Book ID 888
Philip Briggs Northern Tanzania: The Bradt Safari Guide with Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar, 2006 March
Extract Date: March 2006
Tanzania/Kenya, savannah, Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem
This vast cross-border ecosystem, centred on Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s abutting Maasai Mara Reserve, is Africa’s premier game viewing destination - no ifs or buts about it!
Impressive on every conceivable level, the Serengeti-Mara is surely without equal for predators. Trademark blond-maned lions lounge nonchalantly in the shade, solitary cheetahs pace the open plains, hyenas lope and sniff around their subterranean dens – even leopard are seen regularly in specific areas. Smaller plains residents include the dainty bat-eared fox, all three African jackal species, and half-a-dozen endemic birds, while punctuating koppies (granite outcrops) are frequented by the colourful agama lizard, scurrying rock hyrax and dainty klipspringer.
A great many upmarket lodges - some say too many - operate on both sides of the border, ranging from impersonal ‘hotels in the bush’ to intimate luxury tented camps. Somewhat obtusely, crossing directly between the Mara and Serengeti is forbidden, so most visitors opt for one or other reserve/country. For pure game viewing, the Mara possibly has the edge, but the Serengeti is more extensive, with remote corners such as Lobo and the Western Corridor still carrying remarkably little tourist traffic. If it’s wildebeest you’re after, December to March is when they calve in the southern Serengeti, moving northward through Lobo or the Western Corridor over May to July, then concentrating in the Mara from August to October.