Travel

Serengeti plains host one of the world’s busiest ‘labour wards’

Eruptions at two mountains formed the Ndutu Plains

WEDNESDAY November 10, 2021

Ndutu plains in Serengeti that serve as a labour ward for wildebeest. WILD WINGS SAFARIS

By Adam Ihucha

Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

It is not easy for a tourist interested in annual wildebeest migration at the African Best National Park of Serengeti to know the timing of the lifetime episode.

Ngutu Adventures and Safaris, a local owned tour company registered under the Ministry of Tourism in Tanzania, offers the wildlife-lovers information for them to plan their safari.

A seasoned tour guide working with Ngutu Adventures and Safaris, Mr James Mazigo, takes you to Ndutu Plains — a birthplace of gnus where tourists experience the difference of their Safaris in Tanzania.

Lake Ndutu. PHOTO | LOST AND FOUND SAFARI

Historically, the north-south western part of Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), the Maswa Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park, Ikorongo Game Reserve, Grumeti Game Reserve and the Masai Mara Game Reserve all combined make the Serengeti ecosystem with approximately 30,000 square kilometres, equivalent to 12,000 square miles, he says.

Famed for its wildebeest migration and a vast plain that accommodates millions of wildlife including the big five, the Tanzania’s Serengeti was last month named Africa’s Leading National Park for the third time in a row.

It was pitted against other African contenders such as Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana, Etosha National Park in Namibia, Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda, Kruger National Park in South Africa and Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

All the sites across its ecosystem are equally important for the big games, as they need resources, which are almost evenly distributed. For each item required, these plain mammals know where and when to catch it — a phenomenon worth witnessing.

Just east and south of the Serengeti you find Ndutu Plains — a portion of the ecosystem mostly covered by grass plains dotted with shrubs.

Great migration calving season at Ndutu Plains. PHOTO | DISCOVER AFRICA

While at the area between February and April every year, the mirage caused by the atmospheric conditions will fool you. Ndutu, of all places, the animals have chosen the plains as their labour ward, you wonder!

Plains creation

Eruptions of Mount Lemakarot and what use to be Mount Ngorongoro, the present Ngorongoro Caldera, formed the Ndutu Plains.

Predominant wind blowing from east to west, molten materials and ashes spit out were deposited on the west where, coupled with precipitation, a hard pan dictating the present looks of the famous Serengeti plains was formed.

The hard pan comprising enough potassium to strengthen bones of minors faster and nutritious pasture, mostly cynadon doctlylon, are the pulling factors, attracting nearly 1.8 million gnus thronging the area to deliver their babies each passing year.

While still at the Ndutu Plains, you will witness a huge heard of wildebeests, zebras, both Grant’s and Thompson gazelles, elands, topi and hartebeests as pray animals.

Tourists aboard Ngutu Adventures and Safaris’ van sample attractions in Serengeti National Park. PHOTO | ADAM IHUCHA

Packs of hyenas, an extraordinary number of cheetahs and nearly seven prides of lions, each with about 15 members, also roam the plains searching for resources.

You can easily access Ndutu either during the wet season between late February and May or during the dry and dusty season around October to late December.

In a nutshell, given personal interests, Ndutu rewards a keen observer with revelations of nature any other ecosystem cannot match.

With the umbillical cord still attached, a young wildebeest learns to stand on his wobbly legs. PHOTO | LOST AND FOUND ADVENTURES

“Should you visit Ndutu Plains with Ngutu Adventures and Safaris, you will experience the mechanism of nature you will cherish for the remaining days of your life,” Mr James Mazigo, a professional tour guide with over 15 years of experience, winds up.

While it is well profiled at www.ngutuadventures.co.tz, Ngutu Adventures and Safaris is just a phone call (+255 759 278 600), if not an e-mail away.

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