A World Heritage Site and recently proclaimed a “World Wide Wonder”, Serengeti National Park is undoubtedly one of the most famous wildlife sanctuaries in the world. Covering an area of about 14,763 sq km, Serengeti is the largest National Park in Tanzania. Located approximately 330 km on the northwest of Arusha, lying in a high plateau between the Ngorongoro highlands and the Kenya / Tanzania border, and extending almost to Lake Victoria to the west. Serengeti in Maasai language means “endless plains”, you immediately witness this vastness as you enter the south eastern plains of the park from Ngorongoro. The park was once a hunting reserve before declared a protected area in 1921 and gazetted as a National park in 1951 Serengeti is the oldest National Park in Tanzania, The principal features of Serengeti are the short and long grass plains in the south and east, the acacia Savannah in the central areas, the hilly and densely wooded areas in the north and the extensive woodland in the west. There is a variety of scenery, which include the plains, lakes, hills and the rock outcrops called kopjes. The main game drive areas in the Serengeti are the Seronera Valley, the Western Corridor, and Lobo or northern Serengeti. The Seronera valley in central Serengeti, endowed with permanent surface water, attract a large concentration of wildlife throughout the year. Common animals that can be seen here are lions, buffaloes, impalas, hippos, waterbucks, elephants, cheetahs and leopards. From december to april, southeastern Serengeti plains provide the best opportunities for game viewing as hundreds of thousands of the migratory animals concentrate in this part attracted by the short palatable grass. Between may and july, when drought sets in, Serengeti is the site of one of the most breathtaking events in the animal kingdom, the migration of thousands of wildebeest heading southwest, north or west insearch of water and green pastures. The Lobo area remains rich of wildlife during the dry months of august to november when most of the animals move from the grass plains into the south. This is also true of the Western Corridor towards Lake Victoria when the migration usually lingers in the area between june and july. Serengeti provides sanctuary to the highest concentration of plain animals in the area. A Survey estimate over 4 million variety of animals including lions, wildebeest, Thomson‘s and Grant‘s gazelle, zebras. There are also over 400 species of birds in Serengeti.
Ndutu is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, in the southeastern plains of the Serengeti ecosystem. The plains around Ndutu are the main holding ground for migratory animals where vast herds congregate and linger for more than four months, from december to may, before they start moving across the Serengeti insearch of green pastures and water. Ndutu area forms an important part of the Serengeti ecosystem, in particular the short grass plains which provide calving grounds for wildebeest and other migratory animals.
The Olduvai Gorge, popularly referred to as “The Cradle of Humankind”, is the site where in 1959 Dr. Louis Leakey discovered the skull of Zinjanthropus or “Nutcracker Man” believed to have lived around 1.75 million years ago. Later reclassified as Australopithecus boisei, this creature had a big skull but with a small brain (500 cc) and huge teeth. Several months later Dr. Leakey found another fossil hominid in the same layer of excavation, called Homo habilis or “handy man”, smaller than the “Nutcracker Man” but with a larger brain (600 cc) and capable of making simple stone tools. Today Dr. Richard Leakey is the director of the Nairobi museum, in Kenya.
To get into Kenya or Tanzania, you need to have a current and valid passport and depending on your nationality or country of origin, you may need to apply for a visa. You may apply and receive a visa before visiting Kenya or Tanzania from the various embasses in your country or apply it on arrival in Kenyan or Tanzanian airports. The cost of the visa is 50 dollars. Your passport should not expire before six months from the end of your travel. We advice you to make some copies of your actual passport and visa before travelling. If you are travelling with children, make sure you ask all the required documents from your local police station.
There are currently no inoculations that you must have when travelling to Kenya or Tanzania, We advise visitors to take anti-malaria tablets and to make sure that you protect yourself from mosquito bites, wearing long sleeved shirts/blouses and long pants, use mosquito repellent, mosquito nets. Drink well sealed mineral water and avoid street foods, take with you a necessary first-aid box. The vaccination against yellow fever becomes mandatory in Kenya and Tanzania when you transit in epidemic countries like Uganda, Etiopia etc.
Kenya and Tanzania enjoys tropical climate almost all year round with temperatures that run between 22° to 30° in the coastal areas. In the highlands and in some parks at around 1500 metres of altitude, the temperatures run between 15° to 24° during day time and dizzy during the night. (5 / 7 grade)
Along the equator, the sun presence is constant in every 12 hours. The sun rises at around 6.00 am and set around 18.00 pm. Seasonal alteration does not exist. The rainy season is between march and may, and the short rains are between november and mid-december.
GMT + 3.
The Kenyan and Tanzanian currency are in shillings. 1 euro is around 100 (KSHS). In Tanzania 1 euro is around 2200 shillings. Most of the major international currencies are accepted and you can convert into Kenyan or Tanzanian shillings in the Hotel reception, in the Bank, or Forex Bureau. The major Credits Cards (Master Card, Visa, American Express, Diner’s etc) are widely accepted in all major hotels and establishments, however you will need cash in hand because the smaller shops only accept cash. Remember to take your documents with you.
Tipping: Most major hotels and restaurants include a service charge in the bill, although tipping is not mandatory, you may tip porters, waiters, drivers, guides, rangers etc at your discretion.
The best clothes for a vacation, holiday, safari or leisure in Kenya and Tanzania are bright light casual wear; pants, jeans, cotton shirts. Jeans and decent tops/blouses for ladies. You can dress differently for special occasions; especially when going clubbing/dancing, to church, sporting etc. For dinner in some restaurants and clubs, you will probably be OK to wear shorts and t-shirts, in some up-scale restaurants you will have to dress elagantly. During safari, non-synthetic, comfortable fitting, neutral clothes, (khaki, brown, olive colours are ideal), avoid bright coloured clothes. Pack a jersey, pullover, safari jacket, shorts, long trousers, short sleeved safari shirts, long sleeved safari tops to protect you againest mosquito bites. Light weight safari shoes/trainers. No heavy boots unless you are doing a walking safari. Don’t forget to carry safari hats. In luxury lodges and camps, generally you have to dress formally for diner (trousers for men). If you wish to continue with beach holiday after your safari, we advise you to have 2 bags: a soft bag for safari (max 15kg) and the beach suitcase that you will leave it to our staff on arrival at the airport. Our staff will help you find it in hotel/resort on arrival from safari.
The official languages in Kenya and Tanzania are Kiswahili and English. English was inherited from the British colonials and mostly used for business. Swahili is one of the twelfth most spoken languages in the world, spoken by almost 44% of the world population. It is pronounced exactly as written. Kenyans and Tanzanians speaks other local and foreign languages as well.
We advice you to carry emergency photo camera rolls, battery, battery richarger, video cassetes, card memory etc because sometimes its not easy to find them around. Its forbidden to take photos of public offices, Kenyan flags, police stations, courts etc. Ask for permission before taking photos to people, in some cases you may be required to offer a tip for those photos. (Its normal) For the nocturnal animal photos in savanna, the camera should be without flash.
The Kenyan and Tanzanian diet is comprised of food from different ethnic groups. The popular staple foods include; rice, beef, ugali (mais flour) chapati (type of indian bread) chicken, goat, fish, tilapia and an assortment of fresh vegetables and fruits. Nyama choma is the famous national dish; a form of charcoal-grilled beef or goat meat, very popular in authentic Kenyan restaurants and pubs. Kenya is one of the major tea and coffee exporters, infact in Kenya anytime is tea time when it comes to drinks. The Kenyan tea in the form of chai (tea with milk and sugar) It is served for breakfast and any hour of the day. (in the tourists restaurants, villages, camps and hotels, you will find international foods).
The Kenyan and Tanzanian beers are also famous: pilsner, premium, tusker, white cup, gueness. Kenya and Tanzania doesn’t produce wine, but you can get all types of imported wine all over. Kenya produces spirits; Kenya Cane, Safari Cane, Kenyan Coffee, and Brandy like Amarula among others.
Kenya and Tanzania has a very wide access in GSM cellular network. You can buy local calling cards to make your international calls. Or you can buy local sim card, in this way you will not pay for the incoming calls, only the calls you make. You can also make international calls from your hotel, cyber cafes, Phone booths and other places that offer international calling services.
The current is 220/240AC - 50HZ. You will have to bring an universal adapter with you.
We remind you that during safari, in many lodges and camps, the generators are switched off between 23.00 pm and 10.00 am. We advise you to carry a torch-light with you.
January 2016: I am pleased to inaugurate the 2.0 version of our project, our adventure. Several years have passed since our 1.0 version, but the thanks owed are always many and some still valid since last time! A renewal thankful to my wife Laura Stuardo, mother of Mamasavana, who created a logo by now recognizable and who renewed the entire layout of the website and corporate identity, complaining to be the worst client ever had! Paolo Lentini who has been besides us from the beginning, with advices, tips, ideas, suggestions which were always fundamental and who had the courage to review, correct and customize all our texts and Danilo Rolle for valuable digital advice. Pino - nicknamed Jaguar - and Gianna (in-laws), always present to support our choices, all my big family, genoese and malindina, for their continue support. A special thanks goes to all Mamasavana friends and guests, that have helped to enrich this website with their wonderful photographs: Diego Rumazza, Alessandra Dagnino, Roberto De Sibi, Patrizia Garone, Manuela Calistri, Fabiano Ciampolini, Jennifer Schiano, Leandro Fantolini, Lara Cappelli, Pietro Cocco, Gianluigi Crovini, Agata Boschi, Ilaria Martinalli and Francesco Pezzini. Finally, last but not least, Sandro Ghini of which without him, we could not have the website you are looking at! John