Ever since I was a small child, I had dreamt of traveling to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. I wanted to see the animals I learned about in school; the animals that I couldn’t find in my native Norway. It was, thus, incredible – surreal even – when my friend and I found ourselves sitting in a jeep, driving down a dirt road, minutes away from the great nature reserve I had always longed to see.

Almost immediately, we saw a zebra and a couple of monkeys. Our driver, Mohammed, laughed at us when we asked if we could stop and observe the animals, saying that it wasn’t worth our time; we would see hundreds of them later on.

Right he was.

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

As we entered the Serengeti, we were met by the “Great Migration” from Masai Mara in Kenya. Each year, over two million animals wander between Masai Mara and the Serengeti: wildebeest, zebras and gazelles come in search of fresh and nutritious grass, and their predators follow not far behind. The animals’ migration is based on weather patterns in the region; often, they’ll make it to the Serengeti between the months of January and March, settling for several months before following the rain as it moves east, then south, then west. By the end of the calendar year, they complete a full circular cycle of travel and prepare to move north once again.

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

My friend and I spent one week driving around both the Serengeti and the Ngorogoro crater, also in Tanzania, looking for various animals: lions, cheetahs, leopards.  A highlight of our time was watching a leopard hunt and kill a gazelle from just a short distance away. The speed of the leopard as it attacked its prey was amazing. We also had a chance to come into close contact with a family of lions, and witnessed a leopard helping its cob over a river. We saw gazelles fighting; giraffes wandering about eating from the tree tops, even fighting one other for food. The scenes seemed straight out of a movie; the kinds of things you might see on TV. For me, it was a dream come true.

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

Serengeti-Tanzania-Henning-Petterson

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  • Great photos. Have been to Serengeti in February, 2104. Was devastating to see the changes global warming brought to this land- massive rain during supposedly driest season of the year affected Massai’ kettle number and drove them to the cities to work as security guards; confused animals weren’t breeding so well. Poaching is another huge problem. More elephants are killed every year than born. I think things like that should be mentioned. pretty pictures is just not enough anymore.

    • Hi Julija.
      Thank you for the comment. I agree with you, environmental issues is of great relevance when it comes to travel. I would maybe say that a full post about environment and travel would be a good option.

      Henning

  • S.L. Davis

    Really gorgeous and stunning captures, thanks for sharing to those of us who haven’t yet made it to the Serengeti!

    • Thank you for your comment S.L. Davis. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, it was a great trip!

      Henning

  • Charles T.

    Really, really great images. It almost feels like time stops when you get this close to nature — it’s unbelievable. This takes me back to my own journey to Tanzania two years ago, and makes me wish I could get back there again soon! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Charles. I’m thinking about going back myself. Maybe going to Masai Mara the next time, but it ain’t free…

      Henning

  • Michelle R.

    A dream of mine as well! Love the image of the giraffes. Thanks for sharing.

    • Your welcome Michelle. I like that image myself, looks as if they are in love, but the real story is actually that they are fighting..

      Henning

  • Brooke

    Wow! These picture are amazing, what an experience! It looks like you were dangerously close to some of those predators… Did they take notice of you? This is on my bucket list, thanks for sharing!!

    • Thanks Brooke. The predators are not scared of much, so that didn’t take too much notice of us, especially the lions were really really close. Some of them came up to the car and used it for shadow. Great to see these animals in their natural habitat. This should be on you list for sure.

      Henning

  • Mary

    This is simply amazing. I love that last close-up shot of the Zebra. So beautiful. Definitely Bucket List destination!

    • Thanks Mary. I have that image in black and white in my living room. The zebras are really photogenic animals.

      Henning