TARANGIRE NATIONAL PARK

Tarangire National Park is one of the most reward wildlife destinations in Tanzania and recognized to be among the best birding destinations in the country, this park is most popular for its large elephant herds and the mini – wildlife migration which occurs during the dry season with about 250,000 animals entering the park.

Tarangire national park is ranked as the 6th largest national park in Tanzania covering area of 2,850 square kilometers

Location of Tarangire national park

Tarangire national park lies in the Northern Tanzania safari circuit and is located in the Manyara Region, just south of Lake Manyara in the northern region of Tanzania. The park lies between the meadows of Masai Steppe to the south east and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the north and west.

From Arusha – the regional capital city, it is approximately 118 kilometers to Tarangire national park.

Tarangire national park is situated in close proximity to Serengeti national park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara national park which are found in the Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit.

In the northern part of Tarangire national park, there is Tarangire River a permanent river which is the main source of water to the park and its ecosystem. It is from this river that the park gets its name, Tarangire river flows northwards exiting the park in the northwestern corner to pour into Lake Burungi. Along the banks of the river, there is a number of wide swamps particularly in the south which usually dry into green plains during the dry season.

History of Tarangire national park

Tarangire national park was initially established as a game reserve in 1957 and later in 1970, it was upgraded and gazetted as a national park.

Tarangire national park is an incredible Tanzania safari destination which you will enjoy visiting as it offers an authentic African feel of the Tanzania’s country side and if you are looking for a less crowded safari experience, the south region of the park is the best spot to visit.

Tourist attractions in Tarangire national park

Tarangire national park is a very rewarding Tanzania safari destination famously known for its big number of elephants, wildlife migration, baobab trees, tree climbing Africa pythons and others. Below are the attractions in Tarangire national park.

The wildlife Migration

The wildlife migration is one of the most intriguing wildlife occurrences in Tanzania it happens to occur in Tarangire national park one of the most season parks in northern Tanzania. Tarangire national park experiences a lot of migratory movement within the greater Tarangire ecosystem.

Though not as huge as the Great wildebeest migration, this wildlife migration involves the movement of large numbers of elephants, hartebeests, wildebeests, gazelles and zebras and several predators such as lions and leopards entering the park.

Large Elephant population

Large herds of elephants is one of the prime tourist attractions in Tarangire national park and the park is internationally popular for hosting the largest elephant population which is also considered to be the highest in the whole of Tanzania.

During one game drives in Tarangire national park you will encounter numerous large elephant herds of about 300 individuals per herd as they graze in the savannah plains and digging the dry riverbed of Tarangire river in attempts of searching for water in the  underground streams most especially in the dry season.

Wildlife

In addition to large population of elephants, Tarangire national park is a habitat to abundance of other wildlife species including wildebeests, eland, gazelles, impala, zebras, kudu, rhino, hartebeest, cape buffaloes, antelopes such as long necked gerenuk and fringe eared oryx among others.

Birdlife

Tarangire national park is listed among the top birding spots in Tanzania with over 550 different species of colorful and exclusive birds, birds in Tarangire inhabit in the extensive network of swamps that are mainly found in the southern and eastern parts of Tarangire national park.

Birds in Tarangire national park include crested francolins, hoopoes, yellow necked spurfow, hornbills, guinea fowl, steppe eagles, brown parrots, the gigantic lappet-faced vulture, white-bellied go away bird, bateleur eagles, mousebirds, Kori bustards, yellow-collared lovebirds, bee-eaters, lilac breasted rollers, swifts, hammerkops, striped swallows and starlings among others.

Swamps in Tarangire national park

The landscape of Tarangire national park is dominated by an extensive network of swamps mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the park, these swamps are a habitat to a variety of birds and animals such as elephants, cape buffaloes, silale – swamp lions, African wild dogs, tree climbing pythons among others. Birds inhabiting in these swamps include vulturine Guinea fowl, Donaldson-Smith’s nightjar, Yellow-collared lovebird, Great white pelican, White-faced Whistling-Duck, Mouse-colored penduline tit, Rufous-tailed weaver, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, Northern pied babbler, Von der Decken’s hornbill, Northern white-crowned shrike, Pink-breasted lark among others.

The Giant Baobab tree

The Giant Baobab trees are a signature and unique feature in Tarangire national park, these gigantic trees are also referred to as “The tree of life” and they can store about 300 litres – 1000 litres of water within its trunk.

Baobab trees  have a life span of about 600 years, according to local tales it is that the trees would move around the Africa continent. However, due to their aimless movements God got annoyed with them and decided to plant the upside down as a way of limiting their movement.

Safari activities to do in Tarangire national park

Game drives/ game viewing

Game viewing is the major Tanzania safari activity in Tarangire national park, this remarkable and entertaining safari activity is done on 5 routes that is Lemiyon route, Gursi routem Lamarku route, the western Lake Barungi route and Kitibog Hill route.

Game drives are offered in 3 sessions that is morning, afternoon and night game drives, from the comfort of a 4×4 wheel vehicle you will enjoy views of abundance of wildlife including wildebeests, eland, gazelles, impala, zebras, kudu, rhino, hartebeest, cape buffaloes, antelopes such as long necked gerenuk and fringe eared oryx among others.

