Serengeti 2011

    • Lake Ndutu campsite
    • Twilight in the Serengeti
    • Serengeti empty landscape
    • Serengeti hippo near Seronera
    • Sunrise over the Serengeti
    • In the Western Corridor: Don't tempt me!
    • Get outta here!
    • Monkey business at Ndabaka campsite
    • White-backed Vulture with buffalo carcass

    The only road to the Serengeti runs through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, so even if you are just passing through, you have to pay the park fee. We entered the Serengeti at Naabi Hill entrance gate. Because you pay per 24 hours, it is essential to think carefully about when you want to enter, bearing in mind that you will have to exit at the same time a couple of days hence. $30 p/p public campsite, $50 p/p special campsite. Park entrance fee $50 p/p. To take our own foreign registered vehicle into the parks cost $40 a day.

    Serengeti National Park is 6 hours by road from Arusha. It lies on a high plateau between the Ngorongoro highlands and the Kenya/Tanzania border and almost touches Lake Victoria in the west. Named “endless plains” by the Maasai people, it features short and long grass plains, acacia savanna and woodland in parts of the north and east. Within its 15 000 sq km area, Serengeti hosts 3 million large mammals – and we saw very few of those! End August, when we arrived, the wildebeest and zebra herds had moved on to the Mara, with the predators in tow – lion, cheetah, wild dog, jackal, hyena and vultures. The landscape was eerily devoid of animals!

    The precise timing of the wildebeest migration changes annually and it is a very unpredictable and spontaneous natural event. The calving season takes place in the Serengeti between January and mid-March before the migration begins heading towards the western Serengeti in June. Accepting that we missed out on the wildebeest congregating and preparing to cross the famous Grumeti River, we did not tarry unnecessarily.

    The campsite at Lake Ndutu was deserted and we could pretty much decide where we wanted to sleep, having been waved in the general direction of the lake, which of course was rather dry in August. From Lake Ndutu, we checked out the Seronera plains and then headed for the Masai Mara via the Western Corridor.

    The Lake Victoria route is the ideal route when the wildebeest migration is in the Western or North Western part of Serengeti and crossing over to the Mara. A lot of the migration spills outside the Serengeti park. We drove through the 130kms of the Western Corridor via the Grumeti River in the direction of Ndabaka Camp. The road is in similar state to other parts of Serengeti (i.e. awfully corrugted) but more stony and more ruts. In the dry season the Corridor is usually well stocked with all the plains game, but here too we lucked out. All in all, a disappointing experience.