Although it is often overlooked in favor of Arusha National Park, or the closer Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park is one of the most beautiful locations that can be visited in Tanzania. Not only does it provide a wide diversity of wild animals and birds, it also features plenty of quiet areas for those who wish to have a calmer safari experience and explore in peace. One of the main attractions is its large concentration of elephants, so be on the lookout.
- +Sightings of the long-necked gerenuk and the fringe-eared oryx
- +Walking safari
- +Trips to Barabaig and Maasai
- +Seeing ancient rock paintings
About Tarangire National Park
Like many other national parks in Tanzania, Tarangire is also an oasis of wildlife, color and vegetation, with an incredibly diverse fauna and gorgeous landscapes to behold. Among this diversity, you can find gazelle, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, eland, hartebeest, impala and many others. In fact, it has the biggest wildlife concentration in Tanzania, except for Serengeti. In addition, this is the only location where you can liberally see the rare long-necked gerenuk and the fringe-eared oryx.
What is more, at Tarangire National Park you can have the chance to see many of the 500 bird species. In fact, Tarangire is the habitat with the most breeding species on earth. Bird-watching is particularly exciting here, due to the many different types of birds that you can see, including the rufous-tailed waver, yellow-collared lovebirds, hornbills and the ashy starling. But some of the most impressive birds that can be seen here are the stocking-thighed ostrich, which is the biggest bird in the whole world, as well as the Kori bustard, which is the world’s heaviest flying bird.
Elephants can be considered the primary attraction, if we’re talking about animals, with as many as 3,000 that can be seen in Tarangire National Park in peak season. Entire herds can be observed, studies and followed around as they make their way through the park.
Besides daytime safari, the option for nighttime safari has also been recently added, for those who prefer a nocturnal experience. Ask for more information, should you be interested, for the regulations do not remain the same over long periods of time.
If you prefer a more intimate viewing, the South of Tarangire is typically far from being as crowded as the rest of the park, so you can enjoy the peace and quiet ensured by the lack of crowds and the consequent noise. You are free to explore at your own pace.
In order to get to the Tarangire National Park, you will need to come through either Lake Manyara or Arusha. The surfaced road is 7 km away from the main entrance gate. The Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater can also be reached this way.
Alternatively, there are charter flights available from the Serengeti National Park, as well as from Arusha.
When to Go & Weather
- June – October: since it’s dry season, this is the ideal time to visit for viewing animals, but it’s also the most crowded time of the year. Temperatures are around 25°C, with clear skies. October may present some rain. Nighttime temperatures are significantly lower, sitting at around 14°C.
- November – May: this is the wet season, with short rains (November-December) and long rains (March-May) and a dry spell of about two months in between (January-February). Temperatures are at about 29°C during the day, with warm nights.
The temperatures generally do not vary much in Tarangire, even with the two different seasons and the “short” and “long” rains. Temperatures stay pretty mild and consistent, with colder nights that require proper warm attire, especially for nighttime safari.
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Tarangire National Park is among the biggest national parks Tanzania has to offer. In fact, it sits at number six, preceded, in no particular order, by Serengeti, Mkomazi, Mikumi, Ruaha and Katavi. It can be found in the Manyara Region and its name, “Tarangire”, comes from the Tarangire River. This water stream flows through the park, and it represents the single water source for the wildlife during the dry season when water is scarce, and hydration is important.
Thousands of animals come to Tarangire National Park from Manyara National Park in the dry season. The park is located in the South-East of Lake Manyara, and it extends over 2850km2.
The Tarangire National Park is known for having a wide variety of animals in any season. In fact, they change depending on the season; during the wet season, a lot of them leave, while, in the dry season, they come back. Zebra and wildebeest are known to migrate towards the northwest, for example. That’s why the dry season is ideal if you are visiting Tarangire National Park for game viewing while the wet season is better for bird watching (more than 500 species) and sight-seeing.
Giraffe, buffalo, elephant, hartebeest, gazelle, or impala can be spotted throughout the park and even the fringe-eared oryx, the gerenuk or the black rhinoceros, but not often. As for carnivores, leopard, lions, spotted hyena and cheetah are all guaranteed to make appearances. 550 species of birds and more can be admired at the Tarangire National Park, including, but not limited to yellow-collared lovebirds and ashy starlings.
As far as flora goes, Tarangire National Park mostly presents open, dry woodlands with baobab trees, Acacia tortillis trees, Acacia thickets, but also palm trees. The south of the park also contains swamps that cannot be passed during the heavy rains of the wet season, but which dry out during the dry season.
Tarangire National Park is one of the major parks in the northern Tanzanian circuit, and it is best known for its large populations of big mammals, as well as ungulates. The latter migrate every year, which is a big attraction for visitors who come to the park. However, it is precisely this component of the ecosystem that is in danger. You see, the animals migrate looking for alternative water supplies, as well as certain minerals in the soil. Female ungulates need phosphorus when they are lactating, for example, which in Tarangire National Park can only be found in short supplies. Therefore, the large ungulates migrate outside the park in the wet season.
That’s why one of the biggest dangers to the sustainability of this protected habitat is the loss of these so-called migration corridors. Without having access to the areas outside Tarangire for grazing, certain large ungulates populations would dwindle and then disappear. This is one of the issues that arise between the conservationists in the park and the villagers, as the areas surrounding the park are often occupied with agriculture, degrading migration corridors. The solution for protecting the ecosystem and the one that Tarangire is making efforts towards, is working together with the Maasai in order to preserve wildlife.
Certain provisions have been set in place regarding agriculture, and the people receive compensatory payment for their land.
- The Tarangire ecosystem extends over 20,000 km2, and it is rich in diverse habitats that support numerous species of mammals, birds, reptiles, etc.
- This area is one of the last habitats where one can find the Blue Wildebeest.
- The Tarangire National Park’s biggest attraction is its large population of elephants that can be spotted especially in the wet season.
- An important conservation initiative is the Tarangire Elephant Project, which aims to conserve the areas in the Simanjiro plains so that the wildlife can graze there. A Conservation Easement has been established on that land, which means that the villagers cannot use it for settlement or agriculture, but only for wildlife and livestock.
- The ecosystem has created employment for the villagers by training them to be Village Game Scouts. The goal is to work together with the local communities in order to supervise wildlife and enforce the anti-poaching policies, as well as educate the people with regards to the importance of preserving wildlife. This way, it stimulates the local economy, while bringing awareness to the problem of ecological integrity and protecting it at all cost. By working together with the Maasai, the Tarangire ecosystem administration ensures the long-term preservation of this natural habitat.