Northern Serengeti overview
Brian and Annabelle Jackman joined me for an overview of the Northern Serengeti and for Brian in particular this drive North from Seronera to Kleins and across to Wogakuria was something of a pilgrimage. Brain edited the diaries of this park's first Warden, the late and legendary Miles Turner, and the book 'My Serengeti Years' was the outcome. Brian had also worked in the Maasai Mara in Kenya many moons ago, but had never been on this route before. Some of Miles Turner's ashes are scattered on the top of a hill that overlooks the International boundary here and he wanted to complete the journey from the Tanzanian side and see for himself just why Wogakuria was Miles Turner's favorite spot in this whole Serengeti/Mara ecosystem. So that is where I took him first and we camped in style amongst these scenic rock boulders that number in the thousands, some as big as six stories high. We enjoyed four nights in this area and all three of us were totally spellbound by the beauty and diversity of this now green landscape. We had seen wildebeest from Lobo to Wogakuria and during our visit herds were crossing the Mara River to head south towards the plains.
The Wogakuria area of Northern Serengeti is to my mind one of the most beautiful places on earth. Then every year beginning in late July, the grasses are either being burnt off or trampled by millions of wildebeest and zebra hooves.
This spectacular set of kopjes stand out in this rolling landscape and overlook the Mara River. What a setting for a private mobile safari camp! The resident lions and leopards must roar with joy at the arrival of such migrating meat.
The wildlife spectacle alone makes for a great safari from late July till mid November but add in the setting and scenic diversity and I cannot think of a more wondrous spot to camp for those months.
For the past ten years or so very few visiting guests have been here, very few guides either. The area has suffered from intense poaching and it has taken since 1990 to confidently secure the area for visitors.
Asilia and Sokwe bravely opened Sayari camp close to the Mara River in June of 2005 and what a success this camp has become. Guides have been camping here as well and a lively radio network between Sayari, the mobile camps and Olakira camp in the East has developed. Anti poaching patrols conducted jointly between Tanzanian National Parks and The Mara Conservancy from Kenya have added to the overall feeling of an area on the mend and the wildlife diversity proves that efforts are paying off. Good elephant numbers were seen and that is great news. There have even been a few Rhino sightings. These animals must have wandered in from The Mara. I salute the hard working rangers from both sides of the border.
The Mara is a lot more devoid of trees than northern Serengeti and according to Tony Sinclair of the Bio-diversity program based at the Serengeti research Institute the elephant numbers in the Mara remained high during the 80's whilst the northern Serengeti elephants were much more heavily poached. Too much fire and elephant numbers will create grassland plains, as the elephants eat all the young trees, but just fire alone will not and many trees can survive the fires. So now that the elephant numbers are rebuilding in the Northern Serengeti the thick tree cover will be taken back and a more balanced landscape will return. a landscape that can sustain many elephants.
Brian will write an account of our adventures which will appear in a leading UK newspaper. I really enjoyed his and Annabelle's company on what was for us all a celebration of yet another habitat returning to its former glory.
You see - good news can be found in this world of ours - the power of mankind to either destroy or repair has been proven again. It takes commitment to repair or restore a habitant, patience and study to understand it.
Tourism helps to sustain all our wild habitants in Tanzania, so I say- " Long live safaris and guests that care."
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYBODY.