The word Serengeti is derived in the Maa­sai lan­guage from the term “esirin­ket” and means “the end­less land” or “end­less plains”. Exten­sive, flat grass plains in the south are con­trast­ed with slight­ly hilly, slight­ly forest­ed plains in the north. The cen­tral savan­nah is almost tree­less. The high­est moun­tains are about 1850 meters above sea lev­el, low­er parts of the savan­nah reach down to about 920 meters.

The Serengeti area encom­pass­es the Serengeti Nation­al Park, which at 14,763 square kilo­me­tres is one of the largest and most famous nation­al parks in the world and since 1981 has been part of the UNESCO World Nat­ur­al Heritage.