Rwenzori Mountains National Park.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park is certainly one of Africa’s most fantastic natural environments with treasures and natural wonders above all other adventure. The ‘mountains of the moon’ are home to lush bamboo forests and unrivaled landscapes ending in the unique topography of Lake Mburo. The Park covers most of the center and eastern half of the range and it includes Africa’s third, fourth and fifth highest peaks in an alpine highland of glaciers, snowfields and lakes rendering it one of Africa’s most beautiful mountain parks.

Rwenzori Mountains National Park
Our clients hiking Rwenzori Mountains National Park

The Rwenzori mountains harbor the most unique vegetation alongside alpine climates ending into a well-paced exploration with an immersive and fulfilling experience. The snow capped peaks and  its lower slopes blanketed by a flourishing bamboo, damp montane forest and moorland, huge tree heathers,  vibrant mosses while the large lobelias plus the everlasting flowers, forming an amiable vista offer a sight like no other. With this unique luxuriant vegetation, the park receives higher levels of rainfall compared to other places elsewhere giving an exciting combination of both heavy rainfall alongside great exposure to the sun.

The Rwenzori Mountains in southwestern Uganda are steep, rugged and well watered, rising high above dry plains and are ice-capped and their slopes consist of ancient rocks which were extruded from the surrounding plains during the formation of the western rift valley. These Precambrian rocks have produced soils of low fertility, except on parts of the northern ridge where volcanic ash from the Fort Portal plateau was deposited.

Mt. Rwenzori National Park lies in the west along the Uganda-Congo border protecting the highest parts of the 120 km-long and 65 km-wide Rwenzori mountain range. The Rwenzori mountains are a world-class hiking and mountaineering destination for skilled climbers to the summit of Margarita.  The elusive mountains of the moon are often veiled by clouds and mist rising up to 5,109m above sea level carry permanent snow and glaciers whose melted waters certainly represent the highest springs of the Nile.

This World Heritage and RAMSAR site includes six glaciers peaks: Mt.Stanley,Mt.Speke (4.890m), Mt.Baker, Mt.Gessi in DR  Congo ( 4.715 m), Mt. Emin (4.791 m), Mt. Luigi di Savoia, Mount Stanley, with Alexandra (5.083 m), Margherita (5,109 m) and Albert peaks (5.101 m) as the highest points of the ranges.

The park provides stunning views of the glacier and snow-capped mountains just kilometers from the equator further extending to the Virunga National

Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alongside the alpine highland glaciers, snowfields and blue cirque lakes rendering Mt.Rwenzori National Park one of Africa’s most beautiful mountain parks.

Wildlife & Birdlife

Mt. Rwenzori National Park is home to about 70 various mammal species, including 6 Albertine Rift endemics, 4 of which are endemic to this park and 3 rare species. The mammals living within this park include; the Rwenzori otters, bushbucks, elephants and leopards also watch out for different primates such as the chimpanzees, black and white colobus monkeys, the blue monkeys and the Angola colobus, as well as uncommon reptile species including the 3 horned chameleon.

The park is also home to 217 species of birds. 9 species of reptiles and 6 species of amphibians, they are various bird species to look out for including:- Albertine Rift endemics like; Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Montane Rwenzori Nightjar, Dwarf Honeyguide, Archer’s Robin-Chat, Red-throated Alethe, Kivu Ground Thrush, Red-faced Woodland Warbler, Montane Masked and Collared Apalises, Stripe-breast Tit, Rwenzori Batis, (Grauer’s Cuckoo-shrike ), Blue-headed, Regal and Purple-breasted Sunbirds, Strange Weaver, Dusky and Shelley’s Crimsonwing. And the other species to look out for are; Lammergeier, Red-thighed Sparrowhawk, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, African Long-eared Owl, Western Green Tinkerbird, Olive Woodpecker, Grey-chested Illadopsis, Grey-winged Robin, Evergreen Forest and Bamboo Warblers, Lagden’s Bush-Shrike, Montane Sooty Boubou, Golden-winged and Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbirds, White-collared Oliveback, Red-faced Crimsonwing, Oriole-Finch.

