Serengeti National Park
Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration. Some six million hooves pound the open plains, each one driven by the same ancient rhythm, fulfilling its instinctive role in the inescapable cycle of life, and more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing. Serengeti is derived from the Maasai language, Maa; specifically, “Serengit” meaning “Endless Plains”.
The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park – Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators.
The park covers 14,750 km2 (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains and savanna as well as riverine forest and woodlands. The park lies in the north of Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem.
The park is usually described as divided into three regions: Serengeti plains, Western corridor and Northern Serengeti
Wildlife in Serengeti
As well as the migration of ungulates, the park is well known for its healthy stock of other resident wildlife, particularly the “Big Five”, named for the five most prized trophies taken by hunters: Lion, African Leopard, African Elephant, Black Rhinoceros and African Buffalo. The park also supports many other species, including cheetah, Thomson’s and Grant’s 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.
Serengeti Great Migration
The Serengeti hosts the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world, which helps secure it as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa, and one of the ten natural travel wonders of the world. Each year around the same time the circular great wildebeest migration begins in the Ngorongoro area of the southern Serengeti of Tanzania. This migration is a natural phenomenon determined by the availability of grazing. It lasts from approximately January to March, when the calving season begins – a time when there is plenty of rain ripened grass available for the 750,000 zebra that precede 1.2 million wildebeest and the following hundreds of thousands of other plains game.