Commonly referred to as one of the great wonders of the world, the migration of African wildlife over the Serengeti is one of the most beautiful things to see in Africa.
The Serengeti wildebeest migration is a movement of vast numbers. The wildebeest are accompanied by large numbers of zebra, gazelle, eland and impala along their journey. The groups of animals move in a similar pattern throughout the year, making it a continual process as they are constantly looking for fresh land to graze and high quality water sources.
Zebras are African equids, related to the horse family. Their distinctive black and white coats come in different patterns unique to each individual zebra. Zebras are a social herd animal but, unlike their close relatives - horses and donkeys - have never been domesticated.
Wildlife is frequently the subject of African artwork and crafts, as in these lovely
The Wildebeest Migration: An Animation
We think you'll enjoy this great animated representation of the migration patterns of the Wildebeest by Go2Africa Safaris. If you have an interest in Africa (and safaris!) subscribe to the Go2Africa YouTube channel. Lots of great videos and top notch information.
The Wildebeest Migration by the Numbers
- 1.4 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra and 350,000 gazelle migrate in a clockwise fashion.
- The migrating wildlife travel 1,800 miles each year in search of rain-ripened grass.
- Wildebeest calving occurs late January through mid-March when over 80% of the female wildebeest give birth over a period of a few weeks. An estimated 400,000 wildebeest calves are born during this period.
Migration Is Dynamic and Different Each Year
One of the common assumptions about the migration patterns of the Serengeti is they follow a circular route and are always moving forward. This is not the case. Migration patterns are not always a continuously forward motion in the same direction. Directions and patterns change frequently, something that makes seeing the migration in person somewhat of a challenge. According to Ultimate Africa Safaris, “They go forward, backwards, and to the sides; they mill around, they split up, they join forces again, they walk in a line, they spread out, or they hang around together. You can never predict with certainty where they will be; the best you can do is suggest likely timing based on past experience. You can never guarantee the Migration one hundred percent.”
This adds to the allure of the migration. It’s a dynamic process, and no two years are ever the same. National Geographic has produced a wonderful video which explains The Serengeti Migration beautifully. “In reality, there is no such single entity as ‘the migration.’ The wildebeest are the migration – there is neither start nor finish to their endless search for food and water, as they circle the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in a relentless sequence of life and death. The only beginning is the moment of birth” says acclaimed East African author and photographer, Jonathan Scott.
The migratory animals do not go unchallenged during the migration. There is no shortage of African carnivores that eagerly anticipate the presence of wildebeest. Predators such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and many others eagerly await the migration each year.
Phases of the Wildebeest Serengeti MigrationThere are four main phases of the wildebeest Serengeti migration:
- Phase 1 (February – March) This is the birthing period, with all pregnant mothers giving birth over a few weeks’ period.
- Phase 2 (April – June) The wildebeest head west toward the bush land of Grumeti Reserve.
- Phase 3 (July – September) The wildebeest head north toward Maasai Mara in Kenya to open plains.
- Phase 4 (October – January) The wildebeest head back south slowly toward the birthing area to start the cycle over again.
“When we plant trees, we plant the seeds of peace and hope.”
The Green Belt Movement (GBM) is an environmental organization, based in Kenya, which seeks to empower communities to conserve the environment. It was founded in 1977 by Professor Wangari Maathai as an offshoot of the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) in response to the requests of rural Kenyan women. These women noticed a number of environmental issues that were posing a threat to the African environment, namely the drying up of streams, unsecured food supplies.
The vision of the organization is to create “a values-driven society of people who consciously work for continued improvement of their livelihoods and a greener, cleaner world.” This vision drives their mission of creating better environmental management and community livelihood through tree planting.
How much of an impact has the Green Belt Movement had to date?Here is a look at GBM by the numbers:
Number of GBM-supported community tree nursery groups – 4,034
Number of indigenous seedlings raised by the community nurseries annually – 8,000,000 seedlings
Average number of trees planted in critical watershed areas annually – 5,000,000 trees
Number of tree planting sites in critical watersheds across Kenya – 6,500
Total number of trees planted since 1978 to date – over 51 million
Average survival rate – 70%
The Green Belt Movement’s Three Pillars of Activity:
- Community Empowerment and Education: GBM believes that education and community empowerment is important to help people understand the connection between a healthy environment and human activities.
