The Serengeti Plains have a certain ring to them – the romance of the great outdoors; the spectacle of the landscape; a promise of wondrous wildlife in their natural habitat.
They are in Africa, of course. Tanzania to be exact, where tourists from around the world gather to witness what is estimated at two million wildebeest as well as herds of zebra, gazelle and buffalo in their annual migration between grazing opportunities along the Serengeti and Kenya’s Maasai Mara. This is the ultimate Tanzania safari and Tanzania hotels rely on it for their livelihood. The timing of the migration is not exact as the herds work by instinct, which is finely tuned to the area’s rainfall pattern.
Plan to be there around October to see them responding to the promised rainfall as they move from the northern hills to the southern plains, across the Mara River. In April, the procedure is reversed. Despite its standing as one of the great travel wonders of the world, it’s a perilous 800km journey for the animals whose lives are under constant threat from thirst, hunger, exhaustion or predation.
Tanzania hotels like the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge are the ideal choice. Lyrically set “high on the saddle of a tree-clad ridge, commanding panoramic views across the Serengeti”, the Lodge is designed to blend in to its surroundings – impressively unobtrusive.
Ask a tour guide to take you to the nearby two-million-year-old Palaeolithic site of Olduvai Gorge, “birthplace of mankind”, and the Serengeti National Park for a sighting of the Big Five (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo).
The game drives are a must. Balloon safaris are a fun alternative if you have a head for heights while nature trails are the soft option for a gentler introduction to these surroundings.
Sate your appetite with a pre-planned bush barbecue for lunch or a bush dinner on the plains. Add to that some traditional dancing, music and cultural displays and you have a holiday experience of a lifetime.