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    5 reasons why the Serengeti should be on your bucket list

    10 minutes read
    serengeti gate

    Close your eyes for a moment and listen to the sounds of Serengeti. Listen for that rumble, a groundswell of two million wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles encircling you at this very moment in the Serengeti.

    What you’re hearing is the Great Migration, the largest movement of terrestrial creatures on the planet, a number exceeding the population of Barcelona. Add 70,000 buffalo, 7,000 elephants, 3,000 lions, tons of hippopotami, and innumerable other species, and you begin to scratch the surface of the world you enter when entering Serengeti National Park.

    Now open your eyes and imagine staring directly at a lion. To experience the Serengeti is like this: looking into a pair of wild eyes and seeing a version of yourself looking back, a version with sharp teeth and present awareness, a version that lives in harmony with your surroundings.

    The Serengeti mirrors your own aliveness, and that feeling lives at the heart of safari: to encounter what remains free and true. But why all the hype about the Serengeti? Is it worth keeping on your bucket list? Without a doubt, the answer is: YES.

    Serengeti history (in 2 minutes)

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    Before I gush about 5 reasons why the Serengeti is a bucket-list destination, you must first understand where it is, what it is, and why it exists. Ready?

    Okay, before colonial Europeans arrived in what’s now Northern Tanzania in the mid-1800s, the Maasai people grazed cattle here for hundreds of years in large swaths of the savannah, what we now call the Serengeti—in Swahili, the word refers to “Endless Plains” or “Extended Place.”

    The undeveloped area was a 12,000-square-mile ecosystem teeming with wildlife. In 1892, Austrian explorer Oscar Baumann visited this area, and his expedition broke ground for increasing visits by European explorers, mainly indiscriminate hunters who killed thousands of the region’s large predators. Yikes.

    By 1929, the British were forced to curb the slaughter by establishing a full game reserve that would later evolve into a full-blown national park by 1951, the first of its kind in Tanzania. Numbers of wildlife have since recovered, and now we have it: a 5,695 square-mile national park within the greater Serengeti ecosystem, the crown jewel of East African wildlife conservation, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Source 1) (Source 2)

    5 reasons why the Serengeti lives up to its hype

    Now that we know where the Serengeti is and where it came from, how did this endless savannah become so endlessly famous? Here are five reasons:

    1. The drama of predator-prey relationship

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    The Serengeti earns its accolades because of the unparalleled predator-prey interactions that exist here, more than anywhere else on the planet. Ecologists agree that predator populations are critical in maintaining ecological vitality in a given habitat, and all of my most indelible Serengeti memories came from watching this drama unfold: two leopards hunting a wounded eland, a young lion cub chasing warthogs, hyena packs slobbering over a herd of skittish wildebeest. These interactions are central to the Serengeti’s magic.

    2. It's the size of Northern Ireland

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    All this predator-prey action has to unfold somewhere, and that somewhere is BIG. You’ll understand how vast this place is when you drive out onto the 5,695 square-mile Serengeti National Park for your first-morning game drive.

    By designing the expansive boundaries, habitat fragmentation is reduced, and creatures are allowed ample acreage to migrate, swim, fly, and move in herds, packs, and prides along the land. With 90,000 tourists visiting the park annually, there’s more than enough room for everyone in the Serengeti.

    3. You can run alongside wildebeest

    Serengeti

    Well, not literally. But each year, 2 million ungulates (read: hooved animals) begin their clockwise migration in search of fresh grasses and water. Their numbers swell as they follow the rain, mainly wildebeests but also 700,000 gazelles and 300,000 zebras.

    Go at the right time (When Is Best?) and witness this spectacle, one of the planet’s natural wonders. Easy Travel offers sunrise hot air balloon floats (!!!) to watch the drama from above.

    4. The neighbors are nice

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    The Serengeti is part of Tanzania’s Northern Circuit. You can design your 5-6 days in the park alongside other adjacent experiences, including the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara, and cultural tours.

    If you’re feeling up for it, nothing spells relaxation better than going to the Serengeti after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro! Easy Travel can customize your safari to accommodate any other regional attractions.

    5. Beautiful Cultural Encounters

    Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Maasai people through authentic experiences. Explore their traditional lifestyle centered on nomadic herding and learn about their strong bond with nature and wildlife.

    Witness captivating rituals such as the jumping dance, a symbol of masculinity and strength, and learn about their intricate beadwork and colorful attire, which reflect their identity and social status within the community. Engage in enriching conversations with Maasai elders, storytellers, and warriors, who generously share their wisdom, folklore, and oral traditions, providing a profound understanding of their enduring heritage and values.

    You can also immerse yourself in the warmth and hospitality of the Maasai people as you partake in communal meals, homestays, and cultural ceremonies, forging meaningful connections and lifelong memories in the heart of the Serengeti.

