Postcard from the plains

Its name comes from the Maasai word, siringet: endless plains. Serengeti is in all the tourist brochures, the destination everyone’s heard of, making the long-term expats and many Tanzanians slightly dismissive of the place.  Other parks are more beautiful, they say.












But none have the vast, open flatness of Serengeti, an expanse of 14,700km2 uninhabited by humans since the 1950s. Now the undisturbed home of leopards and lions, baboons and buffaloes, 500 different bird species, and two million migrating wildebeest. At this time of year, the migration – millions of mammals moving in and out annually – has gone north, becoming Kenyans for a time, leaving the dust and the yellowing grassland behind them. Sometimes, you see a solitary wildebeest, confused without his herd. Other animals, the “residents” who don’t migrate, spread out, disappearing into the grass. In all directions, land meets sky at a point that’s so far it hurts your eyes to focus; and the horizon is an unbroken line but for a few acacia trees, clumps of granite rock, and maybe  a single file of slow-stepping elephants or a pair of ostriches watching into the wind.

More pictures, as usual, over on flickr




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