Serengeti national park
Serengeti national park is one of the greatest ecological systems in Tanzania and one of the famous tourist destination in Tanzania and Africa situated in mara and simiyu regions in northern part of Tanzania, Serengeti national park is situated lies in the greater north tourist corridor of Tanzania which consists of Ngorongoro crater, lake Manyara national park, Tarangire national park and Serengeti national park itself. Serengeti national park covers an area of 14,759 square kilometers, this area is a great habitant to a variety of attractions thus making the park one of the most visited destinations in Tanzania.
Serengeti national park is habitant for the largest terrestrial mammal migration in the world thus recognizing the park as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa and one of the ten natural wonder of Africa, the park derives its name from a local Masai phrase siringet meaning endless plains
Serengeti national park is divided into sectors that is
- Southern sector/ southern plains which borders Ngorongoro crater, in this section it is a great spot for watching wildebeest migration in the cycle period of December – march.
- Northern sector which borders Maasai mara national reserve, this area is the least visited and remote section of Serengeti, this section is a great spot for witnessing the wildebeest river crossing in the cycle of July and August.
- Seronera area the central circuit (it is in this circuit where most game drives take place)
- Western Serengeti area/ western corridor – this section is a great spot where you get to witness great wildebeest migration reaching Grumeti River in their cycle period of May – June. In this section you also get to spot many crocodiles and hippopotamus around river Grumeti River.
History of Serengeti national park
Serengeti national park is Tanzania’s oldest national park established in 1951 but before it was gazetted the land occupied by the park are former areas for the local masai people who used to graze their animals in the open plains of eastern mara region. In 1913 these Masai lands received the first American visitor Stewart Edward white an American writer and novelist, Stewart Edward white carried out and recorded his explorations in the northern region of Serengeti. In 1920 he returned to the same area in 1920s and camped around Seronera for three months enjoying and discovering the beauty and mysteries of the land. Because of the high population of animals in the area most notably the lions, and the initiative to conserve them, in 1921 the British colonial administration gazetted an area of 800 acres as a game reserve and in 1951 the present today Serengeti national park covering an area of 14,750 square kilometers was established. .
So as to increase on the actions of preserving the wildlife, the British colonial government ordered for the eviction the ancient residents of the lands that is the Masai from the park in 1959
ATTRACTIONS IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti national park is a habitant to a variety of wildlife which are the greatest attractions of the park attracting millions of tourists in the park and making Serengeti one of the best and spectacular tourist destination in Tanzania.
Serengeti national park is a fascinating habitant for a big population of wildlife which your experience in the park so African, Serengeti national park is a home to the most sought for 5 five animals that is African buffalo, eastern black rhinoceros, African bush elephant, African leopard and lions which are easily spotted in the park. Other animals habiting in the park include zebras numbering above to 200,000 individuals, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle numbering to 300,000 individuals, topi, coke’s hartebeest, masai giraffe, waterbuck, impala, warthog, hippopotamus, antelopes, common eland, roan antelope, aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fox, ground pangolin, crested porcupine, 3 species of hyraxes, cape hare, fringe-eared Oryx, dik dik, cheetah, two species of jackals, African golden wolf, honey badger, striped hyena, serval, 7 species of mongooses, two species of otters, east African wild dog and many more. Among the animals in Serengeti national park there is also primates residing in the park such as yellow and olive baboons, vervet monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, these primates are present and spotted in the thick forests on the banks of Grumeti River.
The park is a bird enthusiastic paradise as the park is a great habitant for a big population of beautiful bird species approximately 500 bird species which are easily spotted in the plains of the park, Serengeti national park’s birds population include Africa’s endemic bird areas and species restricted only to the park that is Usambiro barbet and grey-crested helmet shrike. The park also receives migratory bird species in the monthly period of November to April.
Bird species in Serengeti national park include Masai ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustards, helmeted Guinea fowls, Grey-breasted spurfowl, southern ground hornbill, crowned cranes, marabou storks, yellow-billed stork, lesser flamingo, martial eagles, lovebirds, Oxpecker, Black-headed gonolek, Fischer’s lovebird, Green-backed woodpecker, Grey-backed fiscal, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Hildebrandt’s starling, Red-capped robin-chat, Rufous-tailed weaver, Ruppell’s vulture, Southern ground hornbill, Schawlow’s turaco, Silver bird, Usambiro barbet, Verreaux’s eagle, Yellow-throated sandgrouse and many more.
Annual migration of wildebeest and zebras
The park experience a great migration of wildebeest and zebras which is a fantastic experience to spot, this migration takes place on an annual basis where millions of wildebeest together with zebras and other animals move from south Ndutu crossing over to western Serengeti as animals are seen crossing river Grumeti and the climax of the migration is when the wildebeests cross river mara. The great migration occurs in a cycle that is
January-march – in this period wildebeest are in high concentration in northern ngorongoro conservation area, these animals are always spotted grazing and calving and February is the prime calving month for wildebeests.
