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Serengeti National Park

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Serengeti National Park is the Africa of postcards, and a must on a Tanzanian safari itinerary. Its 5,700 square miles of grassland, savanna, and forest are home to the Big Five (elephant, leopard, buffalo, rhino, and what is thought to be the country's largest lion population), as well as hyenas, jackals, and cheetahs. Large herds of giraffes graze amid gazelles, elands, impalas, warthogs, and klipspringers, and you'll also spot massive birds such as grizzled vultures and prickly secretary birds. There's nearly as much variety among the lodges in the region as there is among the wildlife: We recommend the Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp for its throwback colonial grandeur, or, for over-the-top opulence, Singita Grumeti, which sits on a reserve bordering Serengeti National Park.

The greatest concentration of wildlife can be found during the rainy season, from December to June. The greatest concentration of tourists can be found between June and August, due to the annual Great Migration, when more than 1.5 million brindled wildebeests and thousands of zebras head north through the Serengeti to the Masai Mara in Kenya. The famous crossing of the Grumeti River can occur anywhere from May to July; though the spectacle is one of nature's most memorable, it can be all but impossible to plan for it months in advance. You can also catch parts of the migration as the wildebeests head back through the Serengeti in late October through early December. —Collen Clark

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