Serengeti National Park

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Serengeti National Park

Tanzania’s oldest park and the crown jewel of the national parks, encompassing nearly 15,000 square kilometers, it is arguably one of the world’s last true wildernesses and home to the annual 1,000 kilometer pilgrimage made by nearly two million wildebeest. Established as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, the word “Serengeti” is synonymous with safaris and it is without a doubt, Africa’s most famous park.

The Serengeti is dominated by savannah and opens woodlands and encompasses the largest herds of grazing animals in the world and the predators that follow providing a wildlife spectacle unmatched anywhere else.

The annual migration made up of a handful of ungulates, the wildebeest being the dominant species, followed by the Thomson’s gazelles, zebras and eland. The predators that constantly harrow and prey on the migration species include lions, cheetah, leopard, spotted hyena, striped hyena, golden jackal, side-striped jackal and black-backed jackal. Other antelope species found in the Serengeti savannah include oribi, Grant's gazelle, hartebeest, steinbuck and buffalo and in the woodlands impala, duiker, bushbuck and Kirk's dikdik are often spotted. Both the reedbuck and waterbuck can be found in the riverine habitats and the klipspringers make their home on the kopjes that dot the landscape.

Other larger mammals include the African elephant, black rhinoceros, hippopotamus and giraffe. Smaller mammals include bushbabies, vervet monkeys, patas monkey, black and white colobus monkey, olive baboon, aardvark, pangolin, African hare, porcupine, hyraxes, bat-eared foxes, ratel, genets, African civet, several species of mongooses, aardwolf, serval cat, African wildcat, caracal, warthog and bushpig. Reptiles include the colourful agama lizard, the Nile crocodile, monitor lizard, African rock python, cobras and puff adder. The Serengeti ecosystem is also a birdlover’s paradise with over 500 bird species from the ostrich to the tiny waxbills. A trip to East Africa would not be complete without a visit to this world renowned national park.