Vegetation

The slopes of Mt. Rwenzori harbor uncommon flora species, thus the national park being recognized for its unique vegetation. On your way to its peaks, you will move through a stunning progression of varied altitudinal vegetation covers including; the tree heathers, bamboo, montane forest and the afro-alpine. The beautiful afro-alpine zone with its symbolic giant groundsel and lobelia, is one the most rare botanical species only found in the high mountainous areas at altitudes 3800 meters

The Rwenzori slopes’ vegetation zones vary as follows: mountain forest zone (1500 – 2500 m); the bamboo zone (2500 – 3000 m); the heather and rapenea zone (3000 – 4000 m), which is characterized by the giant heathers Erica, but also giant lobelias and Senecio; the Alpine Zone (4000 – 4.500 m) with everlasting flowers or Helichrysum.

Rwenzori - birds

Local People

The Rwenzori Mountains National Park are the home to the ethnic groups of the Bakonjo and Bamba peoples. These indigenous people are Bantu speaking communities who have lived in the foothills of the mountains for generations, and whose culture is adapted to the steep slopes and climate of the Rwenzori.

Activities

Mountain climbing: Mt. Rwenzori with its majestic snow-capped peaks offers one of the best mountaineering experience which is largely undiscovered by many travelers. The scenery on the mountain has been called some of the most beautiful on the planet as it is covered in different types of vegetation that you will enjoy as you scale its heights. On the foothills of the mountain is farmland with crops such as coffee, then the beautiful land terrain and plant life of submontane vegetation in the Afro-montane zone covered by luxurious tropical evergreen forest with a high richness in color and species.

Bird watching: The park has a richness in bird life with a dwelling to 217 species of birds and 17 of them can only be found in Rwenzori area including the Handsome Francolin, Rwenzori Turaco, Long-eared Owl, Barred Long-tailed Cuckoo, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Strange Weaver, Archers’ Robin-chat, Rwenzori Batis, White-starred Robin, Montana Sooty Boubou, Slender-billed Starling, Lag den’s Bush Shrike, Blue-headed Sun bird, Barbets, Golden-winged Sun bird, Greenbuls, ILladopsis, Apalises, Crimson wings and Flycatchers.

Hiking: Hiking in the park varies from the traveler’s preference where you can enjoy day hikes through the forests at the foothills as you enjoy unique activities like fishing.

Cultural encounters: You will have plenty of opportunities to witness the locals at the foothills of the mountain of the moon carrying out their cultural lifestyles and activities like cultural dances or you can opt to visit the Ruboni village where you will learn about the lifestyles of old of the forefathers of the mountains of the moon.

Accommodation

Mountain Rwenzori National Park has various establishments to accommodate you that are around the towns surrounding it. Since this park is not very busy you rest assured of accommodation though it is always safer to book in advance. Some of the lodging options include;

  • Hotel Margherita
  • Rwenzori International Hotel
  • Katara Lodge
  • White House Hotel
  • Equator Snow Lodge
  • Tropical Savannah Guest House
  • New Saad Hotel located
  • Ruboni Community Camp
  • Mihunga Safari Lodge
  • Rwenzori Turaco View Campsite
  • Rwenzori Mountains Services Bunkhouse

When To Visit Rwenzori Mountains National Park?

Mountain Rwenzori National Park is one of the highest landscapes in Uganda rendering it chilly and wet. The best time to climb the mountain is from June through to August and from December to February.
The daytime temperatures range from 10-15°C, with much colder nights with January-February and July-August are being the driest months but heavy rain is possible at any time.

How To Get to Rwenzori Mountains National Park?

Mt. Rwenzori National Park is located within four districts Bundibugyo, Ntoroko, Kabarole and Kasese districts in Western Uganda bordering Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

By Road: The park is located in Kasese and is 5 hours from Kampala, western Uganda is mountainous thus a four wheel drive vehicle is advisable. Kasese town can be reached from Kampala via Fort Portal road (375km) or via Mbarara and Queen Elizabeth National park (450km).

