Big 5 in Serengeti and Ngorongoro
Big 5 in Serengeti and Ngorongoro : Serengeti national park and the Ngorongoro conservation area are destinations which are found in the northern part of Tanzania.
The big 5 are among the wildlife species which can be seen during safaris in Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro conservation area. The big 5 are elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and also buffalos. They are considered to be the most difficult wildlife species to hunt.
In Ngorongoro conservation area and in Serengeti national park, all of the big 5 can be spotted while in other destinations of Tanzania some of the big 5 can be seen during safaris but not all the big 5.
Both Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro conservation area are UNESCO world heritage sites and are part of the northern safari circuit of Tanzania which also includes Tarangire national park and Lake Manyara national park.
Elephants are majestic creatures and in the Ngorongoro conservation area, there are about 29 elephants which can be spotted during safaris.
They are herbivores in nature and can be spotted in their herds as they move around the destinations. Elephants can be seen around the woodland areas during safaris around Serengeti national park and can be identified by their tusks and big ears, trunks and trumpeting sound they make and also by their big size.
Elephant tusks are made of ivory which has made these creatures a target for poachers. Some of the features to distinguish elephants include the size of tusks whereby older elephants have larger tusks compared to the young ones.
Another interesting fact about elephants which can be seen in Ngorongoro conservation area and in Serengeti national park is that they are the world’s largest land creature. Species of elephants include the African bush elephants and Asian elephants.
Elephants are also known to move in groups known as herds and can also be seen near water points where they drink water, cover themselves in the mud or bathing in the water.
Serengeti national park and the Ngorongoro conservation area are also known for being home to many predators like lions.
Lions can be spotted in these destinations during safaris as they hunt or move around the savannah plains. There are about 3000 lions which can be seen around Seronera area, the kopjes (rock outcrops) and in many other parts of Serengeti national park during a safari.
While driving around the open savannah plains of Serengeti national park, lions can be seen at the top of the kopjes like Simba kopjes and Moru kopjes. In the Ngorongoro conservation area, about 65 to 75 lions live and can be spotted as they move on the crater floor.
Lions often referred to as the king of the jungle can be identified around Serengeti national park and the Ngorongoro conservation area by their manes for male lions while female lions usually don’t have manes. Female lions are the ones which hunt for their prides and are more agile.
They are also the second largest cats in the world and lions are known to be predators and they live in grasslands, open woodlands and in the savannah. Lions are also known to spend a long time resting that is about 20 hours.
Lions belong to prides which vary in size and consist of females and their offspring. They are also social and lions make a roaring sound.
Rhinos are an endangered species which can also be seen around Serengeti national park and the Ngorongoro conservation area.
The black rhinos in appearance are brown or grey and can also be identified by their pointed upper lips and 2 horns. They are smaller in size compared to the white rhino species.
They are herbivores in nature and the black rhinos are also known to be browsers and they feed on leaves and fruits. Black rhinos are solitary and they also feed in the night and also early in the morning.
Rhinos use their horns to protect themselves and poachers also target these rhinos for their horns. Around Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro conservation area, black rhinos can be spotted in the grasslands, bushlands and around the savannah.
Around Serengeti national park, leopards can be seen around the Seronera valley and in the national park there are about 1000 leopards.
Leopards can also be spotted around the grasslands Ngorongoro conservation area during safaris. They are the smallest of the cats and are solitary. Other features of leopards include that they are fast (speedy), carnivores, good climbers and also ferocious hunters.
They can be identified by their rose like spots and leopards can be seen around woodland, grassland and in areas with shrubs. Leopards can also be seen in tree branches and are also known to camouflage in the trees.
Buffalos can also be seen during safaris around Serengeti national park and also in the Ngorongoro conservation area.
There are many buffalos in both Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro conservation area and among the big 5 it is easier to spot buffalos during safaris. Buffalos are herbivores and feed on grass and herbs.
Buffalos during a safari can be identified by their curved horns as well as their cattle like appearance. Buffalos defend themselves using their horns and can be spotted near water points around Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro conservation area.
Other wildlife species which can be seen during safaris around the Ngorongoro conservation area and Serengeti national park include wildebeests, zebras, impalas, cheetahs, kudu, antelopes, gazelles, waterbucks, hyenas among others.
Different activities are carried out in these destinations as tourists look out for the big 5 and the safari activities include game drives, guided nature walks, hot air balloon safaris among others. bird watching and community tours are also carried out during safaris to Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro conservation area.
Serengeti national park apart from being home to the big 5 is also known for the wildebeest migration which takes place annually. This migration involves movement of over 1.5 million wildebeests in the grassy plains of the national park.