    Other reasons to visit Serengeti

    Stargazing Spectacle

    In the Serengeti, away from the glare of city lights, the night sky unveils a mesmerizing display of stars, offering a celestial spectacle unlike any other. Visitors can witness the Milky Way’s splendor with minimal light pollution, stretching across the vast African sky.

    Constellations come to life, twinkling brightly against the backdrop of darkness, inviting contemplation and awe-inspiring moments of reflection. Whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or simply an admirer of natural beauty, Serengeti’s stargazing experience promises unforgettable evenings under the starlit canopy of the African wilderness.

    Birdwatcher’s Paradise

    The Serengeti has many bird species, attracting birdwatchers and nature lovers. You can spot majestic birds of prey flying high and colorful songbirds darting around the acacia trees, making the Serengeti a vibrant place for birdwatching.

    Birdwatchers can spot iconic species such as eagles, vultures, hornbills, and ostriches, as well as rare and endemic birds like the Kori bustard and Secretary bird. With its varied habitats ranging from grasslands to woodlands, the Serengeti provides abundant opportunities for birdwatching and bird photography, offering a truly immersive experience in ornithology.

    Photographer’s Haven

    The Serengeti is a dream destination for photographers, offering an unparalleled canvas of natural beauty and wildlife photography opportunities. Every moment in the Serengeti is a potential masterpiece, from sweeping savannahs and dramatic sunsets to close encounters with iconic African animals.

    Capture the raw beauty of the wilderness, the intimate moments between wildlife, and the vibrant colors of the African landscape. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an amateur buff, the Serengeti provides endless inspiration and creative possibilities for capturing stunning images that will last a lifetime.

    Eco-Friendly Travel

    In the Serengeti, responsible and sustainable tourism practices are at the forefront, ensuring visitors enjoy nature wonders while minimizing their environmental impact. Eco-friendly lodges and camps adhere to strict conservation principles, employing renewable energy sources, practicing waste management, and supporting local communities.

    Visitors can participate in eco-conscious activities such as guided walks, wildlife viewing, and cultural exchanges that promote environmental awareness and conservation efforts. By choosing eco-friendly travel options in the Serengeti, visitors can contribute to preserving this iconic wilderness for future generations.

    Remote Wilderness Retreat

    Escape the busy urban life and immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness of the Serengeti, where the sounds of nature replace the noise of the modern world. In this remote oasis, visitors can disconnect from technology and reconnect with the natural world’s rhythms, experiencing true tranquility and solitude.

    Explore vast expanses of untouched wilderness, encounter wildlife in their natural habitat, and savor moments of solitude amid Africa’s breathtaking landscapes. Whether camping under the stars or staying in a secluded lodge, a retreat to the remote wilderness of the Serengeti promises a rejuvenating and soul-nourishing experience.

    Bottom line?

    It’s time to seize the moment. The items you check off your bucket list show how fulfilling your life has been. Spending the night in a cozy Serengeti bush lodge after a day of exciting safaris and wildlife sightings should be a must-do. So don’t wait any longer. Embrace the wild side of the world now.

    Getting you there?

    Easy Travel has decades of experience in the Serengeti to help make your safari fit your timing, budget, and interests, from our Small Group Safari tours to our Migration Safari Experiences of a lifetime. Contact us today to get started.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is the Great Wildebeest Migration, and when does it occur?

    The Great Wildebeest Migration is a remarkable natural phenomenon where millions of wildebeests, zebras, and other herbivores journey in search of fresh grazing lands. This annual event occurs between Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara, driven by seasonal rainfall and food availability, typically from July to October.

    How can I witness the Great Wildebeest Migration?

    You can visit the Serengeti National Park during the migration season to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration. Guided safaris on land and in the air via hot air balloon safaris offer excellent opportunities to observe this awe-inspiring spectacle. Alternatively, you can visit the Masai Mara in Kenya, where the migration occurs.

    What are the benefits of a hot air balloon safari in the Serengeti?

    Exploring the Serengeti with a hot-air balloon ride offers an extraordinary way to see the expansive plains and wildlife. You’ll get a bird’ s-eye view of the stunning landscape, allowing you to observe the Serengeti’s beauty uniquely and catch sight of large animal herds roaming below. Plus, many hot-air balloon safaris include a special champagne breakfast after landing, adding a touch of luxury to your adventure.

    How can I visit Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara National Park?

    Both Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara National Park are accessible via guided safari tours, which can be arranged through tour operators or lodges in the region. These tours typically include transportation, park fees, and the services of experienced guides who will ensure a memorable and informative safari experience. Alternatively, you can self-drive to the parks if you’re familiar with the area and have a suitable vehicle.

    What makes the Serengeti Plains a must-visit destination for an African safari?

