Tarangire National Park is a beautiful, quiet park found slightly-off the main safari-route in Northern Tanzania. The park is most known for its elephant migration, rich birdlife and genuine African safari atmosphere. Unfortunately, most of the holidaymakers visit the Tarangire for just a couple of hours while on a northern Tanzania safari circuit, living miles and miles of this park unexplored.
This beautiful park is a small wildlife treasure on the Northern safari circuit considering that it has an area for game viewing that is almost ten times that of the neighboring Lake Manyara National Park, and prides in a very large number of different wild animals especially in the months of July, August, September and October. Tarangire National Park is perhaps the least traveled of all parks on the northern Tanzania Safari Circuit, and for this reason it has maintained the true breeze of the formerly regarded ‘Undiscovered Africa’ especially the southern section of this park. The park was named after River Tarangire that makes its course through this park.
It is situated further south east from Lake Manyara and covers an expanse of about 2 600 sq. km. Majority of the park is covered with grassland and swamp land together with flood plains that feed into the renowned River Tarangire. The northern part of the park is scattered with the giant baobab trees and these dominate the view across the terrain. Several of these trees are more than one hundred years old. The rest of the park is dotted with acacia woodland, palm trees as well as open bushes.
The park covers a total area of 2,600 sq km with the flowing River Tarangire being the dominant feature in the northern section of the park, and this flows through the entire region before pouring into Lake Burungi found in the northwest. There are a couple of large swamps within the southern sector of the park that dry into vast green plains in the dry season in the south.
Tarangire NP is a surprise package for holidaymakers exploring the Northern circuit, normally outshined by the Serengeti as well as the Ngorongoro Crater. Interestingly, the large numbers of wild animals found here in the peak months from July to October make game viewing safaris here very excellent and the safari atmosphere (considering that it offers the quietest wildlife viewing environment) as well as the wildlife habitats is entirely different from other parks. The South part of this park is particularly quiet, with accommodations like Swala plus Oliver’s Camp that present the perfect base to explore the southern remote area, as well as present the perfect get away from other holidaymakers.
Wildlife in Tarangire National Park
Within the dry season (July to October) the number of animals found around river Tarangire is nearly as diverse and consistent as that within the Ngorongoro Crater. On the other hand, the ecosystem within Tarangire is balanced by a localized migration pattern which is followed by most of the animals that live within and around the national park. Consequently, Tarangire is superb in season but questionable the rest of the year. Elephants are the main attraction, with up to 3,000 in the park during the peak months. Peak season also sees good numbers of wildebeest and zebra as well as giraffe, buffalo, Thompson’s gazelle, greater and lesser kudu, eland, leopard and cheetah. The real prizes in the park are dwarf mongoose, oryx and generuk – but viewings are very rare. Tarangire is one of Tanzania’s finest birding destinations.
Tarangire National Park is a habitat to thousands of wild elephants and these are best seen in the dry months, when game gathers along the banks of the river. These elephants normally take shelter under the large baobab trees, which are scattered over the open wide acacia woodland. Tarangire is certainly an ornithologist’s paradise, with a great profusion of in birds as well as an outstanding variety of fauna which you can witness on your safari in Tanzania.
River Tarangire serves as the most prominent water source through the dry months and is normally congested with wild animals during these months. The neighboring communities of Thirsty nomads also wandered hundreds of arid kilometers as they search for water in this very area as it always has the water. Herds of close to 300 elephants are seen scratching the dry river bed to access the underground streams and at the same time the migratory wildebeests, gazelles, oryxs, zebras, elands, buffaloes and Harte beests congest the lessening lagoons. Actually during this period, this is actually a hunting area for the large predators.
What to do in Tarangire National Park
The primary tourist activity in this park are the game drives and these are conducted early morning and in the afternoon. However for those of you staying outside the park, you can enjoy walking safaris. There are also adventurous fly camping tours and not long ago, guests staying at Oliver’s Camp as well as Swala can enjoy night safaris inside the game park. You can enjoy guided safari walks, village tours to the Maasai as well as Barabaig communities, and explore the long ago rock paintings in Kolo situated 118 kilometers southwest of the town of Arusha, Tarangire National Park can be easily accessed by road from Arusha town, or from Lake Manyara and from there you can carry on to the stunning Ngorongoro Crater and the vast plains of the Serengeti. In addition charter flights from Arusha town and Serengeti can get you to the park.
When to go or best time to visit Tarangire
Although Tarangire National Park can be visited all year round, for the best views of wildlife we recommend that you visit from July, August, September and October however during the other time of the year, most of the animals have migrated outside the park and spread out on the Rift Valley floor as well as in the Maasai steppe grounds. Holidaymakers interested in visiting this park when there are no guest crowds are best advised to visit during the off peak season.Once the rains begin, the seasonal visitors scatter all over to more than 20,000 square kilometer distance until they finally exhaust all the verdant plains, and once again the river is filled with water. However the numerous elephant of Tarangire can easily be encountered in both the dry as well as the wet months. The swamps shade green all year around and are the best shelter to more than 500 bird species as well as the largest bird breeding sanctuary in the entire world. Moving on to the drier areas you will not only encounter the heaviest flying species of bird; the Kori bustard, but also see the largest bird in the whole world; the Ostrich, in addition to various ground hornbills such as turkeys. Unique about Tarangire is that similar to its pythons the resident lions also climb trees just like the leopards, and these are normally seen resting in the branches of the sausage tree may be to disguises their tail, although the exact reason as to why they stay in tress remains a mystery up today. Conclusively, the park can be visited all through the year, however the best time would be in the dry season between June and September as there are large numbers of game.
Where to stay / Accommodation in Tarangire National Park
There are a number of different lodges found around the border of this beautiful park like Tarangire Treetops, however holidaymakers who wish to stay inside the park itself are well catered for with various accommodation facilities as well such as Swala plus Oliver’s Camp. The accommodation facilities here vary from budget, midrange to luxury facilities. You can stay in one of these reccomended Lodges.
Swala Tented Lodge
Tarangire Treetops Lodge
Kikoti Safari Camp
Mawe Ninga Camp Serengeti
Tarangire Safari Camp