- Planting Trees: GBM focuses on planting the right trees in the right locations to have a maximum impact on the ecosystem, helping to preserve the environment for years to come.
- Advocacy: GBM uses a grassroots approach to help local communities maintain a healthy and fruitful environment. However, GBM also has an international presence and advocates for environmental policies to protect forest ecosystems in sub-Saharan Africa and the Congo Basin Rainforest Ecosystem.
About Wangari Maathai – The Founder of the Green Belt Movement
“We cannot tire or give up. We owe it to the present and future generations of all species to rise up and walk!”
Wangari Maathai was internationally recognized for her advocacy for human rights, democracy, and environmental conservation. She was the 2004 laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize, author and former chairman of the National Council of Women of Kenya. Her work at the council led to the concept of community-based tree planting and the original concept for the Greenbelt Movement. Maathai passed away on September 25, 2011, but she left us a lasting legacy and made great impact on the Kenyan environment and community. Her awards, achievements and personal affiliations are too many to list. Her dozens of honorary degrees and awards are a testament to her impact on the environment.
Want to learn more about Wangari? Check out her publications:
The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience
Unbowed: A Memoir
The Challenge for Africa
Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World
Purchase copies of her books here NOTE: If you click through to purchase any item from Amazon, a percentage of the sale is donated to the Green Belt Movement.
DONATE to the Green Belt MovementThere are a number of ways to get involved with the Green Belt Movement and support this great cause:
Visit The Green Belt Movement online for more information about how to donate.
Each year, millions of Serengeti wildebeests migrate across the African continent. But they are not the only ones. A number of different groups of animals move throughout Africa in a similar pattern each year, with the goal being to find water to drink and land to graze. Zebras are one of the largest of the secondary groups that are part of the Serengeti migration each year. In fact, more than 200,000 zebras participate in this amazing journey each year!
About African Zebras
Zebras are African equids and are relatives of the horse family. They are easily identifiable by their black and white striped coat. Even though zebras may look the same, each zebra actually has a unique pattern. Like many other African animals, they are a social herd of animals, sticking together naturally, something that also helps them ward off predators such as lions, hyenas and many others.
Zebras Migrate Based on Environmental Factors
As outlined on eyesonafrica.net, zebras (and other African animals) “do not follow a calendar schedule, rather, they follow cues from the environment to tell them when the rains have reached an area and they then move there to take advantage of the fresh growth of grasses. The migration timing and pattern varies year to year.” The great news is that you can experience the migration of zebras in person. Imagine being able to see thousands of zebras congregated in the same place, grazing, caring for their young, and seeing many different African animals interact in their natural habitat. It would be a trip you won’t soon forget!
Longest Migration Among African Mammals
National Geographic recently published a story that found, “A population of zebras surprised biologists by making a more than 300-mile beeline across parts of Namibia and Botswana—the longest big-mammal migration ever documented in Africa.” While this migration has been observed during consecutive years, it is still not of the scale of the Serengeti Migration, as it involved only a few thousand zebras. However, “the animals cover more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) in a straight-line, up-and-back journey across Namibia and Botswana. (In the Serengeti, the animals meander more before circling back, so their feet touch more ground, but the distance between the zebras' two destinations is greater.)”
Why Wildebeests and Zebras Migrate TogetherAfrican travel experts have identified four main reasons why zebras tend to migrate with wildebeests:
Since wildebeests are short grass grazers, and zebras tend to shear off long grass, zebras essentially cut the grass in new areas, allowing wildebeests to pick up the tailings.
Zebras have better eyesight and hearing, essentially acting as an alarm for wildebeests when predators approach.
Wildebeests have the ability to “smell” water, making them an ideal travelling partner for zebras.
Zebras tend to have better memories and are more cautious travellers, something that helps wildebeests identify and fend off potential dangers.
Please help us to help species at riskPlease remember that Zawadee donates 2% of all sales of our African Wildlife products (carvings, sculptures, masks, etc.) to the World Wildlife Fund and The Jane Goodall Institute.
