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Getting to Know Africa: The Magnificent Serengeti

Mon, Aug 24, 2015 @ 10:53 AM

Take a Photo Safari through Serengeti National Park

Serengeti_National_Park

When you think of an African safari, chances are images of the Serengeti spring to mind.  Nothing quite imbues the grandeur of Africa and its wildlife as the vast open plains of the Serengeti. 

Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s oldest and most popular national park.  The nearly 15,000 square kilometer park is made up of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest and woodlands.  It was established in 1951 and became a World Heritage Site in 1981.

It’s located about 300 kilometers from Arusha and stretches north to Kenya, and borders Lake Victoria to the west.

Serengeti is a huge international tourist destination with over 90,000 tourists visiting the park each year, and was of course the inspiration for the wildly popular animated film The Lion King.

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Source:  The Lion King - Magic on Parade, Wikipedia (Creative Commons, licensed for reuse)

 

The Serengeti’s ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth.   Little has changed in the past one million years.  Its climate, vegetation and fauna have remained essentially the same.

 

Amazing Trees and Animals in a Gorgeous Landscape

There are hundreds of species of trees in the park.  The Serengeti landscape would not be recognizable without the iconic flat-topped Acacia trees that dot the plains.  These trees use their thorny outer branches as a defensive mechanism to prevent animals from ripping them to shreds.  

As one of the most important animal sanctuaries in the world, human habitation is not allowed in the park except for the staff of the Tanzania National Parks Authority.  Away from human encroachment, animals thrive.

Zawadee - Bring Africa Home does not adovcate any form of safari other than photographic safaris.  We strive to contribute to the protection of species at risk.

The Serengeti is famously home to the “Big 5”—lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants and Cape buffalo.  It has one of the largest lion populations in Africa, with around 3500 lions in 300 prides.

1024px-Big_Five_Game_1

Source: By Vasylysk (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons 
 

By some estimates there are three million large mammals roaming the Serengeti plains.  There are 35 species of plains animals and more than 500 species of birds, including ostriches, flamingos and vultures.  You can also find 100 varieties of dung beetles, numerous Nile crocodiles, monkeys, giraffes and much more. 

 

The Roar of Millions of Pounding Hooves

You can view wildlife any time of year, but for a truly unforgettable experience, try timing your visit to see arguably the greatest land migration on earth. 

Twice a year over one million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebras and Thomson's gazelles migrate over 800 kilometers across the plains of the Serengeti, in search of water and fresh grazing.

From December to February they head south, and from May to July they head back north making these months the best time to catch this unbelievable spectacle.

To watch the great migration is to observe a life and death struggle.  Witnessing such power and violence in the animal kingdom is unforgettable.

Predators, such as lions, cheetahs and leopards lurk on the outskirts ready to pick off a young wildebeest or stray zebra separated from the herd.  Crocodiles in the Mara River snap away at the onslaught of animals.  And all the while, vultures circle overhead hoping to get a nibble.

In the end, 250,000 wildebeest die during their journey, usually from thirst, starvation, exhaustion or predation, but most make it and will make the trip again.

 

 

Appreciate Unparalleled Beauty with a Safari

Even if you miss the great migration, there is much to see.

In Swahili, the word safari simply means a journey.  Here are a few safari options to get the most of your journey through Serengeti National Park:

 

  • Hot air balloon safaris: Imagine your perspective from above where you can fully take in the great landscape and its inhabitants.

 1024px-Balloon_Safari_2012_06_01_3126_7522678450

Source: By Harvey Barrison from Massapequa, NY, USA (Balloon Safari_2012 06 01_3126 Uploaded by Elitre) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons 
 
  • Walking safaris:  These can be for a couple of hours or several days for the more adventurous.  Going slow on foot is a great way to use all your senses to appreciate the beautiful surroundings. 
  • Game drives:  You can get a little closer to the big game in a vehicle. 

 

Topis and Buffaloes

Have you been lucky enough to visit Serengeti National Park?  If so, you no doubt glimpsed a topi antelope or buffalo, which are abundant within the park.  Whether you’re looking for a small sculpture for your mantel or a large frame for your wall, we have numerous products that capture the grace of the topis and mighty power of the buffalo. 

Shop African Wildlife – Shop Zawadee

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Please remember 2% of sales of our wildlife products (in any format) goes to charitable agencies working to support endangered species at risk.
 
 

Cover Photo Source:  De volta para casa / Going Back Home, Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)

 

Penny Baldwin-French

Written by Penny Baldwin-French

Penny is the Chief Marketing Officer for Zawadee - Bring Africa Home. She enjoys bringing unique and beautiful products to market, is an avid kayaker and enjoys all things marketing.

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