Amazing East African Animals To See On Safari

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Following The Great Migration Routes In Tanzania

A Tanzanian safari is more than just an opportunity to see the amazing animals that live in East Africa - it’s an immersive experience in the very heart of this vast continent! Whether you follow the great annual wildebeest trek in the Serengeti or travel to remote wilderness locations in search of the largest lion pride in Africa, the sheer diversity of East African animals in Tanzania will leave you wonderstruck. Come along with us to learn more about the animals you can see on safari in Tanzania!

On The Hunt For Africa’s Big Five

When people think about the East African animals they will see on a safari, they are most likely imagining lions, leopards, elephants, African buffalo, and rhinoceroses. And it’s true – you can see all of these animals on a Tanzanian safari! This group of animals is known as “The Big Five” and can be found throughout Tanzania. But there are so many other animals to see in Tanzania. Let’s take a closer look at the wildlife you will find in this breathtaking country.

  • Predators - The Serengeti Plains and Ngorongoro Crater are excellent for spotting lions, leopards, and cheetahs with a guide. As a natural enclosure, Ngorongoro Crater offers visitors more accessible viewing opportunities to see these predators in great numbers.
  • Chimpanzees - Rubondo Island on Lake Victoria is the best place for tourists who want to see wild chimpanzees in their native environment. The island is also home to sitatunga antelopes, elephants, giraffes, and an incredible variety of bird life.
  • Wild dog - The wild dog is an endangered species, but the Ruaha and Nyerere National Parks are a stronghold for wild dogs, as well as healthy populations of hyena and black-backed jackals.
  • Elephants - Tarangire National Park is one of the best places in Tanzania to see large herds of elephants. The park’s baobab-studded landscape provides a unique background for tourists who visit the area.
  • Birdlife and reptiles -Tanzania is blessed with a rich diversity of East African animals, including an assortment of wild birds. Lake Manyara National Park is the perfect place for bird enthusiasts to visit to see the country’s avian population. The park is also famous for tree-climbing lions and large populations of hippos and crocodiles.
  • Endangered species - Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places to spot the critically endangered black rhinoceros.

What Is The Great Annual Wildebeest Trek In The Serengeti?

The great annual wildebeest trek in the Serengeti, or the Great Migration, is the yearly cycle of migration that sees vast herds of wildebeest and zebra moving in a circular route across Tanzania and Kenya. This incredible phenomenon is one of the most sought-after experiences for safari-goers in Tanzania. The great herd of animals involved in this cyclical journey follows an age-old great migration route in search of grazing land and water.

The herd’s annual journey begins in the southern Serengeti, near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where a large number of calves are born each year. From there, the herd moves up and around in a clockwise direction toward Kenya’s Masai Mara, before returning to Tanzania again at the end of the year. Along the way, the herd must evade predators and cross raging rivers, making the annual migration one of the most dramatic and in-demand events for safari-goers to Tanzania each year.

Tracking The Great Migration Routes

If you want to see a part of the Great Migration route, make sure the tour operator you have booked your safari through knows what you want to see during your trip! That way, you can narrow down the appropriate time of year to visit, along with the best areas to see the animals you want to see. Here is a breakdown of the great annual wildebeest trek in the Serengeti by month to help you jumpstart your planning!

  • January, February, and March – in January, the herds move along the eastern edge of the Serengeti and into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Here the plains are rich in nutritious grass, providing the herds with the best conditions for raising their newborn calves. Approximately 400,000 calves are born here within a period of two to three weeks. That means nearly 8,000 new calves are born each day! The abundance of vulnerable young calves means the surrounding predators also spring into action, hunting with ease due to the sheer numbers of wildebeest.
  • April and May – in April, the wildebeest herds begin to drift northwest toward the fresher grass of the central Serengeti, drawing with them thousands of zebra and smaller groups of antelope. Mating season begins toward the end of May and male wildebeest battle head-to-head. Throughout 'the rut,' the journey continues at a leisurely pace with the wildebeest, zebra and gazelle grazing as they go along. Eventually, the herd gathers in the Serengeti’s Western Corridor to cross the Grumeti River before they can continue their journey.
  • June and July - June sees large concentrations of wildebeest continue their attempt to cross the Grumeti River. Each migrating animal must face the challenge of crossing the crocodile-infested river, the first of many daunting and tense river encounters. As June moves into July, the great annual wildebeest trek in the Serengeti continues north along the western edge of the park toward an even riskier barrier - the Mara River. These river crossings are two of the most requested stops by tourists along the Great Migration route.
  • August, September, and October – the herd arrives in the Masai Mara region of Kenya after surviving a dangerous crossing across the Mara River.
  • November and December – after the East African short rains in late October and early November, the wildebeest move down from Kenya and into Serengeti’s Namiri Plains. By December, they have once again spread throughout the eastern and southern regions of the plains, in search of grazing lands and water.

The cyclical nature of the Great Migration makes it relatively easy to plan a safari along the known Great Migration routes. Booking with a professional and experienced safari service guarantees that you will be able to experience the drama of this annual event as the great herd moves majestically across the Serengeti.

 Lions, Tigers, And … Elephants – Oh My!

Tanzania is home to almost every East African animal on your safari bucket list. From lions to tigers and elephants to giraffes, the sweeping plains of the Serengeti are home to some of the most incredible wildlife you can imagine. Add a stop along one of the Great Migration routes that cross the vast grasslands of Tanzania for a guaranteed sighting of some of the country’s most iconic wildlife species. Tanzania is an experience that won’t disappoint you - so get packing! Adventure awaits.

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