Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s largest National Park and one of the world’s greatest havens for wildlife. Its name means ‘endless plains’ in the Maasai language and the vast grasslands, feeling of space and fiery sunsets represent, for many, a typical African image.
The Serengeti is most famous for the annual migration of 1.5 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra. At the end of the rains in April and May, vast numbers congregate in the central plains of the Serengeti and commence a spectacular migration which takes them towards Lake Victoria to the west and the Masai Mara to the north. Here, fresh pastures await them with permanent water during the dry season. This colossal army of ungulates attracts the large predators, predominately lions and hyenas, who enjoy easy pickings of the young, old and sick. The Serengeti also harbours more than 500 species of birds from enormous ostriches to tiny honey birds, a delight for bird enthusiasts.
The Seronera Valley, situated in the centre of the Park, is distinguished by grassy plains studded with acacia trees, an ideal habitat for grazers such as impala and other gazelles, and for their predators, namely lion, leopards and cheetah.
Towards the north, the landscape becomes more undulated and the open landscape is replaced by scattered woodland. This is the kingdom of giraffe, impalas and elephants. To the west, in the region of Lake Victoria, the “black cotton soil” plains make it difficult to pass during the rainy season. The Grumeti River is located in this area, famous for its giant crocodiles as well as the black and white colobus monkey and a multitude of birds.
Another rarity of Serengeti are the “Kopjes”, old granite islands of rock set in a sea of grass. These rocky outcrops possess their own unique ecology and provide protection for a variety of wildlife including lizards, mongoose, monkeys, dik-diks, Verreaux eagle and leopard.
- Size: 14,763 sq km (5,700 sq miles).
- Location: 335km (208 miles) from Arusha, stretching north to Kenya and bordering Lake Victoria to the west.
- Scheduled and charter flights from Arusha, Lake Manyara and Mwanza.
- Drive from Arusha, Lake Manyara, Tarangire or Ngorongoro Crater.
What to Do
- Hot air balloon safaris, walking safari, picnicking, game drives, bush lunch/dinner can be arranged with hotels/tour operators. Maasai rock paintings and musical rocks.
- Visit neighbouring Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano and Lake Natron’s flamingos.
Best Time to Go
- To follow the wildebeest migration, December-July
- To see predators, June-October