Serengeti National Park Big 5
Serengeti National Park Big 5 are the top 5 fiercest animals in the wilderness and are the most sought for animals in the park by travelers. Serengeti national park which is located in the northern part of Tanzania is known for having a large number of wildlife species which includes the legendary big 5.
Different tourists engage in a number of wildlife viewing activities during their safaris to this national park in order to see the big 5 as well as other wildlife species found within the national park as well as other attractions.
There is no guarantee of seeing all the big five during a safari in Serengeti national park but tourists stand a chance to see a variety of wildlife species in the vast plains of the national park such as giraffes, zebras, gazelles, wildebeest among others.
Some of the locations within the national park are known for being the best locations to see the wildlife species which make up the big five such as the lions which can be seen around the kopjes as they watch their prey grazing in the savannah plains.
Serengeti national park has different sections that tourists can visit where the big five can be sighted and they include the western section, the northern section, the central section or the Seronera area and the southern section.
Description of the big five
The big five is a phrase that describes a term used by hunters during Africa’s colonial period to describe the most challenging and dangerous animals to hunt on foot. These big 5 animals are highly sorted after by tourists during their safaris to this national park and they include the following;
- Lion: The lion is among the big cats and is commonly described using the phrase “king of the jungle” due to their strength and power over other wildlife species in the national park as well as its fierce and loud roar. The largest concentration of lions in Africa is said to be in Serengeti national park. The male lions play a role of protecting their prides from danger while the female lions are known for hunting which they do in groups and this takes place during the night hours of the day when the lions can attack their unknowing prey. Prides of lions can be seen in Serengeti national park as they hunt for their prey and wait on large granite outcrops which are known as kopjes. Some of the locations within the national park where lions can be seen include the open plains within the Seronera river and the Nabbi gate.
- Buffalo: Another animal that makes up the big 5 is the buffalo which is commonly sighted among the big 5. The buffalo can be seen moving freely within the national park and is said to be a very peaceful animal. Buffalos, however, can easily charge when they are disturbed. A number of buffalos can be seen around swampy areas of the national park during the dry season as they drink from the different water points. Buffalos can also be seen around the Osupuko camp in the grass and around the swampy areas. These animals are commonly described as cow like creatures or bulls and the male and female buffalos are differentiated by their horns which also act as a defense against any attacks from other wildlife species and predators.
- Elephant: Elephants in Serengeti national park are also among the wildlife species which are commonly seen by tourists during their game drives and other wildlife viewing activities. The elephants are also said to be the largest land animals in the world and are known for even changing the landscape in the national park since they pull up trees, dispersing seeds and increasing the biodiversity in the national park. These animals feed on roots, grass, and fruits since they are herbivorous in nature. Elephants are also known for digging up food and removing the tree barks using their trunks. Another adaptation that elephants have is that they cool off using their ears which are big in size.
- Rhino: Rhinos are known for being solitary animals which can be seen grazing in the open grassy plains. Some of the adaptations used by these animals when in danger include the use of their horns as well as the sense of smell. They are also known for being critically endangered species and they are targeted for their horns by poachers. Sanctuaries and other protected areas are put in place to rehabilitate these rhinos before they are taken back to the wild.
- Leopard: Leopards are known for being fast cats as well as for their ability to climb trees and to attack their prey and drag the kill sometimes up to the tree branches. These animals are also known to be strong like other big cats as well as for being playful. These animals also have another adaptation of their fur which provides a camouflage making it difficult for their prey to see them as they prepare to attack. Leopards are also known for their ability to swim. Female leopards look for a safe location to protect their young ones after giving birth to the young ones. This is because the young cubs do not have a sense of danger and cannot protect themselves from any attacks.
The big 5 can also be seen in other national parks such as Masai Mara national reserve in Kenya, the Ngorongoro conservation area, Murchison falls national park, Kruger national park, Chobe national park, Etosha national park among others. Some of the national parks mentioned have some of the big five and not all of them.
