Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park

Extending for over 14,750 square kilometers (1,475,000 hectares/5700 square miles), Serengeti National Park is one of the most popular safari destinations in the African Continent. If there is a place like Paradise, Serengeti National Park is a real Paradise on Earth and popular for the annual migration with over 2 million wildebeests, over 200,000 zebras and gazelles beginning their journey from here to the Masai Mara National Reserve in the neighboring Kenya. This Park is the ornament of the Serengeti Ecosystem that also includes Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and well as Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Serengeti National Park is divided into three remarkable regions that include the Serengeti Plains with endless grasslands and the most symbolic scenery of this Tanzanian Park. This area is where the wildebeests breed and live between December and May. The Serengeti Plains are also known for sheltering Defassa waterbucks, Jackson’s hartebeests, gazelles, Topis, Tree hyrax, impalas, pythons, Cape buffaloes and gazelles.

The other area in this Park is northern Serengeti marked by open woodlands and hills extending from Seronera in the south to Mara River along the Kenyan border. This region is dominated by Elephants, zebras, Masai giraffes, wildebeests and Kirk’s Dik-dik.

The western corridor is characterized by black clay soil covering the vast savannah grasslands of the area. This area is haven to Colobus monkeys, Hippos, Patas monkeys, Nile crocodiles and Martial Eagles among others.

Location

Serengeti National Park is located within the north-west of Tanzania, bordering Kenya in its North where it is continuous with the magnificent Masai Mara National Reserve, Ngorongoro Conservation Area to its south-eastern side, Grumeti and Ikorongo Game Reserves in the west, Maswa Game Reserve to its south-eastern side and Loliondo Game Control Area to its East and North-eastern corner.

History

Before the area became Serengeti National Park, it was originally inhabited by human ancestors for over 4 million years. This Park was gazetted in 1951 and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 due to its rich biodiversity.

Wildlife and Bird species in Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is famously known for its wildlife diversity. The annual migration characterized by over 2 million wildebeest, plain zebras and gazelles moving through the Serengeti-Masai Mara Ecosystem. Other wildlife species to look-out for in this Park are lions, cheetahs, olive baboons, Cape hare, common genet, black and white colobus monkeys, the Eastern black rhinoceros, hyraxes, black mamba, Topis, Aardwolf, bushbucks, striped hyenas, Coke’s hartebeests, African leopards, spotted hyenas, Jackals, Roan antelopes, Patas monkeys, Fringe-eared Oryx, Hippos, Caracal, ground pangolin, Cape buffaloes, Dik-dik, Masai giraffes, common elands, lesser and greater kudu, Nile crocodiles, the East African wild dogs, Aardvark, vervet monkeys African golden wolf, Honey badger, Defassa waterbucks, Klipspringers, African bush elephants, common duikers, Oribis, common warthogs, Steenbok, Sable antelopes and bat-eared fox among others.

This National Park also attracts several birders to encounter the 500 species of birds that call the Park home. The common bird species in this Park are the secretary birds, Masai Ostriches, Egyptian geese, black herons, martial eagles, sacred ibis, Oxpeckers, saddle-billed storks, Kori bustards, lesser flamingos, cattle egrets, pink-backed pelicans, white storks, Grey-crowned cranes, African fish eagles, shoebill storks, Hadada ibis, Marabou storks, knob-billed ducks, several vulture species, yellow-billed storks, the Tanzanian red-billed hornbills and many others.

Besides Wildlife and bird species, visitors to Serengeti National Park can explore the Olduvai Gorge where remains of early man where dug by Dr. Louis Leakey, Moru kopjes where majority of the Park’s Rhino population is concentrated, Grumeti River where the magical wildebeest migration can be witnessed, Retina Hippo pool with the highest Hippo population you ever encountered and Seronera River Valley with numerous wildlife and bird species.

