Serengeti National Park is one of the most sought-after and popular tourist destinations in Tanzania. The home to a large variety of both flora and fauna. It is also known for its wildlife abundance, especially with the great migration of wildebeests crossing the river Mara to Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya. Serengeti is one of the Natural Wonders of the world.
HISTORY OF SERENGETI
The park was established in 1951 and covers wide plains of the grassland range in Tanzania, as well as extensive acacia woodland and savannah land. It was initially named “siringet”, to mean the land of endless plains in the Maasai language.
The Park was divided into different sections. The popular central part famous as Seronera valley is what the Maasai called the “siringet”, the land of endless plains. It’s classic savannah, dotted with acacias and filled with wildlife. The western corridor is marked by the Grumeti river and has more forests and dense bushes. The north, Lobo area, which meets up with Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve, is the least visited section.
The iconic Serengeti is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth. The great migration of wildebeest and zebras. The resident population of lions, cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, and birds is also impressive. There’s a wide variety of accommodation available, from luxury lodges to mobile camps. Serengeti is one of the international tourist attraction destinations and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Si in 1981.
It is located in the plains of north-central Tanzania. It is partially adjacent to Kenya’s border and in the northwest of the adjoining Ngorongoro Conservation Authority Area. It is also in the southeast part of the shores of Lake Victoria (-2.3333, 34.8333)Continue reading
The Serengeti National Park is a vast ecosystem with many seasonal differences in terms of weather and climate. Serengeti experiences a generally cool and dry season from May to August; a dry and warmer season in September and October; and a wetter and hot season from November to April.
GAME DRIVE IN SERENGETI
Serengeti is the third largest national park in Tanzania. Serengeti is famously known for the existence of seasonal wildebeest migration where a massive population of wild mammals including a huge number of wildebeests and zebras is seen on movement from Serengeti National Park crossing to Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. Whilst crossing river Mara, crocodiles target their fresh meal for their survival too. Apart from the wildebeests and zebras, Serengeti National Park is also a natural ecosystem that provides a natural habitat to a gigantic number of several mammals and big cats
The park comprises 3 parts which include the Serengeti plains, the Northern region (Lobo Area), and the western region (western corridor).
CENTRAL SERENGETI (SERONERA AREA)
This is the southern part of the park known as the “land of endless plains or an area where land goes on forever” which is covered with shot savanna grassland with almost no trees at all and is the most scenic part of the park which offers the breeding grounds for the wildebeests. Serengeti plains also are home to a large population of mammals such as Zebras, Impalas, Gazelles, Hippos, buffaloes, elephants, and different predators which normally parade within Kopjes as they target mammals to feast on.
NORTHERN SERENGETI (LOBO AREA)
The northern part of Serengeti National Park is mainly filled with rolling hills and woodland stranding from the Seronera towards Masai Mara Game Reserve where the migration of wildebeests is also witnessed as they cross over River Mara from late June to November. Other wild mammals in the northern part of Serengeti include; Dik-dik, Elephants, and many more.
WESTERN CORRIDOR (GRUMET AREA)
This area is filled with acacia trees, marshy vegetation cover, and grassy plains. However, this corridor is one of the least visited areas in Serengeti by tourists but it is also best known for the existence of the black clay soil and the existence of wildebeest migration crossing River Grumeti from May to July. The western Serengeti part is home to some wildlife such as Patas Monkeys, Crocodiles, Hippos, Wildebeests, Giraffes, Topis, and different aquatic wildlife including water birds.
ACTIVITIES IN SERENGETI
VIEWING THE GREAT WILDEBEEST MIGRATION
The great migration starts from the southern plains of Maswa and Ndutu. This is where wildebeest give birth and wait until their calves are strong enough to shift elsewhere. This is when the migration begins through the western corridors of Nyamura, Musabi, Kirawira, and Nyasirori plains where they risk lives by crossing River Grumet which is famous for its Nile Crocodiles.
Sometimes movement from Ndutu will pass central Serengeti, Seronera. Meeting at central (regarded as migration junction) before heading to Kogatende. The most beautiful event to witness is at Northern Serengeti when big herds of wildebeests and zebras gather to cross River Mara to Masai Mara in Kenya. And the cycle continues, the main reasons being the search for a secure place for calving, water, and perfect grazing areas.
The park is one of the best tourist game drive destinations, especially in the southern part of the park (Serengeti plains) which offers the best sightings of different wildlife species.
Taking an early morning game drive brings the ideal opportunity of encountering night critter mammals and hunters who are always active in the night and hiding during the day. However, afternoon and evening game drive safaris bring the tourist closer to several grazing wildlife mammals, especially in the plains of Serengeti.
Amongst the mammals that can be spotted during the game drive include Elephants, Rhinos, Lions, Buffaloes, Wildebeests, Mongoose, Zebras, Gazelles, Impalas, and Leopards to mention but just a few. Without forgetting a good number of bird species.
HOT AIR BALLOON
This is one of the best ways to explore the Serengeti plains from the sky. A hot air balloon in Serengeti National Park is such a breathtaking and adventurous activity offering a clear view of the entire landscape of Serengeti National Park and exploring different species of wildlife as they graze on the most beautiful savanna grassland of Tanzania.
The most fascinating thing that makes this hot air balloon safari even candied is the fact that it comes with a substantial breakfast, a bottle of Champaign, and a brief game drive as tourists on board as they return to their lodges thus creating ample time to encounter and sight out wildlife in the park.
The Park thrills with over 500 species of birds which make it the best birding destination in Tanzania. Most of these bird species can easily be spotted while on a normal game drive. Some common bird species include; Crowned cranes, Martial eagles, Vultures, secretary birds, Ostrich, and many others.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SERENGETI
The park can be visited at any given period of time all year round, though during the dry season is highly recommended. Game drive areas in Serengeti are accessible year-round even during heavy rain in the month of November, April, and May.
June to November is the best time for wildlife viewing safari when driving trails in the park are dry and the savanna vegetation is slightly shorter for easy viewing of mammals.
For the case of tourists targeting the great wildebeest migration then the best months are July-September when the wildebeests are crossing River Mara. Due to climatic changes crossing may stick until October.
January until early April is a calving season in the southern Serengeti area (commonly Ndutu) bordering Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It’s only the Ngorongoro side of Ndutu where off-roading is allowed, making the place worth visiting for photographers. There is a large concentration of predators and birds during calving.