May 7, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Secrets of the Serengeti

The Serengeti is known to be the best wildlife sanctuary in the entire world. This is largely in part because of the two million wildebeest, half a million Thomson's gazelle, and a quarter of a million zebra. The Serengeti is home to the greatest concentration of plains game in all of Africa. This can be seen during one of the most spectacular events at the Serengeti, the annual Serengeti migration. Every December the wildebeest migration begins in the ngorongoro area of the southern Serengeti of Tanzania. This area is known for its rich grasslands which fuel the animals on their journey. 750,000 zebra that precede 1.2 million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of other plains game participate in the migration. Some 250,000 wildebeest die during the journey from Tanzania to the Maasai Mara reserve which is located in lower Kenya. The wildebeest succumb to the elements such as thirst, hunger, exhaustion, and predation during the 500 mile trek. 

There are herds of antelope, eland, lesser kudu, roan antelope, orbi, grants gazelle, steenback, topi, oryx, and buffalo in the grasslands. In the woodlands, grimmia, impala, and kirks dikdik make their home. Reedbuck and waterbuck live in the swamps. The granite kopjes are filled with klipspringer, giraffe, and olive baboons. Leopards, cheeta, caracal, African elephants, black rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and giraffe are the largest mammals that inhabit the Serengeti.  There are also many species of bats, bushbaby, pastas monkeys, black and white colobus monkeys, aardvarks, golden cats, serval, cape hares, porcupine, 3 species of hyrax, bat eared fox, 2 species of otters, ratels, zorillas, common gents, African civets, 7 species of mongoose, African wildcats, and bush pigs. 
There are many reptiles as well and they include the Nile crocodile, Nile monitor lizard, African rock Python, blackened spitting cobra, and puff adders. There are over 500 species of birds including 34 raptors, 6 vultures, and aggregations of over 20,000 water birds, ostrich, marabou stork, lesser flamingo, African fish eagles, lesser falcons, secretary birds, helmeted guineafowl, crowned cranes, korai bustards, black winged pratincole, black winged plover, black terns, fishers love birds, purpuratus, southern ground hornbills, grey crested helmet shrikes, karamoja a pails, red throated tit, and rofous tailed weavers. 

The Serengeti has been a protected area since 1951. In 1929, 228,600 acres of central Serengeti was declared a game reserve. The Serengeti earned national park status in 951 with extensive boundary modifications in 1959 and was accepted as a part of the world heritage site in 1981. The Serengeti is a stunning national park with renowned grasslands, plains in the southeast, hilly and rocky terrain in the northern part, and rivers, valleys, and forests to the west. The scenery is picturesque and unmatched to any other worldly location, making it an untamed wilderness of wonder.  

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