The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. It was established in 1951 with an estimated area of 14,750 km squared of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands in the Northern Tanzania bordering Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.
It is famous for its annual migration of over 1.5 million white-bearded wildebeest 250,000 zebra over 400,000 Thomson gazelles.
The name “Serengeti” is an approximation of the word used by the Maasai to describe the area, siringet, which means “the place where the land runs on forever”.
The park is Tanzania’s oldest national park and remains the flagship of the country’s tourism industry.
The park is a host to over 350,000 tourists every year.
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 buffalos, waterbucks also occur in huge numbers during the wet season.
- Western corridor: the black clay soil covers the savannah of this region. The Grumeti River and its gallery forests is home to Nile crocodiles, patas monkeys, hippopotamus, 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. This is the best place to find giraffe, elephant, and dik dik.
The park is worldwide known for its incredible scenery and magnificent wildlife.
Apart from the vast herds of migratory and some resident of over 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra, the park is also densely packed with other plains game including 0.5 million Thomson’s gazelles and Grant’s gazelle, over 8,000 Masai giraffe, 5000 elephants, buffalos, warthog, topis, common eland, waterbuck, grey duiker, impala, klipspringer, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, fringe-eared oryx and coke’s hartebeest.
Some of the most popular animals among tourists include in approximation over 3000lions, 1000 leopards, 1000 cheetahs, over 4,000 spotted hyena, two species of jackals, African golden wolf, honey badger, striped hyena, serval, seven species of mongooses, two species of otters and the recently introduced East African wild dog (extinct since 1991). Apart from the safari staples,
Yellow and olive baboons and vervet monkey, patas monkey, black-and-white Columbus are also seen in the gallery forests of the Grumeti River.
Serengeti National Park has over 500 bird species, including Masai ostrich, secretary bird, kori bustards, helmeted guinea fowls, southern ground hornbill, crowned cranes, marabou storks, yellow-billed stork, lesser flamingo, martial eagles, lovebirds, oxpeckers, and many species of vultures.
Nile crocodile, leopard tortoise, serrated hinged terrapin, rainbow agama, Nile monitor, chameleons, African python, black mamba, black-necked spitting cobra, puff adder.
Other mammals are include aardvark, aardwolf, bat-eared fox, ground pangolin, crested porcupine, three species of hyraxes, cape hare.