SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK “HOME OF ENDLESS PLAINS AND THE GREAT MIGRATION”
Serengeti national park is a world renown wildlife destination and an iconic national park in Tanzania , this park is the oldest game reserve in Tanzania renowned as a site for the annual great migration where millions of wildebeests, antelopes and zebras on their way to Maasai Mara national reserve in Kenya. The park is a true African wildlife safaris destination defined by its endless rolling plains, it is from these plains that the park gets its name “siringet” a Maasai word meaning “the Endless plains” or “a place where the land runs for ever”.
LOCATION AND SIZE OF SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti national park is located in the northwestern Tanzania and is bordered by Kenya to the north where it is continuous with Maasai Mara national park, the park is also bordered by Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the South East, Maswa Game reserve to the Southwest and Ikorongo and Gumet Game reserve to the west.
Serengeti national park covers an area of over 14,763 square kilometers of predominantly rolling grasslands, savannah, riverine forest and woodlands.
HISTORY OF SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
The open plains of the park were originally used by the Maasai people to graze their livestock until 1913 when the area was gazetted as hunting ground for professional hunters, the hunters were attracted to the area because of the area because of the vast herds and rare species of animals in the area. Because of the continues hunting in the areas, animals most especially lions reduced which prompted the British colonial administration to declare part of the area as a game reserve covering an area of 3.2 square kilometers in 1921. In 1929 a full reserve was established in ion 1951 the area was declared a national park.
After the declaration of the park as a national park, the Masai people who lived and gazetted in the area were peacefully evicted from the area and resettled to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Serengeti national park gained fame as a conservation area after the initial work of Bernhard Grizmek and his son in 1950s, they produced a film titled “Serengeti Shall not Die ” which is recognized as one of the most important early pieces of nature conservation documentary.
WILDLIFE AND BIRD LIFE IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti national park is a classic Tanzania safari destination for Tanzania wildlife safaris, is an incredible home to a variety of wildlife and birdlife.
Wildlife in Serengeti national park
Serengeti national park experiences the world’s largest ever witnessed wildlife migration “the great annual migration”, the migration involves millions of wildebeests and thousands of zebras and gazelles on their annual migration between the park and Maasai Mara national reserve. These animals move in search for water and green pastures following an old route.
Serengeti national park is a popular habitat for the big Five, a variety of carnivores, reptiles and primate species. Wildlife in Serengeti national park include lions, leopards, buffaloes, elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, coke’s hartebeest, giraffes, waterbucks, impalas, warthogs, wildebeests, hippos, crocodiles, greater kudus, roan antelopes, bushbucks, dik-dik, ground pangolin, crested porcupine, species of hyraxes, cape hare among others.
Reptiles in the park include Black Mamba, black necked spitting cobras, chameleons, African python, rainbow agama, Nile crocodiles, leopard tortoises serrated hinged terrapin and chameleons.
BIRDLIFE IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti national park is a bird’s paradise boosting more than 500bird species making it a perfect destination for Tanzania birding tours, notable bird species include Black-headed gonolek, Fischer’s lovebird, Green-backed woodpecker, Grey-backed fiscal, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Hildebrandt’s starling, Red-capped robin-chat, Rufous-tailed weaver, Rüppell’s vulture, Southern ground hornbill, Schalow’s turaco, Silverbird, Usambiro barbet, Verreaux’s eagle and Yellow-throated sandgrouse among others.
TANZANIA SAFARI ACTIVITIES TO DO IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti national park is an iconic site to do game drives while on a Tanzania, the park is a home to a variety of wildlife species living in the endless plains of the park making it to be one of the most enjoyable activities to do. Game drives offer an opportunity to explore the four major areas of the park that are Seronera and the south, Grumeti and the western Corridor, Central Serengeti and Northern Serengeti.
Game drives in the park are done in sessions that is morning game drive, afternoon game drive , full day game drive and night game drives.
