The Serengeti National Park – Tanzania
The name Serengeti originates from the Masai word meaning ‘endless plains’. The Serengeti National Park is one of the most celebrated wildlife reserves in the world. It was created to preserve the path of the world’s largest migration circuit and covers nearly 15,000 square kilometres.
Geography of the Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is famous for its concentrations of wildlife, especially the big cats. Many visitors are keen to see the Great Migration, an accumulation of approx. 1.5 million white bearded wildebeest, 250,000 zebra and 350,000 gazelles stretching their legs over 1,200 miles, in an annual race to find enough water and green grass for their survival. The Great Migration occurs from July to August and in November.
Serengeti National Park is broadly divided into three distinct areas, the Seregenti Plains, the Western Corridor and Northern Serengeti. Most visitors enter the Serengeti through the southern Naabi Hill Gate, which opens onto the Seronera Valley; a vibrant wildlife area at the heart of the Serengeti.
Serengeti National Park’s Seronera region is mainly wide open grassy plains and rock kopjes, patched together within a network of rivers that ensure year-round water supplies and keep this region incredibly rich in wildlife throughout the year.
All other areas of the Serengeti are more seasonal and much of the time wildlife viewing is dependent on the path of the migration. Serengeti National Park’s Western Corridor follows the path of the Grumeti River up towards Lake Victoria. This region provides superb wildlife viewing action when the migration crosses the crocodile infested waters of the Grumeti.
The Northern reaches of the Serengeti remain fantastically quiet and unvisited, due to their relative inaccessibility. Previously inaccessible swathes of National Park at Wogakuria, close to the Masai Mara border, have been opened up with flying safari options and superb permanent tented camps such as Sayari.
Wildlife of the Serengeti
As well as the migration, the Serengeti is well known for the presence of the “big five”.
The Serengeti is believed to hold the largest population of lions in Africa due in part to the abundance of prey species. More than 3,000 lions live in this ecosystem.
The African Buffalo is still abundant and present in healthy numbers
The Black Rhinoceros are mainly found around the kopjes in the centre of the park
The African Elephant herds are recovering from population lows in the 1980’s caused by paching and are mainly in the northern area of the park
The African Leopard are reclusive predators that are commonly seen in the Seronera region but are present throughout the national park with the population at around 1,000.
The Tanzanian Cheetahs range has high density in Tanzani. The park also supports many other species, including Thomsons and Grants gazelle, topi, eland, waterbuck, hyena, baboon, impala, African wild dog, and giraffe. The park also boasts about 500 bird species, including ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustard, crowned crane, marabou stork, martial eagle, lovebirds, and many species of vultures.