Other attractions in Serengeti national park
- Bird species in Serengeti national park are of a variety and they include both migrant and native birds. Some of the bird species which can be seen in this national park include Fischer’s lovebird, grey breasted spurfowl, kori bustard, secretary birds, black-headed gonolek, silver bird, turaco, hornbills, eagles, yellow throated sandgrouse, starlings among others.
- The beautiful landscape of Serengeti national park is another aspect that attracts tourists to this national park. The landscape in this national park is extremely varied and is characterized by open grasslands, woodlands, granite kopjes, acacia trees.
- The kopjes in specific are granite rock outcrops that stand out from the rest of the landscape in the national park and they are known for being lookout points for the predators such as lions as they watch their prey grazing and roaming in the distant plains. Some of the kopjes in Serengeti national park include Simba kopjes, Moru kopjes, Masai kopjes among others. Kopjes are also known for being a habitat for some of the wildlife species due to the presence of caves underneath the rocks.
- Maasai villages which are located in the surrounding area of Serengeti national park offer a chance for tourists to interact with the local community of the Masai who are known for their unique culture and nomadic way of life. During visits to the Masai villages, tourists can also engage in a number of activities such as watching traditional dance performances, visiting the traditional homesteads of the Maasai known as “manyattas”, seeing local arts and crafts such as beaded jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, earrings, listening to folk stories about the Maasai learning more about the traditional way of life of the Maasai.
- The wildebeest migration is a natural wonder which takes place between the Serengeti national park and Masai Mara national reserve. This wildebeest migration involves the movement of thousands of wildebeests in search of greener pastures and water.
The wildebeest migration attracts a number of tourists to visit Serengeti national park to experience this migration which takes place at different times of the year.
How to get to Serengeti national park
Tourists can access Serengeti national park in order to experience the big 5 and see other attractions within the national park using different means which include the following;
- By road; Tourists can enjoy a scenic drive from Arusha to the entry gates into Serengeti national park in order to engage in different activities and see the various attractions within the national park.
- By air; Both domestic and charter flights are available for convenient and fast travel to any of the airstrips in Serengeti national park. Airstrips in this national park include Seronera airstrip, Kogatende airstrip among others.
Activities which tourists can engage in during safaris in Serengeti national park include the following;
- Game Drives in Serengeti national park take place at different times of the day and they range from morning game drives, evening game drives, and full-day game drives. During morning game drives, tourists exploring the plains of this national park stand a higher chance of seeing the wildlife species since they are more active at this time of day. Full day game drives offer the tourist a chance to explore the plains of the national park the whole day and it offers a chance to observe the animal as they graze and roam in their natural habitat. Other wildlife species which can be seen in this national park apart from the big five include wildebeests, waterbucks, gazelles, giraffes, hippos, hyenas, warthogs, topi among others.
- Nature walks involve exploring the plains of the national park on foot. These nature walks provide a closer interaction with the surroundings within the national park such as plant and tree species.
- Community visits involve interactions between the local community and the tourists. During these cultural visits, tourists experience the traditional way of life of the Maasai people such as their traditional dances, traditional homesteads known as “manyattas”, seeing local arts and crafts such as beaded jewelry like necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
- Hot air balloons involve drifting over the savannah plains as tourists lookout for the different attractions within the national park such as wildlife species like elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, zebras, wildebeest, hartebeest, kobs, topi, impalas, buffalos, rhinos among others.
- Bird watching in Serengeti national park involves searching for different bird species within the national park. bird species which can be seen include both native and migrant birds such as ostriches, secretary birds, larks, kori bustards, cisticola, yellow throated sand grouse among others.
When to visit Serengeti national park for the Big 5
Serengeti national park can be visited all year round for wildlife viewing and the recommended times of the year for visiting Serengeti national park is the dry season during the months of June to October. During these months, the grass is shorter and this makes it easy to spot the wildlife species in the open plains of the national park.
Experience amazing wildlife viewing in Serengeti national park with the big 5.