Serenading the Serengeti

  • •  Aug 13, 2020

I am back by popular demand !!

Although my home is the Western Ghats region, I absolutely love the Serengeti of Eastern Africa. If I were to describe this landscape, here’s how it would be. ‘It’s a never-ending vastness of rolling grasslands with sprinkles of shrubs and trees, and is absolutely loaded with wildlife!’ It is one of the oldest ecosystems on Earth in which the wildlife, vegetation, and climate have not seen too much change in thousands of years. If you haven’t heard of the great migration of the wildebeest, this is where it takes place, every year, at roughly the same time. 

Instinct is something all of us animals would be dead without. Thanks to this instinct, one fine day, around December every year, a handful of wildebeest get that twitch, and then it’s time to go; over a million wildebeest and thousands of zebras and gazelles leave their home in Tanzania and start a long and treacherous journey to find greener pastures. In reality, they are following the rain and heading on a 1000km long trek across the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in Kenya. Here my friends will thrive on the lush green grasslands for as long as it lasts and until they get the urge to move on to other areas. The lands of the Serengeti are one of the most fertile and productive ecosystems on Earth because of the combination of volcanic soil and the ecological impacts of the migration. The Ol Doinyo Lengai is the only active volcano in the area and ejects lavas at around 500 degrees Celsius, phew, which hardens midair and then shatters like glass. Being highly soluble in water, this ash combines with rainwater and turns into a calcium-rich material that enriches the soil. A few numbers here to give you an idea of the sheer size of this area. About 2 million wildebeests, 900,000 Thomson’s gazelles and 300,000 zebras. Other herbivores that thrive in this gorgeous land are elands, topis, hartebeests, buffalos, giraffes, warthogs, waterbucks, elephants, hippopotamuses, black rhinoceroses, 10 species of primate and 10 different species of antelope.

This migration is the largest unaltered movement of animals in the world. Its predictability is becoming increasingly difficult with the changes in the regular climate systems all over the world, and this is leading the animals to do things differently and causing a huge stir amongst humans! This mass migration is very important to the survival of the species and gives them an advantage over others as they keep moving in search of food and water and avoid diseases that may be rampant in their areas. Water is scarce in the park as the Mara is the only river that flows perennially in the area, making their movement beneficial for their species and leaving behind precious little for other animals. The major predators here are the lions, leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas and wild dogs. The territorial instinct of these predators keeps them confined to their area and forces them to stay within particular boundaries giving the migrating masses a better chance. Their healthy numbers provide for healthy predators and this way order is maintained.

The wild safaris of Africa and its many creatures may be a far away dream for many of you. But what is close at hand is Kaadoo’s The Big Game - Migration Mania !!! It’s a board game that takes you on an African safari !! Check it out for yourself, it’s fun, exciting and educative !!!

Interested, aren’t you!! So, here is the link:

I will be back with more next week !!!


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