137 km to Serengeti Dik-dik camp
125 km to Serengeti Ndabaka gate
10 501 km trip to date
From the crater we immediately left Simba A camp to proceed to Serengeti. The road just goes on through the NCA (crater conservation area) until it reaches the Serengeti Naabi Hill gate. It is a terribly corrugated gravel road, where you go at either at less than 20km/h hopping from one side to the other or at 60km/h and have absolutely no control over your vehicle.
The stretch from Simba A to the Serengeti Naabi Hill gate is approx 100 km through the most beautiful landscape. We moved gradually lower from the 2350m altitude through rolling hills and the greenest veld. Maasai villages are scattered through this area and the Maasai farm with large herds of cattle and sheep. Wildlife move between the cattle herds and it is not uncommon to see giraffe or herds of wildebeest grazing alongside the cattle. The Maasai guide at Ambuseli bush camp told us that Maasai do not kill or eat wildlife. Their food only consist of cattle meat, blood and cow milk and fresh herbs from the veld. They do not even eat vegetables, fruits or grains – only during severe drought if they have no meat. A young man only has to kill one lion to become a warrior and protector of the tribe.
Wikipedia: The park covers 14,750 square kilometres of grassland plains, savanna, riverine forest, and woodlands. The park is bordered to the north by the Kenyan border, where it is continuous with the Maasai Mara National Reserve. To the southeast of the park is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, to the southwest lies Maswa Game Reserve, to the west are the Ikorongo and Grumeti Game Reserves, and to the northeast and east lies the Loliondo Game Control Area. Together, these areas form the larger Serengeti ecosystem. The migratory -and some resident- wildebeest, which number over 2 million individuals, constitute the largest population of big mammals that still roam the planet. They are joined in their journey through the Serengeti – Mara ecosystem by 250,000 plains zebra, half a million Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, and tens of thousands of topi and Coke’s hartebeest.
The migration takes place in this ecosystem and we researched beforehand where to expect to see these massive numbers of wildebeest. The map showed that in December they would be on the border between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti NP.
And that was exactly where we found them! Approx 20 km before we reached the Serengeti Naabi Hill gate we started to see massive numbers of wildebeest, lots of zebra and Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, and lots of hyenas. By massive numbers we mean as far as the eye can see – animals 360 degrees around. We started to take photos and then realized that it does not show what was happening here. The plains are too flat. A photo can only capture a tiny piece of the reality.
We drove for a distance of more than 40 km through these millions of wildebeest! We were speechless! This was spectacular! This is what dreams are made of! We experienced what we wanted to experience here.
And then it stopped. Normal game reserve landscape with small groups of animals here and there and sometimes no animals to see.
We booked a campsite at the Dik-dik camp in the central Seronera area. We realised when we arrived at the gate that we had already seen everything that we wanted to see (the migration) and decided that we would again stick to a 24 hours booking for the Serengeti as well. USD 512 for 4 people, two vehicles and 24 hours. When arriving at the Dik-dik camp, they just had a heavy rain shower and the camp was submerged ankle deep in rain water. We just moved to the adjacent dryer Pimbi camp, pitched our camp before the next heavy rain shower started and prepared dinner under the awning on gas. It rained the whole night.
The next day we travelled to the Ndabaka gate at the far west of the Serengeti. A distance of 125 km from the Seronera area and enough distance to see the landscape and experience the Serengeti before leaving the park. We saw all kinds of wildlife, and the landscape really was something to experience. We think we saw the landscape at it’s best – lush, green, lots of water and a lot of wildlife. All the small rivers were running and we had to wade through the Grumeti river run-off after the previous day’s rains.
In the end we had to rush off the last 25 km to reach the gate within the 24 hour limit.
Wildlife we saw:
- Western white-bearded wildebeest – migration
- Grant’s zebra – different from the Crayshaw zebra in southern TZN
- Thompson’s gazelle
- Grant’s gazelle
- Coke’s hartebeest
- Eastern impala
- Defassa waterbuck
- Giraffe tippelskirchi
- Olive baboon
- Ugogo dik-dik
Would we do it again? Definitely yes! The Serengeti is a bucket list item and it lived up to our expectations.
Next: Lake Victoria