Tarangire National Park
Named after the Tarangire River that flows northwards through the park, Tarangire National Park is one of Tanzania’s most beautiful parks with abundant wildlife and spectacular landscape. Visitors to the park mostly visit the park for its large herds of elephants but the national park has so much more to offer from animals to birds to lush vegetation. Tarangire national park is also known for its high density of baobab trees which are large trees found in grassy plains of Africa with large trunks that are sometimes hollow, elephants usually like to strip their barks for moist tissue since the trees retain water during the rainy season.
Tarangire national park covers an area of 2,850 square kilometres and is located in Tanzania’s Manyara region. The Tarangire River is a major contributor to the rich eco system of the national park as it offers fresh water for wild animals especially during the annual dry season. Tarangire national park is a perfect destination while on safari in Northern Tanzania as it only offers excellent game viewing but is also accessible as it is just 2 hours away from Arusha City, the main starting base for safaris in Tanzania.
Wildlife in Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park has a diverse array of free-roaming wildlife that include Elephants, Giraffes, Lions, Buffalo, Zebras, Wildebeest, Olive baboons, Vervet Monkeys, Gerenuk, Fringe-eared oryx, Dik-dik, Grant’s gazelle, Waterbuck, Cheetahs (rarely seen), Leopard, African wild dog, Honey badget, Impalas, Commond Eland, Caracal, Banded mongoose, Hippos, Warthogs, Jackals, Kudus, Hartebeest, Bat-eared foxes among others. Wildlife is usually seen foraging across different habitats of Tarangire national park, prepare for incredible sightings in the midst of one of Tanzania’s most diverse national park.
Birds of Tarangire National Park
More than 550 species of birds have been recorder at Tarangire national park making a popular bird watching site in Tanzania. Birding in Tarangire will have one tick off endemics, Eurasian migrants and savanna specials including birds of prey, this makes the park a bird watcher’s paradise and a perfect destination for the specialist birder.
The most sought after bird while birding in Tarangire is the Ashy Starling which is endemic to Tanzania. Other birds in the park include African grey flycatcher, Rufous-tailed weaver, Tawny eagle, Mouse-coloured penduline tit, Northern white-crowned shrike, Great white pelican, Common Ostrich, Bare-faced go-away bird, Pink-breasted lark, Red-bellied parrot, Vulturine guineafowl, Von der Decken’s hornbill, Slate-coloured bou bou, Yellow-collared lovebird, Red-and-yellow barbet, Speckle-fronted weaver, Nubian woodpecker, Kori bustard, African fish eagle, Bateleur, Helmeted guinea fowl, Lilac-breasted roller, African hoopoes, Pygmy falcon, Saddle-billed stork, Lappet faced vultures, Yellow-knecked spurfowl, Crested francolin, Bushveld pipit, Red-winged francolin, Grey crowned crane, White-bellied bustard, Hamerkp, Grey heron, Little egret, African spoonbill, African darter, Spotted Thick-knee, Crowned lapwing, Secretary bird, Palm-nut vulture, Pied king fisher, African broadbill, Striped king fishers among others species.
Activities to while in Tarangire National Park
A game drive in Tarangire national park takes you through the lush grassland plains of the park as you look out for wildlife resident to the park with the help of a trained expert guide, Wildlife in the park to look out for includes elephants, lions, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes and other mammals. Game drives are best done in the morning as those hours usually have higher chances of spotting predators as they start out their day. Game drives in Tarangire national park also offers expansive views of the park’s landscape. While on the game drive you will stop over to watch the famous African baobab trees which are a unique attraction in the park and you will have an opportunity to take some photos.
Bird watching in Tarangire National Park
Bird watching is a top activity to do while in Tarangire as the national park is an Important Bird Area (IBA) with incredible sightings especially for specialist birders. Over 500 species of birds have been recorded and these include raptors, kingfishers, parrots and species of birds that belong to the Somali – Masai biome. Tarangire national park is one of Africa’s best bird watching sites and this is mainly because the park has diverse habitats that support birds including riverine vegetation, swamps, acacia woodland and open grassland areas.
Nature walks in Tarangire national park are an alternative way to explore the diverse national park aside from experiencing it in a car while on a game drive. Nature walks in the park are usually done in the morning hours or early evening before the sun sets. Nature walks in the park are fulfilling as they bring one closer to wildlife in the park and involves following animal tracks to find wildlife. The walks are done with a professional park guide who is well conversant with the park and you are as well accompanied by an armed ranger guide. The nature walks usually take between one to three hours depending on one’s physical abilities.
Cultural Tours ( Maasai Village Tour )
The Maasai are a famous ethnic group of Tanzania and known for their fearsome warrior culture. They live just outside the national park. A visit to a Maasai village brings you closer to the local people and also offers you a glimpse in to their culture and way of life. This is a great way to spend an afternoon while on safari in Tanzania. The Maasai are also known for their colourful traditional wear that consists of colourful sheets and radiant beaded jewellery as well as their interesting traditional dance that involves jumping up high. The visit can be done in the afternoon and you can actively participate in interacting with this indigenous tribe.
Where to stay while in Tarangire National Park
Tarangire national park has a number of accommodation options that one can choose for their base while on safari in Tanzania, some lodges are situated near the park and others inside the park. Lodges that we recommend staying at include;
Tarangire Sopa Lodge – This is a luxury safari lodge located in the midst of the lush vegetation of the national park. The lodge is a perfect blend of luxury and comfortability while on safari. The lodge has 75 rooms that include four interconnection rooms for large groups of travellers and 2 wheelchair accessible rooms. All the rooms are en-suite, have flushing toilets, comfortable beds, hot showers and clean linen. The lodge also has other facilities that include a dining area, a swimming pool, conference room, a well-stocked bar and a gift shop. The Tarangire Sopa Lodge is known for its elephant visits as the animals are sometimes seen in the lodge surroundings.
Nyikani Tarangire Camp – This is a mid-range camp located in the national and perfect for someone who would like to stay at a camp situated in the bush. The camp has well-decorated tents with comfortable beds and mosquito nets. The camp has great staff that are always available to cater to the guest’s needs. The camp features an open dining area that serves delicious fresh meals and large lounge area where one can relax after a long day in the park. Located south of Tarangire national park, this camp is perfect if you are looking for a less crowded place to stay while on safari. The camp has only 10 tents.
Best time to visit Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park can be visited and is open to visitors throughout the year however the best time to visit is during the dry season/months. The dry months run from June to September, during this season the park has shorter grass and this offers easy opportunities to watch wildlife from across the open grassland plains. The wet months of November to May are also fulfilling as the scenery is lush and green during the wet months. The wet season also works well for visitors who want a more private safari as the number of visitors is less than the dry season. The best time for visitors interested in bird watching is between the months of November to April as migratory birds from Europe and North Africa are present in the park.
Getting to Tarangire National Park
The park is easily accessible from Arusha town in Tanzania, Arusha is the main base and starting point for most safaris in Tanzania. It is just two hours from Arusha town to Tarangire national park by car along a paved road. Tarangire national park is also a one hour drive to Lake Manyara national park so it is perfect to combine the two destinations since they are close to each other. Tarangire national park can also be accessed by charter flight from either Arusha or Serengeti National Park. The time it takes to fly from Arusha to Tarangire is about twenty minutes.
Tours to Tarangire National Park (Click the links below)