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The endless plains
The Serengeti, whose Maasai name ‘Siringet' translates as ‘the endless plains', offers unparalleled ornithological opportunities and an unrivalled natural arena wherein the glory and harmony of nature can be appreciated as nowhere else on earth.
Area: 14,760 sq kms.
Location: 200 kms west of Arusha: the park’s northern boundary abuts with the Kenya border, its western boundary reaches Lake Victoria.
Altitude: 950-1,850 m.
Vegetation: Undulating open grassland plans with an extensive block of acacia woodland savannah in the centre.
Fauna: Unrivalled herds of plains game, which migrate between seasonal water supplies, include 1.3 million wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, lion and spotted hyena. Non-migrants include hunting dog, cheetah, black rhino, elephant in the north, giraffe, buffalo, topi, eland, numerous rodetns and bats, golden and side-striped jackal, mongoose and otter.
Birds: Over 350 recorded species.
Climate: There are two distinct seasons: the dry season between June and October and the wet season, which starts in November and lasts irregularly until May.
The Serengeti National Park
The vast and sensational Serengeti, covering 14,763 sq km of endlessly rolling savannah plains, is Tanzania’s first-established, largest and most famous park wherein tens of thousands of hoofed animals roam in a constant and unremitting search for the fresh grasslands upon which their survival depends.
The million-plus wildebeest are the predominant herbivore and also the main prey of a huge cast of large carnivores, principally lion and hyena. Whilst the annual migration is the Serengeti’s most famous attraction, the Park is also renowned for its lion, many of which have been fitted with radio-transmitter collars so that their movements may be tracked, and additionally for its wealth of cheetah, zebra, giraffe, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, eland, impala, klipspringer, hippo and warthog.
The Serengeti Ecosystem
Life in the Serengeti National Park is a complex and dynamic ecological system in which all the animals and plants interact both with each other and with their environment. No organism is static or exists in isolation and all are dependant on the rains.
The park is made up of several different vegetation zones: in the dry south are the short and long grassland plains, where an average of only 50cm of rain falls per year. In the centre lies an area of acacia savannah whilst the western corridor marks a region of wooded highlands and ‘black cotton’ soil curving in a great swathe to the edge of Lake Victoria. To the north is wooded grassland, which concentrates along the watercourses and tributaries of the Grumeti and Mara Rivers.
The annual migration
Twice a year, propelled by the rains, 1.3 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson's gazelle gather to undertake an 800 km trek to new grazing lands. The precise timing of the migration varies but generally the herbivores congregate and move out at the end of May, sometimes over a period of weeks, sometimes over a period of as little as three or four days. They then head west on the first leg of a roughly triangular 800-km circuit that takes approximately 3-4 months and ends in the Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya. When the grazing here is exhausted the tide of herbivores turns and reverses its progress returning to the short grass plains of Tanzania.
The history of the Serengeti
Approximately one hundred years ago, the warlike Maasai first arrived in the Serengeti, bringing their cattle to graze on the rich grasslands. Prior to this the region was uninhabited and visited only by the hunter-gatherer Ndorobo and Ikoma tribes. The Maasai were followed, in 1913, by the Europeans, who were so quick to assess its game-hunting potential that, by 1921, the Serengeti’s teeming herds had been almost entirely decimated. This necessitated the establishment, firstly of a Reserve and finally, in 1951, a National Park. As a result the Serengeti is an area where human habitation is prohibited.
Around and about
Olduvai Gorge, the ‘Cradle of Mankind’, where the remains of our earliest ancestors, the hominids, were found.
Wildlife highlights: wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle, lion, spotted hyena, hunting dog, cheetah, black rhino, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, topi, eland, jackal and otter. Birds: over 350 recorded species including 34 raptors.
Starting out with a scenic drive down the Great Rift Valley, this safari sets to explore some of Kenya’s and Tanzania’s premier destinations. Leaving the hustle of the city behind, this safari heads northwest to Lake Elementaita for a unique luxury experience. Next stop - the famous Masai Mara, Lake Victoria, Serengeti, Ngorongoro and culminates in the serenity of Arusha.
