The Serengeti – The Gem of Tanzania
The Serengeti National Park is a giant reserve in East Africa, located in the area bordering Kenya and Tanzania. It is the habitat of countless wild animals. This makes their migration a one of a kind spectacle you should not miss.
Tanzania’s second-largest national park is home to more than one million animals, mainly migrating through the park in huge herds during the rainy season. Additionally, almost 500 species of birds live in these treeless plains, but you will also get to scout plenty of other animals like zebras and gazelles.
The so-called “Great Migration” is probably the Serengeti’s most famous attraction. This is when animals such as wildebeests, zebras, and many other ungulates cross the valley. But the Moru Kopjes, just like the Retima Hippo Pool, are excellent places to get a closer look at the National Park’s wild inhabitants.
Surely you have already caught on to how many sights the Serengeti has to offer. In this article, we want to introduce to you the Savanna’s most beautiful spots.
The Greatest Spectacle of the Serengeti: the Great Migration
The Great Migration is the most stunning spectacle in the Serengeti. More than one million wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, and many other ungulates walk through the Serengeti every year in order to find food or breeding places.
During the rainy season, which lasts from December to June, the wildlife travel from Naab Hill to the south of the Serengeti. As soon as the drought starts, however, the herd travels from the Seronera River Valley, crossing the Grumeti River, all the way to the Lobo Valley. And after a couple of months, they do it again.
So, if you want to observe the animals’ journey, keep in mind their general route. If you’re visiting in winter, you’d want to stay in the Serengeti’s southern area. During the summer months, however, you are more likely to encounter the herd around the central Serengeti as well as its western and northern regions.
In case you are unsure about this, you can always take part in one of the guided safari tours. The personnel know the animals’ whereabouts and will happily adjust their routes according to your needs. We can all agree that there’s nothing better than seeing this amazing spectacle for yourself.
The Seronera River Valley
This giant valley covers a huge part of the central Serengeti. Owing to its lush flora, it supplies food for herbivorous wildlife like zebras, elephants, or giraffes year-round. That’s why no matter when you visit, you will always manage to spot one of these beautiful creatures.
Such an abundance of possible prey naturally attracts many predators. Therefore, the area is also crowded with lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. Additionally, you’ll probably get to see a leopard.
You can even explore the river valley with your own car or trailer. There are numerous designated campsites for you to spend the night at. In addition, you can buy groceries at a small store, which is perfect for when you want to spend a little more time exploring the surroundings.
Naabi Hill is located in the eastern Serengeti and has some of the best views of the savanna to offer. The acacia-covered hill is home to a pride of lions, in addition to welcoming millions of zebras and wildebeests scavenging for food during the Great Migration.
December through June is the best time to visit, as it is when the wildebeests and zebras are crossing the area as part of their Great Migration.
The entrance is only accessible between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., but once you’ve set foot inside, there is nothing limiting your stay. Plus, there are even a bunch of campsites close by, as well as a small grocery store.
Only 50 kilometers northeast of Naabi Hill, you will find the Moru Kopjes. The population of black rhinos makes a trip to this part of the Serengeti especially worth it. In fact, it is the only spot within the National Park where you might encounter one of these majestic animals.
Unfortunately, these rhinos are an endangered species. This is partly due to many poachers hunting for their horns. Therefore, the number of black rhinos has decreased drastically. The last members of their species live in Moru Kopjes. Rangers protect them from further poaching.
Aside from the rhinos, you can also find elephants here, as well as lions and other predatory cats. Moreover, a big herd of zebras and wildebeests will pass by in the time between July and November.
But this part of the National Park has a lot more to offer beyond the wildlife. The so-called gong rock is especially remarkable. It is made of granite and is covered in strange looking patterns. Knocking on them with stones will produce different sounds — and with some practice, you can even utilize the rock to make actual music.
This, by the way, is where the marks on the rock originate from. Even centuries ago, the natives would use these stones to make music. As time passed, this led to the rock’s pattern. Supposedly, the gong rock has been around since ancient times, but the traces don’t give any clues about an exact date.
Furthermore, this is also where the Maasai live, probably one of the most famous populations in East Africa. This is mainly due to their rather intricate clothing, accessorized with lots of jewelry. If you feel up to it, you can even visit one of their villages. Their distinctive features are the houses, built from dried cow dung. Apart from the Maasai themselves, you can discover some of their artwork near the Moru Kopjes.
One of the region’s highlights, however, is Lake Magadi, located in the north. The pink flamingos you get to see there make a trip particularly worthwhile. But even just the lake in itself is very impressive due to its pink color, caused by the minerals in the water.
In case you’re journeying around the Serengeti’s north, you should definitely check out Lobo Valley. This extensive area is a true paradise if you’re keen on encountering wild cats like leopards, cheetahs, and lions. Herbivores like elephants and giraffes also frequent this area.
Lobo Valley is located right by the southeastern edge of the northern Serengeti. However, you do need to book a safari tour or travel by car in order to visit it. Simply walking in there would be way too dangerous given the many predators that inhabit the area.
There are a bunch of campsites within Lobo Valley, but they are sparsely equipped. There are neither public restrooms nor any stores.
Between July and November, the Great Migration will pass here. During that time, besides the aforementioned wildlife, you will be able to see millions of zebras and wildebeests. The best time to plan your trip is the dry season.
Retima Hippo Pool in the Serengeti
The Retima Hippo Pool can be found exactly where the two rivers, Orangi and Seronera, meet. This leads to the creation of a deep water hole that attracts hippos.
Of course, this isn’t the only place where you can come across these extraordinary animals. However, chances are that you’ll likely get to see them here. Compared to other water holes, the number of hippos here is high. Apart from hippos, you can also find crocodiles.
But you should definitely keep your distance from them. These animals can become rather dangerous when they feel threatened. You are allowed to take photos of the hippos from a distance, though.
This river is mostly famous for the many crocodiles inhabiting it. Additionally, it is another stop on the Great Migration, leading to one of the most impressive, while also bloodiest, spectacles you will ever get to witness. If you think that nature is always beautiful, get ready to learn the opposite.
The passage of the giant wildebeest and zebra herd marks the start of a true gala dinner for crocodiles. So, if you are mentally prepared, you can pretty much get front row seats to watch the crocodiles devour their dinner.
The Serengeti National Park is one of the most impressive areas you can visit on the entire continent of Africa. You will get to meet numerous local animals and be able to watch them at close range. However, you should keep a certain distance from wildlife like lions, crocodiles, and hippos for your own safety.
All in all, the National Park is a rather safe area. Many of the predators won’t attack humans as long as you don’t get too close, and herbivores will only do so if they feel threatened.
The Serengeti’s main highlight is the so-called Great Migration, during which millions of wildebeests, zebras and other animals move through the lands. On their way, they will pass the Seronera River Valley, Naabi Hill, the Moru Kopjes, Lobo Valley, and Grumeti River. Since a lot of predators are also aware of the herd’s whereabouts, they have settled at these places and are ready to hunt for prey as soon as the herd passes by.
In conclusion, the Serengeti is a travel destination that is definitely worth visiting due to its untouched nature. So if you want to experience nature in its rawest and wildest form, you should absolutely make the Serengeti a priority on your bucket list.