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The Serengeti Scroll

The Serengeti

TAN St Tanzania Serengeti Safari Jeep Sunset Unsplash Hu Chen

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is the ultimate African safari destination. It is one of the most famous game-viewing parks in Africa and is quite possibly the location of the best wildlife experience in the world. The Serengeti is located in Northern Tanzania forming part of the renowned northern circuit. With endless grass plains stretching for as far as the eye can see only dotted with the odd acacia tree, this national park is the Africa we all envision.

The Serengeti has become synonymous with African Safaris, often filling heads with images of golden sunsets over the savannah, or heavy hoofs rising clouds of orange dust, lions stalking in the wake. This is easily the most famous National Park in Tanzania and offers unparalleled safari experiences, including the biggest spectacle on earth, The Great Migration.

With over 2 million animals forming the great migration each year, the stomping grounds team with the highest concentration of predators in Africa. The abundance of game here is phenomenal and the park never fails to exceed visitors’ imagination year on year. With no fences and limited interruption or interaction with humans, the Big Five are easily spotted within their authentic environment, with huge herds of zebra and wildebeest following ancient migration patterns.

Mainly consisting of flat rolling grasslands, interspersed with rocky outcrops (kopjes) which act like magnets for the wildlife, each area has its resident animals, as well as those that migrate through.

Quick Facts:

  1. What's in the name: Serengeti comes from the Maasai language meaning 'endless plains'.
  2. Did you know: the wildebeest and zebra migration takes place annually and is the world's largest land based migration.
  3. Wildlife spotting opportunities: may be able to see the elusive black maned lions, leopards, rhino and wild dogs.
  4. Unique for: the ecosystem is the oldest and most complex in the world.

Areas of the Serengeti:

Seronera & Moru Kopjes

The Seronera is often considered classic Serengeti due to the thrilling variety of wildlife throughout the year, particularly between December and May – this is when the rains bring the migratory herds of wildebeest and zebra in one of Africa’s most spectacular sights. Lions resting on the kopjes, eland antelope and flocks of ostrich are all commonly sighted on the vast open plains, and fewer trees means leopard sightings are relatively easier in the sausage trees that dot the river banks. The surreal rock formations of the Moru Kopjes are the setting for the strategically positioned and high-quality tented Dunia Camp.

Southern Plains

Characterised by short-grass plains that extend south into the northern section of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, this area teems with game between December and April when the wildebeest arrive in throngs looking for the first phosphorus-rich green grass after the rains. The rest of the year offers few sightings, aside from gazelle that can remain in the area and attract cheetah. The wildebeest also calve here in a short period early to mid-February, which inevitably attracts predators like lion, hyena and cheetah. Ndutu Safari Lodge straddles the boundary of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and is a brilliant spot for the migration, where wildlife frequently arrives at your door!

Lobo & Northern Serengeti

The gentle rolling plains of Lobo and Northern Serengeti are popular areas between September and October, when the migrating herds straddle the border of the Kenyan Masaai Mara and the herds frantically crossing the Mara River provide some of the most dramatic scenes of the migration, the frantic wading of wildebeest and zebra, the snapping jaws of crocodiles and hungry eyes of vultures, circling ahead. Into November, the wildebeest continue to move south through Lobo targeting the fresh green shoots of the plains of the Serengeti. Set amidst the rocky outcrops, the spacious tents of Migration Camp are perfectly positioned for migration viewing.

The Western Corridor

This area almost reaches Lake Victoria, a much narrower track of the Serengeti, dominated by the Grumeti and Mbalageti Rivers. Less visited, it nonetheless offers prime migration viewing between May and July, particularly with the crossing of the Grumeti River, which sees giant opportunistic crocodiles gorge on the more vulnerable wildebeest. The luxury tented camp of Grumeti River Camp blends with its natural surroundings as well as is excellently placed for the migration.

What to do

Of course, a visit to the Serengeti National Park wouldn’t be complete without a highly rewarding game drive across the renowned Big Five habitat. This is the highlight safari activity within the park and can be offered as a day game drive, night game drive and even a full day game drive. Experience the wilderness of the Serengeti from the safety of a vehicle and spot a full plethora of wildlife including lion, cheetah, hyenas, leopards, buffalo, elephants, zebra, giraffes, wildebeest, gazelle, and much more.

Bird watching is very popular within the Serengeti Park, home to over 500 fascinating bird species including many migratory birds. Fischer’s lovebird, southern ground hornbill, Silverbird, grey-backed fiscal, yellow-throated sand grouse, black-headed gonolek, and many more.

The Serengeti National Park is dotted with giant rock formations known as the Kopjes. These huge weathered outcrops are found mostly in the central plains of the Serengeti and act like islands within the ocean of African grasses. Here the rocks provide shade and shelter for many animals throughout the park and provide a great vantage point to spot wildlife such as cheetahs, lions, and leopards which may be difficult to spot on a level with the tall grasses. With various kopjes visible throughout the park, the Moru kopjes are the most visited due to the wealth of animals which can be spotted from these spaces. Even more interesting, these rock formations contain paintings from Maasai cattle herders. One rock, in particular, is nicknamed Gongo Rock as it was believed to be an ancient musical instrument.

The Oldupai Gorge is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world and is located within the vast Serengeti National Park. A steep-sided riverine gorge measuring about 30 miles long, the gorge is a convenient stopover whilst on safari in the park and Ngorongoro conservation area, the gorge is famous for the array of human fossils and ancient tools dating back over 2 million years ago. Alongside the site, there is also a small Oldupai museum founded by Mark Leakey containing information and artefacts relating to Leakey’s discoveries including the amazing Laetoli footprints.

One of the perfect ways to tour the magnificent Serengeti Park is to enjoy a thrilling hot air balloon safari experience offering an amazing bird’s eye view of the park. Here you can see stunning views over the spanning plains as well as stunning sunrise scenes in the early African morning.

The Maasai local people are the main inhabitants of the area covered by the Serengeti ecosystem. Here visitors are offered the opportunity to visit the Masaai village to earn more about the customs, traditions, and lifestyles of the Maasai. Tourists are often fascinated by the traditional bomas created using sticks, mud and cow manure and the wide range of crafts available as well for purchase. The opportunity to interact with the Maasai elders is worth the trip and you will learn the ways of life of the Maasai including livestock rearing, dress code, marriage, and boma construction.