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Northern Tanzania, 3rd: Serengeti, Kilamanjaro, Zanzibarby Philip Briggs
The one part of the northern Serengeti to match the southern plains for general game viewing is the wedge of sloping grassland that divides the Mara River from the Kenya border. Sometimes referred to as the Mara Triangle, this southern extension of the legendary Maasai Mara National Reserve supports prodigious herds of eland, topi, gazelle, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo et al throughout the year, and it can be little short of mind- boggling when the migration moves in over July to September. During this time of year, large herds of wildebeest frequently gather on one or other side of the river, sometimes milling around for hours, even days, before one brave or foolish individual initiates a sudden river crossing, often for no apparent reason - indeed, its not unusual for the same group of wildebeest to cross back in the opposite direction within hours of the initial crossing, suggesting these rather slow-witted beasts adhere firmly to the maxim that the grass is always greener on the other side.
Prior to 2005, the Mara Triangle had been effectively closed to casual tourism for decades, partly due to its remoteness from any lodge, and partly due to problems with banditry and poaching. Today, the few visitors who make it up this far are still unlikely to much other tourist traffic, but the area can be readily accessed from the seasonal Sayari and Lemala Tented Camp, both of which lie to the south of the Mara River near Kogatende Rangers Post, where a concrete causeway crosses the river.
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