In the Maasai language, Serengeti means "endless plain," a fitting name for this massive expanse of grasslands and forests. If you imagine the iconic image of safari—dry, tall grasses waving beneath a blazing bright sun as predators stalk unsuspecting prey—the backdrop you’re picturing is almost certainly the Serengeti.
Established in 1951, the park is nearly as large as the state of Connecticut, making it the largest national park in Tanzania (not to mention its best known).
The park lies along a high plateau between the Ngorongoro Highlands and the Kenyan border, and extends nearly all the way to Lake Victoria in the west. The landscape of the park, with its low vegetation and vast seas of waving grasses, is ideal for game viewing.
The Serengeti is famed for its
annual migrations of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles. As these massive herds of herbivores search for new grazing ground, they are tracked and hunted by an impressive array of carnivorous predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, and hyenas. The region is also inhabited by buffalos, elephants, giraffes, hippos, antelopes, ostriches, jackals, baboons, and dik-diks. Bird life in the Serengeti is also surprisingly abundant; nearly 500 species of birds have been recorded in the park.
As the sign at the entrance states, this is truly "the world as it was in the beginning."