Whether you are newcomer to the African landscape or a veteran of the safari, there are fewer things harder to resist than an excursion into majestic game reserves. You get to immerse yourself in some of Nature’s finest scenes and mingle with the beasts of wild, cameras loaded. It is truly an adventure worth a spot on the bucket list.
But not all game reserves are created equal. One stands out above others with its scenic images of seemingly endless acacia-dappled plains, magnificent wildlife, and golden savannah. This is the Serengeti, Tanzania’s oldest and most popular World Heritage-listed park. Its vast plains and open horizons are home to some of the biggest populations of mammals on the planet.
Situated in the northwest region of Tanzania, the Serengeti was established in 1951 and joins the Maasai Mara Game Reserve at its northern border with Kenya. In fact, its name is derived from the Maasai word Siringet meaning ‘Endless Plains’. It covers over 14 000 km² of grassland plains, savannah, and an unfenced border, which ensures that the Great Migration continues unhindered each year.
Top Features and Attractions
It’s not hard to see why the Serengeti continues to retain the top spot among game reserves on the continent. It does deliver on all fronts.
The Endless Plains
The southern area of Serengeti comprises great savannah plains that provide ample grazing for the millions of animals during the rainy season, usually from December to May. This is the season for fattening up both for the herbivores and the predators. During the dry season, the lush greenery turns brown and the waterholes dry up, signalling the beginning of the Great Migration.
The Woodlands and Forests
There are three types of woodlands in the Serengeti – Combretum and Terminalia
The Great Migration
This is surely the biggest attraction to the Serengeti. It is a breathtaking spectacle of hundreds of thousands of animals kicking up a dusty trail as they move across the crossing crocodile-infested rivers and endless plains. This event begins in the Serengeti Park between July and September, and progresses along to the Kenyan border.
On this route, the animals have to cross both the Grumeti and Mara Rivers, home to large crocodiles. They remain in Kenya until the short rains start around November, and then they make their way back down south.
Variety of Wildlife
The Serengeti offers a panorama of game-watching to the fullest. It currently hosts a wide variety of animals – wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, gazelles, topi, elands and other antelope species. It is also teeming with lions, cheetahs, hyenas and leopards.
The Big Five.
Get out your camera and be prepared to capture some of the most sought after animals in their natural habitat. These five are the lions, leopards, rhinos, Cape Buffalo and
The Small Five.
When you’re done clicking away at the larger animals, you can turn your focus on the Serengeti’s Small Five – antlions, elephant shrews, leopard tortoises, buffalo weavers, and rhino beetles.
There are over 540 bird species, so birdwatchers are guaranteed a delightful treat. From tiny sunbirds to lanky ostriches and large vultures, the Serengeti delivers an amazing sight to behold.
Feast your eyes (from afar) on the array of monstrous crocodiles, lizards, frogs, tortoises, and snakes that this beautiful game reserve has to offer.
Whatever you may be looking for in a game reserve, the Serengeti doesn’t disappoint. It truly is a unique safari experience, and will without a doubt, be one of the main highlights of your epic East African Safari with great return of experience.
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