Serengeti national park
Serengeti national park is the premium parks not only in Tanzania but entire world with the oldest echo system on planet earth. The park hosts the largest animal migration in the the world that is the wildebeest migration where over 1.5 million wildebeest alongside 1000’s of zebras crosses the Mara River to Kenya Masai Mara national reserve.
Serengeti national park is one of the oldest national parks in Tanzania, it was established in 1952. The park named “Serengeti” is approximation of the word which is used by the Maasai locals that is describing the area. They call it “Siringet” which means the endless plains that run forever. They thought that there is no end of the Serengeti plains as one can see as afar as he or she can but never predict its end. The park was first visited by the European explore called Oscar Baumann in 1892. After his visit Stewart Edward white came to Serengeti national park in 1913, he again come back in1920s and settled in Seronera area for a period of 3 months.
After great hunting of the large cats especially the lions made the British colonial administration to make it a game reserve in 1921 covering only an area of 800 acres of land. The colonial administration took initiative to fully control the large area by 1951 the park was established. The locals were evicted in the park by 1959 and relocated to Ngorongoro conservation area. The park covers an area of 5700 square miles an equivalent to 14,763 square kilometers.
According to history, Serengeti national park had only 4 members of African big 5 missing the Elephants till few years back when the population in the nearby reserves encroached on the reserves forcing elephants to relocate hence entering to Serengeti national park. The park also misses the wild dogs which were last seen in 1991.
Serengeti national park is located in the Northern part of Tanzania along the tourist circuit that covers Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro crater and Tarangire national park. The Pak is 7 hours drive from the biggest nearest town Arusha through good well maintained tarmac road. The drive is much scenic as one passes through the local Maasai communities with a good view of the coffee plantations and the features of the Great Rift Valley.
The park sits in the North Eastern part of Arusha bordering the Kenya Masai Mara National Reserve. With the Mara-Serengeti echo system stretching from Simiyo regions to Masai mara region. Before the division and resettlement of the local Maasai people the park covered the Ngorongoro conservation Area.
Accessing Serengeti national park
It covers a total distance of 350 kilometers from Arusha to Serengeti national park if one travels by road taking 6 to 7 hours due to beautiful scenic drive. The normal time of the drive would be 5 hours but because of the speed limits at the country the drive takes 6 to 7 hours but worth it. You will never be bored during your drive infact you will forget that the drive was long.
One can also access the park by flight with daily chattered airlines operating from different airports across East Africa to many airstrips found in the park. The major and central located airport is Seronera airstrip which is serviced by many domestic airlines across East Africa. The most commonly used flights are Flight Link, Regional air, Auric Air, Precision Air, Coastal Air and many more. The airstrips are located in all the regions of the park like Central area, Northern sector, Western and Southern Area. You will book your flight depending on the lodge you have booked.
Attractions in Serengeti national park
Serengeti national park is a home of the wildebeest migration and the park is great destination for true African wildlife experience. Are you interested to see the African big 5 members then Serengeti national park is the destination to be. The park has more attractions to view as its gifted by nature though many only hear of the great wildebeest migration but when you step in the park that is when you will see the uniqueness of the park. Below are the key attractions in Serengeti national park
Serengeti national park is a home of African big 5 those are the Lions, Rhinos, Elephants, Buffalo and Leopards. The park is a home of over 70 mammal species as its famous by the abundance of wildlife. The animals are in millions like wildebeest account for over 1.5 million, over 200,000 plain zebras, 300,000 Gazelles, around 1000 leopards, 5,000 elephants, 3,000 lions, 53,000 buffalo, 225 cheetahs. Other animals include dik dik, oryx, Hyenas, Jackals, Janet cats, bushbuck, greater Kudu, Baboons, Giraffe, eland. The endless plains of the Serengeti host more animals that can be seen throughout the year. However much some wildebeest migration but some remain permanently in Serengeti national park.
Serengeti national park has over 500 bird species being recorded with a good list of the Africa’s Endemic birds. The Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is Africa’s Endemic Bird Area Serengeti hosts 5 bird species that cannot be seen anywhere else in the world. The 5 Serengeti specials are easily found or located within their restricted habitant range. These are Grey-Breasted spurfowl which is commonly sited along the road side in Seronera area, Fischer’s loverbird, Rufous-tailed waever which is fascinating bird which is placed on its own genus, Usambiro barbet, Grey-crested helmet-shrike. Other birds in Serengeti include Kori Bustard, Secretary bird, Verreaux’s eagle, Red-capped robin-chat, Yellow-throated sandgrouse mention but a few.
The wildebeest migration is the largest annual wildlife migration and the highlight of the Serengeti national park safari. This is one of the key reason why Serengeti was voted as one of the Seven natural wonders of the world. The migration happens annually with its climax in July when the wildebeest migration crosses the Mara River. Other sections of the migration happen in June in Grumeti river in the Western part of Serengeti and the calving season which happens early in the year in the Southern part of Serengeti.
The Moru Kopjes is a home of the few remaining black Rhinos in Serengeti national park. The Kopjes are the little dotted rocky plants that are found in the park. The kopjes are a home of large pride of lions like the Simba group which sits in the central part of Serengeti in Seronera area. These volcanic features are a handing places for predators like leopards who want to trap the prey.
The kopjes are scenic rocks which are geological points of view, they are very old granite rocks called by the locals as “Moru” by their Maa language. This means old, the rocks are very old and eroded years in and out by erosion agents like rainfalls, biological agents exposing their Iron contained in them.
Activities in Serengeti national park
There several activities guests can enjoy during their safari in Serengeti national park. The premium park is rich with nature favored by the large size of the park permitting one to stay for more than two days in the park doing different activities on daily basis. The following are the key activities doe in Serengeti national park
Like any other national parks of the Africa the key experience is wildlife viewing. The key activity at Serengeti national park is Game drives that is done in some open roof safari cars which are 4×4 wheel drive. Serengeti national park wildlife experience can be executed fully by doing several game drives and spending long day game drives. Go close to the cheetahs, lions, leopards, Elephants, wildebeest, warthogs, Rhinos and many more mammals in their natural habitats. Game drives can be done for a full long day or broken in to two that is morning and afternoon game drives.
Serengeti national park is one of the birding paradise in Africa with over 500 bird species recorded at the park. Birding trips are favorably done throughout the year with the best time being in the rainy season when the birds are nesting. The park has five endemic birds and other birds. The guest must have the best camera which can catch live action on air while birds are on fight, good binoculars and be well conversant with the binoculars. The bird list is long including Kori bustard, Secretary bird, Rufous-tailed weaver, Fischer’s lovebird, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Black-headed gonolek, Spurb sterling, Ruppell’s vulture, Southern ground hornbill, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Black Eagles, Ostriches, Usambiro barbet mention but a few.
Hot Air Balloon
Be one of the lucky few to experience the aerial view of Serengeti national park with the hot air balloon safari. This is a great experience floating on air like an eagle, starting early in the morning with briefing from the pilots before we hit the sky. The balloon driver will be meeting you at the lodge and drive you to the balloon starting point. The balloon safaris are distributed in the central Seronera area and the Northern part of Serengeti near the Mara river. The Hot air balloon takes 21 to 3 hours depending on the weather of the day. Sometimes there are evening balloon safaris.
Serengeti national park remains the prolific national parks in Africa where a guest can spend more than 5 days in different parts of the park. The park can be visited throughout the year and all activities done throughout the year. Serengeti will never disappoint you.