Serengeti Wildlife Safari
Serengeti National Park ranks as Tanzania’s number one wildlife safari destination thanks to its diverse habitat of vast open savannah grasslands, acacia thickets, forests, woodlands, rocky outcrops, and rivers that make a rich habitat fro several game, insects, birds and small mammals.
Even with the annual Serengeti Migrations of animals to the neighboring Masaai Mara in Kenya, the park still remains with several wild animals to view on game drives. Some of the game in Serengeti includes buffalos, zebras, giraffe, hippos, crocodiles, warthog, gazelles and antelopes like the bushbucks, dik dik, elands, elephants, reedbuck, waterbuck and impalas. Predators are also a regular sight with many spotted hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, African wild hunting dog, serval, jackals and prides of lions.
Serengeti Wildlife safari
There are several ways to experience Serengeti’s wildlife but the most prominent is safari game drives and the luxury Serengeti Hot Air Balloon safari. Other styles will include birding walks, guided walking safaris and helicopter flights.
Wildlife Safari routes in Serengeti
Serengeti is found on the northern Tanzania safari circuit that includes other parks like Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater Park. Serengeti however is the most visited safari game park occupying more than 15,000sq km. The vast safari game park is thus divided into a number of safari routes that are popular spots for game viewing.
There are savannah plains and rocky outcrops called Kopjes in the south, the Seronera river area from the south central part, northern corridor that links to Masai Mara game reserve in Kenya and the western corridor that stretches from Grumeti River to the shore of Lake Victoria. Covering all these safari routes on Serengeti Tanzania safaris is not an easy adventure-it normally takes 2-3 days safari to conclude all the safari routes.
The rolling grassland plains of Serengeti are seemingly endless but occasional outcrops and trees are part of the scenery in the southern part of the park. More than 3 million years ago, Ngorongoro volcanic mountain erupted created the renowned Ngorongoro crater and also spilling volcanic ash over the low lying plains on the foot hills. The molten lava soon dried to form hard coat that doesn’t allow deep rooted vegetation. The grass that grows on the Serengeti are short root but very rich in minerals. The short rains in October up to November usher in new grazing pastures for the calving season in January and February when lactating animals enjoy the nutrient grass.
Seronera River and Valley is a very game rich area in the southern part of the park. The river drains the dry savannah attracting several animals for the dry season as they search for drinking water. There are many Tanzania safari lodges and camp built near the river for excellent game views of animals like buffalos, hippos, predators and crocodiles live near the muddy riverbanks.
Game drives are a popular way of experiencing the wildlife in the area. Seronera river circuit and Kopjes circuit have been ranked as the best game viewing areas in Serengeti.
Lake Ndutu Basin has very good game viewing opportunities from December to May every year as animals congregate here before they begin the annual Serengeti migrations. Many wildebeests and gazelles calve from these rich grasslands before the great migration start. Predators like lions, hyenas and cheetahs are seen roaming around on the hunt for hesitant calves. Lake Ndutu is a seasonal lake surrounded by beautiful acacia woodlands that feed giraffes and birds are too abundant in this area.
Simba Kopjes are named after the lions ( Simba –in Maasai language), which frequently lie and bask on the rocks as they take sight of their potential prey. Also in the area are baboons, different birds and giraffes among other Serengeti wild animals.
Western Corridor is a spectacular 50km wide strip west of River Seronera. The corridor runs along Grumeti River, through valleys, forests, swamps and stretches all the way to Lake Victoria some 8km from the park. Grumeti River is a popular game viewing spot in the park that attract several herds of animals in due course of the annual migration in May/June. Hungry predators like the lions and crocodiles are often part of the game seen along the river banks. This is the ultimate time to experience the Serengeti migrations before animals cross to the Mara in July. Other animals that live in the woodlands that fringe Grumeti River include giraffes, eland, impalas, hartebeest, colobus monkeys and huge hippos. There is plenty of accommodation on the river bank such as Grumeti River camp.
Lobo Area from northern Serengeti is another scenic section of the park marked with rolling Lobo hills, rocky outcrops, acacia thickets and woodlands and doted grasslands. The annual migrations cross through Lobo hills before meeting the gush of Mara river further in the north. Lobo kopjes are excellent area for viewing animals on the migration. There are several lodges that offer accommodation for Serengeti tourists in the area with wide balconies from where visitor take sight of the migrant herds.
The Moru Kopjes in the far north are traditional game viewing area for big cats like lions, hyenas and leopards on the hunt for animals on the migration route. The area is also famous with Masai herdsmen because of its nutrient grass pastures. There are paintings on some of the rocks done several years ago by masaai herdsmen who were though to use the rock for shelter as they grazed their cattle herds.
Serengeti Hot Air Balloon Safari
This is surely a luxurious way to go on Serengeti wildlife safari. Departures are often early in the morning for the gratifying 6-hour flight that often ends with a sumptuous breakfast and a toast to the memorable safari experience. Take a good camera to record your journey as you glide silently over the vast plains, the same way it is done in Masai Mara Game Reserve. The pilot often lowers the balloon by reducing the air in balloon often reaching tree top level-there is no better time to take pictures as this!