The two major entry points to ascend to the Peaks (Nyakalengija central circuit and Kilembe Trail) are located near Kasese town while the third Nature walk trail head is at Kazingo near Fort Portal town in Kabarole District.

By Air: The park can also be accessed by air with chartered flights from Kampala at either Kajjansi airfield or Entebbe International airport to Kasese airfield and it will take you at least 1 hour and then be transferred by your driver guide to your destinations.

Other mountains in Uganda include; mountain Elgon, mountain sabinyo, mountain mgahinga and many others.

Ostriches

COMMON NAME: Ostrich Scientific

NAME: Struthio camelus

TYPE: Birds

DIET: Omnivore

GROUP NAME: Herd

AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN THE WILD: 30 to 40 years

SIZE: 7 to 9 feet

WEIGHT: 220 to 350 pounds

SIZE RELATIVE TO A 6-FT MAN: Ostrich is the world’s largest flightless bird found in the continent of Africa Very long bare neck and legs; the only bird with two toes; males are black with white wings and tail feathers, females are brown with “dirty” white wings and tail feathers

Speed and Movement

Though they cannot fly, ostriches are fleet, strong runners. They can sprint up to 43 miles an hour and run over distance at 31 miles an hour. They may use their wings as “rudders” to help them change direction while running. An ostrich’s powerful, long legs can cover 10 to 16 feet in a single stride. These legs can also be formidable weapons. Ostrich kicks can kill a human or a potential predator like a lion. Each two-toed foot has a long, sharp claw.

Herds and Reproduction

Ostriches live in small herds that typically contain less than a dozen birds. Alpha males maintain these herds, and mate with the group’s dominant hen. The male sometimes mates with others in the group, and wandering males may also mate with lesser hens. All of the group’s hens place their eggs in the dominant hen’s nest—though her own are given the prominent center place. The dominant hen and male take turns incubating the giant eggs, each one of which weighs as much as two dozen chicken eggs.

Behavior and Diet

Contrary to popular belief, ostriches do not bury their heads in the sand. The old saw probably originates with one of the bird’s defensive behaviors. At the approach of trouble, ostriches will lie low and press their long necks to the ground in an attempt to become less visible. Their plumage blends well with sandy soil and, from a distance, gives the appearance that they have buried their heads in the sand.

Ostriches typically eat plants, roots, and seeds but will also eat insects, lizards, or other creatures available in their sometimes harsh habitat.

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Mount Nyiragongo

Mount Nyiragongo, active volcano in the Virunga Mountains of east-central Africa. It lies in the volcano region of Virunga National ParkCongo (Kinshasa), near the border with Rwanda, 12 miles (19 km) north of Goma. Nyiragongo rises 11,385 feet (3,470 metres) high and has a main crater 1.3 miles (2 km) wide and 820 feet (250 metres) deep containing a liquid lava pool. Some older craters on the mountain are noted for their plant life.

Nyiragongo is known for its devastating eruptions. In 1977 some 2,000 people were killed, and in 2002 Goma was largely destroyed by lava, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless and creating a refugee crisis. In 2021 lava stopped short of Goma’s city limits, but the eruption killed more than 30 people and destroyed several villages.

Mount Nyiragongo

Valentine’s day in Uganda

Valentine is one of the days that cause huge excitement among Ugandans.
Couples and those who are dating are always at the forefront of the valentine’s day celebrations as they storm different love corners of Kampala to celebrate their love while the dating singles meet up to strengthen their relationships.

The day draws several expectations among lovers with each party hoping for something special and romantic from their spouse or fiancé. Ugandans have never been short of options when it comes to how to spend and celebrate valentines. The to do list of Valentines activities in Uganda include the following;

Presentation of flowers
Presenting flowers to loved ones has become a must do among lovers and it is viewed as one of the major indicators that your spouse really loves you. In Uganda, women tend to expect flowers from their male counterparts than the other way-round. Men have also stepped up to fulfil this expectation having known that it strongly stirs up a great emotional response from lovers.

