Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania © BjÃ¸rn Christian TÃ¸rrissen
Meaning 'endless plains' in the Masai language, the Serengeti is Tanzania's oldest park and one of the world's best wildlife refuges, continuous with Kenya's Masai Mara Game Reserve to the north. The open plains are home to an estimated three million large mammals involved in seasonal migration, and together with the birds and smaller animals it has the largest concentration of wildlife in the world. The Serengeti is famous for the Great Migration, possibly the most astounding occurrence in the animal kingdom that is known to humankind. During this time, millions of hoofed animals, predominantly wildebeest, form one massive herd and leave the dry plains of Tanzania in search of greener grazing and water to the north. Bringing up the rear of the procession are the weak, the young, and the crippled, followed closely by large numbers of vigilant predators, including lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs. The season varies according to the rains, but the best time to witness the northward migration is usually from the beginning of June and again on their return in mid-November. If not coming for the migration, the best time to visit this famous national park is between January and March, when the grazers are calving and the weather is dry and sunny.