We’ll do our best to show you: – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard… distinctive animals like zebra, giraffe, cheetah, and colobus monkeys… members of the gazelle family – eland, kudu, hartebeest, impala, Grant’s, Thompson’s, and dik-dik… and birds of every feather, including kingfisher, fish eagle, lammergeyer, bustard, ostrich, weaver, goliath heron, hammerkop, flamingo, pelican, and migrants. By the way, there is no off-season in the animal kingdom. You can observe a wide range of species in their natural habitat any time of year.
The Serengeti is arguably Tanzania’s best National Park. June and July are the best months to see migrations, and February is the best time to see wildebeast calving. However, the dry months from June to October are probably the best general times for viewing game.
The Serengeti includes protected areas including the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Masawa Game Reserver, and the Loliondo, Grumeti, and Ikorongo Controlled Areas, as well as Kenya’s Maasi Mara National Reserve.
Serengeti National Park is the oldest and most popular national park which was established in 1951, with an area of 14,763 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi). The habitat, bounded by Kenya and bordered by Lake Victoria on the west, is characterized by plains, savannah, wooded hills, large termite mounds, rivers, and acacia woodlands. The spectacular wildlife witnessed in the park is of a million wildebeest seen in 40 square kilometres (15 sq mi) long columns migrating across the rivers to the north, over a distance of 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi), after spending three weeks of mating and giving birth to 8000 calves daily. This migration and life cycle creation is an annual feature witnessed in the park. This migration is in unison with 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle in search of grazing pastures, aptly described as “six million hooves pound the open plains”. Other mammals seen here are buffaloes, elephants, giraffe, large number of elands, topis, kongonis, impalas, and Grant’s gazelles. The predators inhabiting the park are lions, leopards, jackals, spotted hyenas, and serval cats. Reptiles seen are agama lizards and rock hyraxes. Bird species recorded are more than 500, which include ostrich and secretary bird. 100 varieties of dung beetle are also reported.
The wildlife of Tanzania refers to the fauna of Tanzania. Tanzania contains some 20 percent of the species of Africa’s large mammal population, found across its reserves, conservation areas, marine parks, and 17 national parks, spread over an area of more than 42,000 square kilometres (16,000 sq mi) and forming approximately 38 percent of the country’s territory. Wildlife resources of Tanzania are described as “without parallel in Africa” and “the prime game viewing country”.
The African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana) is the larger of the two species of African elephant (the bush and forest elephants). Unfortunately, the elephants in Tanzania are rapidly declining due to poaching, and the ivory trade. We take pride in supporting all wildlife, and our safaris do not include hunting, only photography!
Serengeti National Park, the country’s second largest national park area at 14,763 square kilometres (5,700 sq mi), is located in northern Tanzania and is famous for its extensive migratory herds of wildebeests and zebra while also having the reputation as one of the great natural wonders of the world. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, established in 1959, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and inhabited by the Maasai people. Its Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact caldera in the world.
Here in Tanzania, you will see the Masai lion or East African lion (Panthera leo nubica syn. Panthera leo massaica) is a lion subspecies in eastern Africa. The type specimen is described as being from “Nubia”. The subspecies includes previously recognized subspecies like massaica, which was initially described from the Tanganyika Territory in Eastern Africa.
The national parks are also part of the wetlands of Tanzania. The wild animals tend to be closer to the wetlands, particularly the water loving species such as the hippopotamus, waterbuck, common warthog, elephant, crocodile, sitatunga as well as water birds such as flamingoes, eagles, and ducks.
The Mara Wetland like other wetlands is an important source of natural resources and habitat to a variety of fauna and flora. A number of plant species are found the major ones being Cyperus papyrus (Matende/Matete) and Typha domingensis (Mabilimbili). The livelihood of the communities living around the wetland depends on various services provided by the wetland. The main social economic activities of the communities around the Mara Wetland are fishing and papyrus harvesting.
A fisherman holding Kambale/Mumi fish (Clarias sp.) which was taken from the Mara Wetland. Fishing at the Mara Wetland is normally for household food and sale
Over 80% of the population in communities adjacent to the wetland make their daily living from fishing activities. Although papyrus harvesting is among the major social economic activities of the community around the Mara Wetland only 5% of the papyrus is harvested per year. Papyrus is normally used in making of different household commodities such as mats, baskets, placards, ceiling board, vegetable containers, lamp shades, pads and arm chairs.
The wildebeests, also called gnus, or wildebai, are a genus of antelopes, Connochaetes. They belong to the family Bovidae, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats, sheep and other even-toed horned ungulates. Connochaetes includes two species, both native to Africa: the black wildebeest, or white-tailed gnu (C. gnou); and the blue wildebeest, or brindled gnu (C. taurinus). Fossil records suggest these two species diverged about one million years ago, resulting in a northern and a southern species. The blue wildebeest remained in its original range and changed very little from the ancestral species, while the black wildebeest changed more in order to adapt to its open grassland habitat in the south. The most obvious way of telling the two species apart are the differences in their colouring and in the way their horns are oriented.
In East Africa, the blue wildebeest is the most abundant big game species; some populations perform an annual migration to new grazing grounds, but the black wildebeest is merely nomadic. Breeding in both takes place over a short period of time at the end of the rainy season and the calves are soon active and are able to move with the herd. Nevertheless, some fall prey to large carnivores. Wildebeest often graze in mixed herds with zebra which gives heightened awareness of potential predators. They are also alert to the warning signals emitted by other animals such as baboons. Wildebeest are a tourist attraction but compete with domesticated livestock for pasture and are sometimes blamed by farmers for transferring diseases and parasites to their cattle. Some illegal hunting goes on but the population trend is fairly stable and some populations are in national parks or on private land. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists both as least-concern species.
The real Africa however, can be found in the smiles and hospitality of the Tanzanian people. Interested in other people’s cultures? There are 127 different major tribes within Tanzania. You can meet nomadic Maasai cattle herders, Hadzabe and Tidiga real brothers of Saan people of Karahali desert, Haya the banana,coffee and tea growers occupying the North – Western Tanzania and West of Lake Victoria, Chagga coffee growers, and others who dwell in this beautiful land.
Tanzanian tribes and religion have a big influence on Tanzanian culture. One third of Tanzanians are Christians, and another third are Muslim. In rural places, traditional animistic religions are expressed, and also Hinduism, and Buddhism are found among members of Asian minorities.
The Maasai tribe have maintained their customs and habits, and continue to celebrate traditional rituals when they shave their heads and dance in circles. The black blue and red cloths are traditional, and you will find many examples of African art and culture as you visit the Serengeti. On our Serengeti safaris, you will have the opportunity to buy goods, art and textiles as you move from place to place.