Serengetti


Serengit in Ma the language of the Maasai means the endless plains. The Serengeti is Tanzania’s largest national park, with a truly magnificent  concentration of migratory animals which are on a continuous migration in search of feed and water.

The sight of a lion patrolling the short grass plains or a pride lying up on a kopje or the endless chain of migrating wildebeest and zebras with their lines disappearing into the far horizons on both sides is a sight to be treasured and savored like the best of the age old single malts, over and over again.

The Serengeti ecosystem extends beyond the National Park to include several other conservation areas and reserves, including the Masai Mara in Kenya. It is through these extensive protected areas that a million or more wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and impala are able to maintain their annual dates with destiny and able to complete their great circulatory migration.

It is hard to predict exactly where the migration will be at a certain time, because the animals are driven purely by the search for food, and if the rains come when they are supposed to, the herds follow a predictable pattern but one can more or less . drive an hour or two either direction from camp to be in the heart of the migration of the safari is chosen with care and detail. In May the herds graze along the western corridor between the Grumeti and Mbalageti Rivers, and commence their mating season on their war north in the Masai Mara. Then in June or July they split up and some continue west, while others head due north and hundreds of thousands move steadily north-west towards the long golden grass of the Masai Mara. They graze on both sides of the Mara River for several months and then head south again in about October and pass the heavily wooded Lobo hills till they descend down into the short grass plains where the wildebeest and zebra give birth.

The numbers of animals that complete this migration is incredible – 1.5 million wildebeest, 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle and 250,000 zebras chomp and grunt their way through the plains. Where there is such a large congregation of prey there are predators and the Serengeti is renowned for its impressive lion sightings. Silver-backed jackals, spotted hyenas, cheetah, eagles and vultures are also avid consumers of this endless source of meat and little goes to waste. Leopards can best be observed on the Serenora river skulking in the tall trees that dot its shoreline.

For much of the year temperatures remains between 70-80°F (21-27°C) but nights and early mornings get colder in the months of June, July and August. The short rains are in November and December and the long rains fall from March to May, with April and May being the height of the rainy season. June to October is usually dry, as is January and February.

Facts

  • The Serengeti World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve encompasses 8,078miles² (20,922km²)
  • Altitude varies from 3,120-6,070 feet (950-1,850metres)
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