African carvings have become very popular décor items in recent years. With people taking more of an interest in global art forms, and with the rise in popularity of abstract sculptures, this type of art is popping up in homes, offices and galleries across North America.
A particular type of African carving that is particularly alluring are handmade soapstone carvings from Kenya. While soapstone has been used for years as a carving material, it is the Kisii stone that is most desirable.
Origins of Soapstone Carvings by the Kisii
The stone is named after the Kisii people of the Tabaka Hills in western Kenya—the only place it is found in the region. The soapstone is a metamorphic rock that consists of the mineral talc. Also commonly referred to as steatite, it is known for being soft and easy to work with. While the stone was primarily used for domestic purposes such as basketry and pottery, it is now used to create handmade carvings for export. The Kisii people originally used soapstone to carve pots to carry fat, which was later massaged into the skin for protection against the sun and other elements. For many families, these soapstone carvings are their primary source of income as they sell their work in malls, galleries, markets and shops across Kenya.
Kisii Stone Stone - has become preferred by local artisans because of its softness and ease of carving. It occurs in a number of beautiful natural colours ranging from a light cream to black as well as yellows, red, lavender and grey. The color is dependent on the minerals present in the soapstone. The soapstone is used to create both functional items and works of art.
It’s used to carve:
- Trays and plates
- Bowls and pots
- Decorative sculptures
While carvings traditionally feature animal figures such as elephants, rhinos and other African wildlife, carvers today also create contemporary abstract figures, bookends, candle holders, and many other figurines
The Soapstone Carving ProcessThe carving process is quite involved, and it often includes multiple people. Here are the steps involved in crafting soapstone carvings:
- Mining: Local miners dig a large pit by hand, about 50-75 feet in diameter, using picks and shovels. Heavy machinery is not used.
- Selection: Not all stone that is mined is used for the carvings. The miners sort the stone and select high quality materials for the carvings. Selected materials are then immersed in water to make it easier to carve.
- Carving: Carving is done by hand using a variety of tools such as knives, machetes, chisels, and files. Carvings are most frequently done by experienced carvers, with younger carvers often observing and practising their skills to refine their expertise.
- Sanding: The carved soapstone is washed and smoothed using sandpaper. This is most commonly done by women. Multiple grades of sandpaper are used to achieve the proper finish.
- Decoration: Depending on the type of piece being crafted, the piece is either left in its natural state, or it is decorated by adding color and design elements.
- Polishing: The final step is treating and polishing using oils, creating a professional finish and a shine that brings out other subtle features of the carvings.
Entire families are commonly involved in the soapstone carving process. Men perform the carving and shape the piece. Men or women perform the sanding tasks, and then women do the washing, drying, waxing, and polishing to give the soapstone carving its glossy finish.
About 25 miles south of the bustling city of Cape Town, tucked near the southern tip of South Africa, is one of the most gorgeous and unique displays of plant life in the world.
The Cape Floristic Region is one of just six designated floral kingdoms worldwide. Africa is proudly home to 129 World Heritage sites, spread over 37 African countries. In 2004 the Cape Floristic Region was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which includes eight nature reserves and wilderness areas, including Table Mountain National Park.
If you’re planning a visit, be sure to go in the spring—August to mid-October— when you’ll be greeted with an explosion of colorful flowers blanketing the area.
The Plants - 15 million years ago this area was covered by lush rain forest, but today trees are rare. Instead, vegetation on the Cape is largely made up of fynbos—a shrubland mainly comprised of hard-leafed evergreen, and fire-prone shrubs. The air is dry and all plants must survive the rocky or sandy, nutrient-poor soils. Good drainage is a must for the plants on the Cape. The most recognized plant species in the region are the proteas. These showy shrubs have large flower heads in a variety of colors. Earth Rangers has created a lovely video gallery of flowers indigenous to South Africa. Definitely worth a look - so beautiful!
Renewal from the Ashes - Periodic fires are essential to the ecosystem process on the Cape. Rather than being destructive, many plants depend on an occasional burning of their habitat. Ideally the vegetation needs to burn about every 15 years, for new growth to occur. Proteas are specially adapted to survive wildfires—their thick underground stems contain dormant buds that produce new growth after a fire. The Cape Orchids are also dependent on fire to thrive. Most are dormant for long periods, but after a fire they may spring into glorious bloom.
