The Grumeti River

Grumeti | November 2020

The infamous Grumeti River is a lifeline that cuts through the incredible Serengeti scenery from the north east of the national park and west to Lake Victoria. The river is not particularly long at approximately 180 km however, the waters and mineral nutrients passing through allows for some incredible life in and around her banks.

We are so very lucky here on the Singita Grumeti Reserve to have access to approximately 50 km of the Grumeti River. From where the river enters in the north east, as it cuts through the granite hills of the Ikorongo region and descends down towards Bangwezi Hill. At this point the river may gain momentum as the Samisami and the Nyabehu Rivers both join the Grumeti very close to one another.

The river has the most beautiful vegetation, tall sycamore figs rise up from the banks, often with the black and white colobus monkeys sitting in them as the early morning sun begins to warm up. The bird life on the riverine is phenomenal and we often see species that are common in central/west Africa moving up the Grumeti River riparian as conditions are favourable and various trees come into fruit. One such species is the eastern grey plantain eater, another beautiful turaco is the Ross’s turaco that can also be found in good numbers on certain sections of the Grumeti and rarely anywhere else in the entire Serengeti ecosystem.

I have included some reference pictures below so that you may see these lovely creatures. Further south the fig tree groves become larger, denser and the vegetation generally becomes more and more impenetrable. A great place to hide if you’re a black leopard or a palm (tree) civet of which both are potentially viable.

Colobus Monkey


Eastern grey plantain eater


Ross’s Turaco


A truly stunning river with such huge diversity and of course being famed, as is the Mara River, for wildebeest crossings. We were very lucky this month to witness some great wildebeest and zebra crossings as these animals moved towards the central areas of the Serengeti once again.

The river is driven by the rains and when the rains arrive, you very quickly notice the change in water levels as they begin to rise. The river historically dried up during the dryer winter periods however, during the last few years we have definitely seen a greater flow rate with increasing rainfall and the Grumeti River has continued to flow throughout the year, trickling crystal clear in a thin stream on top of white sand before being topped up once again by the first rains of the season.

Much of the river’s nutrients come from fertile and rich Serengeti soils and are deposited into Lake Victoria which is one of the sources of the great Nile River. This, in essence, means that in the grand scheme of things we could refer to the Grumeti River as a source of the Nile! What we do know is that nutrients and sediment from the Serengeti eventually end up in the Mediterranean Sea and could wash up upon the beaches… Now that’s an interesting thought!