Serengeti National Park, Northern Circuit

The Serengeti, which means “endless plains” in the Maasai language, is one of the most iconic wildlife reserves in Africa, and home to the Great Migration, along with the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Covering over 15,000 square kilometers, Serengeti National Park has more than 3 million mammals within its boundaries including 4000 lions, 1000 leopards, and 550 cheetahs. Other animals frequently seen in the Serengeti include baboons, bat-eared fox, giraffe, hippo, honey badger, mongoose, gazelle, warthog, antelope, impala, reedbuck, waterbuck, the much smaller dik dik and over 500 species of birds including cranes, eagles, flamingo, herons, kingfishers, ostrich, and vultures.

In early May or June, huge herds of wildebeest and zebra begin the “Great Migration” from the plains of the Serengeti towards the Mara river, and eventually into Kenya. The journey starts in the southern Serengeti, where thousands of wildebeest calves are born between December and April. When the drought comes around May or June, over two million wildebeest and a couple of hundred thousand zebra move north through the Serengeti in search of greener pastures. By late July, early August, the animals march in a column up to 40 kilometers long start their 800 km trek to Kenya. They first move towards the western part of the Serengeti, where their first obstacle is to cross the Grumeti river. Several animals do not survive the crossing as they are attacked by the large number of crocodiles in the river. Once they cross the Grumeti, the next challenge is to cross the Mara river into Kenya. Once they cross the Mara river, the herds graze in the Maasai Mara between August and October. Once the rains return to the Serengeti around October, they cross the Mara river back into Tanzania. By mid-December, they trek back towards Seronera, where the Serengeti National Park visitor center is located, starting the migration cycle all over again.


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