Serengeti National Park
You might have heard the name, or watched a documentary on National Geographic, but to experience it is an experience of a lifetime.
Serengeti National Park is one of the most incredible places on the planet. What you might have seen on television or read in a book cannot do justice to the actual experience. It is just out of this world. This is the largest of Tanzania’s national parks, measuring 14,763 sq. km's.
The park name is derived from a Maasai word meaning "endless plains" and houses the largest concentration of wildlife in the world.
The Serengeti is renowned for the huge concentrations of wildebeest and zebra. Approximately 1,500,000 wildebeest and 250,000 zebra migrate annually in a circular pattern between the Serengeti National Park’s Western Corridor and Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Contrary to belief, the migration of these animals is a continuous affair with stopover points along the way. These migrationary trends are dependent on the rains. During late November or December through to May/ early June, lines of Wildebeest (sometimes up to 40km long) can be seen on a journey which can be up to 800 km long. These vast herds of grunting and snorting animals consume a staggering 5000 tones of grass each day.
Hot on their heels you will find the ominous and ever present lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. They are particularly interested in the calving season that coincides with the migration off the plains. In a period of only 3 weeks, some 230,000 cows give birth. Unlike most antelopes who seek cover, wildebeest prefer to calve in open terrain, which provides another breathtaking spectacle. These new calves provide easy pickings for larger scavengers and cats. This is the reason why wildebeest calves are able to be up and running within 4 minutes of birth. The best time to witness this is between the end of January to February.
The Seronera Valley provides for some of the best game viewing. Jutting kopjes provide a vantage point for lion to sit a gaze on the herds and plan the next meal. June and July sees the animals moving off to the Togoro Plain on the border of the Grumeti River. This presents an obstacle for the vast herd, as they have to cross the queues of the eagerly awaiting crocs. August to September sees the animals moving off to the Lobo area and into the Maasai Mara Game Reserve, in neighboring Kenya.
We have been up to the Serengeti on numerous occasions, and we have never been disappointed. Two experiences spring to mind immediately. Whilst on a game drive in the Lobo area, we spotted a lioness in the distance sitting in the grass. Upon closer inspection, "she" turned out to be a pride of 17 lion frolicking with cubs around a large kopje. That particular day we saw 49 lion.
The other instance was our first game drive near the Naabi gate. Upon departing from the gate, we went straight for the nearest plain. As we came over the hill, the view is indescribable. In front of us were approximately 100,000 wildebeest and zebra grazing in an area of about 4 sq. kilometers. We stopped the car and sat amongst these animals, listening to the grunts and snorts. The animals were so close you could almost touch them. The Serengeti provides for an ultimate animal experience and unforgettable memories to tell your friends and family about.
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