Is The Serengeti National Park Tanzania A Desert? You might find it challenging to visualize the type of scenery you expect to find in Africa when thinking about it. When you travel across the sizable continent, the scenery dramatically alters due to Africa’s diverse ecosystem. You might have wondered if the Serengeti in Tanzania, one of the most well-known safari locations, is a desert.

There is no desert in the Serengeti, instead it is a rolling grassland savannah with acacia trees and prickly plants scattered throughout. Acacia trees grow in greater quantities in some Serengeti regions, which would be categorized as woodland.

Although Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is among the most picturesque in all of East Africa, the Serengeti is not a desert. Too much rain falls in this large park’s 14,763 km2 (5,700 mi2) area for it to be considered a desert. Instead, its climate can be divided into the dry season (which lasts from June to October) and the wet season, which occurs twice a year (November to May). I’ll explain why the Serengeti isn’t considered a desert in this essay, along with the kind of scenery you can anticipate seeing there. Together with that, I’ll discuss Tanzania’s more arid regions.


The Serengeti is not qualifies as a desert even though  it receives fewer than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of rain annually, which is the standard definition of a desert. The Serengeti receives about 100 cm (39 inches) of rain annually on average, which is nowhere near these numbers.

 The yearly rainfall in the Serengeti may, of course, occasionally fall below 25 cm (10 in). The Serengeti would not become a desert, even if this were to occur repeatedly over a period of years. As long as the average annual rainfall, which is estimated over decades, stayed near its current levels, this would instead qualify as a drought.


The Crater Highlands in northern Tanzania extend into the Serengeti. It is made up of a string of relatively high plains between 1,140m and 2,099m (3,740ft and 6,886ft) above sea level. When volcanoes like Ngorongoro were active millions of years ago, lava flows created and buried these plains. The light acacia forests and savannah grasslands that are so characteristic of the Serengeti are sprouting out of this originally volcanic soil.

Is The Serengeti National Park Tanzania A Desert?
Serengeti national park wildebeest Migration

Over 1 million wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelles live here and go through on a yearly basis as part of the Great wildebeest migration. This animal has a strong ecological connection to the savannah grasslands. The species that inhabit and pass across the Serengeti would not be able to survive if it were a desert, Is The Serengeti National Park Tanzania A Desert?


There are no deserts in Tanzania; however, there are a number of semi-arid areas, mainly in the south of the nation. Traveling across the nation, you may find it challenging to comprehend this because many parts resemble deserts due to their sandy soils and lack of water, especially in the dry season. The majority of Tanzania, however, has a tropical climate with generally consistent wet and dry seasons. Even rainforests can be found in the country’s west.

Tanzania doesn’t currently have any deserts, but that doesn’t guarantee that it won’t in the future. Similar to many other African nations, overgrazing, colonial-era agricultural methods, and overcrowding have all contributed to the country’s extensive deforestation, which hastened the onset of desertification. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has estimated that 50% of Tanzania may be seriously at risk of desertification.


According to a UNEP assessment, the country of Tanzania has pockets of semi-arid land throughout much of its interior, particularly in the central and southern regions. These are the closest approaches to a Tanzanian desert that exist. These regions are far from the coast, where there are yearly monsoon rains; the north, where the Great Rift Valley escarpment provides heavy rains; and the west, where there are rainforests resembling those in Central Africa, Is The Serengeti National Park Tanzania A Desert?

You shouldn’t expect a drying climate in some areas to significantly or noticeably alter your experience of Tanzania’s wildlife for the foreseeable future. If the areas under issue do evolve into deserts, they are unlikely to become popular tourist destinations with sand dunes, like the Sahara, Namib, or Kalahari Deserts elsewhere in Africa. Also, inhabitants and their way of life are much more likely to be impacted by the increased aridity in some areas than are foreign tourists.


Tanzania’s scenery is incredibly varied. Tanzania is lush and verdant, both east and west. The former has a coastline that faces the Indian Ocean, which receives trade winds and heavy yearly rainfall. The vast woodlands of the Congo Basin extend into the west through the forests and lakes there. The region surrounding Dodoma, the country’s capital, is located in the rather arid zone that lies between the two.

Dry woods and floodplains, irrigated by rivers like the Rufiji and the Great Ruaha, coexist in southern Tanzania. This combination has endowed Tanzania’s southern regions with sizable animal populations that are only surpassed by Tanzania’s renowned northern safari circuit.


There aren’t many national parks in Africa that are situated in true deserts. According to my studies, only one African national park is situated in a true desert. This is Namibia’s western coast, where the Namib-Naukluft Park is situated. Low and elusive animal populations can be found here. Yet the park also boasts some of the tallest sand dunes in the world, in addition to breathtakingly gorgeous scenery.

book a safari