Tanzania and Kenya share a national park called the Serengeti National Park. In Kenya, the park is known as “Masai Mara”. The name Serengeti mean Endless plains in the Masai Language. And the large area in East Africa very justly lives up to its given name.
Things To Do In Serengeti
In the southern part of the national park, most of the wildlife live during December- May. Near the Lake Masak, you see a lot of rare animals like wild cats, porcupine as well as wild animals.
Zebra & Wildebeest Migration
Serengeti National Park is most famous for its massive animal migration. Nearly one million wildebeest and 200,000 zebras move from the northern hills to the south every October and November during the short rains.
They then move toward the west and north from April to June when the long rains progress. The instinct to migrate is strong. Hence, no drought, gorge, or river infested with crocodiles can prove to be a deterrent.
Early and late daylight hours are usually the best times to observe the more than 500 species of birds which have been identified in the Serengeti. Some of them migrate from Eurasia are present in the Northern Hemisphere winter months from October to April.
Mammals in Serengeti
Serengeti has the highest concentration of large mammals in the world and is famous for its 2,500 lions, the highest concentration found anywhere.
Lake Lagarja and Lake Masak, South Serengeti
From December to May, depending on the rains, the large herds are concentrated on the low lying grass steppe between Olduvai, Gol, Naabi, and Lagarja. A base on Lake Masak or Lake Lagarja is then ideal because one can travel from there in all directions.
Day excursions take one into areas that are little known so that you can enjoy in peace an animal paradise: for example Hidden Valley, the Soito Ngum Kopjes or the Kakesio Plains. You will enjoy the freedom of traveling cross country in order to be able to find the best places and thus have the chance to see rarer animals such as honey-badgers, wild cats, porcupines. In the right season, Southern Serengeti is not to be surpassed.
Lobo, North Serengeti
The North Serengeti is very different from the grassy plains in the South. As there is always water present the big herds retreat there in the dry season. You see many elephants, giraffes, buffalos, impalas, topis, kongonis, etc.
In addition, there are many species that live here permanently and you will also fairly regularly see elephants. A world for itself is the Bologonja Springs on the border with Kenya.
Moru Kopjes and Seronera, Central Serengeti
Here the savanna animals are joined by species that have adapted to living in the rocky cliffs. From here, or whilst in transit, you visit Seronera in the center of the park searching for rare leopards and cheetahs. You can also enjoy the ever-changing landscape with gallery forests, kopjes, and water holes.
The ‘Corridor’, West Serengeti
This is a special area which is seldom offered on safari tours. Long distances, poor communications (few vehicles are equipped with a radio) and the frequently difficult road conditions still keep away most visitors from this part of the Serengeti which stretches almost as far as Lake Victoria. An important aspect of the Serengeti is therefore lost to them. This area is very different from the other main zones of the park.
In the dry season, large stretches of the route westward can be practically empty of animals. The last quarter of the route is however ideally suited to be the home for thousands of animals the whole year round. Gnus and zebras who are resident here do not join their migratory relatives who pass through every year on their way northwards.
Big herds of giraffes, buffalo, eland, topis, kongonis, impalas, waterbuck and Thompson’s gazelles live here together with them. All the big cats and hyenas are present in a good number as well.
The end of May through August is the time to view the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest in Western Serengeti. This is also the rut season for wildebeest and the plains are noisy with male wildebeest defending their temporary territories.
A special attraction, that has become quite famous, is the crocodile population of the Grumeti River. This is particularly large at Kirawira, where the river does not dry up. The time spent at this life-giving water source can be among the most interesting. Here there are not only crocodiles and hippos to observe but also a large number of varieties of birds. Those tourists with a lot of time (or luck) will be able to discover the Black and White Colobus monkey in the crowns of the trees.
On the wooded savannahs of the Ndabaka plains, there is always something to see. You will always feel at peace at the calm pools and mysterious “korongos”.
During your excursions in this least visited part of Serengeti, you can stay at the most luxurious and exclusive camp near Kirawira, the “Kirawira Serena Camp”, at Conservation Corporation’s “Grumeti River Camp” (also very exclusive!) or at the cheaper, but good and charming new Speke Bay Lodge right on the shore of Lake Victoria (4 km outside the park, an hour’s drive from Kirawira). Mbalageti Serengeti Mbalageti Serengeti is also in the Western corridor and offers an unparalleled view over the vast plains due to its stellar location.
Reflect on Life
The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation, and migration are as old as the hills themselves.
Wild animals can be dangerous and you should not wander off on your own while on safari, especially at night. However, most animals are frightened by humans and will flee rather than attack unless cornered or provoked. Keep a sensible distance and treat the animals with respect.
Please do not provoke the animals, do not litter, and do not to make a loud unacceptable noise. Respect the wildlife.
How To Get To Serengeti
The only International airport near the Serengeti National Park is the Kilimanjaro Airport near Arusha. From Arusha, there are connections to the Seronera Airstrip which is in the central region of the Serengeti National Park.
Fees and permits
Entering the National Park costs a lot of money- But camping in the park is an experience like no other. The cost per day is around $150 (excluding the entry fee). Park fees can be very expensive in Tanzania. If you book your trip through a travel agent they are generally included in the overall trip cost.
In Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation area, the park fee is US$50 per person per day, for camping US$30 per tent per day and US$30 per vehicle per day.
There is a number of definite “don’ts” in the Serengeti. These include approaching too close and disturbing animals, making an unacceptable noise, picking flowers or destroying vegetation, discarding litter, exceeding 50 km/h speed limit, bringing pets or firearms into the Park, and going off the roads within 16 km of Seronera.
Camping in Serengeti National Park
Yes, you can camp in Serengeti National Park. It’s a cheaper alternative to Safari lodges. You can reserve and stay in one of the Serengeti’s nine campsites. You must obtain permission from TANAPA or the nearest park warden.
When To Visit Serengeti
All tourists visit to have a safari of the wild Serengeti Park. The temperature here is uniform throughout the year- with an average of 27 degree Celsius. But during the April and May, there is heavy rainfall. So, visit the park during any time of the year except for the rainy months of March-May.
Eat & Drink
Eat freshly roasted cashews, drink watermelon juice, try the tiny sweet bananas or even the red bananas.
Most visitors are surprised by the quality and the variety of the food available on safari. No matter whether you are staying in a lodge, a tented camp or a mobile safari camp, you will be served freshly prepared food according to international tastes and standards.
Bottled water can be purchased at all the lodges and camps and is provided by all safari operators. Non-alcoholic drinks are often included in the all-inclusive rates. It is wise to stick with bottled drinks.
Coffee and mbungo juice are common non-alcoholic drinks found in the park. If you want something stronger, you can try tusker lager and Amarula, a cream liqueur made from the marula plant.
May 30, 2018 7:58 pm