serengeti will be superb during June and we feel that a visit to Tarangire is usually only warranted on longer safaris. Accordingly, all of our itineraries up to 8 days do not include Tarangire and only itineraries 9 days or longer incorporate a few nights in this seasonal park. However, everything is (as always) completely flexible and we can include even just one night in Tarangire for any June itinerary. Feel free to give us a call to discuss whether Tarangire may or may not be a good choice during June. More Tarangire Information.
Lake Manyara National Park
June Recommended Duration of Game Drives: 0 - 1 Day
June Wildlife Highlights: Elephant, Baboons, Giraffe, Impala, Birding
Game viewing is generally fair to good in Lake Manyara at any time of year. However, Lake Manyara does not offer the abundance of wildlife nor quality of wildlife viewing experiences found in the other parks of Northern Tanzania. Similar to Ngorongoro Crater, seasonal wildlife patterns are not significant enough to warrant tailoring your itinerary.
Lake Manyara is a beautiful little park and is famous for its tree-climbing lions, elephants and large troops of baboons. The park is home to an amazing variety of birds and animals considering its small size. A short visit to this serene park will greatly diversify your safari experience as the lush green jungle habitat is of stark contrast to the other parks you will visit during your safari.
We find that a quick day visit to Lake Manyara before either heading back towards Kilimanjaro or on the way from the Crater to Tarangire is sufficient and ideal for most travelers. The park gate is just a few feet from the main road and this combined with the fact that the park is small allows for quick and rewarding forays into the park. A one to four hour visit to Lake Manyara makes a superb addition to any safari itinerary. More Lake Manyara Information.
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