Serengeti National Park

Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly the best – known wildlife sanctuary in the world, unequaled for its natural beauty and scientific value. Serengeti National Park has area of 5,700 sq miles, is as Northern Ireland, which includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the Maswa Game Reserve and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve (in Kenya), is roughly the size of Kuwait. It lies between the shore of Lake Victoria in the west, Lake Eyasi in the south, and the Great Rift Valley to the east. As such, it offers the most complex and least disturbed ecosystem on earth.

The name Serengeti derived from the Maasai language it means endless plains, these vast plains are the origins of the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth, the migration of over a million wildebeest to the Maasai Mara plains in Kenya. Pursued by hungry predators, this becomes a struggle of life and death that only the Serengeti and Maasai Mara are honoured to host.

A unique combination of diverse habitats enables it to support more than 30 species of large herbivores and nearly 500 species of birds. Its landscape, originally formed by volcanic activity, has been sculptured by the concerted action of wind, rain and sun. It varies from open grass plains in the south, savannah in the north, to extensive woodland and black clay plains to the west. Small rivers, lakes and swamps are scattered throughout and the rock outcrops called kopjes. In the south- east rise the great volcanic massifs and craters of the Ngorongoro Highlands. Each area has its own particular atmosphere and wildlife.

When drought sets in, Serengeti is the site of one of the most breathtaking events in the animal kingdom – the migration of thousands of wildebeest heading southwest, north or west in search of water and greener pastures, a million wildebeest… each one driven by the same ancient rhythm, fulfilling its instinctive role in the inescapable cycle of life: a frenzied three-week bout of territorial conquests and mating; survival of the fittest as 25 miles long columns plunge through crocodile-infested waters on the annual exodus north; replenishing the species in a brief population explosion that produces more than 8,000 calves daily before the 600 miles pilgrimage begins again.

Yet even when the migration is quiet, the Serengeti offers arguably the most scintillating game-viewing in Africa: great herds of buffalo, herds of elephant and giraffe, and thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle and African great predators; lion, leopard and cheetah. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators, ranging from the insectivorous aardwolf to the beautiful serval cat. And even small mammals such as Gaudy agama lizards and rock hyraxes scuffle around the surfaces of the park’s isolated granite koppies.

The Serengeti’s climate is usually warm and dry. The main rainy season is from March to May, with short rains falling from October to November. The amount of rainfall increases from about 508 mm on the plains in the lee of Ngorongoro Highlands to about 1,200 mm on the shores of Lake Victoria. All is lush and green after the rains, but gradual drying up follows which restricts plants growth and encourages animals to migrate in search of permanent waters. With altitudes ranging from 920 to 1,820 metres, mean temperatures vary from 15 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius

The Serengeti was made a partial Game Reserve in 1921 and a full one in 1929. It was expanded and upgraded to a National Park in 1951

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Serengeti