Five Interesting Facts About Serengeti National Park

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Where In The World Is The Serengeti?

The Serengeti National Park is in Tanzania and is part of the greater Serengeti ecosystem. The name, Serengeti, is derived from the Maasai word siringit, meaning “endless plains.” This is accurate, considering the vast Serengeti plains stretch over 12,000 square miles!

The greater Serengeti ecosystem includes Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, Loliondo, Grumeti, Ikorongo Game Controlled Areas, and the Masai Mara National Reserve (in Kenya). With an area so vast, what animals are found in the Serengeti? Not only are the Serengeti plains home to the biggest lion population in Africa, but each year, more than 1.8 million wildebeest, 500,000 zebra, and 200,000 antelope move through the area during an amazing spectacle known as The Great Migration.

Discovering The Serengeti On Safari

Serengeti National Park is one of the most popular places in East Africa for visitors to go on safari. The geography of the Serengeti plains varies from flat to rolling hills, but everything is covered in grass that is nourished by the ashy soil of nearby volcanoes. Rocky outcrops known as kopjes break up the flat terrain of the grassland, while infrequent rivers cut through the ecosystem and provide wildlife with much-needed watering holes.

Curious to learn more about the Serengeti or the Serengeti National Park before you embark on a safari? Here are 5 interesting facts about Serengeti National Park to get you started!

  • The Serengeti National Park is big! The park covers approximately 5,700 square miles of savannah, forest, and woodlands, but this is only part of the Serengeti ecosystem. The greater Serengeti ecosystem - which includes the national park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Game Controlled Areas, and the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya – spans more than 12,000 square miles.
  • The Serengeti plains are one of the oldest and most scientifically significant ecosystems on earth. Scientists believe that the weather patterns, vegetation, and animal inhabitants in this area have not changed much over a million years. That means when you visit the Serengeti, you are witnessing ancient life!
  • The Serengeti is home to the world’s largest migration of animals. More than 1.7 million wildebeest, 500,000 zebras, and 200,000 antelope make their way from the Ndutu region of the southern Serengeti northward to Kenya’s Masai Mara each year. This cyclical migration begins in March and ends with the herd’s return to the Serengeti plains in January. What drives this annual phenomenon? Simple – the herd’s hunt for fresh grazing lands and water.
  • The Serengeti’s vast grasslands are broken up by kopjes – giant rock outcroppings comprised of exposed gneiss and granite and shaped by the wind and temperature fluctuations in the area. Kopjes provide the local lion population with sun-warmed rocks, shade, and an elevated vantage point to rest and survey their kingdom.
  • Besides being an important wildlife habitat, the greater Serengeti ecosystem is the ancestral home of the Maasai people of East Africa. The Maasai continue to inhabit the land and spearhead conservation efforts in the park while resisting the construction of modern facilities. Many safaris include a visit to a traditional Maasai village, where travelers can experience the Maasai’s traditional way of life.

What Animals Are Found In The Serengeti?

The Serengeti National Park is known around the world for its amazing biodiversity and abundant wildlife. Each year, more than 1.5 million wildebeest, 300,000 gazelles, and 200,000 zebras migrate across different park sections, ending their journey in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. This phenomenon attracts thousands of tourists to the park each year, hoping for a glimpse of the herd’s incredible journey.

However, the Serengeti plains are also home to the largest population of lions in Africa – more than 2,500 individual lions, to be exact. These big cats thrive in the park mainly because of an abundance of prey. You can also find more than 1,000 leopards, 5,000 elephants, 53,000 buffaloes, and a small population of the endangered black rhino roaming the Serengeti National Park.

But, wait – there’s more! The Serengeti is also home to cheetahs, hyenas, serval cats, jackals, wild dogs, otters, honey badgers, mongoose, and the African golden wolf. You can even find baboons, vervet monkeys, and black and white colobus monkeys in the forests near the Grumeti River! Not to mention crocodiles, tortoises, chameleons, African pythons, and more than 500 species of birds – including ostrich, crowned crane, marabou stork, martial eagle, lovebirds and many species of vultures.

A One Of A Kind Experience On The Serengeti Plains

Discover what animals are in the Serengeti on a safari custom-tailored to your interests! From watching thousands of wildebeest dodge massive crocodiles during the Great Migration to seeing Africa’s Big 5 roaming across the Serengeti plains, a Tanzanian safari offers the kind of experiences you can’t find anywhere else on Earth. Witness mind-blowing displays of nature at her most extraordinary as you explore the Serengeti National Park on safari!

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