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Serengeti is derived from the Maasai language and appropriately means "endless plain." Altitude varies from 3,120 to 6,070 feet. As you enter the park gate you will take a game drive through the open plains. The park may contain as many as 1.5 million wildebeest, 500,000 zebra, 300,000 Grant's gazelle, 250,000 Thomson's gazelle, 120,000 impala, 70,000 topi, 20,000 buffalo, 9,000 eland, 8,000 giraffe, 1,000 lion and 800 elephant. The huge herds of plains game such as wildebeest, zebra and antelope dominate the park while the attendant predators such as lion and cheetah are to be found amongst the many kopjes scattered across the plain. Leopard can often be found draped in the trees along the Seronera River.
From December-May wildebeest, zebra, eland and Thomson's gazelle usually concentrate on the treeless short-grass plains in the extreme southeastern Serengeti and western Ngorongoro Conservation Area near Lake Ndutu. in search of short grass, which they prefer over the longer dry-stemmed variety. This is the best time to visit the Serengeti. Wildebeest move about six to 10 abreast in columns several miles long toward the western corridor. Zebra do not move in columns but in family units. As a general rule, by June the migration has progressed west of Seronera. The migration then splits into three separate migrations: one west through the corridor toward permanent water and Lake Victoria and then northeast; the second due north, reaching the Maasai Mara of Kenya around mid-July; and the third northward between the other two to a region west of Lobo. During July-September, the Serengeti's highest concentration of migrating wildebeest and zebra is in the extreme north. This general northern area has developed into good game viewing all year round, and offers some excellent choices of accommodations.
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