LAND OF THE ENDLESS PLAINS

Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is the safari destination that most people dream of. The grasslands of the park are a feature that has cemented the fame of this incredible part of the world. It is a classic savannah dotted with acacias and filled with wildlife.

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This expansive savanna is the heart of the larger Serengeti ecosystem, which is defined by the area covered by the annual migration in north-central Tanzania. The park was established in 1951 and covers 5,700 square miles (14,763 square km) of some of the best grassland range in Africa, as well as extensive acacia woodland savanna. With elevations ranging from 3,020 to 6,070 feet (920 to 1,850 meters), Serengeti extends 100 miles (160 km) southeast from points near the shores of Lake Victoria and, in its eastern portion, 100 miles (160 km) south from the Kenya-Tanzania border. It is partly adjacent to the Kenya border and is northwest of the adjoining Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The entire ecosystem includes the Maswa Game Reserve in the south, Grumeti and Ikorongo Game Reserves in the east, Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya to the north, and Loliondo Game Controlled Area in the west. This entire ecosystem is intact and no barriers hamper the migration, making it the only place in Africa where vast land-animal migrations still take place.

Home to the Big Five (although rhinos are rarely seen), the park is particularly renowned for its predators – leopard, cheetah, lion, and hyena – which are regularly spotted. The Serengeti also plays host to a dramatic spectacle of the most spectacular animal movement on the planet – the Great Migration. The phenomenal Migration sees millions of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle traversing the open plains of the park in search of fresh grass from seasonal rains, moving northwards into the neighboring Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, and then returning south to the Serengeti again. The dramatic scenes of huge herds on the move, crossing rivers and vast plains and pursued by predators looking for their next kill, are the stuff nature documentaries are made of.

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The park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1981, and a home to one of the Seven Wonders of Africa. The sheer scope of the park means it can be explored in a single day or for weeks. Booking a safari to the continent’s best wildlife viewing experience is defiently a bucket list item.