The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was established in 1952. It is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth – the great migration of wildebeest and zebra. The resident population of lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and birds is also impressive. There’s a wide variety of accommodation available, from luxury lodges to mobile camps. The park covers 5,700 sq miles, (14,763 sq km), it’s larger than Connecticut, with at most a couple hundred vehicles driving around. The Park can be divided into 3 sections. The popular southern/central part (Seronera Valley), is what the Maasai called the “serengit”, the land of endless plains. It’s classic savannah, dotted with acacias and filled with wildlife. The western corridor is marked by the Grumeti River, and has more forests and dense bush. The north, Lobo area, meets up with Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve, is the least visited section.
There are several types of Standard Game Drives, which are listed below. With a tailor-made safari and your own vehicle, you are able to choose the types and durations of the game drives you go on. If you are on a group safari, the types and durations are usually predefined and fixed. On safaris where you fly to the game park or reserve, the game drives are normally set and controlled by the lodge or camp you are staying at. Game drives can be long, hot, dusty and bumpy (ladies don’t forget your sports bra), but are great fun! Note: Most game drives avoid the heat of the day when many of the animals are sheltering from the sun and it is generally recognised that early morning and late afternoon game drives provide the best opportunities for game viewing, but as the animals go where and when they want, this is not always true.
Visit Maasai Village
The Serengeti ecosystem has long been home to the Maasai, a semi-nomadic people who live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley. They are the most well-known local tribe in East Africa to visitors due to their residence near and within many of the popular game parks, their continued engagement in their traditional ways of life, and their distinctive traditional clothing. Some Maasai villages, also called Maasai bomas, welcome visitors to visit and learn about their customs, traditions, and lifestyle. Most visits last an hour or less and include a brief dancing ceremony, a visit to a traditional boma made of sticks, mud, and cow manure, a visit to the village school, and the opportunity to purchase handicrafts produced by members of the village.
Sleeping in a camp set off by itself where one can lay back and hear the chirping of the crickets, the cry of the African Fish Eagle, the rustling of the giant elephant, the “laughing” of the hyena, the yelping of the jackal, and the roar of the lions can be a magical part of the safari experience. The great part is that you can have this experience sleeping on the ground in a basic tent at a $50/night campsite or while sleeping under a down comforter in a $1,000/per night luxury tent as its the location that is most important here, not the tent. Our stay at Asanja Africa, a small luxury tented camp in central Serengeti, gave us the best feeling of sleeping in the African bush during our trip.