Tanzania Travel Guide to Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is the largest National Park in Tanzania, and one of Africa's premier game parks.

Serengeti Safari Highlights

The Great Migration, post card Africa, balloon safari, wildlife safari

The Lay of the Land

The Serengeti plains are the setting for the most dramatic wildlife spectacle on the planet. Known as the 'Greatest Show on Earth' the wildebeest migration sees more than a million wildebeest, zebras and gazelles in their great circular migration across the plains and acacia woodlands. Huge columns of advancing zebras and ungainly wildebeest stretch as far as the eye can see, and lions and hyenas lie in wait all along the route. In the southeastern part, during the summer months of December to March the open plains are awash with wildebeest, zebra and gazelles, which prefer the short palatable grass in this area.

This is the time of aplenty, of pregnancy and of birth. The central area is savannah with scattered acacia trees and rocky outcrops. The Seronera Valley is in the centre of the Serengeti, named after the Seronera River, which provides the only source of permanent water in this area. Millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles pass through this area during April and May, as the herds start to move north in the search for better grazing.

The Great Migration

©Shem Compion

The great migration is a circular movement so they also pass again through this area, dependant on the rains, around late November and December. The west has extensive woodland and black clay plains; here you can find large herds of buffalo and elephants. In this area is the Grumeti River, where exceedingly large crocodiles live. The yearly wildebeest river crossing provides the crocodiles with their annual feed. The migration is usually in this area around June to July.

The northern part of the Serengeti is a hilly, wooded grassland that borders the Masai Mara. Around June to October the migration herds tend to bunch together as they reach their most serious obstacle to get to the fresh grazing, the Mara River.

To get into the Masai Mara the herds have to cross this river, which after the rains, is fast flowing and swollen, with of course the waiting hungry crocodiles and large cats which wait for some easy prey. The great herds cross into the Masai Mara as it receives more rainfall than the Serengeti. The antelope are constantly feeding as they traverse from one area to another, continually looking for better grazing. The northern parts of the Serengeti is rich with wildlife as they head in and out of Tanzania.

Serengeti Safari Activities

Game drives, cultural interpretations [Maasai], trips to Lake Victoria, balloon safari over the Serengeti National Park.Strategically placed safari lodges all over the Serengeti take advantage of the huge numbers of animals passing by at certain times of the year. Each area of the Serengeti does however have resident animals that don't migrate as such, allowing an exceptional year round safari experience.

Of the Migration and the Maasai

The Serengeti migration is driven by the forces of nature, the need to find water and better grazing. 1.5 million wildebeest, 300,000 Thomson's gazelle and 250,000 zebras, munch and grunt their way around the Serengeti in a never ending circuit.Serengeti, meaning 'endless plains' in the Maasai language has large rock 'kopjes' dotting the grasslands. These islands of rock are home to their own wildlife communities with cheetah, leopard, and rock hyrax, to name a few. Everywhere you look there is life in one form or another, all following time-ingrained cycles.The Serengeti is historically Maasai land and understanding how communities live alongside wild animals, will enrich your safari experience. Most lodges host cultural talks and Maasai dance displays, at which you will be totally amazed how the warriors jump straight up as if on springs.

Serengeti National Park Safari Lodges

See Serengeti National Park Safari Lodges in Tanzania.

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