Serengeti National Park
Tanzania's oldest and most popular national park, 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. More than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 thomson's gazelle join the wildebeest migration searching for fresh grazing.
The spectacle of predator versus prey dominates Tanzania’s greatest park. Prides of golden-maned lion feast on the abundance of plains game. Almost uniquely, all three African jackal species occur here, alongside the spotted hyena and a host of more elusive small predators.
Buffalo lumber and game graze along the plains nervously; at night the cough of a leopard or the whooping laugh of the hyena interrupts 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.