Don’t Forget the Animals - Flashy flowers may steal the show, but there are also many distinct animals—some of which are only found in this tiny region. You can find 320 different species of birds in the area, with six being endemic. The cape sugarbird, orange-breasted sunbird, protea canary and cape siskin all call this small corner home.
There are 90 species of mammals living in the area. Perhaps the most impressive is the bontebok—a graceful antelope that was nearly extinct in the mid-1800’s. But thanks to some dedicated conservationists, it now numbers about 2,000.
Reptile diversity is also pretty high, with around 100 species. There are five species of tortoise found almost exclusively within the Cape Floristic Region, including the geometric tortoise, which is one of the rarest in the world. There are only about 2,000-3,000 left on the planet.
You can also find 230 species of butterflies fluttering through the region, which must be quite a site when the area is in bloom. You will learn about the incredibly diversity of plants and animals in the Cape Floristic area, as well as the challenges facing the health of the flora and fauna of the Western Cape.
"Home to 7000 unique plant species, South Africa's Cape Floristic Region boasts the richest flora biodiversity in the world. But fires, agriculture, poaching, illegal felling and expanding urbanization are threatening this unrivaled stretch of earth." Source: Global Ideas
Outside Impact on the Area - Although the Cape Floristic Region is protected land, there are still threats to its neighboring areas. Because of its close proximity to the city of Cape Town, there’s the ever-present danger of urban encroachment. In addition, the prime weather has also led to an expansion of agricultural land for vineyards. But the greatest threat to the region is invasive alien plant species. These plants have already invaded about 70% of the mountain and lowland fynbos. If gone unchecked this incursion will be devastating to the area.
These beautiful, soft scarves are all handmade in the small country of Swaziland by talented artisans using specially developed dyes. A wide variety of materials, colours and styles are available.
Looking to echo the vibrant colors of the Cape flowers in your wardrobe?
Hundreds of kilometers off the coast of Madagascar exists a special place, which has remained relatively untouched by humans.
There are numerous islands scattered in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, and among these is the Aldabra Atoll. This island ecosystem—which belongs to the Seychelles—consists of four islands surrounding a large shallow lagoon. Aldabra is the world’s second largest coral atoll, and the largest raised coral reef in the world reaching up to eight meters above sea level. At 34 kilometers long and 14.5 kilometers wide, Aldabra isn’t that big, but it boasts the largest giant tortoise population in the world.
Here are some other tidbits about the giant tortoises:
- They belong to an ancient group of reptiles appearing about 250 million years ago.
- Some individuals have been known to live over 250 years.
- They have long necks so they can stretch and tear branches from trees.
When you think of the unparalleled natural beauty of Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro no doubt springs to mind.
Located in northern Tanzania, near the town of Moshi, Mount Kilimanjaro’s snow-capped peak juts up dramatically from the midst of a vast savanna. It’s made up of three volcanic cones—Kibo, Mawenzi and Shira.
Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak at 5,895 meters (19,341 ft.), and is the highest free-standing mountain in the world—meaning it’s not part of a mountain chain, which makes it all the more striking.
The protected site of Kilimanjaro National Park is made up of the mountain, the surrounding savanna and the forest of the national park. These gorgeous 75,575 hectares are comprised of unique zones of vegetation and numerous endangered species. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. There are huts and campsites on the mountain, so you can plan to stay right where the action is. Kilimanjaro is just 300 kilometers from the equator, so its climate is pretty consistent throughout the year. January and February are the warmest and driest months of the year, so are prime times to visit—especially if you plan on seeking the summit.
Climbing the Mountain
Here are some of the more noteworthy climbs of Mount Kilimanjaro:
- The first people to officially reach the summit were German geologist, Hans Meyer, Ludwig Purtscheller and a local called Lauwo in October 1889.
- In August 2014, Karl Egloff completed a run up the Umbwe Route and descent via Mweka in just 6 hours, 56 minutes and 24 seconds.
- Even though you officially need to be at least ten to climb Kilimanjaro, in January 2008, seven-year-old Keats Boyd from Los Angeles reached the summit.
Officially the oldest person to reach the summit is, Robert Wheeler, who accomplished this feat in October 2014.
