Tanzania’s largest park, a symbol of African wildlife and primeval beauty
The Serengeti takes its name from the Maasai word siringet, which means “endless plains.” The plains certainly are that, and the park itself is endless, covering 5,700 square miles (14,763 sq km) of dry rolling grassland, acacia speckled savanna, and dense riverine woodland. Serengeti National Park is one of the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world, and symbolises the classic African safari. With more than 2 million wildebeest, half a million Thomson’s gazelle, and a quarter of a million zebra, it has the greatest concentration of plains game in Africa. The Serengeti is also synonymous with the annual wildebeest and zebra migration.
With 14,700 square kilometers, this is Tanzania’s largest park, a symbol of African wildlife and primeval beauty; it contains a million and a half plains’ game, the greatest and most spectacular concentration of animals anywhere in the world. It is not unusual to see 40 or more lions in a day’s game viewing. The bulk of the area consists of vast open plains with lofty rocky outcrops. Also found are acacia and savannah woodland and scrub; forested and mature treed rivers; an occasional swamp and small lake. The park ranges in altitude from 910 meters up to 1,820 meters. Unrivalled photographic opportunities exist when the great animal migration is on. There is a wealth of bird life in the area where the larger species of birds of prey, game birds and water fowl are well represented. Here also a unique historical find revealed a settlement site of people dating from 1000 to 100 B.C.
The history of human inhabitation revolves largely around the history of the African people, from the hunter-gatherers who wandered the plains, to the people of today who protect it as a main destination for travelers. The Serengeti’s history has been virtually ignored, except Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakey family discovered fossils of human and animal ancestors dating back to almost two million years, and which is part of the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. Tsetse flies in the woodlands, and sleeping sickness, guaranteed that the Serengeti was spared of European settlement, and with it the extinction of the wildlife that other African countries were subjected to.