Tourist activities in Serengeti National Park

Hot air balloon safari over the sweeping plains of Serengeti National Park

Exploration from the sky offers visitors with eagle-eye views of the spectacular Serengeti landscape. With the exciting float in a hot air balloon, you can witness sunrise, wildlife and bird species as well as the changing ecosystems of this Park.

Game drives

Serengeti National Park is known for its remarkable wildlife viewing opportunities and it would be meaningless to visit then leave the Park without participating in game drives. If you are looking to encounter the big five animals and witnessing the annual migration, booking a tour to Serengeti National Park wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Walking safaris

Serengeti National Park is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and to discover its hidden beauty, undertake a walking safari. The top sites for waking safaris are the Bologonja Springs, Retina Hippo Pool, Grumeti River, the Rock outcrops and Seronera River Valley where majority of this Park’s wildlife and bird species can be encountered.

Bird watching

The plethora of bird species in Serengeti National Park can be explored during birding safaris. Notable species to be encountered are martial eagles, sacred ibis, Oxpeckers, saddle-billed storks, Kori bustards, lesser flamingos, cattle egrets, pink-backed pelicans, white storks, Grey-crowned cranes, African fish eagles, shoebill storks, Hadada ibis, to mention but a few.

Tour of the Olduvai Gorge

The Olduvai Gorge is famously known as the “cradle of Humanity” and if you ever wanted to learn about the evolution of humanity, you will need to book for a tour to Serengeti National Park. This site is where Dr. Louis Leakey uncovered fossils and tools dating back to over 2 million years and during your visit also tour the Museum just south of the Park.

Witnessing the Annual Migration

There are undeniably numerous wildlife species in Serengeti National Park but witnessing the annual migration is a priceless experience to behold. The highlight of this migration is watching wildebeests, zebras and gazelles crossing Grumeti River.

Masai Cultural Visit is another fantastic tourist activity in Serengeti National Park, offering visitors with the opportunity of discovering the pastoralist lifestyle of the Masai people, be entertained in their traditional songs and dances and also tour their homesteads.

Best time to visit Serengeti National Park

The best months of visiting Serengeti National Park are January, February, June, July, August, September and December when majority of the wildlife species converge at water points thus offer unmatched game viewing experiences. Make your Serengeti Tour more exciting by planning your trip around the annual migration (June to September) as wildebeests, gazelle and zebras move northwards of the Park towards Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.

Where to stay

It is a known fact that Serengeti National Park is one of the best Safari destinations in Tanzania and beyond but what is still not known is the fact that its accommodation facilities are also attractions of their own. Some of the top places to stay in this Park are Kleins Camp Serengeti, Migration Tented Lodge, Kirawira Tented Lodge, Serengeti Sopa Lodge, Kati Kati Camp, Mbuzi Mawe tented Camp, Ngome Camp, Roving Bushtop Camp, Ehlane Plains Camp, Four seasons Safari Lodge, Singita Mara River Tented Camp, Kilima Valley Serengeti Tented Lodge, Lemala Mara River Luxury Camp, Singita Sabora Tented Camp, Soroi Serengeti Lodge, Serengeti Mara Camp, Lobo Wildlife Lodge, Ndutu Wilderness Camp, &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas, Serengeti Simba Lodge, Melia Serengeti Lodge, Serengeti Pioneer Camp, Grumeti River Tented Lodge, Mbalageti Tented Safari Camp, Serengeti Serena Lodge, to mention but a few.

How to get there

Situated within the north-west of Tanzania, Serengeti National Park is approximately 350 to 419 kilometers or 6-7 hours’ drive from Arusha Town, depending on the route being used. The Park can be reached but air (entry point being Kilimanjaro International Airport), about 320 kilometers from this Park’s southern gate. Flights from Kilimanjaro or Arusha Airport to any of the seven airstrips of the Park last 1-5 hours

The maximum time to travel from Arusha Town to Serengeti National Park by road is 8 hours and there are four main entrance/exit gates that include Bologonya, Naabi Hills, Klein’s and Ndabaka Gates.

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