Game drives are conducted in 4X4 wheel safari vehicles with pop up roofs and open widows to offer you uninterrupted views of the rolling plains, animals such as lions, leopards, zebras, cheetahs, elephants, wildebeests, gazelles and many birds such as Black-headed gonolek, Fischer’s lovebird, Green-backed woodpecker, Grey-backed fiscal, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Grey-crested helmet-shrike among others.
HOT AIR BALLOON SAFARIS
Hot air balloon safari is an intimate way of exploring the wilderness of Serengeti national park during your Tanzania Tour, this activity offers aerial views of the endless plains of Serengeti and various animals and birds.
Hot air balloon in the park start as early as 6 am and takes about 2 hours , the safari takes off from designated areas in the Seronera area,. After the experience you are treated to champagne breakfast in the bush. This experience is perfect for watching the wildebeest migration and photography safaris.
Serengeti national park is listed among the best bird destinations on the African continent and one of the top spots for Tanzania bird watching tours, the park is a birder’s haven boosting about 500 species of birds recorded including water birds, song birds, endemic species and migratory birds from Europe and northern region of Africa.
Some of the birds to look out for during bird watching safari in Serengeti national park include Black-headed gonolek, Fischer’s lovebird, Green-backed woodpecker, Grey-backed fiscal, Grey-breasted spurfowl, Grey-crested helmet-shrike, Hildebrandt’s starling, Red-capped robin-chat, Rufous-tailed weaver, Rüppell’s vulture, Southern ground hornbill, Schalow’s turaco, Silverbird, Usambiro barbet, Verreaux’s eagle and Yellow-throated sandgrouse among others.
Bird watching experience is best done in the morning and late afternoon, the best time of the year to do this experience is in the months of November to April which is a breeding period for most birds and this is the time when migratory birds from Europe and northern region of Africa arrive in Serengeti national park.
Cultural experience in Serengeti national park offers a deeper insight and experience in a traditional Maasai lifestyle living on the borders of the park. The Maasai people are semi-nomadic tribe who used to graze in the areas of the park before it was gazetted as a protected area, during the cultural encounters you get to witness various traditional ways the Masai people live their lives. You will have an opportunity to learn about their customs, rituals and traditions, visit the bomas (their circular huts), participate in grazing of the cattle, be entertained by local dances and drama and get an opportunity to purchase beautiful handcrafts made using traditional methods.
Walking safaris is an exhilarating Tanzania safari activity to do in the park, this activity is done in a presence of an armed ranger for protections purposes. As you walk on various routes and trails running through savannah grasslands, you will be able to explore the park on foot and enjoy sights of various animals and birds in the park.
WHERE TO STAY IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
Serengeti national park has a wide range of accommodation where you can stay during your Tanzania safari, these accommodations are location in the regions of the park and they are safari lodges, tented camps and camps. Accommodations in the park are categorized as luxury, midrange and budget.
- Amelia Serengeti lodge
- One Nature Nyaruswiga Serengeti
- Serengeti Simba Lodge
- Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti
- Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp
- Soroi Serengeti Lodge
- Kati Kati Tented Camp
- Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
- Seronera Wildlife Lodge
- Lemala Ewanjan Tented Camp
- Mbuzi Mawe Serena Camp
- Naona Moru camp
- Serengeti Sopa Lodge
- Kiota Camp
- Serengeti Acacia Camps
- Acacia Tarangire Luxury Camp
- Acacia Central camp
- Osupuko Serengeti camps
- Thorn Tree camp
- Kwirawira Serena Camp
- Mbalaget Lodge among others
HOW TO GET TO SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
The park is accessed using four main entry and exit points such as Naabi Hill Gate, Ndabaka Gate, Klein’s Gate and Bologonya gate. Tourists can get to the park using road and air means of transport,
- By road – The park is situated in a distance of about 460 kilometers from Arusha about 8 hours drive, you can decided to use either private or public means of transport however the best option is using a tour operator service vehicle as it offer maximum privacy.
- By air – domestic chartered flights are offered from Arusha airport to various airstrip serving the park such as Kogatende airstrip, Lobo airstrip, Seronera airstrip, Lobo asirstrip, Fort Ikoma airstrip among others.