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Is the Serengeti Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

Is the Serengeti Safe to Visit in 2023? | Safety Concerns

The Serengeti is one of the most famous protected areas in the world. It frequently makes lists of the best safaris in africa. The Serengeti is a vast stretch of protected grassland, or savannah, in the African country of Tanzania.

This area is most famous for its amazing wildlife and biodiversity. On a safari or excursion in the Serengeti, you can see migrating wildebeest, cheetahs, leopards, 500 species of birds, and maybe even lions.

Besides the wildlife, there are other attractions of the Serengeti, such as the lush landscape and vibrant culture of people that call the park home, such as the Maasai.

A Serengeti safari is on many people’s bucket lists but hanging out with wild animals always comes with some sort of risk. Plus, you want to know about any other safety challenges you might face, such as political unrest or crime.

This guide can help you prepare for your trip by informing you about risks and precautions you should be aware of. Read on to learn all you need to know!

Is the Serengeti Safe to Visit in 2023?

A 4X4 off-road truck slowly driving down a dirt road while following three lions.

GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock

Yes. The Serengeti is safe to visit, but there are rules that you need to follow. Visitors to the Serengeti are exposed to wild animals, and you need to follow certain rules to make sure that you stay safe.

Outside of wild animal concerns, there are few dangers in the Serengeti as the park is isolated from many problems the rest of Tanzania faces, such as crime.

Some problems people worry about when planning their trip include:

  • Wild animal attacks
  • Theft
  • Robbery
  • Armed violence

However, all of these incidents occur very rarely, if ever. On its official website, the Serengeti National Park assures guests that every precaution has been taken with their safety in mind.

The Park has teams of private rangers and wardens that patrol the park to stop wild animal attacks and crime. Almost all accommodation options in the park, such as camps and lodges, have their own private security too.

Travel advisories for the country of Tanzania in which the Serengeti National Park is located usually advise travelers to exercise increased caution due to several problems, including crime, civil unrest, terrorism, and discrimination against LGBTI people.

However, the Serengeti’s isolated location in the wilderness means that it rarely experiences problems that the rest of the country might.

There have been some isolated situations of political unrest near the park, for example when local Maasai tribespeople clashed with police over turning their lands into a game reserve, but these incidents rarely affect visitors directly and don’t usually occur in the park proper.

The biggest threat to your safety in the Serengeti comes from the beautiful nature that you went out of your way to come see.

No matter how adorable the lions and leopards that you see on safari may be, remember that they are completely wild animals, not even partially domesticated or tamed as you might see in the zoo.

They are used to living exactly the way they would in the wild. Park authorities understand this and have strict rules in place regarding visitor behavior to keep you safe.

The Park lists these rules on its website and strictly enforces them — not because they want to be mean, but because they are crucial for visitor safety.

Some rules you will need to obey when visiting the Serengeti National Park include:

  • Only drive the park in a 4×4 vehicle (or join a guided tour). You must drive below the speed limit and only on posted tracks.
  • Never get out of your vehicle while on a safari drive (unless a guide tells you to do so).
  • Leave the park or return to your accommodation by dusk, usually around 6:30 PM. Nighttime explorations are not allowed.
  • Always keep your distance from the animals. Animals have the right of way when driving.
  • Feeding the animals is not allowed, nor is disturbing the animals by making noise or throwing things to attract their attention.
  • You may only camp in designated areas.
  • Pets and firearms are forbidden.
  • Littering and smoking is forbidden.

These rules are in place to keep visitors and animals safe, which is why the park is so strict about them. You will likely be reminded of the rules when you enter the park, and they are posted throughout the area as well.

For maximum safety, only venture into the Serengeti with an official local guide. They can advise you on precautions to take to keep yourself safe.

Crime in the Serengeti

Several the same 4X4 trucks parked on an area beneath the trees.

Serengeti, Tanzania 18 September 2022: 4×4 Safari Jeeps parked in a row in the Serengeti National Park/Martina Birnbaum/Shutterstock

Crime is a problem in the country of Tanzania, which is where the Serengeti is located. The UK government warns its citizens about the risk of crime when visiting the country.

Common crimes that tourists have reported include:

  • Armed robbery
  • Mugging
  • Carjacking
  • Petty theft

However, these crimes rarely, if ever, occur in the Serengeti. The national park is located in a remote part of the country, so it is far away from crime hotspots that most travel advisories mention, such as Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Zanzibar.

It is also very sparsely populated, meaning that there are hardly any criminals around. The park is patrolled with armed guards, so criminals have a hard time getting in. The most common crime in the Serengeti is poaching.

For example, local watchdogs estimate that about 100,000 wildebeest are victims of poaching every year. This is a serious issue affecting the wildlife of the Serengeti, but poachers are rarely interested in tourists.

It is difficult to find crime statistics for the Serengeti National Park since it is not a place with a full-time population or traditional law enforcement. Anecdotal evidence, such as reviews from previous guests, sometimes mention theft.

There have been some concerning news reports of bandits and armed robberies in the Serengeti National Park. However, these incidents are extremely rare — one of the most recent ones occurred in 2012, and they often are decades apart. The park has also beefed up its security in the years since.