Gifts
Valentines open such a big opportunity for lovers to show that they really care and love each other. On this day couples will do anything to surprise their loved ones with a special gift to reassure them that they still hold the first place in their hearts. Common gifts presented on this day include clothes, shoes, jewellery, cosmetics, while those who are more well of financially can go an extra mile and present more valuable gifts like cars, phones and other electronics.

Dressing
The customary Valentines dressing of red and black colors is well earmarked in Uganda. Places for hangouts are painted red and black by couples and those who are dating to match with the theme of the day.

Outings
Going for hangouts with loved ones has become the order of the day on valentines. the evening of valentine’s day is always busy and places for chilling are always congested with such couples trying to mark it in style. Beaches, cinemas and entertainment centers are among other areas that are flocked by the valentine’s day revellers.

Proposals
Curious Ugandan men have used valentine’s day as an opportunity to present their marriage proposals to their lovers. As a result, many married couples today are beneficiaries of Valentines proposals.

What exactly is valentine’s day?

Valentine’s day is celebrated on February 14th annually and it is also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the feast of Saint Valentine. It originated from a Western Christian feast day that was marked to honor the early saint named Valentinus. Many religions around the world recognize valentine’s day as a significant cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love.

There are several martyrdom stories with this day including a written account about the imprisonment of Saint Valentines of Rome. The Saint was charged for performing weddings for soldiers who were not allowed to marry and for helping Christians who were persecuted by the Roman Empire. During his imprisonment, the Saint restored the sight of his judge’s daughter and he wrote to her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell before he was executed.

Valentines and Romantic love

It was in the 14th century when the day first became associated with romantic love as the tradition of courtly love flourished. In England, in the 18th century, lovers started exchanging flowers, greeting cards and offering confectionery as a well of expressing their love for each other.

Various symbols associated with Valentine’s day that are used up to date include the dove, heart-shaped outline and the winged-cupid figure.

For those who have already found their partners for the day and are already in the day’s mood, we would like to wish you a colourful and lovely Valentines and we hope that your love will be stronger at the end of the day. We would also like to encourage our single brothers and sisters to keep up the search. Stay open to the opportunities the day may avail and you never know it may be the day you may hook up with your long awaited half as you chill in one of the hotspots of the Valentines evening.

Plan the perfect day: things to do on Valentine’s Day in Kampala

February is almost here, which means so too is the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day. If you’ve got someone special in mind to spend the day with, then you’re halfway to having a perfect day – all that’s left is to decide what to do! Kampala is a great place to spend Valentine’s Day, and the only real worry you’ll have is deciding just what to do with so much on offer.

Of course, if you’re one of those people who didn’t realise the 14th is just around the corner then you might be a little bit worried. Well, worry no more, as we’ve put together a selection of some of the most romantic things to do for Valentine’s Day in Kampala. There’s a little something for everyone, whether you fancy spending the day in the city, exploring one of the local parks, or going on a stroll enjoying a sunset. In Kampala, there’s something for just about any couple.

A romantic walk

Sometimes the most romantic thing to do isn’t really an activity as such, it’s just taking a stroll with your loved one and drinking in the scenery. There’s really nothing quite like a slow, romantic walk on St. Valentine’s day and just enjoying that special someone’s company. And, there are few better backdrops for a stroll than Kampala’s scenic parks: Jubilee Park is the perfect place for a nice, long walk. A bit further, Centenary Park offers a more tranquil experience.

A fun activity

After your walk, why not go horseback-riding? Speke Resort’s equestrian centre is a great choice for Valentine’s Day. When it’s time, request a ride to the resort– or schedule one in advance to surprise your partner. This fun activity is sure to win you some points for a creative date!

Wining and dining

No Valentine’s Day is complete without a candle-lit dinner. Fortunately, spending Valentine’s Day in Kampala means that there is no shortage of opportunities for a romantic evening meal. The Piato allows you to take full advantage of their lovely terrace. The modern International menu will not disappoint, with a range of delicious culinary options for you and your partner to try.

Watch the sunset

If you can get there before the sun sets, the Panorama Coffee Shop is one of the most romantic places for couples to spend their evening. Climb to the top and admire the sunset against the skyline of the city. And, don’t forget to take that obligatory panoramic selfie!

