The Serengeti National Park offers an incredible camping experience where you can fully immerse yourself in Tanzania’s stunning wilderness. You can stay in two types of camps in Serengeti: privately owned campsites and public campsites. But the main issue for all the safari lovers is whether camping in the Serengeti is safe or not.
Camping in Serengeti is safe in both private and public campsites as long as you are observing all the safety protocols. Most private camps are fenced and guarded which makes them safe. In case of public camps, animals do not invade them generally, but you may hear noises of animals roaming around your camps at night.
Deaths in Serengeti National Park Camps: Let the Data Speak
First thing first, let’s discuss the worst nightmare of every serengeti traveler. Will I become a lunch of African lions if I stay in the camps of the Serengeti National Park?
While the public data on tourists killed in Serengeti camps is not available, there is at least one incident reported when a tourist was mauled to death by a lion in a camp near the Serengeti National Park. In this deadly accident, a lion killed a Dutch tourist and a local manager of a Tanzania camp.
Apart from this unfortunate incident, there is no reported casualty by any animal in Serengeti camps, which primarily suggests that these camps are safe to stay.
Now let’s discuss the safety of both the public and private camps at the Serengeti National Park.
Safety in Public Camps in Serengeti National Park: Am I Safe?
Now let me give you an idea of what the Serengeti public campsite looks like. This is how its looks:
Unlike most privately owned camps, public campsites are without any fences or guards. Theoretically, nothing can stop animals from walking into your camps at night. But this is not the reality. Even though these camps look dangerous, they are safe if you are following the right safety protocols.
At first glance, some people even consider it as a pure suicide.
Many visitors ask why someone would even dare to stay overnight in public campsites at the Serengeti National Park. But for those who have the taste to do something daring, it is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
We have talked to various tourists who have done Serengeti overnight stays. They suggest that this is only a game of nerves. If you stay strong and determined (and follow the guidelines, you are absolutely safe).
Safety Guidelines for Serengeti Public Camps
Here are the guidelines that you need to follow while staying at the campsite:
Follow Park Regulations
Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations set by the Serengeti National Park authorities. These guidelines are in place to protect both visitors and the natural environment, so abide by them at all times.
Camp in Authorized Areas Only
Serengeti authorities regularly monitor the campsites to repel any unauthorized camp placed in the wild. This way, they ensure that they are not allowing any poacher to invade the space that is originally designated for wildlife. These established campsites are typically chosen for their safety, accessibility, and proximity to facilities such as restrooms and clean water sources, which means that you are safe while staying in your camps.
There are eight public campsites in Serengeti, namely:
- Dik Dik
So any tour operator or anyone else who invites you to stay at a site other than theirs should be a clear no from you.
Secure Your Food and Waste
Animals are attracted to food and waste, so store your food securely in airtight containers or lockable coolers to prevent unwanted visits from wildlife. Properly dispose of cooking residue and food waste to avoid attracting wildlife to your camping area. Always dispose of trash properly in designated receptacles or pack it out with you to maintain a clean and safe campsite.
Don’t Leave Your Tent
If you are in a public campsite and need to go to the washroom at night, don’t just start walking in the wild. Remember, you are in the home ground of some of the top predators of Africa. So go to a site nearest to the tent to avoid any danger. Also its impoortant to not leave the tents since you are camping at animal’s place and you might disturb animals at night which makes safaris unethical.
Remember, Only The Food Runs:
There is an unsaid safari rule: Whatever you do, don’t run. There is a consensus among safari guides that only the food runs after seeing the wild animals. Let’s admit that you can’t beat a cheetah or a lion running into the wild. No matter how many voices you hear in the wild, just don’t run after getting scared.
Weather Awareness: Stay informed about weather conditions and be prepared for changes in weather. Carry appropriate clothing, such as raincoats and warm layers, to protect yourself from unexpected weather patterns while you are camping at the Serengeti National Park.
When night time arrives, and you settle inside your tent, the animals treat the camp like any other part of their natural habitat. They don’t see your tent as something to invade. Instead, it’s like a tree or a large rock they move around. You may hear animals outside your tent, but they are simply passing by and not trying to enter.
Must to Have Things for Safety in Serengeti Camp
Never forget to carry out the following things with you. Without these things, be prepared to have some setbacks on your camping trip.
- Headlamp (for going to washrooms at night and doing other general stuff)
- Waterproof tent (if you are not traveling with a tour operator who provides you with the tent)
- Smell-proof containers (to store any food leftover or anything having odor which may attract animals)
- Toilet papers (you may not find water while camping at the Serengeti)
Now let’s see if private camps are safe in the Serengeti National Park?
Private Camps at the Serengeti National Park
Private camps are absolutely safe. Most of them are well fenced and even protected by armed guards.
But still there is a catch.
To stay safe during the night, it’s important to remain inside your tent after bedtime. Remember that you may listen to the voices of wild animals throughout the night at the Serengeti camps. But that is not something to worry about. It’s just their natural behavior and has nothing to do with your presence in the camps.
In the rare event that you feel scared, you’ll have an air horn to call for help and potentially scare off any animals nearby. However, please remember that the need to use the air horn is extremely rare since the animals generally keep a respectful distance from the public camps that are well fenced.
Safety Measures during Daytime at Private Camps
During daylight hours, you have the freedom to explore and walk around the camp without worry.
But always remember that you should never ignore any instruction from your camp management. If they tell you to stay inside the camp at any specific time, you just do without challenging them. They are experienced people who can judge the behavior of wild animals from time to time.
Many campsites have security staff that will patrol around the camp at night. This is not something to worry about, and you must not be paranoid about it. This is just a general safety protocol that is observed for the worst-case scenarios.
Also remember that camp’s management employs all the tactics to repel the animals from the campsite, so you are absolutely safe in your camp.
Can I Do Bush Breakfast in the Serengeti National Park After Camping Overnight?
As long as you have an experienced guide, you are absolutely safe in doing it. In fact, what if I tell you that our East African representative, Leo, organized an amazing bush breakfast in the Serengeti plains in the open, completely safe?
Serengeti National Park is a safe destination to visit as long as you follow the rules and guidelines provided by the park staff and your knowledgeable guide. There are hundreds of thousands of people camping in this amazing park every year, which obviously suggests that it is safe to do so.
Want to Go on a Serengeti Camping Trip? See all the Packagaes Here:
Bariki was born and raised in Tanzania, the land of the magnificent Serengeti, Ngorongoro, and Manyara wildlife parks. He grew up surrounded by Africa’s natural beauty. Visiting his grandpa in Moshi Kilimanjaro, at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, provided him with early exposure to wildlife and the natural world.
As a technology and human rights blogger, he has always been passionate about writing. With many relatives working in the tourism industry, he has stayed abreast of the industry’s successes and challenges, which led him to write about African safaris.
Now residing in the USA, Bariki is using his firsthand knowledge to help foreigners plan their dream safari in Africa. At Posire, he shares his expertise on everything you need to know about planning a safari, from choosing the right destination to the best time to go and what to expect during your adventure.