While you should exercise some precautions against crime in the Serengeti National Park, it isn’t a frequent concern, so you don’t have to be constantly on your guard. You should focus more of your energy on interacting safely with wildlife.


The most likely crime you will encounter in the Serengeti National Park is theft. The culprits are sometimes staff, and sometimes other visitors that take advantage of their fellow tourists’ relative relaxation.

While theft does not occur often in the Serengeti National Park, previous visitors have sometimes complained in reviews that their things went missing from lodge rooms and campgrounds.

No matter where you are in the world, it’s a good idea not to let your valuables out of sight. Take the items that you would be devastated to lose, such as your money, credit cards, phone, and passport, with you when you go on safari drives instead of leaving them unattended in your accommodation.

It’s a good idea to leave larger valuables, such as tablets, laptops, and heirloom jewelry, at home if you can. You should also read reviews of accommodation options before you visit the Serengeti National Park.

Most lodges and camps have private security guards but ask about safety precautions before booking. Read reviews of previous guests and avoid places where many guests mention that they experienced theft.

Besides theft, scams are common crimes that affect tourists to the Serengeti National Park. Since safari tours in the Serengeti are some of the most popular activities among tourists to Tanzania, many scammers take advantage of this desire and pose as fake companies.

You might show up in Tanzania only to make the awful discovery that the safari you booked and paid for in advance does not exist!

When booking any tour or activity ahead of time, including a safari, make sure that you are booking with a reputable company. Look up any companies ahead of time and verify them, especially if you need to pay in advance.


Violent robbery such as armed robbery, banditry, and carjacking are rare in the Serengeti in recent years. After several incidents, the Tanzanian government cracked down hard and cleared the area of potential criminals.

However, if you are driving yourself to the Serengeti National Park, you should be aware of potential risks on your journey to the park. Carjacking is a common crime in Tanzania, especially on rural roads in isolated areas, such as the region leading to the Serengeti.

When you drive, make sure that all of your doors are locked, and your windows are rolled up. Avoid driving at night as that is when most carjackings occur.

Thieves will sometimes create distractions or barricades to force people to stop. It may seem callous, but don’t stop for people in distress at the side of the road as that is often a ruse by carjackers.

If there is a barricade, you may need to stop since local police often put up barricades.

Always ask to see ID before getting out of the car or paying any fines. Driving yourself to the Serengeti may not be the best idea anyway. Road conditions in Tanzania tend to be poor, especially in rural areas.

You will not be able to drive yourself within the Serengeti National Park unless you rent a 4×4 vehicle. It may be easier to fly to the closest airport and arrange transportation from there, such as an official pick-up, rather than driving yourself.

Avoiding Bad Areas

Wildebeests jumping on a water after a long trail.

GUDKOV ANDREY/Shutterstock

There are no bad areas per se in Serengeti National Park since the sparsely populated park is hardly a crime hot spot. However, there are places you should avoid to stay safe.

Never stray from the marked paths or venture outside of your accommodation boundaries after dark to avoid running into danger with wild animals. Poaching activity tends to be more common towards the west of the park, near the Kenyan border, but this rarely affects visitors.

Things to Consider

Wildebeests grazing o a field during a migrating season.


Here are a few additional safety tips for the Serengeti National Park:

  • Malaria is common in the park. To minimize your risk, you can come during the dry season, when there are fewer mosquitoes, and use mosquito repellent.
  • The Park can get crowded during the Great Migration or the high season. However, most official guides know spots where you can see animals without crowds getting in the way.
  • Be sure to tip. Local salaries are low, and many employees of the park rely on tips to supplement their income. All-day guides and drivers usually expect $20-$30 in tips, while you can tip waiters and cleaning staff a smaller amount.

Frequently Asked Questions

Two men wearing hats while using binoculars and one of them is seen with a long hunting rifle strapped on his shoulder.


Here are some other questions you may have about visiting the Serengeti:

Are safaris in Tanzania safe?

The Serengeti is located in Tanzania, and safaris in Tanzania are generally safe. The government has invested a lot of resources into keeping tourists safe at important locations such as safari parks.

What are some problems in the Serengeti?

Common problems in the Serengeti include widespread poaching, pollution, and human encroachment on animal habitats, as well as clashes between local Maasai herders and authorities. However, these problems rarely affect tourists.

Do I need malaria pills for Serengeti?

Malaria pills are a good idea for the Serengeti, especially if you are coming during the rainy season, when malaria is widespread. Unfortunately, malaria is widespread in the park.

Is Serengeti a malaria area?

Yes, the Serengeti is a malaria area. Even during times when the risk is lower, such as the dry season, the possibility of contracting malaria is still present.

Is it worth visiting the Serengeti?

The Serengeti is absolutely worth visiting. There are few places in the world that have such an amazing array of biodiversity and wildlife.

So, Is the Serengeti Safe to Visit?

As long as you take the right precautions, the Serengeti is safe to visit. The park has strict rules in place to ensure visitors observe animals safely. As long as you follow those rules, you will be safe from wild animal attacks.

You also don’t have to worry much about crime as the park devotes many resources to visitor safety.

So, with so much to see and do, and a mostly safe environment in which to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that the Serengeti has to offer. Happy travels!