What to see While on a Safari to Serengeti National Park Tanzania
Located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and one of Tanzania’s most popular wildlife viewing areas. This huge volcanic crater has a permanent supply of water which draws all kinds of animals who stay in this area rather than migrating. Visitors come here primarily for viewing large game and bird watching, but also of interest in the conservation area is the Olduvai Gorge. This important archeological site has revealed ancient skull and bone fragments that have delivered critical information about early mankind.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact ancient caldera in the world, nearly three million years old. The Ngorongoro volcano was one of the world’s tallest mountains before it exploded and collapsed. Thousands of wild game can be seen on the crater floor, including lions, elephants, rhinos, Thomson’s gazelles, and buffaloes, but wildebeests and zebras account for over half of the animals that call the Ngorongoro Crater home. Bird watching is superb, especially around Lake Migadi, which attracts flocks of flamingoes to the shallows. Hippos are content to submerge themselves during the day and then graze in the nearby grass in the evening.
The Olduvai Gorge is an archeological site situated on a series of fault lines, where centuries of erosion have revealed fossils and remnants of early mankind. As early as 1911, a German professor found some fossil bones while looking for butterflies in Olduvai Gorge. In a later expedition, the Leakeys collected skull fragments, a skull, and bones determined to be approximately 2 million years old. Tools and hunting weapons from 1 to 1.5 million years ago were also discovered in Olduvai Gorge. Another exciting find were the famous footprints of a man, woman and child at Laetoli, near Olduvai. These and other discoveries provide more evidence to the theory that at least three hominid species were in this region over 2 million years ago.
The park is home to a large selection of animals including the entire Big Five, however the rhino populations are very small due to the large amounts of rhino poaching in all of Africa. Strong actions are taken in the park to ensure the safety of this endangered animal. Some of the other animals found in the park are large herds of impala (one of the most successful mammals on earth), Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelle, klipspringer, giraffe, warthog, roan antelope, bushbuck, lesser kudu, Oryx, hartebeest, eland and many others. Other carnivores within the area include the very rare African golden wolf, striped hyena, spotted hyena, African wild dogs, honey badger, serval, cheetah and many others. The area is a birder’s paradise, featuring more than 500 different species of birds, ranging from the very large ostrich to the very small finches.
Kopjes are remarkable weathered massive rock formations that rise out of the central Serengeti plains like slight mountains. Trees, vines, and bushes leaf out of many of the formations and you can see them scattered around the Serengeti Visitors Center. These pillar formations provide shade, small water pools, and a countless vantage point for many animals, including lions, leopards, and cheetahs. The Moru Kopjes are the most normally visited kopjes and some kopjes comprise African rock paintings done by Maasai cattle herders and at least one of the rocks, nicknamed the “Gong Rock”, is thought to be an earliest musical instrument. The kopjes are a good dwelling to spot big cats and smaller mammals such as hyraxes so point your binoculars here when on game drives. The Moru Kopjes is the best home to spot a black rhino in the Serengeti National Park.