Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Serengeti comes from the Maasai word Siringeti which means the endless plains. It has got an area of 14750 sq km, and the park is known for its wealth of leopard, lion, Rhino and many more, this made Serengeti as the world greatest wildlife sanctuary. This park is the largest reserve in Tanzania and located in the southern part of Tanzania. The park has got variety of environments with wide grass plains to the southern acacia savannah in the central region. The is characterised with the Kopjes that gives a feeling of the incomparable wildness and infinite variety.
According to the seasons, the Serengeti changes from rich fertile land to the desolate wilderness that cause migration of wildebeest. The best season to visit this national park is from May to July and in December to February. This spectacular national park can be reached by road from Arusha via the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and by the charter of the scheduled flight from Arusha or Kilimanjaro International Airport. It has also got many accommodation facilities including; campsites, tented camps, lodges inside and outside the park. The common animals to be seen here include; zebras, wildebeests, Giraffes, Jackals, elephants, wild dogs, buffaloes, lions and the leopards etc. the park has the great annual migration that creates the reputation of this national park.
The Moru Kopjes is so stunning, you can achieve the ocean of golden grasses wave with in the sunlight as far as the eye can see. The smooth granite boulders also rise from this area of grass as they have for many million years. The Kopjes are adorned by the ornate candelabra trees that stretch the arms to the heavens. The Moru Kopjes is an excellent place to see the magic in the Serengeti National Park. The visitors can encounter the rare Rhino and also climb the gong rocks in order to see the Maasai paintings.
You will have a short walk with in the Kopjes at the Moru that leads to the maasai paintings and the gong rock. Here the elephants and the people are painted on the walls in colours that are usually seen on the maasai shields. The Moru Kopjes is also home to the remaining population of the black Rhinos with in Serengeti. At first, the rhinos were poached to the location extinction. However, there are 12 black Rhinos with in Moru Kopjes, in 1995, the Serengeti Rhino Project was launched and the tracking devices were put in each of the Rhino’s horns. These Rhinos are monitored 24 hours a day and visitors can also visit the small visitor’s centres were they can learn more about the Rhinos in Serengeti and the different conservation strategies being employed.
The Moru Kopjes are situated at the mouth of the Mbalageti River Valley where there is so much water and the migration tends to stay here during the northward movements. The herds eat up all the grass here and then they move on. The Moru Kopjes offer the phenomenal game viewing as it lies directly on the main wildebeest and the zebra migration route. Game viewing is so high in the Moru Kopjes especially during May for the northward migration. The Entire Moru Kopjes area is filled with the unending masses of the zebras and the wildebeest.
The Maasai Kopjes form the eastern boundary of the seronera River Valley. The massive stacks of the boulders heaped on one another and rose above the landscape interrupting the smooth skyline of the plains nearby. These kopjes overlook the broad entrance to the infamous seronera River Valley. The Kopjes are surrounded by the craggy hollows and the smooth granite crests that are base to the most legendary lion prides called the Maasai Lion Pride. The Kopjes is a must see to any tour to the Seronera River Valley since you can view lots of wildlife.
The Maasai Kopjes is also home to the rare Bohor reedbuck, ostriches, leopard, jackals, black backed jackals, waterbuck, gazelles and the spotted Rhinos. The rock outcrops are the most delightful habitants and are more visible on the flat open plains and they consist of 2 to 3 billion year old granite rock due to weathering and erosion. The Kopjes have ecosystem with a range of vegetation and wildlife that includes; Mongoose, hyrax, lizards, birds, and the porcupines. The kopjes are like Islands with a community plants and animals as well as a refuge for the mother cheetah and the lions with the cubs. These Kopjes also serve as a water catchments area as well as the clefts where the soils mix with the eroded rocks and the tree seeds.
Makoma hill is a hill that forms the western edge of the packed Seronera valley. In front of the hills, lies a small and idyllic plain that is referred to as the Makoma plain. This Makoma plain is bordered by Makoma hill in the west and the seronera River in the east. Each of the land marks of makoma hill, Thatch kopjes and Makoma plain is a scenic wonder and offers variety of wildlife viewing opportunities. The wooded makoma hill is a good spot to view the impalas, giraffes, gazelles, hyenas, buffalos, cheetah and many more. These kopjes are also favoured by the large Makoma lion pride.
There are also game drives that are carried out in areas of Makoma and its incredibly rewarding. This area is also called the Makoma Game loop that circles the entire makoma plain with the smaller tracks that surround the Thatch Kopjes. As you drive through the makoma plains, its chance that you will spot large groups of Buffalos, and the gazelles. The gazelles live here during the dry season while the buffalos live here all year round. It’s known that they are over 100 buffalo individuals that can be seen here. There is also the Makoma pride lions as well as the hyenas that are seen hunting in the plains. There are also Raptors including the Tawny eagles, the black backed jackal and the bat eared fox.
