No matter where you’ve been on this awe-inspiring planet, you have not seen anything like the Serengeti National Park. It is a return to the world before time began, largely the same as it was millions of years ago. Endless plains stretch beyond the horizon under a sky of unsullied blue. Acacia trees provide umbrellas of shade. Sausage trees festooned with scarlet flowers provide food. Rocky outcrops become havens. Rivers become domiciles for ravenous crocodiles and gaping-mouthed hippos. And throughout it all, animals roam as they have for time immemorial through the circle of life as predators lie in wait. You may have seen vivid films of the Great Migration, but they fade into nothingness compared to seeing it happen before you, as the guttural sounds in the distance and the rumble of hoofs moving the ground beneath you announce the arrival of the animals.
So, where to start on such a life-changing adventure? Consult with Africa Odyssey to determine where and when to visit based on your schedule, interests and budget.
The Great Migration
Long before humans devised a yearly calendar, wildlife were following their own annual cycle, as more than a million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands zebra form an alliance to make the 480-kilometer journey in search of food and water. The zebra eat the longer grasses so the wildebeest have the shorter grasses they prefer; the wildebeest’s instinctual sense of smell ensure the herds will have water every day.
Each stage of the migration is unique. From December through March (timing is approximate), the wildebeest and zebra, and some gazelles who will tag along for a bit, gather in the South Serengeti to graze and to calve, bringing more than 500,000 offspring into the world. In April and May, the migration moves to the Central Serengeti and the Seronera River Valley, an area that skirts the borders of the grassy plains of the south and the wooded hills of the north, drawing wildlife from both habitats with year-round water and vegetation. In June and July, the migration moves along the Western Corridor to the Grumeti River infested with Nile crocodiles and hazardous with its rushing currents.
Seronera River Valley
Any time of year, wildlife may be seen here: wildebeest, zebra, elephant, giraffes, gazelle, among them. There is also the greatest number of predators. You will hear the whispering of the grasslands as lion, cheetah and hyena prowl, as well as the smaller predators: mongoose, fox and jackal.
Like oases in a barren desert, kopjes provide wildlife with shade, water to drink, plants to eat and caves for cool shelter amid the grassy plains. The granite outcrops are also vantage points on which to scan the landscape for predators. The Moru Kopjes in Central Serengeti is your best chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive and endangered black black rhino.
Hot Air Balloon
Yes, it’s expensive and you have to get up in the middle of the night (pick-up is 5 a.m.), but you really must. There is no better way to see the Serengeti. The balloon rises with the sun as the sky turns from purple to pink until the plains are flooded with gold. It soars as high as 300 meters for a panoramic view of the animals going about their everyday business, then drops down to tree-top level, and you may find yourself staring into the face of a giraffe munching on the leaves.
These are only a small fraction of the wonders of Serengeti National Park. Africa Odyssey has years of experience creating personalized itineraries and will be invaluable in planning your adventure of a lifetime.
This post is sponsored by Africa Odyssey