Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th worldwide wonder, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration, when some six million hooves pound the open plains, as more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing. Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa: great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle.
The Serengeti National Park is famous for the annual circular trek (migration), which moves in a way dependent of the rainfall pattern, and therefore fairly predictable, over the vast plains of the Serengeti. Many species, however, are satisfied with their own territory and do not follow the migration. Therefore Serengeti offers an exciting safari throughout the year.
The Migration covers three main regions of the Serengeti.
- The ‘Western corridor’, is a swampy savannah covered with black clay (black cotton) and the Grumeti River in the north. By April the herds move from the south to the west and about a month later they reach the “crossroad” in the middle of the Serengeti. A real survival of the fittest because of the large number of big crocodiles that have to be defied
- Serengeti plains’, the endless, almost treeless grassland in the south. After the short rains start early November, the migration starts moving from north to south. Thousands of zebras and antelopes join the trek of around two million wildebeest for fresh pasture and water in the south. Late November to March the migration is concentrated in the south.
- In ‘Northern Serengeti’, which extends from the middle of Serengeti to the border of Kenya and the Mara River in the north, the landscape is dominated by open woodlands and hills. Around July and August the migration continues, often widely spreaded, further north. It is a spectacular crossing, since the herds need to defy the Mara River during their migration.
But there is more to Serengeti than large mammals. Gaudy agama lizards and rock hyraxes scuffle around the surfaces of the park’s isolated granite koppies. A full 100 varieties of dung beetle have been recorded, as have 500-plus bird species, ranging from the outsized ostrich and bizarre secretary bird of the open grassland to the black eagles that soar effortlessly above the Lobo hills.
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. Is also a 2hours drive from the city of Mwanza hence making it ideal in conducting the day trips to the western corridor of the Serengeti
Scheduled and charter flights from Kilimanjaro , 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.
When to go
To follow the wildebeest migration, December-July. To see predators, June-October.