During my trip through Tanzania, i also spent 3 days in the wonderful Serengeti National Park ,the world’s largest protected grassland and savannah ecosystem . Serengeti is the oldest and most popular national park, also a World Heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder. It ‘s famous for the Great Migration, when up to 2 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebras and 350,000 Thompson, impala and grant’s gazelles migrate from one side of the park to another in search of fresh grazing. This wonder of the nature is also a great ”party” for predators like lions, leopard and crocodiles that stands along the river banks waiting to grab their prey.
The Park is over 14 763 square kilometers in size and can be divided into four parts, according to their unique vegetation and landscapes: the Serengeti Plains with short and long grass, the central part of Seronera with acacia savannah, the Western Corridor with extensive woodland and the Northern Serengeti with hilly and densely wooded areas. Scattered throughout Serengeti savannah there are several outcrops of granite that stick out like rocky islands in a sea of grass.
They are called kopjes, and were formed thousands and thousands years ago when the soft volcanic rock that covers Serengeti were eroded away to expose the very old metamorphic rock below. This rocks first create a wonderful scenic contrast to the surrounding grasslands, but above all kopjes are really important because they provide an habitat for many animals because of the presence of a variety of plants, water, caves for dwelling and last but not least, a vantage point for Serengeti’s many predators. It’s usual to see lions or leopards climb up the kopjes to take a rest or to wait their prey.
The predator viewing here is exceptional with approximately 3000 lions and a huge numbers of cheetah, leopards and hyenas that controll the vast plains and savannah woodlands. Serengeti also boasts great herds of buffalo, smaller groups of elephant and giraffe, many kinds of primates including baboons, velvet and Colobus monkeys, thousands upon thousands of eland, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle and and more than 500 species of birds.
Exploring its beautiful grasslands and endless savannah i spotted hundreds and hundreds of animals but above all a huge quantity of lions and cheetah. I’ve been 14 times in Africa and i’ve visited all the most famous savannah national park through this amazing continent, but with no doubt i’ve never seen an incredible concentrations of predators like in Serengeti.
The best memories I’ve kept in my mind are a big group of lions resting in the grass just a few meters from my vehicle, 3 cheetah playing together, a cheetah with its 4 babies and a beautiful leopard eating an antelope. As the was a Australian born war correspondent and author of popular histories and books about Africa Alan Moorehead said , anyone who can go to the Serengeti, and does not, is mad!
The best way to enjoy this wild country is to book with a local tour operator and its experienced driver-guide, a way that allow you to get the most out of your trip.
When to go: if your interest is to follow the wildebeest migration then the best time for this is December-July. And to see predators the best period is the dry season from June-October.