It’s a beautiful word, Serengeti, coming from the word ‘Siringet’ which is Maa (language of the Maasai) for ‘open plains’. Plains that are home to the greatest natural wildlife festival on earth: The Great Migration, when over two million wildebeest, zebra and more head north to Kenya in search of fresh fodder. It’s like Glastonbury Festival for wildlife lovers, except it goes on for longer, is wilder and the noise levels don’t need giant speakers to get your blood going. Today the term refers geographically to the Serengeti ecosystem, covering 30,000km2. Most of it is in Tanzania, with the smaller section that stretches into Kenya called the Maasai Mara.
No one can return from the Serengeti unchanged, for tawny lions will forever prowl our memory and great herds throng our imagination.
– George Schaller, pioneering wildlife conservationist, biologist and author
This Serengeti travel guide refers to vacations in and around Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, which protects about half of the Serengeti and is mind blowing. Which is why, while you are there, there is one other Maa word you will want to share with your hosts: kashipa. Meaning, simply, ‘I’m happy’.