Perhaps the most well-known of the amazing regions in Africa, the Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest known to man. Its essential features have hardly changed in the past million years. The Serengeti region encompasses the Serengeti National Park, which is visited by over 90,000 tourists each year, yet it is so vast that its easy to feel totally alone.
The Serengeti is most famous for its animal migration, the largest on earth. Over 1,000,000 wildebeest and 200,000 zebras migrate south to the plains every October to November, and then head back north in April, May, and June. Other notable wildlife includes lions, leopards, cheetahs, gazelles, elephants, hyenas, baboons, impalas, rhinos, buffalo, giraffes, and approximately 500 bird species.
Additionally, the Serengeti region is home to two World Heritage Sites and two Biosphere Reserves. The Serengeti National Park is the place to visit for the most incredible and unforgettable safari experience of your life!
The park covers 14,750 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi) of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands. The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem.
The park is usually described as divided into three regions-
- Serengeti plains: the almost treeless grassland of the south is the most emblematic scenery of the park. This is where the wildebeest breed, as they remain in the plains from December to May. Other hoofed animals – zebra, gazelle, impala, hartebeest, topi, buffalo, water buck – also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. “Kopjes” are granite florations that are very common in the region, and they are great observation posts for predators, as well as a refuge for hyrax and pythons.
- Western corridor: the black clay soil covers the swampy Savannah of this region. The Grumeti River is home to Nile crocodiles, colobus monkeys, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.
- Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands (predominantly Commiphora) and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), the bushy savannah is the best place to find elephant, giraffe, and dik dik.
Human habitation is forbidden in the park with the exception of staff for the Tanzania National Parks Authority, researchers and staff of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, and staff of the various lodges, campsites and hotels. The main settlement is Seronera, which houses the majority of research staff and the park’s main headquarters, including its primary airstrip.