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Masai Mara Game Reserve
Lake Manyara National Park is only 127 square miles in area and during the rainy season the lake covers about two thirds of this area. Despite its small size, the park has a variety of habitats that includes acacia woodland, areas of open grassland, ground water forest, the lake shore, and swamp. The park has been the location for a number of movies including Hatari released in 1961.
Approximately 12 miles in diameter, the Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world. It supports a year round population of 25,000 animals. These include zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, gazelle and warthogs. Approximately 20 endangered black rhinos also reside inside the crater. The swamps and forest provide sanctuary for hippos, elephants, waterbuck, baboons and vervet monkeys. Leopards live in the forests as well, but they are solitary creatures, secretive and hard to spot. Other predatory animals such as lions and cheetahs live off the abundant wildlife and hyena roam the crater making their own kills and scavenging from others. One of the earliest signs of mankind is found at nearby Laetoli where hominid footprints from 3.6 million years ago were discovered preserved in volcanic rock.
Serengeti National Park The name Serengeti comes from the Maasai word “Siringet” which means “endless plain.” The plains were formed 3 - 4 mIMG_0969 tweaked zebra.jpg (276375 bytes)illion yearsago when ash blown from volcanoes in the Ngorongoro highlands covered the rolling landscape. The thick layers of ash established the rich soil which supports the vast grass plains. It was originally declared a game reserve in 1929. In 1951, the reserve became the first national park in what was then known as Tanganyika. Covering 5,700 square miles, the park is roughly the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut. One of the biggest attractions is the annual migration of over one million wildebeest that travel north during the dry season in search of water and food. Wildebeest survive as a species due to their sheer numbers. During the calving season in February, more that 8000 wildebeest calves are born every day. Calves are nudged by their mothers to stand within 5 minutes of birth since they must be mobile to escape predators.