Friday, October 9, 2015

Serengeti National Park

Sunset over Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. The park covers 14,750 square kilometres of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands.
It is famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white bearded (or brindled) wildebeest and 250,000 zebra and for its numerous Nile crocodile.
Serengeti National Park is a large conservation area located in the north of Tanzania. The park flows over into neighboring Kenya where it's known as the Masai Mara. The park is but one of several conservation areas within the Serengeti region of East Africa, though a vitally important one. As well as conserving wildlife, flora and iconic landscapes, Serengeti National Park has emerged as a major traveller and tourist destination, many making the journey there to engage in safari. The name Serengeti comes from the Maasai language, meaning 'endless plains'. Serengeti National Park is most famous for its 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.Over 90,000 tourists visit the Park each year.

Wildebeest in Serengeti National Park.
Safari in Serengeti National Park.
Landscape in Serengeti National Park.
A herd of elephants in the morning in Serengeti National Park.
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. The Maasai people had been grazing their livestock in the open plains of eastern Mara Region, for around 200 years when the first European explorer, German Oscar Baumann, visited the area in 1892. To preserve wildlife, the British evicted the resident Maasai from the park in 1959 and moved them to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
The park is Tanzania's oldest national park and remains the flagship of the country's tourism industry, providing a major draw to the Northern Safari Circuit encompassing Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park, and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Masai Lion: the Serengeti is believed to hold the largest population of lions in Africa due in part to the abundance of prey species. More than 3,000 lions live in this ecosystem.
African Leopard: these reclusive predators are commonly seen in the Seronera region but are present throughout the national park with the population at around 1,000.
African Bush Elephant: the herds are recovering from population lows in the 1980s caused by poaching and are largely located in the northern regions of the park.
Eastern Black Rhinoceros: mainly found around the kopjes in the centre of the park, very few individuals remain due to rampant poaching. Individuals from the Masai Mara Reserve cross the park border and enter Serengeti from the northern section at times.
African Buffalo: still abundant and present in healthy numbers.
Tanzanian Cheetah: the Tanzanian cheetah's range has high density in Tanzania and Kenya. The rate of cub mortality varies up to 90% in the Serengeti ecosystem.
The park also supports many other species, including Thomson's and Grant's gazelle, topi, eland, waterbuck, spotted hyena, striped hyena, baboon, impala, East African wild dog, and Masai giraffe. The park also boasts about 500 bird species, including ostrich, secretary bird, Kori bustard, crowned crane, marabou stork, martial eagle, lovebirds, and many species of vultures.

The Serengeti falls into the classic bimodal rain pattern of East Africa. The short rains are concentrated in November/December, the long and heavier rains in March - May. Mean monthly maximum temperatures are relatively uniform throughout the year being constant around 27 to 28 degrees centigrade at Seronera. At Ngorongoro Crater the nights can be very chilly due to altitude.

Any time other than during the long rains in April and May is a perfect time to be on Safari in Northern Tanzania.

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, waterbuck, also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. "Kopjes" are granite formations 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, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.
Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra, the bushy savannah is the best place to find elephant, giraffe, and dik dik.

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Map of Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Giraffes in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Group of Lions in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Zebras migration in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Wildebeest migration in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Safari in Serengeti National Park.
The sun rises in front of an umbrella acacia tree in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Safari in Serengeti National Park.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
Hot Air Balloons at Sunrise near Seronera in Serengeti National Park in northern Tanzania.
Ndutu Lake, Tanzania.
Go there:
The nearest international airport to the Serengeti is Kilimanjaro Airport (IATA: JRO) near Arusha. KLM is currently the only international airline that flies directly into Arusha daily from Amsterdam. Other airlines such as Swissair will fly into Nairobi, Kenya, from Zurich or Dar es Salaam, from where you can get a connecting flight to Arusha.
By car:
The main access road into the Serengeti from Arusha passes the gate of Lake Manyara National Park, mounts the Rift Valley Escarpment, goes on through communal farming lands to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, drops down onto the plains past Olduvai Gorge to the east, and enters the Serengeti through Naabi Hill Gate. The distance is 325 km and the drive takes around eight hours. At Seronera and Lobo, garage facilities are available to refuel cars. Breakdown facilities, however, are virtually non-existent.
By plane
Internal flights by small aircrafts from Arusha to the Seronera Airstrip in the heart of Serengeti or to Kirawira Airstrip in the Western Corridor.

Lake Lagarja/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 travelling 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.
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 centre of the park searching for rare leopards and cheetahs. You can also enjoy the ever changing landscape with gallery forests, kopjes and water holes.
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. In addition there are many species that live here permanently and you will also fairly regularly see elephants. A world for itself are the Bologonja Springs on the border to Kenya. The 'Corridor', West Serengeti. This is a special area which is seldom offered on safari tours. Long distances, poor communications 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.

Take photographs! A good zoom and a large memory card make the results so good you'll be looking at the photos months and months later.
Take a balloon safari which will give you best views.
A landscape from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
Flamingo in Ndutu Lake, Tanzania.
Group of lions on the tree, Serengeti National Park.
Impalas at the Serengeti.
Leopard taking a nap after a heavy meal in the Serengeti national park.
Lioness on rocks in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Africa.
Serengeti National Park.
Sunset over Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

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1 comment:

  1. Oh were you in Tanzania really? did you take those shots? nice!