April and May– in this period wildebeest heading in northwest direction searching for pastures and in June the wildebeests begin to concentrate on the western side of Grumeti river.
July and august- in this period herds of wildebeests continue to move in a northeast direction towards mara river, which is the great mara river crossings.
What to do Serengeti national park
Game drive/ game viewing
Game drive in Serengeti national park is one of the great experiences you get in this beautiful scenic national park, the park is a habitant to many wildlife species which are easily spotted while on a drive in the plains of the park. Animals in the park include Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, topi, coke’s hartebeest, masai giraffe, waterbuck, impala, warthog, hippopotamus, antelopes, common eland, roan antelope, aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fox, ground pangolin, crested porcupine, hyraxes, cape hare, fringe-eared Oryx, dik dik, cheetah, jackals and many more.
Game drives in Serengeti national park is offered in four sessions that is morning game drive, afternoon game drive, full day game drive and night game drive which gives you the best experience of spotting many beautiful animals.
The best time to go for game drive in Serengeti national park is in the period of June to October, this period is generally dry which makes driving in the park and spotting animals easy. In the months of June and July the park experiences migration of animals which are seen crossing Grumeti River, in September the park experience Mara River wildlife crossing the famous river crossings and February is the best time to see wildebeest calving which a fascinating experience.
Bird watching in Serengeti is one great activity which never disappoints, for bird lovers Serengeti national park is your perfect destination to choose for a birding safari in Tanzania. Serengeti national park is a home to over 500 bird species which are easily spotted in the plains of the park which are dominated by galleries of forests, grasslands, swamps and montane heath. Bird species spotted in the park include Masai ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustards, helmeted Guinea fowls, Grey-breasted spurfowl, southern ground hornbill, crowned cranes, marabou storks, yellow-billed stork, lesser flamingo, martial eagles, lovebirds, Oxpecker, Black-headed gonolek, Fischer’s lovebird, Green-backed woodpecker, Grey-backed fiscal, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Hildebrandt’s starling, Red-capped robin-chat, Rufous-tailed weaver and many more. These birds are easily spotted while on game drive and nature walks in the park.
The best time to go for bird watching experience in the park is in the period of November to April, in this period is the park experiences migratory bird species from Europe and North Africa and also this period is also a nest time for birds in the park which makes it easy to spot these beautiful birds easy.
Nature walks in Serengeti national park takes you on a walk in the plains of the park where you get to enjoy the beauty of the park and it amazing vegetation, while on a nature walk you spot many animals habiting in the park like giraffes, zebras, gazelle, wildebeest, antelopes, baboons and many more together with numerous colorful bird species such as , lesser flamingo, martial eagles, lovebirds, Oxpecker, Black-headed gonolek, Fischer’s lovebird, Green-backed woodpecker, Grey-backed fiscal, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Hildebrandt’s starling, Red-capped robin-chat and many more. On the nature walks you also get involved in digging beetles which is an amazing experience.
While on your safari in Serengeti national park cultural visits takes you to a visit in Maasai village thus offering you the cultural side of the park, upon your visit in the Maasai communities such as Maasai bomas you are entertained by Maasai cultural dances and songs, you also get to witness their unique beautiful customs, traditions and lifestyle of the Maasai people together with interacting with the elders. Cultural visits in the Maasai culture are very interactive and entertaining as you engage in visiting schools, local construction of homes and livestock rearing and grazing in the fields.
Serengeti national park offers Ariel safaris to its visitors, Ariel safaris is the ultimate way of touring the wilderness of Serengeti national park from an aircraft or a hot air balloon giving you giving a bird’s eye view of the park, on this activity you get to watch animals from the sky.
How to get to Serengeti national park
Serengeti national park is a very accessible national park and to get to this park you can use both road and air transport depending on your choice, as noted most safaris to Serengeti national park start from Arusha town and Arusha can be reached by flying into the town using Kilimanjaro international airport, Julius Nyerere international Airport and Arusha airstrip. There are many flight companies which offer flights to the Serengeti and they include coastal Aviation, safari Air Link, Auric Air, Precision Air, regional Air and ZanAir.
Serengeti national park is situated 513.3 kilometers from Dodoma the capital of Tanzania, driving from Dodoma city to Serengeti national park is a drive of 8-9 hours.
Where to sleep in Serengeti national park
There is many accommodation faculties offering accommodation to tourists on a safari in the park, these facilities offer comfortable sleeping rooms, food and other services necessary for your comfortable city. Accommodation in the park can be got from lake masek tented camp, Ndutu under canvas, sanctuary kusini, angata migration camp Ndutu, Grumeti Migration Camp, Mbugani Migration Camp, Singita Sasakawa Lodge, Serena Kirawira Tented Camp, Mbalageti Serengeti, Melia Serengeti, Thorntree Camp and many more.