“Would the animals be able to go on living here? Were there enough plains, mountains, river valleys and bush areas to maintain the last giant herds still in existence? … Nobody can follow these huge regiments of wildebeest and enormous armies of gazelles, and no one knows where the hundreds of thousands of hooves will march…”
Bernhard and Michael Grzimek, “Serengeti Shall Not Die”
The Serengeti region encompasses the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, the Loliondo, Grumeti und Ikorongo Controlled Areas as well as the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, which we all reach starting from Hatari or Shu’mata.
The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves.
It is the migration for which the Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains, then swirl west and north again. The Wildebeest are one of the most important species in the Serengeti ecosystem. They spend the rainy season from December to June in the volcanic open plains below the Ngorongoro Crater, where the grass growth is most productive and nutrient contents high. But only through migration can the wildebeest and zebra use the widespread resources of the ecosystem and build up such large numbers.