The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzanian national park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions. It is famous and well known 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 name “Serengeti” derives from the Maasai word “Siringiti,” meaning “endless plains.” When most people think of safari and the Serengeti, they envision scenes of the Great Migration, complete with an image of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest stampeding through the croc-infested waters of the Mara River. Indeed, the annual migration of millions of animals, predominately. It is the grandest spectacle of wildlife in Africa. However, they envision the accurate Great Migration, a column of wildebeest 24 miles( 40km) long, trudging across the plains two or three abreast, all on the move searching for fresh, green grass. Now imagine that it takes more than two weeks for that column of animals to cross a single spot. Image them bunched together in protective her, or giving birth, or scrambling bin panic to escape the jaws of snapping crocodile. Image lions and hyenas are prowling the scene searching for the weakest animal or the lone straggler separated from its herd. Only now have you visualized the magnificent phenomenon that is the Great Serengeti Migration.
Over 2 million migrating animals participate in this annual journey: 1.5 million wildebeest, 400,000 zebra, and 300,000 gazelles accompanied by various goals: to find fresh, green grass. Consequently, the Great Migration took place year-round. Prey and predator follow a relatively predictable but variable annual cycle dependent on rainfall and the abundance of green grass. Depending on your location and the time of the year, safari-goers may see the file columns or traversing muddy rivers.
The following is a general guide to the route and timing of the annual migration. However, it must be stress that the timing is subject to rainfall patterns and cannot be predicted. There are no fences in the Serengeti ecosystem- the herds follow ancient survival instincts that are no match for the predictability. The annual cycle begins in the southern Serengeti; half a million calves are born between January and March. However, when the rains end and the land dries, the migration herds start to move clockwise towards the Maasai Mara region via western Corrido and Grummet River. When the short rains arrive, the herds move into the northernmost sections of the Serengeti near the Mara River and Lami wedge. It is here that fortunate safari-goer might witness small herds of wildebeest, typically between 500-1500, traversing the Mara River back and forth between its northern and southern shores. By late October into November, the herds begin to move south through the Lobo area, reaching the short grass plains near the southern plains of the Serengeti and Ndutu in late November, in time for the breeding season.
Great migration, best time to visit:
June – September high densities year-round, although its peak time is during the dry season. This time is also when the great migration passes through the area and crosses the Grumeti River.
This moment is also when the great migration passes through the area and crosses the Grumeti River (in June or July). This spectacle could not be higher on any safari enthusiast’s bucket list. And for a good reason.
Late January to February is the wildebeest calving season, which provides excitement as lions and cheetah descend on fragile and naive newborns. Although action-packed, these scenes are not for the faint of heart. The height of the wet season occurs in March and April and causes the usually crowded Serengeti to empty, offering an intimate experience with the wildlife. This time of year is the return of migratory bird species – a big drawcard for all the twitchers out there.
Hot air balloon, and game driving.
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