About 35,000 people attempt to climb Kilimanjaro each year, but not everyone’s successful. It’s a mountain you can climb without fancy equipment, or technical climbing skills, which is appealing to many.
But don’t think you can waltz up the mountain without preparation. You need to climb with an organized trek, with a licensed mountain operator. There are several different routes to the top with varying degrees of difficulty—but you have to stick to these predetermined routes.
The climb is not without risks. By some estimates, about a third of the climbers don’t make it to the top. Some of these climbers succumb to dangerous altitude sickness, and officially two to three climbers die from this each year. But total deaths are higher than that—with some climbers falling to their death, succumbing to hyperthermia, or other accidents. But fear not—if you’re not the overly-adventurous type, you can opt for a tamer day hike instead.
What's In A Name? - While it isn't clear where the name "Kilamanjaro" originated, one theory is that it is a mix of the Swahili word "kilima" - which means mountain - and the KiChagga (a Bantu language spoken in some parts of Tanzania) word "njaro" - which loosely translates as "whiteness". Another theory is that Kilimanjaro is the result of a European mispronunciation of a KiChagga phrase meaning "we failed to climb it". That's funny!
Plants and Animals - Of course it’s not just thrill seekers who visit Mount Kilimanjaro. Many come to simply soak up the natural beauty. The mountain has five main vegetation zones:
- The Savanna bushland,
- The sub-montane agro forest,
- The montane forest belt,
- The sub-alpine moorland and alpine bogs, and
- The alpine desert.
There are 2500 plant species on the mountain—including 1600 on the southern slopes and 900 within the forest belt. There are also 130 species of trees Above about 4600 meters very few plants are able to survive the severe conditions, but sturdy little mosses and lichens are found all the way to the summit. Animals also thrive in the area. There are some 140 mammals including primates, leopards, and Abbott’s duikers. There’s a little something for everyone to see in Kilimanjaro.
The Future The distinctive white top of Kilimanjaro may not be here in the near future. The continuous ice cap is shrinking. Since 1912, Kilimanjaro has lost 82% of its ice cap and since 1962 it’s lost 55% of its remaining glaciers. Some predict the glaciers will disappear completely within a few decades.
Have you been fortunate enough to visit Mount Kilimanjaro, or are you dreaming of going?How about a little memento to invoke thoughts of Africa? In the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, skilled artisans handcraft gorgeous sculptures.
It's breath-taking! No wonder this majestic site is also known as "Smoke That Thunders".
The spray shoots over 400 meters in the air and can be seen from 30 kilometers away. It is twice the height of Niagara Falls.
There’s no doubt about it. Victoria Falls is massive and awe-inspiring. Located in southern Africa, at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls is considered the largest waterfall in the world, based on its width of 1.7km, plus its height of 108 meters. The Zambezi River, which originates in northern Zambia, feeds these mighty falls. During the wet season, over 500 million liters of water crash down over the edge per minute. Victoria Falls is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1989. Today two national parks protect the falls on either side. Victoria Falls, with its ever-present rainbows, is a gorgeous site to behold. It’s no wonder several hundred thousand people visit the falls each year.
Smoke That Thunders - Scottish explorer Dr. David Livingstone is believed to be the first European to view the falls. When first coming across the falls in 1855, he reportedly said, “Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”
Livingstone named the falls after Queen Victoria, who was the monarch at that time. But well before Livingstone, the falls had another name. In the Kololo language, the falls are aptly named Mosi-oa-Tunya—meaning “smoke that thunders.” The World Heritage List officially recognizes both names.
Exploring the Falls - Here are a few of the numerous ways to explore Victoria Falls:
- Walk the various trails- There are numerous trails on both sides with impressive vistas, but the Zimbabwean side affords the best panoramic view. Baboons and warthogs are common in the area, so you may catch a glimpse.
- Take a train- Hop on the Royal Livingstone Express—a luxury and historic train that offers lunch and dinner trips
- From the air- Take in the sheer magnitude of the falls from a helicopter. You may even see elephants and other wildlife. For added excitement—fly over in a microlite (a small glider-like plane with a motor).
