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Serengeti National Park, Tanzania - Unique Places Around the World

One of the great wonders of the natural world, the Serengeti's ecosystems are being threatened by plans for infrastructure development.

5. Description

Serengeti National Park was established in 1951, and it spans an astounding 14,763 square kilometers. The park stretches all the way north to the boundary with Kenya, and borders Lake Victoria to the west, with the nearest Tanzanian city, Arusha, being 335 kilometers away. The park is most famous for the annual migrations of its wildebeests and zebras, which move from the northern hills to the plains in the south during October and November, and return after the rainy season has ended. The Serengeti has many types of landscapes, including open plains, woodlands, and even volcanoes.

4. Tourism

Since the park is so large, it is impossible for visitors to explore its entire area. Depending on which area of the Serengeti and what wildlife one wants to see, there are different peak seasons to choose from to visit in. From December through July, visitors can watch the wildebeest migration, while the time between the months of June and October is said to be the best time to observe its large predators. Tourists can drive to the Serengeti, after coming in on a plane from abroad into nearby Arusha, Lake Manyara, or Mwanza. One can participate in such scenic activities as hot air balloon rides over the park, safaris, and bush picnic dinners. There are several lodges and campsites within the park and its surrounding area to accommodate visitors. This allows one the opportunity to spend several days exploring the area and getting a more complete view of its diverse array of wildlife.

3. Uniqueness

The Serengeti Ecosystem, which Serengeti National Part is a major part of, has been proclaimed one of the Seventh Natural Wonders of Africa, and one of the greatest natural travel wonders in the entire world. That said, it is no mystery as to why it has received such acclaim. The park offers a diverse range of wildlife to view, and a captivating landscape that will leave any visitor breathless. Some of the most beautiful features of the park are its kopjes, which are outcrops of granite rock, which rise up and out of the tall grass in the African Savannah. Another interesting sight in the park comes from its volcanoes, the ash of which makes up the soil of the grasslands. This is an important part of the ecosystem because it is so vital to the migration of the wildebeest. The feature that most tourists come for, though, is to view the wildlife, especially the Serengeti's migratory animal species.

2. Habitat

The Serengeti has some of the most amazing wildlife in the world. Its fauna includes wildebeests, lions, zebras, elephants, and gazelles. There are over 500 species of birds living throughout the park as well, ranging from the ostrich to the black eagle. After the seasonal rains, the golden grass turns green, and flowers dot the plains. During periods of drought, however, the plains lose almost all of their standing vegetation. There are huge termite mounds throughout the park as well, and some interesting woodlands. Fig trees grow along the area's rivers, while acacia trees are visible across its vast plains.

1. Threats

Poaching is a continuous threat for the wildlife in Serengeti National Park, and about 40,000 animals are killed annually through such illegal practices. The human population living near the park has also increased, and some scientists are worried that this ongoing growth will disrupt the migration patterns of the animals. More inhabitants also increases the demand for meat, which worsens the poaching problem more still. Another major threat to the migration of the wildebeests is the government's plan to build a highway, which would cut through the entire park. This would be dangerous to both the animals and the cars, and the disruption to the Serengeti's ecosystems would be catastrophic. Although many Tanzanian officials feel such a major highway would bolster the nation's economy, others, including those from abroad from such countries as Kenya, feel that the ecological impacts of its construction make the plan unjustifiable.

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