Bird watching

Tarangire national park is recognized among the best birding destinations in Tanzania and a paradise for birds, Tarangire is a home to more than 550 bird species including resident and migratory species which arrive in the park from Europe and North Africa from November to April.

Bird watching in Tarangire national park is best early morning or in the evening and the best period of the year to go bird watching is from November to April, in this period migratory bird species are present and the resident species are in breeding plumage making them easy to see. Night game drives offers visitors an opportunity to enjoy the nightlife of Tarangire national park and nocturnal animals such as lions, leopards, hyenas and African wild dogs.

Birds to lookout for during Tanzania bird watching safari in Tarangire national park include crested francolins, hoopoes, yellow necked spurfow, hornbills, guinea fowl, steppe eagles, brown parrots, the gigantic lappet-faced vulture, white-bellied go away bird, bateleur eagles, mousebirds, Kori bustards, yellow-collared lovebirds, bee-eaters, lilac breasted rollers, swifts, hammerkops and striped swallows among others.

Best bird watching spots in Tarangire national park include woodlands, swamps around Tarangire river and The Lemiyon Triangle situated in the northernmost of the park.

Nature walks

Nature walks in Tarangire national park is a great Tanzania safari activity for nature lovers, nature walks are offering in two sessions a day that is morning and evening nature walk lasting for about 1 – 3 hours.

Nature walks are done with an experienced and armed guide who knows the best areas in the park to hike and do nature walks. This activity is done using several nature trails running through the park, during the experience you will have a chance to connect more with the park’s nature and spot several bird species and animals inhabiting in the park.

nature walks in tarangire National park

Sightseeing

Tarangire national park has the most incredible landscape in Tanzania offering the most spectacular views of nature, some of the magnificent spot in the park for sightseeing experience are the Tarangire River which is surrounded by the magnificent baobab trees and several swamps including the Silale swamp of 30 square meters.

Tarangire River attracts a variety of wildlife including elephants, zebras, gazelles, cape buffaloes among others, these animals can easily be observed most especially in the dry season while digging mud in search for water.

The Silale Swamp is another great sightseeing spot in Tarangire national park, the swamp offers visitors to watch a variety of predators such as lions, leopards and massive tree climbing pythons.

Cultural tours

If you are looking for a different experience in additional to wildlife experience in Tarangire national park, a Tanzania cultural tour to the Maasai or Barabaig is the best activity to engage in.

These villages are situated along the boundaries of Tarangire national park in the neighborhood with Kolo on Dodoma round, these villages are residence to the Maasai people one of the few tribes on the African continent with traditions and culture which is not destroyed by technology and modernity.

During the cultural visit, you will get an insight into the unique culture of the Maasai people and their unique ways of living, their dressing, housing that is the local bomas which are in a circular form and built using local materials that is mud and trees. You will also be  entertained by local dances and drama, participate in rearing of the livestock, milking of the cattle and purchase some of the handcrafts including mats, beads, baskets and others at a subsidized price.

On cultural visits, visitors can also visit local schools and villages which are supported by Nimali where you will interact with the local community, learn more about their day struggles and share stories with the school children.

How to get to Tarangire national park

Tourists can access Tarangire national park either by road or air transport, Arusha city is the main gateway to Tarangire and it is approximately 150 kilometers which is a drive of approximately 2-3 hours.

By road

Most safaris to Tarangire national park start from Arusha city is approximately 150 kilometers which is a drive of about 2-3 hours, as a tourist you can chose to drive to the park using either public means of transport or private vehicle. At Petnah tours and travel, our safari packages include transportation in a private vehicle with pick up and drop off at your preferred location. Transportation service is included in the safari quotation.

There are daily buses offering daily routes from Arusha city to the Manyara region, however they do not reach to the main gates of the park.

By air

The best option to get Tarangire national park is Kilimanjaro International Airport (KIA) which is the main getaway to Tanzania, from Arusha City get chartered flights from Arusha Airport to Tarangire Airstrip and kuro airstrip. These flights are operated by several flight companies such as Auric air, regional among others.

Where to stay in Tarangire national park

While on a safari to Tarangire national park, accommodation can be got from a wide selection of hotels, safari lodges and camps for you to chose from depending on your needs and budget.

These accommodation options are range from budget, mid-range to luxury and they include

Luxury accommodation

  • Tarangire Safari Lodge
  • Tarangire treetops
  • Nimali Tarangire
  • Sanctuary Swala Camp
  • Maweninga Camp

Mid – range accommodation

  • Sangaiwe Tented Lodge
  • Tarangire Safari Lodge
  • Tarangire Sopa Lodge
  • Maramboi Tented Camp

Budget accommodation

  • Whistling Thorn Tented Camp
  • Burungi Tented Lodge
  • Karatu Tented Lodge

Best time to visit Tarangire national park

Tarangire national park experienced favorable safari conditions through the year thus making it to be a year round safari destination, however the best time to visit for a Tanzania safari is during the dry season running from Late June to October. In the dry season, animals are easy to spot as the grass cover is thin and the animals congregate around the Tarangire River and other water holes in the park.

From June to October is the best time of the year to visit Tarangire national park for game viewing.