Serengeti Ecosystem, one of the Oldest on Earth : I have no doubt that the word ‘Serengeti’ as I believe most are familiar to the word. Serengeti is one of the oldest ecosystems on earth. You may have heard of Serengeti National Park, but this is a portion of the whole Serengeti Ecosystem which comprises of the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, Grumeti Reserve, the Controlled Loliondo Area, the Controlled Ikorongo Area and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Before going deep to explain this oldest ecosystem, I will give you few reasons why do Serengeti Ecosystem is believed to be the oldest to thrill while on Tanzania Wildlife Safaris.

Serengeti Ecosystem hosts the world’s biggest mammal migration famously known as the Great Migration. In a nutshell, the Great Migration is movement of about 1.5 million wildebeests along with about 400,000 zebras and 240,000 gazelles from the south of Serengeti to the northern Masai Mara in Kenya. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa coined in 2013. This migration is driven by the search of pasture as the season changes. It has been a never-ending cycle for every year for millions of years ago and probably millions of years to come. This natural event makes Serengeti Ecosystem to be one of the oldest ecosystem on earth.

Within the Serengeti Ecosystem the fossils of hominids were found. In the Olduvai Gorge in the South of this ecosystem the fossils of hominids said lo live there about thirty million years ago. These remains were discovered by the Leakeys (Louis and Mary) in the 1960s.

The presence of the Ngorongoro Crater indicates the eruption of Ngorongoro Mountains to form the world’s largest intact caldera. Ngorongoro was the tallest mountain than even the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro before it erupted and collapsed millions of years ago. Such eruptions which occurred millions of years ago have caused a variation in the composition of soil.

Serengeti Ecosystem, one of the Oldest on Earth
The Wildebeest Migration in Serengeti

The presence of black rhino in both Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Black rhino is one of the oldest living mammals on earth. This historic species has been reported to be an endangered species. Black rhinos are less migratory. They may live in a specific territory for a thousands of years. Since the only guaranteed places to spot these rarely seen animals in within the Serengeti Ecosystem, we may conclude that these animals have lived in this ecosystem for many years.

According to historians, the Maasai tribe has been living within the Serengeti Ecosystem for more than 250 years before the first European explorer, Dr. Oscar Baumann who reached the area in 1892. This tribe has made possible to co-exist in the wilderness with the dangerous predators like lions, cheetahs and leopards. Since Maasai existed in this ecosystem for such a long time, this ecosystem has not changed much. The Maasai were allowed to graze in the Serengeti by the Tanzanian authorities since they had little disturbances to the Serengeti Ecosystem.

Now you have a little knowledge about the age of the Serengeti Ecosystem, let’s explore more about it. Serengeti Ecosystem has been divided into five regions which Central, Southern, Western, Eastern and Northern Serengeti. Each region has unique features ranging from relief, soil to the type of vegetation present there. These features determine which wild animals suit that place.

The Eastern Serengeti

This region is located in the east of Serengeti National Park (in the east of Naabi Hills). The areas of the Eastern Serengeti which you will encounter if you choose to visit this region include Naabi Hills, Gol Kopjes, Barafu Gorge and Kopjes, Lemuta Hill, Lake Natron and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Visiting this area will enable you to explore a lot of wonders such as the active volcano Mount Lengai and Naser Rock area. Night game drives which are forbidden in the Serengeti are allowed in this region. So you will enjoy.

The best time for visiting this area is during the rainy season. At this time, East Serengeti is occupied by a huge population of herbivores particularly the Thomson’s gazelles which come from Central Serengeti. Predators cannot stop following the routes of their prey. Thomson’s gazelles attract a large concentration of cheetahs. Cheetahs like to spend their usual time at the Gol Kopjes. Spotted and striped hyenas are also never left behind by the herds of gazelles especially in the wet season. Hyenas are commonly spotted in the Naabi Hills, Gol Kopjes and Lemuta Hills.

Eastern Serengeti is also a part of the Great Migration especially in around December and April. In December, the herd move from the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya into this region which at that time is green due to frequent rains. In April the herd come to this area from the Ndutu area in the south of Serengeti heading to the north.

The Western Serengeti.

This area includes the glorious Grumeti River where animals cross during the Great Migration. The areas of Western Serengeti are the Grumeti Reserve, the South and North of the Grumeti. This area witnesses the part of the Great Migration from May to July. The Grumeti Reserve landscape is made of grassy plains, forests of acacia, hills and marshes. Night game drives are supported in this area. Some other attractions you will see at this region are Simiti Hills and Mbalageti River.

This area is permanently inhabited by impalas, bat-eared foxes, striped mongooses, elands, hartebeests, hippos, black and white colobuses, dik-diks, giraffes, lions and Nile crocodiles (especially in the Kirawara region). Wildebeests and zebras comes from the South thus Serengeti Ecosystem, one of the Oldest on Earth.

The Southern Serengeti

This region is famous by most visitors because it is easily reachable. Some of its areas include Hidden Valley, Lake Ndutu, Kusini Plains, Olduvai Gorge, Triangle and Matiti Plains and Twin Hills. The vegetation of this area is grassy plains with very few shrubs and trees. Geographers suggest that, trees can’t grow at this area because of the volcanic eruptions which happened about three million years ago which led to the formation of hard layer over the soil. Trees can’t develop roots through such hard layer. The Great Migration starts from this region. About half a million calves are born in the Ndutu area between January and February. The Southern Serengeti losses its green pasture at around April and May and the herd moves to the Eastern area. In the grasslands, you will encounter Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles, antelopes and felines.

The Central Serengeti

The characteristic feature of this area is the kopjes, granite and numerous water streams. Like the Southern Serengeti, this area is highly visited by most tourists since it offers best sightings of animals. The main areas of the Central Serengeti include the Seronera Valley, Seronera River, Moru Kopjes, Masai Kopjes, Makoma Hill, Long Grass Plains and Simba Kopjes.

Serengeti Ecosystem, one of the Oldest on Earth
Serengeti Ecosystem, one of the Oldest on Earth

The Great Migration always passes there two times in one cycle. During April to June, the herd crosses there from the south of Serengeti. Between November and December, the herd crosses again from the north of Serengeti. This region is home to various animals such as elephants, buffaloes, wildebeests, zebras, impalas, hippos, lions, antelopes, topi, warthogs, leopards and birds like marabou storks and vultures to name a few thus Serengeti Ecosystem, one of the Oldest on Earth.

The Northern Serengeti

This region is mainly unspoiled because it is not frequently visited. This is the place where the herd crosses the mighty Mara River. This is dangerous for animals as they have to face the fierce hungry crocodiles and the powerful flowing water. Most of animals in the herd lose their lives during the crossing of this river. It is in July to October when the animals cross Mara River and enter the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

Some of areas included in the Northern Serengeti are Lobo Valley and Hills, Kogatende area, Mara River, Upper Grumeti Woodlands, Lamai and Bologonja Springs.

You will find it impossible to explain the whole Serengeti Ecosystem on a piece of paper like what I have been trying. It is tedious for both writer and reader. So to cut the story short, you will gain a lot by paying a visit to this oldest ecosystem on earth. You won’t regret taking it.

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