Serengeti National Park
Parts of the present Park were made into a
National park in 1952. The boundaries were
then changed and enlarged in 1959 to 14,763
sq. km. It is part of a coherent ecosystem some
35,000 sq. km in size.
The Serengeti is now both a World Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site. The Serengeti is world famous and with good reason. Not only is the migration of over 1 million wildebeest and other plains game through its plains and woodlands the most spectacular wildlife event on earth, but it abounds with other wildlife superlatives. The Serengeti is home to the world’s largest populations of wildebeest, zebra, Cape eland, lion, cheetah, hyena, gazelle (both Thompson’s and Grant’s), and no doubt much more. And on top of this it is scenically beautiful and has a wonderful sunny climate of cool nights and warm days.
So… if you are the kind of person that feels uncomfortable with humankind’s restless desire to subjugate nature and to dominate everything, you will enjoy the Serengeti! It is a natural world at its very best. Human beings take second place here. You come only to witness.
The towering granite monoliths of the southern plains, the 18 - 20 foot crocodiles of the rivers, shoulderto- shoulder masses of wildebeest on the move, and the chilling openness of the Gol Mountains are safari experiences that instill humility, You get very close to the core of things in the Serengeti - beauty innocence, cruelty violence, and tranquility. When you leave and your thoughts float back to the savannas and the woodlands, they bring with them an ache - a longing to be part of this natural world again. Wildebeest are the Serengeti’s driving force - some 1.3 million of them, probably more.
They, together with some 300,000 zebra and attendant predators and scavengers are a vast ecological powerhouse, roaming beautiful landscapes, setting the boundaries, changing the scenery, altering the vegetation, and laying down the limits and the lifestyles of just about everything else that lives here. But don’t let the scale of this natural machine overwhelm you. There is a variety of mammals and birds here that only Africa can boast.
It is only when you get into the Serengeti on the ground that the vastness of the place becomes real. Many people think of it as only one destination to be seen in two days before rushing somewhere else. How wrong! There are very different places here with a range of habitats from treeless plains to mountains to closed canopy riverine forests and springs. On top of all this is the question of seasons. The wildlife and the character of places varies dramatically from one season to another.
Maybe this quote by the famous biologist George Schaller says it best, “Yearning for hope and thriving on dreams, we find what we seek in the Serengeti. At least once in a lifetime every person should make a pilgrimage into the wilderness to dwell on its wonders and discover the idyll of a past now largely gone. If I had to select just one such spot on earth, it would be the Serengeti. There dwell the fierce ghosts of our human past, there animals seek their destiny, living monuments to a time when we were still wanderers on a prehistoric earth.
To witness that calm rhythm of life revives our worn souls and recaptures a feeling of belonging to the natural world. No one can return from the Serengeti unchanged, for tawny lions will forever prowl our memory and great herds throng our imagination.”
WildlifeAll the classic big game animals of Africa are found in the Serengeti. Of recent importance are re-introduction programs for black rhino and Cape hunting dogs. The black rhino is being introduced in the north and south of the Park while hunting dogs are beginning to spread throughout.
AccommodationAccommodation options are many. The National Park has,
When to goThe Serengeti is a year-round destination with access to all parts throughout the year.
Getting thereAir. There are all weather airstrips in the center at Seronera, in the south at Kusini, in the east at Lobo, in the west at Kirawira and in the north at Kogatende and Lamai. These airstrips are used by scheduled and private charters.
Road. Access is only possible through established entry points which are at Naabi Hill, Seronera, Ndutu, Kusini, Kirawira, Handajega, Ikoma, Tabora ‘B’, Lamai, Kleins. All entry fees are paid online through the Park HQ, and all entry points and the HQ are interconnected through the internet.
Safari ideasThe Serengeti is on almost everyone’s wish list for a safari to Tanzania, but one can only absorb the full extent of Tanzania’s extraordinary depth and character as a safari destination by including other places in one’s travels. The rugged wilderness of the southern and north western Parks, and the joys of Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika are a wonderful contrast. Indeed, one quickly reaches the conclusion that one safari is not enough. Welcome back one day!
When in Serengeti you may visit Fort Ikoma a German fort that was set up at the end of the 1890’s to spread the German influence in the Northern part of German East Africa. The Fort is situated on top of the most easterly of a series of low hills about one mile north of the Grumeti River.
The first European to set foot in the area was the German explorer and naturalist Dr. Oscar Baumann, who passed by as an agent of the German Anti-Slavery Committee on his way to Burundi in 1892. Baumann was in fact the first European to visit both Ngorongoro and the Serengeti together with his compatriots who built the Fort. The Fort was used as an administrative centre and a military outpost until it fell to the British in 1917 as the Germans were forced to retreat from what is now Tanzania during the World War I.