Serengeti National Park
Tanzania's oldest and most popular national park, also a world heritage site and recently proclaimed a 7th world wide wonder, the Serengeti is famed for its annual migration.
Some six million hooves pound the open plains, each one driven by the same ancient rhythm, fulfilling its instinctive role in the inescapable cycle of life, and more than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson's gazelle join the wildebeest’s trek for fresh grazing.
The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park - Golden-maned lion prides feast on the abundance of plain grazers. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators.
All around is some of the wildest bush in Africa. Buffalo lumber along, all manner of game graze the plains nervously and at night the cough of the Leopard or the whooping laugh of the hyena interrupt the incessant ticking of the cicadias.
But there is more to Serengeti than large mammals. Gaudy agama lizards and rock hyraxes scuffle around the surfaces of the park’s isolated granite koppies. A full 100 varieties of dung beetle have been recorded, as have 500-plus bird species, ranging from the outsized ostrich and bizarre secretary bird of the open grassland, to the black eagles that soar effortlessly above the Lobo Hills.
As enduring as the game viewing, is the liberating sense of space that characterises the Serengeti Plains, stretching across sunburnt savannah to a shimmering golden horizon at the end of the earth. Yet, after the rains, this golden expanse of grass is transformed into an endless green carpet flecked with wildflowers. And there are also wooded hills and towering termite mounds, rivers lined with fig trees and acacia woodland stained orange by dust.