And for the single people…

Not found that special someone yet? Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you. This is often a time of year that single people try to forget exists, but it doesn’t have to be that way – Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to celebrate the other relationships in your life. Why not gather your friends, grab an uberX, and hit the town? Go shopping or dance the night away at some of Kampala’s best clubs. And who knows, you might even meet your future Valentine’s Day partner along the way.

Whether you’re looking for the most romantic places or fun things to do with your closest friends, make sure to plan ahead to enjoy Valentine’s Day Kampala.

WILDLIFE IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

Let the great migration in this dynamic ecosystem move you.

It’s the only place where you can witness millions of migrating wildebeest over the Acacia plains, it’s the cradle of human life, and probably the closest to an untouched African wilderness you will ever get: welcome to Serengeti National Park. Where time seems to stand still, despite the thousands of animals constantly on the move

The greatest wildlife destination on earth

The magic of Serengeti National Park is not easy to describe in words. Not only seeing, but also hearing the buzz of millions of wildebeest so thick in the air that it vibrates through your entire body is something you will try to describe to friends and family, before realising it’s impossible.

Vistas of honey-lit plains at sunset so beautiful, it’s worth the trip just to witness this. The genuine smiles of the Maasai people, giving you an immediate warming glow inside. Or just the feeling of constantly being amongst thousands of animals – it doesn’t matter what season of the migration you visit the Serengeti National Park, it’s magical all year round.

The never-ending circle of the Great Migration

Serengeti National Park was one of the first sites listed as a World Heritage Site when United Nations delegates met in Stockholm in 1981.

Already by the late 1950s, this area had been recognized as a unique ecosystem, providing us with many insights into how the natural world functions and showing us how dynamic ecosystems really are.

Today, most visitors come here with one aim alone: to witness millions of wildebeest, zebras, gazelles and elands on a mass trek to quench their thirst for water and eat fresh grass.

During this great cyclical movement, these ungulates move around the ecosystem in a seasonal pattern, defined by rainfall and grass nutrients.

These large herds of animals on the move can’t be witnessed anywhere else. Whereas other famous wildlife parks are fenced, the Serengeti is protected, but unfenced. Giving animals enough space to make their return journey, one that they’ve been doing for millions of years. Read more about the Great Migration.

Beyond the Great Migration

Even though, for many travelers, the migration is one of the main reasons to visit Serengeti National Park, it’s worth looking beyond this immense spectacle. First of all, nature can’t be directed. Having realistic expectations of your chances to witness a river crossing, or a large herd on the move, is crucial.

A river crossing for example often only lasts thirty minutes, so can be missed in the blink of an eye. But don’t let this discourage you: there are plenty of other reasons to visit the Serengeti.

If it’s not for this vast stretch of land where you can drive forever and never get enough, it might be for the incredible skies of dazzling colours, or the primal feeling of excitement when a deep dark-grey thunderstorm appears on the broad horizon.

Or you might answer the lion’s call, and come to the Serengeti for one of the largest concentrations of predators in the world: the herds support about 7,500 hyenas, 3,000 lions and 250 cheetahs. And how about the silent grey giants? Elephants in the Serengeti amble over the plains into the woodlands, feasting on leaves and tree branches. Read more about wildlife in Serengeti wildlife.

Tribes in the cradle of human life

Even though animals still rule the plains of the Serengeti, this area has an incredibly long history of human occupation. Not only humans, but also human ancestors (Australopithecus afarensi) lived in this area for almost 4 million years.

Today, Serengeti National Park is still home to several indigenous tribes. One of the most famous tribes is the Maasai: this tribe is unique and popular due to their long-preserved culture.

Despite education, civilization and western cultural influences, the Maasai people have clung to their traditional way of life, making them a symbol of Tanzanian and Kenyan culture. Read more about the Maasai people.

Vibrancy, variety and vastness

You will soon realise that amazement doesn’t have boundaries in this world-renowned National Park of Tanzania. Serengeti is a transition area, with distinct changeovers going from rich flat soils, to poor hilly soils in the north, attracting a wide variety of vegetation and animals.

