Serengeti National Park


Serengeti National Park: Africa Natural Tours (For Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Zanzibar) Tanzania safari company in Moshi
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About Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. 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 and honey badger.
The Maasai people had been grazing their livestock in the open plains of eastern Mara Region, which they named "endless plains", for around 200 years when the first European explorer, Austrian Oscar Baumann, visited the area in 1892.
 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 first Briton to enter the Serengeti, Stewart Edward White, recorded his explorations in the northern Serengeti in 1913. He returned to the Serengeti in the 1920s and camped in the area around Seronera for three months. To preserve wildlife, the British evicted the resident Maasai from the park in 1959 and moved them to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. There is still considerable controversy surrounding this move, with claims made of coercion and deceit on the part of the colonial authorities.
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. It has over 2,500 lions and more than 1 million wildebeest.
The Serengeti plains harbor the largest remaining unaltered animal migration in the world where over one million wildebeest plus hundreds of thousands of other ungulates engage in a 1,000 km long annual circular trek spanning the two adjacent countries of Kenya and Tanzania.
This spectacular phenomenon takes place in a unique scenic setting of ‘endless plains’: 25,000 km2 of treeless expanses of spectacularly flat short grasslands dotted with rocky outcrops (kopjes) interspersed with rivers and woodlands.
The Park also hosts one of the largest and most diverse large predator-prey interactions worldwide, providing a particularly impressive aesthetic experience. 
The remarkable spatial-temporal gradient in abiotic factors such as rainfall, temperature, topography and geology, soils and drainage systems in Serengeti National Park manifests in a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats.
 The combination of volcanic soils combined with the ecological impact of the migration results in one of the most productive ecosystems on earth, sustaining the largest number of ungulates and the highest concentration of large predators in the world.
The ecosystem supports 2 million wildebeests, 900,000 Thomson’s gazelles and 300,000 zebras as the dominant herds. Other herbivores include 7,000 elands, 27,000 topis, 18,000 hartebeests, 70,000 buffalos, 4,000 giraffes, 15,000 warthogs, 3,000 waterbucks, 2,700 elephants, 500 hippopotamuses, 200 black rhinoceroses, 10 species of antelope and 10 species of primate. Major predators include 4,000 lions, 1000 leopards, 225 cheetahs, 3,500 spotted hyenas and 300 wild dogs. Of these, the black rhino Diceros bicornis, leopard Panthera pardus, African elephant
Loxodonta africana and cheetah Acynonix jubatus are listed in the IUCN Red List. There are over 500 species of birds that are perennially or seasonally present in the Park, of which five species are endemic to Tanzania. The Park has the highest ostrich population in Tanzania and probably Africa, making the population globally important.
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, and waterbuck - also occur in huge numbers during the wet season. "Kopjes" are granite florations 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, hippopotamus, and martial eagles. The migration passes through from May to July.
  • Northern Serengeti: the landscape is dominated by open woodlands (predominantly Commiphora) and hills, ranging from Seronera in the south to the Mara River on the Kenyan border. Apart from the migratory wildebeest and zebra (which occur from July to August, and in November), the bushy savannah is the best place to find elephant, giraffe, and dik-dik.
Human habitation is forbidden in the park with the exception of staff for the Tanzania National Parks Authority, researchers and staff of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, and staff of the various lodges, campsites and hotels.
 The main settlement is Seronera, which houses the majority of research staff and the park's main headquarters, including its primary airstrip.
In addition to the migration of ungulates, the park is well known for its healthy stock of other resident wildlife, particularly the "big five", named for the five most prized trophies taken by hunters:
  • 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.
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