Inside Serengeti National Park
Inside Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park is the most famous park in Africa because of the high concentration of game on the continent and the millions of wildebeest migrations. The most impressive nature documentaries are filmed in this beautiful park. “Serengeti” is the Maasai word which means “endless plain” and this is rightly described. With almost 15.000 km2 (6,000 square miles), Serengeti National Park is the second largest park in Tanzania.
What to expect to see
Home to Great Wildebeest Migration
Travel to Africa has been a lifetime dream to most of travellers, and when you did, you probably dream of Serengeti National Park. Countless wildlife movies have been recorded in the Serengeti, and with good reason: this is the home of the Great Wildebeest Migration and may very well be one of the last true greatest show and natural wonders on planet earth.
Serengeti National Park is a World Heritage Site teeming with wildlife: over 2 million ungulates, 4000 lions, 1000 leopard, 550 cheetahs and some 500 bird species inhabit an area close to 15,000 square kilometers in size. Join us on a safari and explore the endless Serengeti plains dotted with trees and kopjes from which majestic lions control their kingdom; gaze upon the Great Migration in awe or find an elusive leopard in a riverine forest. Or perhaps see everything from a bird’s-eye view and soar over the plains at sunrise during a hot air balloon safari. Accommodation options come in every price range – the sound of lions roaring at night is complimentary.
Big Five Wild Animals
The Big Five is comprised of, you guessed it, five African animals. They aren’t the most fascinating, the most endangered, or even the largest.
Can you guess why they’re called the Big Five? We’ll tell you later!
Arguably Africa’s most famous inhabitant, the colossal African Elephant is Earth’s largest land mammal, qualifying as ‘big’ in every sense of the word.
There are two varieties of African elephant: the larger bush elephant you’ll see on the plains, and the smaller forest elephant more common in Uganda and Rwanda. Both species are surprisingly good at hiding and can be quite aggressive if provoked.
A relatively common sight in Tanzania, the regal lion is a social big cat that can look remarkably like a larger-than-life housecat when they’re sunning themselves on rocks or playing together.
The males have gorgeous manes, while the females do the lion’s share (pun intended) of the hunting and child-rearing.
Best place to see Lions in Tanzania: Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, and the Serengeti in Tanzania.
The most elusive of the Big Five, the beautiful leopard are solitary, nocturnal hunters with fantastic camouflage and naturally shy personalities. This can make them immensely difficult to spot while on safari.
Best place to see Leopards in Tanzania: The Serengeti in Tanzania.
The most endangered of the Big Five, the black rhinoceros is critically endangered due to continued poaching, largely due to the incorrect belief in Chinese traditional medicine that their horns have medicinal properties.
Due to both their low numbers and their natural shyness, rhinos can be immensely difficult to spot while on safari.
The white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum), while not a member of the traditional Big Five, is a larger variety of rhinoceros that many people count as part of the Big Five for game-viewing purposes.
Best places to see Rhinos in Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
The African Buffalo (sometimes called the Cape Buffalo) is the most confusing member of the Big Five. They’re neither endangered nor especially interesting to look at. As you’re driving across Ngorongoro or the Serengeti, you’ll see hundreds of them.
Despite their unassuming appearance, the Cape Buffalo is considered one of Africa’s most dangerous animals. In fact, the buffalo is considered the most dangerous of the animals in this list!
Best places to see African Buffalo in Tanzania: Ngorongoro and the Serengeti in Tanzania.
Origin of the Big Five
In the bad, old days, wealthy European aristocrats would fly all the way to Africa to hunt the animals we are now so desperate to protect. What a bunch of jerks!
During this period, five animals began to emerge as the most dangerous to hunt. Whether due to camouflage or aggression, the Big Five were renowned as being the most challenging animals to hunt. Therefore, there was a great deal of prestige to be gained from killing one.
While we’ve since evolved beyond that primitive pastime, the Big Five terminology has remained. In some ways, several of the Big Five remain incredibly hard to hunt, albeit with a camera. Rhinos and leopards, in particular, can be incredibly difficult to spot on safari.
On the flip side, lions, elephants, and African buffalo are common sights while on safari in Tanzania.
Let’s start planning your next trip now and have a lifetime experience in Serengeti National Park.