Serengeti National Park is a 5,700 square mile park located in Tanzania, Africa. It is the oldest national park in the country, which began when a partial game reserve was created in 1921 to protect the lions in the region. It became Serengeti National Park in 1951. Prior to the arrival of the Britons in 1913, the first European known to visit the Serengeti was Oscar Baumann, in 1892. Oscar discovered Maasai people in the region that had been there for 200 years. The Britons evicted the Maasai from the park in 1959. Serengeti National Park has since grown to become famous for being a migration ground, wildlife viewing attraction, and other tourist destination.
This park contains a diverse selection of habitats and wildlife. For the sake of comparison, the Serengeti National Park is approximately the size of Northern Ireland. It offers some of the most spectacular and undisturbed natural habitats found anywhere on the globe. The Serengeti National Park is bordered by Lake Victoria in the west, Lake Eyasi in the south, and the Great Rift Valley to the east.
The landscape of the Serengeti Plain is extremely varied, ranging from savannah, to hilly woodlands, to open grasslands. The geographic diversity of the region is due to the extreme weather conditions that plague the area, particularly the potent combination of heat and wind.
In the southern portions of the plain, broad expanses of open grassland play host to herds of zebras and wildebeest, images which have become closely associated with the Serengeti. To the north of the grasslands lie the savannah, home to gazelles and ostriches. This zone of the plain is also famous for granite outcroppings called kopjes, that interrupt the plains and play host to separate ecosystems than are found in the grasses below.
Serengeti National Park has a tropical climate. Like the rest of Tanzania, there is a dry season from June to October, and two distinct rainy seasons. The first, with ‘long rains’, runs from March to the end of May, while the short rains occur from November to December.
One of the most eye catching events in the Serengeti Plain is the biannual migration, also called the “circular migration,” of zebras and wildebeest from the grasslands of the south to the northern reaches of the plain and back again. This migration, which is the longest overland migration in the world, first takes place in April, when the grasslands of the south begin to dry up.
Unable to survive on the dry plain the wildebeest lead the charge toward the north. The zebras then join into the mass migration, careful to maintain their family groupings in the the movement. The long trek to the north is quite challenging for many of the animals, particularly as the males begin to compete for dominance and mating partners. Once the animals have reached the fertile lands of the northern plains, they will stay there and graze until November. Once November comes to the Serengeti Plain, the wildebeest and the zebras begin their migration back to the grasslands of the south.
If you’re looking for a magical destination for your next African safari, Tanzania and Serengeti National Park can offer you a trip of a lifetime.
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