Serengeti National Park (1981)
United Republic of Tanzania

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The vast plains of the Serengeti comprise 1.5 million ha of savannah. The annual migration to permanent water holes of vast herds of herbivores (wildebeest, gazelles and zebras), followed by their predators, is one of the most impressive natural events in the world. 

Established in 1941, the park covers 14,800 sq km (5,700 sq mi) and consists mainly of flat, open grassland, with a few rocky kopjes (small hills) and some areas of woodland and bushy savanna in the western part of the park. The Serengeti is the only national park in Africa where seasonal migrations of plains animals take place. 
  • Tanzania 1991. Leopard in Serengeti. 
  • Tanzania 1993. Zebra in Serengeti. 
Tanzania 1991. Leopard in Serengeti. Tanzania 1993. Zebra in Serengeti.

Serengeti National Park is inhabited by more than 200 species of birds and 35 species of plains mammals, including cheetahs, leopards, lions, and giraffes. Zebras, gnus (large African antelopes also called wildebeests), gazelles, and elephants did not exist in large numbers in the park until the 1960s, when the rising human population in the region caused a shortage of natural resources and forced many of these animals into the protected area. 

Tanzania 1993. Souvenir sheet. Wildlife on the plains of Tanzania. Tanzania 1993. Souvenir sheet. Wildlife at a watering hole in Tanzania.

About 200,000 zebras, 2 million gnus, 1 million gazelles, and thousands of elephants now live in the park. The plains of Serengeti National Park are also home to black rhinoceroses. During the rainy season, from November to May, millions of animals graze on the park's southeastern plains. This area has few rivers and becomes excessively dry once the rainy season ends, so gnus, gazelles, and zebras migrate to the western savanna and as far north as the grasslands of Masai Mara Game Park, across the Kenya-Tanzania border, where they spend the dry season. Illegal hunting in the park is a serious problem, posing a particular threat to the survival of elephants and rhinoceroses. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Tanzania (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Tanzania Section, for further information about the individual properties.  

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Revised 21 aug 2006  
Copyright 1999 Heindorffhus 
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