Feeling More Daring? - Obviously for most people it’s enough to gaze at the falls and absorb the surrounding natural beauty. But for those looking for more, the area around Victoria Falls offers a variety of activities for adventure travelers and adrenaline junkies. Devil’s Pool is a natural rock pool on the very edge of Victoria Falls. During the dry season, it’s shallow enough for people to safely swim in it. A natural rock wall, just below the surface, stops swimmers from plunging over the edge. Obviously this is not for the faint of heart, and you have to be a strong swimmer to even get there.
Experience Swimming in Devil's Pool
Imagine having your guide hold onto your ankles as you scoot out to the rim and peer over the precipitous drop to watch the water crash on the rocks 100 meters below.
If you’re not scared of heights, there’s no shortage of activities. How about bungee jumping off the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe? No doubt you’ll feel your heart pumping as you plunge 111 meters into the gorge. Or perhaps you’d like to try rappelling down a cliff or shooting down a high-wire zip line.
For something lower down— but just as exciting—you can go white-water rafting on the Zambezi River to truly feel its power.
Shona Soapstones - The Shona people are the largest ethnic group in Zimbabwe. Today they are known for their beautiful soapstone carvings, although it’s a relatively new art form for them. Zawadee - Bring Africa Home offers a collection of these intricate carvings, including gorgeous serving bowls infused with vivid colors and images of wildlife.
The Okavango Delta: Gorgeous Lushness in the Desert
In southern Africa, the Kalahari desert—a large, semi-arid, sandy savanna—stretches through much of the country of Botswana. There is only one river in this area—the Okavango. River deltas typically lead to the sea, but the Okavango never quite makes it there. Instead, it dumps its water onto open land, flooding the savanna with much-needed water for the surrounding plants and wildlife.
This water sustains numerous animals in an otherwise parched land. It’s an oasis for the abundant wildlife from the surrounding harsh, dry landscape. This concentrated lushness has made the Okavango Delta one of the greatest wildlife viewing destinations in the world. There’s beautiful scenery and stunning animals at every turn. It’s no wonder that the Okavango Delta got the cool distinction of being listed as the 1,000th UNESCO World Heritage Site on June 22, 2014. It’s also one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa—no easy feat in a continent filled with natural beauty.
Characteristics of the Delta - The Okavango Delta is one of the largest inland deltas in the world. It’s shaped like a fan with little tendrils of water stretching forward. Lush little islands dot its waters.
A Flourishing Habitat for Wildlife - The Okavango Delta is famous for its antelope and elephant populations, as well as numerous other large animals. Giraffes, buffalos, hippos, rhinos, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, and crocodiles all enjoy the waters of the delta.
Of course, these are just the larger animals. It’s also easy to spot gorgeous iridescent dragonflies flitting around, or little reed frogs hiding in the bushes near the water. It’s a sanctuary for over 400 species of birds, including African fish eagles, crested cranes, lilac-breasted rollers and ostriches. To enhance this abundant wildlife, plants thrive here as well. Beautiful water lilies can be found floating through the waters and swaying papyrus line the banks.
Cool Ways to Explore - There is plenty to see in the Okavango Delta. Here are some exciting ways to explore the area:
- Want a gorgeous view from above? Try a scenic flight so you can truly appreciate the beauty and great expanse of the delta.
- A safari game drive will give you an up-close view of the animals.
- A Mokoro ride (a type of canoe/punt propelled by someone pushing a stick into the bottom of the water) is an exciting option for floating through the channels of the delta. Just watch out for the crocs and hippos.
- Who wouldn’t love to explore on the back of a mighty elephant. Elephant back safaris are another great way to get a unique perspective of the abundant wildlife.
How about simply walking. Many guided walking tours are offered to give you the full flavor of the region.
Of course, game viewing depends on the season, and water and food availability, so you’ll want to plan your visit carefully. You don’t want to miss out on the awesome wildlife spectacle. The Okavango Delta is a great place to spot majestic elephants and graceful antelopes frolicking in or near the water. Our beautifully hand carved Topi (antelope) sculptures and elephant bookends will add interest to your bookshelves and remind you of these wondrous African animals.
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.
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.
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.
- Hot air balloon safaris: Imagine your perspective from above where you can fully take in the great landscape and its inhabitants.
- 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.