Serengeti national park overwhelmed by visitors

Sunday December 24 2017


By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3

Seronera. Serengeti, the oldest and second largest national park in the country is overwhelmed by visitors.

Scheduled and charter tourist flights have been landing and taking off at the Seronera airstrip overstretching its capacity as the number of its users surge.

"There has been an increase of flights beyond our anticipation", said Evans Magomba, a Tourism officer.

The increase in tourist arrivals was due to the holiday season, although there has been a large increase of visitors to the park in recent years.

This has consolidated the position of Serengeti as the leading destination for the wildlife savvy visitors to Tanzania and nature lovers among the 16 game sanctuaries managed by Tanzania National Parks (Tanapa).

In attracing tourists the 14,763 square kilometre park is closely followed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) and Mt Kilimanjaro. 

As Seronera and six other airstrips within the vast park have to cope with the increasing visitors, more and more are arriving by road, mainly through Arusha.

The nearly 400 kilometre road, connecting the famous park with Arusha, continue to be dominated by tourist vans in contrast to the once reported slump in tourism during 2014/2016.

"Serengeti is again experiencing a boom. This is a challenge to us to upgrade our facilities and improve our services", Mr Magomba said as a dozen just landed light aircrafts fought for space at the airstrip.

According to available statistics, a total of 3,724 aircrafts landed at the busy Seronera airstrip, located in the middle of the extensive Serengeti, between January and September this year.

For the months of July, August and September this year, there were a total of 1,742 flights to the park compared to 1,238 landings recorded during the same months last year.

Flights recorded for Kogatende and Lobo airstrips, located near the annual wildebeest migration route to the north, have also increased tremendously. There were 564 flights in the former in July this year alone and 110 flights in the same month in the later site.

The principal Tourism Promotion officer with the park Mr Susuma Kusekwa said the spectacular wildebeest migration was not only reason for the surge of visitors.

"It is possible to see animals all year round. Accessibility has also been improved while the bed nights have increased", he said.