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Serengeti now `Africa`s best natural tourist destination`

8th February 2013
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Serengeti National Park (Senapa)

Serengeti National Park (Senapa) has been hailed as the best natural wonderland and tourist destination in Africa by US-based tour operators.

A report availed to The Guardian by Karen Hoffman, president of the US-based Bradford Group and Tanzanian Tourist Board representative in North America indicates an increase in the number of tourists worldwide lured by US-based tour operators to jet in Tanzania and see nature’s “Greatest show on Earth”, the Great Animal Migration in Senapa.

In an exclusive interview with Chanel le Mond, Rick Thomson of Boston-based Thomson Safaris said that many tourists are eager to visit Senapa where currently new camps allow visitors to view the famous spectacle of wildebeest crossing the Mara River.

According to Thomson, the most frequently asked question by clients is “when is the best time to experience the Great Migration.”

And he would respond: “One has to understand that the Great Migration is an ongoing year long cycle of life, and that a visit to the Serengeti at any time of year guarantees the visitor that somewhere along the way they can catch up with Nature’s Greatest Show on Earth….”

He added: “One can see calving with wildebeest being born on the short grass plains and predators trying to get in and take them, or see the rut and the frenzy of males herding up females and fighting other bulls away and trying to mate as territories move due to grazing needs, it is bedlam at these times”.

“Visitors can see long lines of animals as they move off the plains or onto them again as they return - a wonderful sight, or July – November one of our favourite times, wildebeest massed up in the northwest corner of the Serengeti where the Mara River crosses the Serengeti. Safari guests can witness the spectacle of animals crossing the river in the face of the crocodiles, …all in the Senapa, arguably the most wonderful game park in Africa,” he said.

US-based tour operators specialising in Africa agree with Thomson. Kent Redding, president of Denver-based Africa Adventure Consultants, adds: “No wildlife event compares to Tanzania’s great wildebeest migration, covering hundreds of miles each year in the Serengeti ecosystem. Year after year, our clients send us exciting reports and incredible pictures from the Serengeti.”

Rumit Mehta, Founder of Immersion Journeys, notes: “The migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti ecosystem is an awe-inspiring spectacle. That is the best way to describe it. It is the circle of life, from conception to birth, from survival to death. For anyone who has witnessed the great migration whether at a distance by hot air balloon or close up from a safari vehicle, will tell you that it leaves them with a better understanding of nature and uncovering the mysteries of a complex and symbiotic eco-system.”

 Mark Nolting, president of Africa Adventure Company (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and author of Africa’s Top Wildlife Countries and the African Safari Journal said that visitors are almost always able to see the Great Migration in Tanzania all year round. “Now that there are several high quality camps near the Mara River in the extreme northern Serengeti, we are sending more and more guests there to view the Great Serengeti Migration in the August - October period. Therefore, there is a very good chance that the migration may be seen in the Serengeti 12 months of the year!”

Tanzania is the largest country in East Africa, focused on wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism, with approximately 28 percent of the land protected by the government, the largest percentage of any country in the world. It boasts 15 national parks and 31 game reserves and 50 game controlled areas.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN