This is a plain dwellers' stronghold of 14,763vsq km, reaching up to the Kenyan border and claimed to be the finest in Africa. The magnificent Serengeti is probably what most people envisage when they imagine ‘real’ Africa. Wide-open plains teeming with wildlife, animals roaming freely in search of food and water and beautiful and dramatic landscapes as far as the eye can see – this is the heartbeat of the Serengeti. The Serengeti harbours the greatest remaining concentration of wild game in Africa and is home to the annual phenomenon where millions of herbivores migrate en mass across the plains of Tanzania.
‘Serengeti’ is derived from the Maasai word 'Siringit' which means 'an extended place'. The region is home to approximately a quarter of a million gazelles, two hundred thousand zebra and thousands of other herbivores, as well as huge prides of lion, high densities of cheetah and solitary leopards. The Serengeti region encompasses the Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas and merges with the Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya.
One of the oldest ecosystems on Earth, the Serengeti has remained almost intact over the past million years. Its plains are mostly crystalline rocks overlain by volcanic ash with numerous granitic rock outcrops, known as kopjes, which are home to rich ecosystems (and where lions usually hide their cubs). In the north and along the western corridor are mountain ranges of mainly volcanic origin. Two rivers flowing west usually contain water and there are a number of lakes, marshes, and waterholes.