Serengeti National Park is a 5,700-square-mile park 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. Before the arrival of the Britons in 1913, the first European known to visit the Serengeti was Oscar Baumann in 1892. Oscar met the Maasai people in the region that had been there for 200 years. The Britons evicted the Maasai from the park in 1959.
However, 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 highly 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 that have become closely associated with the Serengeti. To the north of the grasslands lie the savannah, home to gazelles and ostriches. Granite outcroppings called kopjes interrupt the plains in this zone, hosting separate ecosystems from the grasslands 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, 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 led the charge toward the north. The zebras then join the mass migration, carefully maintaining their family groupings. 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 lifetime trip.
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