The northern circuit part one

The northern circuit part one

Baboon mum and baby

The parks of the Northern Circuit are among the most famous African parks in the world. I am talking about Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. I am talking about unique flora and fauna. I am talking about a fairy tale.

Usually the tour begins with Lake  Manyara National Park, continues with Serengeti and Ngorongoro and ends with Tarangire National Park.

Starting from the city of Arusha the road leads you to a village named Mto Wa Mbu. A couple of miles and you arrive at the gate of Lake Manyara National park, on the ridge of the Rift Valley.

As soon as you pass through the gate you are welcomed by large groups of baboons strolling around: males, females and babies. They are so numerous that it is not rare to find them also settled in some lodges gardens where you are told to lock doors and windows because they can use the handle to enter.

The lake covers almost half of the park and there is a huge concentration of animals with some peculiarities. The elephants, for example, has got bigger tusks and it is not uncommon to watch lions laying on some acacia trees. Apart from the umbrella thorn, it is possible to admire other singular trees like the baobab, the strangler fig, the tamarind, very used for producing beverages and sorbets, and the astonishing sausage tree with its huge fruits dangling dangerously from its branches.

Once you get out of Lake Manyara Park, the road starts to climb until you arrive at the entrance gate to Ngorongoro Conservation Area. From this point you continue your climbing, you reach the Crater View Point and you remain dumbfounded. By the beauty, by the singularity, by the uniqueness of what you are watching. This crater leaves you breathless.

You run along the rim, you go on and you get to the entrance of Serengeti National Park.

It wouldn’t be necessary to introduce it, nonetheless we are going to point out some features together.

This place is amazing.

First of all it is enormous. It covers an area of 14.763 square metres inside of which animals of any kind live.

There are all the big five: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Apart from these antelopes, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, zebras, hippos, warthogs, giraffes, not to speak about birds like ostrichs, flamingoes, eagles and secretary birds, just to name a few.

The name of this park has been given by the Maasai tribe. In Maa, the Maasai language, siringet means ‘the endless plain’. It is conventionally divided into four areas: the North, the Seronera, the Western Corridor and the South where you can find the plains to which the Maasai referred for choosing the name of this astonishing place.

Everywhere there are kopjes, huge blocks of granite where it not so rare to admire lions resting in groups: that is the reason why they are called simba kopjes, because simba is the Swahili word for lion.

The center of the park is the Seronera:

At the Seronera Visitor Centre it is possible to take interesting info.

The two main rivers are the Mara and the Grumeti: the silent witnesses of the Great Migration when thousands of wildebeests cross the water (in June the Grumeti and in September the Mara) and march towards the Kenyan Masai Mara following the rains and looking for fresh pasture lands. It is an incredible spectacle. Huge queues of these ungulates cover a distance of hundreds of kilometers risking their lives in the dangerous waters filled with crocodiles ready to assault. Inevitably many of them perish, but the call of the wild, the call for life is stronger.

This is one of the few places on Earth, if not the only one, in which you can still watch this wonder. (to be continued…)

Discover the second part of the northern circuit: