The series predominantly focuses around the stories of a few specific animals: Bakari the olive baboon, Kali the lioness, Shani the Grant's zebra, Kiki the cheetah, Zalika the spotted hyena, Jasari the painted dog, and Nala the savanna elephant.
This series provides examples of:
- Awesome Music: The opening theme perfectly sets the tone for the series, and is pretty damn catchy.
- 11th-Hour Ranger: Just when all seems lost for Kali and she won't be able to hunt alone, her sister arrives to help her.
- Dark Is Evil: The Black-Maned Lions, a group of three rogue males who are the closest thing to villains this series has.
- Doting Parent: All the animals have shades of this as they struggle to raise and protect their young. Nala with her newborn calf stands out.
- The Exile: Kali is exiled in the first episode for having cubs with a male from outside of the pride.
- Monster Is a Mommy: The crocodile is this. For the whole episode she is painted as a threat to anyone who comes near the river, especially Shani and Bakari, but in the end she was only doing what was necessary to survive and protect her nest and hatchlings.
- Narrative-Driven Nature Documentary: Serengeti focuses on one year in the lives of several animals living in the Serengeti. It features both predator and prey animals, which means there aren't any "bad guy" characters.
- Noisy Nature: The series puts an emphasis on animal noises. It has a lot of flies buzzing, lions growling, zebras snorting, etc.
- Parental Abandonment: Kiki leaves her three cubs after their first successful hunt as they have now graduated to adulthood and don't need her anymore.
- Predation Is Natural: The series focuses on both prey animals and their predators. No species is presented as an antagonist; they're all just animals trying to survive.
- Promotion to Parent: Bakari and later Chika after Sabira's baby becomes orphaned.
- Sink-or-Swim Fatherhood: Bakari didn't realise how hard raising a baby baboon would be when he adopted Sabira's baby with the baby getting into all kinds of trouble and Bakari suffering the troop leader's wrath. Thankfully, Chika comes along and helps him parent.
- Struggling Single Mother: Kali is kicked out of her pride for having cubs with an outsider. She struggles to survive on her own with several young cubs in tow.
- Villain Ball: The Baboon Troop's leader. He is so aggressive and reckless that the troop is terrified of him. He picks fights just to prove he is the boss, and Bakari is often at the receiving end. However, if he was more benevolent then the troop would have had his back, and his behavior may have contributed to his ultimate death. This is first seen with the crocodile where he almost gets eaten and no one warns him of the danger.
- We Hardly Knew Ye : Zalika's mother, who dies saving her in the first episode, and Sabira the baboon, who is killed by a python in the same episode.