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In the Maasai language, Serengeti means “endless plains,” a very appropriate name for the 5700 mi² (14,763 km²) national park that stages the Great Migration. Because permanent water source are scarce within the Serengeti, animals cyclically conform to the “rainfall gradient” and the concomitant availability of vegetation. This awe-inspiring phenomenon features approximately 1.3 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, and 250,000 Thomson’s gazelle, and several other kinds of big game, smaller mammals and predators.
From December to April, most migratory animals are in the southeast region of the park or the western part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area; this is also when both zebra and wildebeest calving occurs. By April or May, the southeast’s short-grass plains have dried up, so they proceed towards the Western Corridor and the Grumeti Reserve; it’s quite a site to see wildebeest abreast in about 6 to 10 columns several miles long as they move towards the northwest. After passing the Seronera region in June, they arrive in the extreme north of the park around mid-July and then onto the bordering Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. In the process, they famously cross the crocodile-infested Grumeti and Mara rivers.
Nearly 500 species of birds can be found in the Serengeti, which include Kori bustard, secretary bird, yellow-throated sandgrouse and rufous-nape lark, and 6 species of vulture. Certain parts of the park offer guided walks and hot air balloon rides.
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