Whether you are looking for big cats, birds or even smaller creatures: Serengeti National Park delivers. Even to understand and experience just a small part of this ecosystem, will change your vision on our world and the environment.

After being overwhelmed by the vibrancy, variety and vastness of this land, this place of transition will leave you changed forever.

History of Serengeti National Park

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, explorers and missionaries described the Serengeti plains and the massive numbers of animals found there. Only minor details are all that were reported before explorations in the late 1920s and early 1930s supply the first references to the great wildebeest migrations, and the first photographs of the region.

An area of 2,286 square kilometers was established in 1930 as a game reserve in what is now southern and eastern Serengeti.

They allowed sport hunting activities until 1937, after which it stopped all hunting activities. In 1940 Protected Area Status was conferred to the area and the National Park itself was established in 1951, then covering southern Serengeti and the Ngorongoro highlands. They based the park headquarters on the rim of Ngorongoro crater.

So, the original Serengeti National Park, as it was gazetted in 1951, also included what now is the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).

In 1959, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area was split off from the Serengeti National Park and they extended the boundaries of the park to the Kenya border.

The key reason for splitting off the Ngorongoro area was that local Maasai residents realized that they were threatened with eviction and consequently not allow to graze their cattle within the national park boundaries.

To counter this from happening, protests were staged. A compromise was reached wherein the Ngorongoro Crater Area was split off from the national park: the Maasai may live and graze their cattle in the Ngorongoro Crater area but not within Serengeti National Park boundaries.

In 1961 the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya was established and in 1965 the Lamai Wedge between the Mara River and Kenya border was added to Serengeti National Park, thus creating a permanent corridor allowing the wildebeests to migrate from the Serengeti plains in the south to the Loita Plains in the north.

The Maswa Game Reserve was established in 1962 and a small area north of The Grumeti River in the western corridor was added in 1967.

The Serengeti National Park was among the first places to be proposed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO at 1972 Stockholm conference. It was formally established in 1981.

Wildlife in the Serengeti

The main reason for travelling to Serengeti National Park is to see wildlife in a vast unspoilt natural environment. We can assure you won’t be dissapointed one bit!

Summarizing all highlights in terms of wildlife viewing in the Serengeti is not an easy task: there is just so much to see and discover. From Africa’s iconic Big 5, endless herds of wildebeest and zebra, hundreds of bird species, to much smaller creatures, such as the ever-charming dung beetle

The Big Five in the Serengeti

The Big Five define that ultimate African safari experience: seeing these impressive animals – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant and Cape buffalo – roaming freely in their own habitat is something you will never forget.

You might wonder however, why those specific animals are part of the Big Five? Is a giraffe not large as well? Here is a factoid: the term ‘Big Five’ was coined by big game hunters and is not derived from the size of the animals. These animals proved to be the most difficult to hunt, mostly due to their ferocity when cornered.

Good job that these Big Five in the Serengeti are now only ‘shot’ by camera. Your guide and tracker will help you check the Big Five off your list. (And in the meantime: let’s not forget that other wildlife – like giraffes or hippos – are just as exciting to spot.)

Lion

King of the African savannah: seeing a pride of lions in their own habitat will leave you with an indelible memory. We have some good news for you: the Serengeti is home to some incredibly large prides of lions and they are fairly easy to spot. Lions live in a pride because they’re very social animals. In a group, the females hunt more than the males, but most will happily scavenge if they get the chance, because their favourite activity is snoozing under a tree: something they like to do for about 20 hours a day!

Leopard

They walk with an elegant grace and have an amazing coat: the leopard, also known as ‘The Prince of Darkness’. This is the most shy and elusive one of the Big Five. Leopards are excellent at playing hide and seek: if they don’t want to be seen, they can be perfectly camouflaged. In the Serengeti, you will be most likely to spot a leopard resting on a tree branch. The large branches of the sausage tree are their favourite spot. So never forget to look up: a leopard might be enjoying his lunch high up in a tree, so lions and other predators don’t bother him.

