Serengeti National Park
The name ‘Serengeti’ is derived from the Maasai word ‘siringit’ meaning “endless plains,” a just title for arguably the world’s most famous National Park.
National Geographic Magazine describes the Serengeti as, “the destination of a lifetime; the must-see spot for the complete traveler.” It is clear that no safari to Tanzania can be considered complete without a visit to this remarkable place.
The Serengeti extends over some 14,763 square kilometres (5,700 square miles) which makes it roughly the same size as Northern Ireland or the state of Connecticut. The park supports over four million different mammals and birds making it the greatest concentration of wildlife in the world.
It is the short grass plains of the Seronera area in the South of the park which are perhaps best known to first-time visitors. It is here that one finds the kopje outcrops, the small
granite rock formations which loom out of the seas of grassland to form a distinct habitat for several species as well as perfect viewing points for some of the big cats who populate these predator-rich plains.
Less known but equally as scenic with its own distinct eco-system is the Acacia savannah and wooded grasslands of the North of the park in the Lobo / Grumeti area where the Serengeti meets the Kenyan Maasai Mara. It is in this region that the Great Migration begins to congregate in the rutting season for its big push to the birthing plains of the South.
The Great Migration is a much-documented phenomenon familiar to most wildlife enthusiasts but it must be experienced first-hand for the true majesty of the occasion to be fully understood. This mass exodus of 1.5 million wildebeest together with half a million zebra and gazelle on their eternal search for water and pasture is one of the greatest natural spectacles on Earth. The Great Migration pattern follows a 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) pilgrimage from Kenya to Serengeti reaching its climax in December till February when the birthing begins in the Southern Serengeti.
In May till July when the dry season is at its peak, the herds begin to drift to the west towards Lake Victoria, crossing the Grumeti River and on to the Maasai Mara in Kenya.
Herds of wildebeest and zebra stretching as far as the eye can see and which include the weak, the crippled and the young, form an easy target for the numerous predators that famously roam the Serengeti. The casual ease with which the lions, leopard, cheetah, hyenas and crocodiles pick off the vulnerable members of the herds is as much a part of the Migration spectacle as are the endless grunting masses. Sightings of kills are common on game drives.
The Serengeti National Park rarely disappoints and few people leave without having had their expectations surpassed by the beauty, the wildlife and the sheer scale of one of the last untouched stretches of Africa.
No-one at whatever level of interest in ornithology can fail to notice the wealth of birdlife in the Serengeti. Colourful rollers, bee-eaters, kingfishers and sunbirds are common whilst amongst larger species birds of prey, game birds and waterfowl are well represented.
Serengeti National Park and Intimate Places Tanzania
Given the sheer size and importance of the Serengeti National Park, Intimate Places Tanzania has a number of accommodation solutions for its guests there. Buffalo Luxury Camp is located to the North East of the park in a private concession bordering Kleins Gate and, quite apart from wonderful game and bird viewing opportunities to be found there, offers a range of activities which are not normally to be found in and around the Serengeti. Camp Zebra is located wherever the Wildebeest migration is to be found and offers some very close encounters with this, the largest mass movement of animals on our planet. And Intimate Camps allows you the opportunity to explore the Serengeti on your own terms and in your own private space just as the early explorers did a century ago.