This tour showcases 2 of Kenya's most famous parks, Lake Nakuru and the Masai Mara. Crossing into Tanzania, it allows for a night on the shores of Lake Victoria before featuring the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park. Finally as the perfect contrast to the traditional East African safari, relaxation, historic discovery and Indian Ocean pleasure on the magical island of Zanzibar.
Showcasing a panoramic north-south selection of Kenya's most famous national parks, this cross-border safari includes a visit to the shores of Africa's largest inland lake, Lake Victoria, before crossing into Tanzania's mighty Serengeti and thereafter descending into the sensational Ngorongoro Crater. Crossing back into Kenya the safari ends in the world-famous Amboseli National Park.
Showcasing the very essence of the Serengeti and its surrounding areas, this road safari begins on the shores of beautiful Lake Manyara National Park before moving into the grandeur of the Serengeti for two nights. From Serengeti, the tour takes a fascinating visit to the legendary Ol Duvai Gorge, before entering the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, for a half-day crater tour.
‘For those who enjoy the ultimate luxury of staying on private reserves, where the wildlife and culture can be enjoyed in privileged seclusion this exclusive air safari is ideal. Commencing with a night in a ‘plantation house’ on one of Tanzania’s largest coffee estates, it features two nights luxury tented camp accommodation on a private conservation area adjacent to the undiscovered wilderness of Tarangire National Park, followed by two nights in the gracious Manor of Shangri-la Private Estate, which lies just adjacent to the Ngorongoro Crater, where a full-days guided tour is offered. Covering optimum distances in minimum time, this unusual safari also offers guided walks, night game drives, cultural tours and two nights in the unprecedented tented camp luxury of the Migration Camp, which stands amid the splendour of the magnificent Serengeti National Park.
This luxury road and air safari showcases the undiscovered wilderness of Tarangire National Park, the possibility of seeing the famous tree-climbing lions of Lake Manyara, the glory of the ‘eighth wonder of the world' the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, Ol Duvai Gorge Paleolithic site and the magnificent Serengeti covering optimum distances in minimum time.
A high-value road safari featuring both luxury tented camps and traditional safari lodges, this memorable Tanzanian safari offers two nights in the undiscovered wilderness of Tarangire National Park, a sensational three-night stay in the world-famous Serengeti National Park, and a visit to the 'eighth wonder of the world', the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater.
The annual migration of the wildebeest represents the single largest movement of wildlife on planet earth. Dramatic, awe-inspiring, comic and tragic alike, it has been dubbed ‘The Eighth Wonder of the Natural World’ and the ‘Greatest Wildlife Show on Earth.’ Neither title does full justice to the enormity and grandeur of an event that sees multiple herds of 20,000 and more wildebeest careering across the glory of the African savannah in great galloping chains of blue-black creatures.
An ever-revolving cycle of birth, life and death, the 800 km path of the migration is dictated by the hunt for fresh grass and consequently covers both the Serengeti National Reserve of Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Reserve of Kenya. For this, exceptionally focussed safari, however, our progress is dictated by the movement of the migration itself. As a result, we follow over a million wildebeest, half a million zebra and an accompanying cast of predators through some uniquely different eco-spheres. Firstly, we travel through the enchanted realm of Tarangire National Park to stay on a Maasai ranch where sugar-pink flamingos fringe the lakeside. Next we journey down into the vast basin of the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater, where we stay in a stone-built lodge that clings high on the very crater’s rim. Finally, having taken in a visit to the birthplace of mankind at Ol Duvai Gorge, we arrive on the endless plains of the Serengeti, where we spend six glorious days in the exploration of this vast yet uniquely diverse wilderness arena. Thereafter, the direction the safari takes depends on the time of year at which you join us. If you arrive in February, then we will follow the herds south to witness the extraordinary spectacle of the calving in the south of the Serengeti National Reserve. If you arrive in September, we travel north to follow the herds as they plunge across the Mara River. In either case, this safari travels by road and is accompanied by professional guides of the highest proficiency.