Serengeti National Park 160

Serengeti meaning an 'extended place' is undoubtedly the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequalled for its natural beauty and scientific value. With more than two million wildebeest, half a million Thomson's gazelle, and a quarter of a million zebra, it has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa

With more than two million wildebeasts, half a million Thomson's gazelle, and a quarter of a million zebra, it has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa. The wildebeest and zebra are the main attraction of this unique spectacle, the annual Serengeti Migration. Although not confined to a specific time, the migrations tend to occur around May or early June. So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold the huge herds back.

The diversity in the habitat enables it to accommodate upwards of 30 species of large herbivores and nearly 500 species of birds. The landscape which is formed due to volcanic activity has been sculptured by the combined action of wind, rain, and sun.

The variety is evident with open grass plains in the south, wooded grassland in the north, savannah dotted with acacia trees in the middle, extensive woodland and black clay in the west. Water bodies like rivers, lakes, swamps are scattered throughout. In the south-eastern section, Ngorongoro Highlands and its great volcanic massifs and craters are seen. Each area is characterized by its own atmosphere and wildlife.

With 14 700km² of rolling plains are covered by long and short savannah grasses and continue to serve as the home of over 35 species of plains mammals. Over 3 million animals coexist in the park, making it famous for its incredible variety of wildlife. <i>These include</i>: Patterson's eland, Klipspringer, Dik-dik, impala, Zebra, gazelles, water, bush and reed buck, topi, kongoni, cotton's oribi, grey bush duiker, roan antelope buffalo, and wildebeest. The annual wildebeest migration sees the hundreds of huge herds of herbivores moving in a circular, clockwise direction between the Serengeti's Western Corridor and Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve.

Predators here include: lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, bat eared fox, hunting dog and jackal. Smaller mammals such as spring hare, porcupine, warthog, hyraxes, baboon, Vervet monkey, Colobus monkey, Patas monkey, and mongooses abound in the park.

There are also the more commonly sought larger mammals such as giraffe, rhino, elephant and hippopotamus. Nearly 500 species of bird, including vultures, storks, flamingos, martial and fish eagles, ostrich can be found as well as crocodiles, a number of species of snakes and lizards.

The Serengeti National Park has been internationally recognised as part of Serengeti-Ngorongoro Biosphere Reserve (with the adjoining Maswa Game Reserve) under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme in 1981 and inscribed on the World Heritage List in the same year.

Summary:

  • Size and Location: 14 700km² in Northern Tanzania up to Kenyan border
  • When to visit the park: June - October (warm and dry. Preferred season)
  • Climate: Moderate temperatures throughout the year (21-27°C) but gets cooler from June - Aug
  • Rainfall: 950 - 1150mm scattered in most parts
  • Altitude: Ranges from 950m to 1850m above sea level

Attractions:

  • Serengeti Migrations after the summer rains
  • Huge concentrations of game and predator-prey scenarios
  • UNESCO world heritage sight

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