Call us peculiar...but we think one of the best ways to experience the Serengeti is to consider the off season (or more accuratley what some who perhaps dont know the area too well consider to be the off season). This won't be the right approach for everyone, and if you're a bit squeezed for time, it may not be a priority, but it's amazing how empty (of tourists) some parts of the park are outside the conventional seasons - in other words, when the migration moves on. Many people overlook the fact that when migrants move, a great variety of residents remain.
As an example, Ndutu in the southern Serengeti, the hotspot during February when the wildebeest arrive to give birth, is considered to be out of season between June and November. The reality, however, is that with its mature acacia woodland and soda lakes, it's sublime. When you first arrive, if you're expecting high concentrations of game you may be disappointed, but give it time and take things slowly and you'll see wonderful things here, almost certainly without any accompanying hordes. Cheetah are never far away, small cats such as serval and caracal can be found round the egde of the soda lakes, not to mention lots of elephant in the woodland.
Likewise game viewing in the northern Serengeti can be excellent even when the migration has headed south (which happens in October, November). Kenya's Maasai Mara is only a few miles north and, as everyone knows, it offers a great year round safari experience. Exactly the same applies in the northern Serengeti, with abundant resident game, few visitors and one of the richest Serengeti experiences overall.
Looking at off season opportunities isn't everybody's cup of tea, but there's good reason to consider this approach if you're happy to take things slowly whilst making your budget extend further.
Posted by: Alex