Across the border with Tanzania from the Masai Mara NR, the immense and majestic Serengeti National Park extends for 14,763 sq kms, through Acacia woodlands and infinite grass plains where giant Kopjes rise like icebergs from the sea. The Serengeti ecosystem lies between Lake Eyasi to the South, Lake Victoria to the West and the Masai Mara NR in Kenya to the North. Towards the East, Serengeti NP borders the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, stretching for 8,288 sq kms towards the impressive craters of the Rift Valley such as the Ngorongoro Crater and the still active Ol Donyo Lengai. The Serengeti (meaning “Land of Endless space” in Maasai language) Ecosystem is one of the most prolific places to see an extraordinary variety and quantity of wildlife. In particular, during the wet months of December to March the Wildebeests’ migration gathers on the short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti and the adjacent Ngorongoro Conservation Area to give birth to their calves. Here the soil is particularly rich in minerals and nutrients, ideal to support the calves in the first few months of their lives.
One of the most fascinating features of this area are the majestic Kopjes, huge granite boulders that rise from the plains, formed by millions of years of erosion of the ashy soil around them. Here Lions and Cheetahs find shelter and shade, and enjoy an extraordinary vantage point to scan the plains below for prey or danger. And it is an extraordinary spectacle to watch as thousands and thousands of Wildebeests, Zebras and Thomson’s Gazelles fill the green plains, as far as the eye can see. No picture or words can describe the emotion of being part of this natural spectacle, being alone among thousands of animals grazing, their obsessive calls resonating for miles, the lifeblood of the Ecosystem.
Image Safaris concentrate on the Southern Serengeti plains during the wet months of December to March. We’ll camp in the woodlands around Lake Ndutu, at the center of the Wildebeests’ calving grounds. In the wet months this area supports an extraordinary proliferation of life. Cheetah mothers teach their cubs to hunt, migratory birds such as Eurasian and Abdim’s Storks flock the plains and lake shores, while Golden Jackals and Bat-eared Foxes raise their pups in the dens. Lion prides finally have a chance of filling their bellies, after enduring some very lean times in the dry spell, with very little if any food around. It is easy to get lost when you are tracking a Cheetah deep into the immense plains but it is a wonderful sensation to watch the dark clouds build up in the distance, with the rays of sun filtering through.
Federico Veronesi has photographed these areas extensively and will take you away from the masses into remote and stunning locations, real wildlife heavens where few people venture. Photography is particularly good here as off road driving is allowed, offering the possibility to position the vehicle as desired and to follow animals across the endless plains.
In the Ngorongoro Conservation Area lies the world famous Ngorongoro Crater. Ngorongoro was an active volcano which last erupted about 8 million years ago. The tip of the crater collapsed, leaving a 265 sq kms wide caldera with extremely nutritious pastures that attracted wild animals first and Maasai livestock later. The Ngorongoro Crater is 600 meters deep, and hosts an impressive concentration of animals, grazers such as Gazelles, Wildebeests and Zebras, and predators such as Hyenas, Lions and Cheetahs. Magadi lake at its center is a soda lake that attracts Flamingos, while Lerai forests attracts huge bull Elephants with enormous tusks. While it is an extraordinary spectacle, we don’t recommend it highly for photography, as there are many vehicles and very few tracks and a strict no off road driving policy. However, we will be pleased to arrange a one or two days extension to our Southern Serengeti safaris into the crater.
Join us on one of our upcoming Southern Serengeti photo-safaris during the wet months!
See the full photo gallery of Serengeti.