The Serengeti is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The most famous features of the Serengeti ecosystem are the spectacular concentration of plains animals, found nowhere else in the world, and the annual wildebeest migration. The park itself covers an area of 15,000 square kilometres and adjoins other reserves, such as the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to the south and the Masai Mara (in Kenya) to the north, making a huge total area in which the wildlife can continue its age old cycles of life and death, protected and undisturbed.
The terrain of the park varies from the short and long grass, open plains in the south, the acacia savannah in the central area, the hilly, more densely wooded northern section, and the extensive woodland and black clay plains, dominated by the central ranges of mountains in the western corridor. The plains are dotted with rocky outcrops known as "kopjes", and there are several rivers running through the park, notably the Seronera River in the central area, the Grumeti River in the Western corridor and the Mara River in the north.
Apart from the wildebeest and zebra, you can expect to see a large variety of animals.
Gazelle varieties include the tiny Dik Dik, Thompsons gazelle, Grants gazelle, topi, waterbuck, greater and lesser kudu and many others.
Hippos will be found in their pools at any time of year. Elephant will frequently be seen but the population here is migratory, and the numbers in different areas will vary from season to season.
There are huge herds of buffalo and a large population of giraffe. The rhino, once close to extinction, is making a comeback in Serengeti National Park, however chances are not always good that they will be sited here.
Apart from the bigger game, there are some enchanting little creatures around such as mongoose, bat eared foxes and rock hyrax.
There are not many monkeys and apes in the Serengeti, but you will see baboons and black faced Vervet monkeys, particularly near the lodges.
The Serengeti predators, made famous by many films and documentaries, include lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena.
The birds of the Serengeti are just as spectacular and varied as the mammals. There are several types of eagles and vultures, ostrich, secretary birds, Kori bustards, hornbills, guinea fowl as well as a host of smaller birds. There have been almost 500 species of birds recorded in the park, including several that migrate from Europe and Asia in the winter months.
Visitors must not expect to see every animal and bird on every visit. The area is vast, and the migratory and weather patterns mean that many of the animals are constantly on the move. What you will see on any given trip depends on the season, the weather, on the skill of your driver/ guide and most of all, on luck.