The Serengeti Ecosystem
Serengeti national park is one of the few parks in Africa with a high concentration of animals in the world and hosts a great deal of visitor every year to experience one of the natural wonders of the world. This can attributed to its ecosystem that has remained almost intact in the last million years
Serengeti national park is popular for the close to 2 million wildebeests and zebras that are continuously journeying within its boundless southern grasslands looking for new grazing lands and water sources the park further houses about 70 species of mammals. Among which are : lions, leopards, cheetahs, striped hyenas, spotted hyenas, African wild dogs, rhinos, elephants, hippos, elands, impalas, waterbucks, topi antelopes, hartebeests, gemsboks, Thomson gazelles, Masai giraffes, buffalos, warthogs, jackals, bat-eared foxes, Serval, caracals, mongooses, genets, honey badgers and many others.
All these live harmoniously with over 500 species of birds and other small insects and mammals. This makes the Serengeti national park the area with the highest ornithological concentration in Tanzania, right after the Tarangire National Park.
Serengeti national park is endowed with several types of vegetation which determine the animals that can live in a certain area. The expansive low grasslands to the south lend Serengeti National Park that derives its name from the word Siringet which means endless plains. The soil here that is mainly made of volcanic rocks does favor the growth of trees wildebeests are the common sightings here that enjoy the nourishing herbs. The openness of the area favors sightings of animals especially during December to April thanks to the migration. Further north the open grass lands slowly fuse in the savanna shrubs and into the acacia favoring more giraffes.
When the light rains season starts at Serengeti national park, the Great Migration heads south to go back to the nourished grasslands. The animals rest in these lands until the end of the heavy rain season, when the long dry season is upon them and there are no permanent water sources in the South. This makes it inevitable for wildebeests and zebras to head North, where they find green grazing lands and permanent water reserves allowing them to survive the period of drought.
The path is not easy. Every year the animals walk along an 800 kms long circular route scattered with hidden dangers. Both land and water predators are always lurking. That is why crossing the mighty waters and the sandy shores of the Mara River is one of the biggest obstacles of the entire route. However, if the herds want to reach the Masai Mara grasslands in Kenya, they must overcome it.
The Olduvai, or Oldupai, Gorge also belongs to the Serengeti Ecosystem. Several fossils, belonging to the early humans who inhabited our planet, were found here. Moreover, millions-of-years-old petroglyphs were found which depicted, among other subjects, the Great Migration. This is the reason why this valley is often called “the cradle of humankind”.
Some populations native of Eastern Africa live in the Serengeti Ecosystem area: the Masai, very famous due to their style and colorful jewelry, and the less known Hadzabe and Datoga, 2 populations living in the surroundings of Lake Eyasi and whose lifestyle is tied to millenary traditions.