    The Serengeti Plains are famous for their stunning scenery, rich wildlife, and classic African landscapes. With expansive plains, acacia trees, and various animals, they’re the perfect place for an authentic safari experience. 

    You can see the incredible Great Wildebeest Migration here, one of nature’s most breathtaking phenomena, and enjoy exciting game drives and cultural experiences with the Maasai people.

    How does conservation play a role in preserving the Serengeti’s natural habitat?

    Conservation efforts are crucial for preserving the Serengeti’s natural habitat and ensuring the survival of its diverse wildlife. Various organizations and government agencies work together to protect the park from poaching, habitat destruction, and other threats. Initiatives such as community-based conservation projects, anti-poaching patrols, and habitat restoration programs help safeguard the Serengeti for future generations.

    What is the ultimate African safari experience, and where can I find it?

    The ultimate African safari experience encompasses a combination of thrilling wildlife encounters, breathtaking landscapes, and immersive cultural experiences. The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is considered one of the best destinations to experience this. 

    Visitors can witness the Great Wildebeest Migration, embark on game drives to see the Big Five, enjoy hot air balloon safaris over the savannah, and interact with the Maasai people to learn about their traditional way of life.

    How does a safari vehicle enhance the safari experience in the Serengeti?

    A safari vehicle is essential for exploring the vast area of the Serengeti National Park and getting up close to wildlife in their natural habitat. These specially designed vehicles have open roofs and elevated seating to provide unobstructed views of the surroundings. They are equipped with knowledgeable guides who can navigate the terrain and track wildlife, ensuring visitors have the best safari experience.

    What are the advantages of crossing the border for a safari between the Serengeti and Masai Mara?

    Crossing the border between the Serengeti and Masai Mara allows visitors to witness different landscapes and wildlife populations in both parks. It will enable visitors to experience the diversity of East Africa’s ecosystems and see how animals migrate between the two regions. Additionally, crossing the border provides a more comprehensive understanding of Tanzania and Kenya’s conservation challenges and efforts.

    What role do acacia trees play in the Serengeti ecosystem?

    Acacia trees play a crucial role in the Serengeti ecosystem, providing many animals with food, shelter, and nesting places. They’re essential for giraffes, elephants, and other plant-eating animals that rely on them for food. 

      Birds and small mammals find safety in their branches. Additionally, Acacia trees are essential for preventing soil erosion and controlling water levels in the savannah, which helps keep the ecosystem healthy and balanced.

    Can I spot striped hyenas in the Serengeti?

    While striped hyenas are less commonly encountered than spotted hyenas in the Serengeti, they inhabit some park areas. However, they are nocturnal and elusive, making them more challenging to spot than other hyena species. Visitors may have better luck encountering striped hyenas on night game drives or by observing signs of their presence, such as tracks or dens.

    Are there any opportunities for birdwatching in the Serengeti?

    The Serengeti has a wide range of bird species, making it an excellent view for birdwatchers. You’ll find plenty of chances to see all sorts of birds, from impressive birds of prey like eagles and vultures to vibrant songbirds and waterfowl. Exploring different parts of the Serengeti, like forests, grasslands, and wetlands, lets you see many bird species in their natural habitats.

    What safety precautions should I take while visiting the Serengeti?

    While the Serengeti is a relatively safe destination for tourists, taking precautions is vital to ensure a smooth and enjoyable safari experience. Visitors should follow their guide’s instructions, stay inside designated park areas, and avoid approaching or disturbing wildlife. It’s also advisable to carry essential supplies like water, sunscreen, and insect repellent and to always adhere to park rules and regulations.

    Can I participate in conservation efforts during my visit to the Serengeti?

    Several organizations and lodges in the Serengeti offer visitors opportunities to get involved in conservation initiatives. This may include participating in tree-planting projects, joining anti-poaching patrols, or contributing to community-based conservation programs. By supporting these efforts, visitors can protect the Serengeti’s precious natural heritage and ensure its long-term sustainability.

    Are there accommodations available for visitors to stay in the Serengeti?

    People visiting the Serengeti can choose from different places to stay, such as fancy lodges, tented camps, or more affordable campsites. These places offer other amenities, from cozy tents with bathrooms to fancy lodges with great food and spa services. 

    Whether you like a simple camping experience or a luxurious safari stay, you can find something that fits your preferences and budget in the Serengeti. Some accommodations also provide guided safari experiences and cultural interactions with local communities, enriching the Serengeti adventure.

     
    Musaddiq Gulamhussein - Owner - Easy Travel Tanzania

    About the author: Musaddiq

    Meet Musaddiq Gulamhussein, owner of Easy Travel Tanzania, a tour company creating life-changing safari experiences for over 35 years. Musaddiq has explored Tanzania, developing a deep understanding of the local cultures and traditions. Follow his journey and gain insights into the African Safari experience through Easy Travel's social media and blog.

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