Buffalo

“Portrait of an african buffalo in the Serengeti, Tanzania.”

Not quite the lazy bush cow you might imagine: the buffalo is one of Africa’s most dangerous animals with very few predators. Lions might try to go for a calf, but are likely to pay the price later when an angry herd takes revenge.

Buffalo need to drink every day, so they are often found at a waterhole. Although they can be notoriously bad tempered, especially when they’re injured, their wise gaze – as once described by a novelist: ‘They look at you like you owe them money’ – makes them thrilling to see.

In the Serengeti, buffalo come in very healthy numbers: there’s a good chance you’ll see herds with over 1,000 or more of these thrilling animals.

African elephant

It’s the world’s largest land animal, and seeing one in its natural habitat is simply thrilling. In the Serengeti, these grey giants roam the plains and disappear into the woodlands. Female elephants live in close-knit clans and family bonds can last for 50 years. Males often leave the clan after 12 years to roam singly or form bachelor herds.

Elephants frequently visit waterholes close to lodges. They are peaceful when left alone, but if an elephant feels threatened, get out of the way.

Nothing scarier than being chased by an animal that weighs 7,000 kilos (imagine the weight of seven stacked cars) and trumpets loudly…

Rhinoceros

The rhino is a pre-historic heavyweight, weighing in at 2,500 kilos. There are two types of rhinos in Africa: the black and white rhino. As you might expect, the white rhino is not white, but grey like the others. The name ‘white’ was misinterpreted after early Dutch settlers used the word ‘wijd’ (wide), referring to its broad lips.

Unfortunately, the rhino has a horn that’s worth more than its weight in gold. Over the past several decades, the rhino population in the Serengeti ecosystem has suffered greatly due to poaching: rhino numbers decreased from 1,000 to less than 70 individuals.

The female rhino only gives birth every five years, making the rhino one of the most challenging animals to spot in Serengeti National Park, but with an experienced guide by your side, you might get lucky!

Other wildlife in the Serengeti

The Serengeti has a great variety of animals, because it’s a unique transition area. The distinct changeover from rich flat soils in the south, to the poor hilly soils in the north, leads to a great diversity of vegetation and habitats across the park.

A unique habitat is the riverine forests: a favourite spot for hippos and crocodiles. Other common animals are the long-neck giraffes, many other ungulates (hooved animals) such as the eland, zebra, topi, kongoni, impala and Grant’s gazelle are resident at any time of the year.

As said, all three big cats are easily seen. Lions are everywhere and are often found on a kill. Cheetahs are very common on the south-eastern plains, while leopards can typically be found lazing in one of the big trees along the Seronera River. Hyenas are common, wild dogs, unfortunately, are rare.

Always on the fly: birdlife in Serengeti National Park

If you’re not a birdwatcher at heart, there’s a good chance you’ll become one after visiting the Serengeti. With more than 500 bird species recorded, this is a birdlife paradise. Most guides will happily point out all the unique species in this area, like the bright green and yellow-coloured Fischer’s Lovebird, or the Kuri bustard with its impressive white beard.

The Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of Africa’s Endemic Bird Areas (land important for habitat-based bird conservation), and also hosts five bird species found nowhere else, half of which are confined to the Tanzanian portion of the ecosystem. Read more about birds in Serengeti.

Best time for bird watching

Luckily, bird watching in the Serengeti is good year-round, but at its very best between early November and late April. Not only is this when European and North African migratory birds are present, but it is also nesting time for resident species.

This makes it easy to spot birds in their exciting breeding plumage. Read more about the best time to visit the Serengeti.

Small talk: insects in the Serengeti

We have good news for anyone who’s not a big fan of stinging and biting insects (who is?): the numbers of these insects are low in the Serengeti compared to North America and Europe. However, the diversity of other insects is phenomenally higher in this park.

Many of these little creatures play a critical role in the ecosystem of the entire area, and many guides will enthusiastically explain more about the importance of insects. Five of these critical insect groups are dung beetles, grasshoppers, termites, butterflies, moths, and ants.

Rhino, Springboks, zebra, Elephant and lion in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

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