Set in the endless plains of Tanzania, Serengeti National Park is remarkably is one the most pristine wilderness paradises Africa has to offer. This park features among a few ancient protected areas in Africa, straddling between the Mara and Simiyu regions. Due to its strategic location, this magnificent grassland park is popular for its annual wildebeest migration. Serengeti National Park was established in 1951 and this makes it one of the few oldest parks in Africa. It gained UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1979 and still feature among a few untouched protected areas. It straddles within the Serengeti Ecosystem that comprises of lakes, woodlands, grassland plains of Ndutu in southern Serengeti and covers some parts of the northern verdant river expanse and the Masai National Reserve. This ecosystem alone spans for over 25000 square kilometers where the Serengeti National Park is composed of about 15000 square kilometers of protected ecological treasures that await for you to discover. This ecosystem is comprised of interlinked and interdependent phenomena including the topography, climate and situation, wildlife and effects of human usage.
For over 200 years, the Masai people have made best use of this protected area for grazing their livestock especially in the vast plains of eastern Mara area that was named endless plains at a time when the first European explorer Austrian Oscar Baumann paid a visit to this area around 1892. Its name (Serengeti) is a word used by the Masai to describe the area ‘siringet’ that denotes an area where the land runs forever. Stewart Edward White was the first American to get to Serengeti and he recorded his exploration in the northern part of this park in 1913. He came back in the 1920s where he camped in the area around Seronera for about 3 months. At a time, he and his companions shot 50 lions. The fact that hunting lions made them get scarce, the British colonial administration made a partial game reserve of about 3.2 square kilometers in the area in 1921 and a full one in 1929 and with time, it led to creation of Serengeti National Park in 1951.
Serengeti became popular after Bernhard Grzimek work and his son Michael in the 1950s. The two produced a book and film ‘Serengeti shall not die’ which was recognized worldwide. Today, this national park features among a few ancient parks in Tanzania and Africa at large. In order to conserve wildlife, the British displaced the Masai residents from the park in 1959 and moved them to Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
What to see in Serengeti National Park
With an area of about 15000 square kilometers, Serengeti National Park features varied habitats where varied wildlife species thrive from. It comprises of the grassland plains, savanna grassland, riverine forest and woodlands. The Serengeti plains largely comprise of grassland especially the southern part and come with breathtaking sceneries. It is from this area that you will find most of the wildebeests as the breed the fact that they remain around this place from December-May. Besides, you will find other wildlife species such as impalas, gazelles, zebras, hartebeests, topis, water bucks, buffaloes a mention but a few. The western corridor on the other hand features mainly the savanna and it is where River Grumeti is found which offers refuge to most of the Nile crocodiles, hippos, patas monkeys, martial eagles and wildebeest migration is in most cases experienced around this area especially between May and July. The northern sector is composed of vast woodlands and hills ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River along the Kenya border. Besides the famous wildebeest migration and zebras, this area also features as an ideal place for you to sight at several elephants, dik-dik and giraffes a mention but a few.
Serengeti National Park is remarkable destination for you to find the big five game which include lions that make up a total of about 3000 individuals, leopards, African bush elephants, eastern black rhinos and African buffaloes. Other wildlife species to catch a glimpse at while on safari in this park include aardwolf, bat eared fox, crested porcupine, aardvark as well as over 500 bird species that include among others Kori bustard, crowned cranes, secretary bird, Masai ostrich, helmeted guinea fowls, southern ground hornbill, marabou stork, yellow billed stork, lesser flamingo, martial eagle and others. Other reptile species to catch a glimpse at this park include leopard tortoise, serrated hinged terrapin, rainbow agama, Nile monitor, chameleons, African python, black mamba, black necked spitting cobra, puff adder and others.
Things to do while on safari in Serengeti National Park
This park is ideal for game drive/game viewing, hot air balloon tours, camping, picnicking, walking tours, cultural exploration, birding, witnessing the wildebeest migration and others.
Best time to visit Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park can be visited at any time of the year. But if you are interested in witnessing the wildebeest migration then you can get to this park around December to July whereas predators can be spotted from June to October.
Accommodation in Serengeti National Park
For visitor overnight stay while on Tanzania safari in Serengeti National Park, there are many accommodation facilities for you to make a choice and they range from budget to luxury. They include tented camps like the Sabora tented camp, Sayari camp, Migration camp in the east, Kusini camp, Naskia central camp, Kirurumu Serengeti camp, buffalo luxury camp, Serengeti permanent camps and many others. The available lodges in this park include Serengeti Serena lodge, Serengeti Sopa lodge, Lobo wildlife lodge and many more.