The Serengeti is the most famous National Park in Tanzania and home of the world's largest concentration of big wildlife animals. It is a paradise and one of the seven natural wonders of the World. It's a World Heritage site and Man and Biosphere Reserve. Your visit will be rewarded with breathtaking and unique biodiversity and physical features ranging from the great plains to rolling hills, valleys and mountains. The Serengeti offers so much within it's huge borders.
The Serengeti is the oldest National Park in Tanzania and the location is well known worldwide as the only Great wildebeest, zebra and buffalo migration left on the planet of up to 2 million animals. It is also forms the heart of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem which includes Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Loliondo Game Controlled, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Ikorongo Game Reserve, Grumeti Game Reserve, Kijereshi Game Reserve and Maswa Game Reserve. The park is located in the Northern Part of Tanzania, and it’s boarded by three regions; The Mara, Simiyu Region and Arusha in the east.
The Serengeti was originally inhabited by ancient hunter gatherers like the present day Hadzabe tribe above who still live there today as they did thousands of years ago. They now inhabit the land around Lake Eyasi and the Serengeti Plateau. They number around 2,000 but only 300-400 still live in the traditional way as superb opportunistic hunter-gatherers. They hunt animals, and collect honey, fruit, tubers and berries for food. They also use a wide variety of plant species for medicines. The future of the Hadzabe however is very much uncertain as overall population grows around them.
The park can be visited throughout the year as you can if you wish catch up with the Great Migration wherever it is on it's never-ending path around this great region. However the ideal season is between Mid-May to Mid-October. The short rains starts from early November to December while long rains starts from January to March where the wildebeest to birth their calves in the Southern short grass plains.
These are unique places where tourists can visit, normally for their intrinsic or natural beauty, cultural value, or historical significance. They offer recreation, leisure, adventure and enjoyment. Attractions in the Serengeti are vast, diverse and spread into several zones / corridors and habitats.
The spectacle that is the Great Migration is the annual rotation of wildebeest and other grazing herbivores around the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem and is one of the greatest wonders of the natural world. It begins in the Serengeti short grass plains of the south-eastern Serengeti. The signs of dwindling is the first impetus for this primal trek. The horizon fills with more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 500,000 Thompson’s gazelle, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators along the way.
In essence, the wildebeest are taking advantage of the strongly seasonal conditions, spending the wet season on the southeastern plains of the Serengeti, and the dry season in the woodlands of northern Serengeti. The Wildebeest give birth between January and March on the short grass plains. The migration is rarely ever the same in terms of precise timing and direction, as local conditions influence grass growth. The Wildebeest may therefore move off the open plains earlier in some years and remain in the northern woodlands for longer in others.
In and around October every year, nearly two million herbivores including wildebeest and zebra travel from the northern hills toward the southern plains, crossing the Mara and Kirawira Rivers, in pursuit of the rains in April. They return to the north via western passage, once again crossing the Mara and Kirawira rivers. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Circular Migration.
The Serengeti has interesting rock outcrops like an oasis in the desert which serves to catch water and provide shape for prides of local lions which lie in wait for the passing migration. They are pronounced 'Copy' from the Dutch meaning 'Little Head'. Technically known as inselbergs, the intriguing rounded shapes of these ancient granite rocks are the result of cracking and erosion from exposure to sun, wind and rain. They provide for a wealth of wildlife and plants also. In fact, without such environs, lions and other large animals would be unable to survive the dry season on the plains.
The main groups of kopjes are: Barafu, Gol, Wogakurya, Maasai, Loliondo, Simba and Moru kopjes are outstanding for their size and profusion of resident wildlife including lion, leopard, serval, caracal and even rhinoceros and elephant. Gol and Barafu kopjes provide important habitat for cheetah and are used by wildebeest in the wet season.
Maasai and Loliondo Kopjes provide outlooks for resident Lion and Large Cobras can often be seen sunning themselves on the rocks. Simba Kopjes support a great variety of animals and birds including Giraffe, Baboon and Lion (Simba) for which they are named.
The most prominent endangered species in Serengeti are the Black Rhino and Wild Dogs. There is concerted effort to protect these rare species and this enables tourists to still enjoy seeing these animals live a full live in the wild.
African wild dogs sometimes known as ‘painted dogs’ or ‘painted wolves’ are one of the most beautiful yet endangered carnivore species in Africa. Native to the open plains of sub-Saharan Africa, they are formidable hunters that live in highly social packs dominated by a top (or ‘alpha’) mating pair.
Lions and hyenas supports one of the highest concentrations of large predators in the Serengeti. Approximately more than 3,000 lions and 7,500 hyenas prey on the 'moving feast' and on resident herbivores. Other predators such as leopard, cheetah, jackal, serval cats, caracals and others play a major role in maintaining the ecosystem's stability.