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Serengeti

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The vast Serengeti ecosystem is located in northern Tanzania. It spans approximately 30,000 sq kms and hosts one of the world's greatest migrations, which helps secure it as one of the Ten Natural Travel Wonders of the World. The Serengeti is also renowned for its large lion population and is one of the best places to observe prides in their natural environment.

Approximately 70 large mammal and 500 bird species are found here. This high diversity is a function of diverse habitats, including riverine forests, swamps, kopjes, grasslands, and woodlands. Wildebeests, gazelles, zebras, and buffalos are some of the commonly found large mammals in the region.

Each year around the same time, the circular great wildebeest migration begins in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area of the southern Serengeti in Tanzania and loops in a clockwise direction through the Serengeti National Park and north towards the Maasai Mara reserve in Kenya. This migration is a natural phenomenon determined by the availability of grazing. The initial phase lasts from approximately January to March, when the calving season begins – a time when there is plenty of rain-ripened grass available for the 260,000 zebra that precede 1.7 million wildebeest and the following hundreds of thousands of other plains game, including around 470,000 gazelles.

During February, the wildebeest spend their time on the short grass plains of the southeastern part of the ecosystem, grazing and giving birth to approximately 500,000 calves within a 2 to 3-week period. Few calves are born ahead of time and of these, hardly any survive. The main reason is that very young calves are more noticeable to predators when mixed with older calves from the previous year. As the rains end in May, the animals start moving northwest into the areas around the Grumeti River, where they typically remain until late June. The crossings of the Grumeti and Mara rivers beginning in July are a popular safari attraction because crocodiles are lying in wait. The herds arrive in Kenya in late July / August, where they stay for the remainder of the dry season. In early November, with the start of the short rains the migration starts moving south again, to the short grass plains of the southeast, usually arriving in December in plenty of time for calving in February.


The Serengeti has some of East Africa's finest game areas. Besides being known for the great migration, the Serengeti is also famous for its abundant large predators. The ecosystem is home to over 3,000 lions, 1,000 leopards and 7,700 to 8,700 spotted hyenas.