Makoma hill is situated with in a great location for the wildlife viewing throughout the year, and it’s at this time when the migration takes place in the north in May/ June and south in November and December. The migration activity is the best time of the year for the Makoma hill lion pride as well as the large clans of hyenas. The cheetahs also use the long grass plains that cover the Makoma Hill in the dry season and then they migrate back to the east.
This turner’s spring is located at the heart of the central Serengeti in the thick bushes of Acacia trees. These springs are so difficult to see but have lots of wildlife especially during the dry season including the giraffes, lions, impalas, leopards, buffalos, and the hyenas. These springs are named after Myles Turner. Who was also a chief game warden of the Serengeti from 956 to 1972. He took up the post after the great inception of the national park since these early years were among the darkest and the wildlife was so threatened by poaching. Its location is isolated and remote from the many guests that come to central Serengeti, this area is also home to the two of Serengeti’s finest dry season campsites, which are located on either side of the massive and vegetated kopjes. Game drives to the Turner’s springs is approximately 5 miles long and heads directly east from Seronera. The area offers good wildlife opportunities since it crosses the thick acacia woodland with the small open areas where the animals meet. The most seen animals include the buffalos, giraffes and the leopards.
The springs are also good for viewing the lion prides, and these rule the entire surrounding area. The area is indeed the park place of the lion territories with in the Serengeti due to the presence of water and the high biomass of the resident prey. The lions roar most during the dry season of the plentiful prey, when the nomad lions might be tempted to pilfer from their larder. Both the male and female lions roar in the similar way except that the calls of the male are deeper in the tone. Therefore a visit to the Turner’s spring is mostly recommended during the dry season of July to November, in the green season of December to June, the tracks out to the remote located springs are so difficult to navigate when wet. More so, the wildlife will be more concentrated in the woodlands around the springs during the green season as most of the resident animals have many other sources of water.
About the Lion Grass Plains
These long grass plains consist of the massive area of the long grasses and the termite mounds that are located in the stretching miles that are between the central Serengeti and the seronera region plus the Naabi Hill in the south of Serengeti. The grass in this area grows tall due to the fact that the soil is deep and less alkaline than the other areas of Serengeti. In the south and east side, the grass is short since the soils are shallow and an impenetrable volcanic hard pan that prevents root growth? This means that the wildebeests and the gazelles prefer short, and more nutritious grass that is found in the southern and Eastern Serengeti as compared to the coase grass that is found on the long grass plains that are preferred by the zebras.
The migrations of both the zebras and that of the wildebeests is different in terms of their migratory movements and the range of habitants. The wildebeest migration is located in the south and the gazelles in the east Serengeti and that of the zebras can be found in the ling grass plains in the green season. One of the most surprising feature of these long grass plains are also the towering clay castles that are constructed by one of the Serengeti‘s smallest creatures the termite. These termites might be so small, but they don’t keep a low profile since their presence is well known throughout the Serengeti. The moulds of the termites provide homes , resting places, and look out points for mammals, reptiles, baboons, cheetahs, hares, hyenas, monitor lizards, pangolins, porcupines, toads, topis, antelopes, and birds including; aardvarks, and the red and yellow barbets and many more.
These eastern plains of the Serengeti National Park are composed of the massive area and they begin in the eastern of Naabi Hill. These also extend east wards through the Gol Kopjes, Nasera Rock, Lemuta hill, Angata Kiti and the Salei plains and all the way to the Ngorongoro Highlands and the active volcano Mount Lengai. This area is over 50 miles wide from the west to the east. The southern border of the eastern plains is the Olduvai Gorge and the northern border that reaches into the great Loliondo Game Controlled Area.
These eastern plains are similar to the Southern plains since they are all seasonal. In the dry season, the eastern plains are transformed into a semi desert and a few grant’s and Thomson‘s gazelles survive. The eastern plains also come to life during the wet season of November to May and offers good wildlife viewing for certain species of animals. In order to enjoy this section of the park, a day trip should be included in every green season safari itinerary.
The eastern Serengeti has also got the Gol Kopjes that boast the highest concentration of cheetahs in the African continent during the wet season. The many cheetahs found here are migratory and most of these follow the Thomson’s gazelle migration to the eastern short grasses in the wet season and then back to the central Serengeti in the dry season. The region is also famous for the hyenas, lions, giraffes, birds, zebras, eland, wildebeests, etc.