Tarangire National Park is a national park in Tanzania’s Manyara Region. The name of the park originates from the Tarangire River that crosses the park. The Tarangire River is the primary source of fresh water for wild animals in the Tarangire Ecosystem during the annual dry season. Ranking as the 6th largest National Park in Tanzania and covering an area of 2,600 square kilometers, The Tarangire National Park is most popular for its large elephant herds and mini-wildlife migration that takes place during the dry season which sees about 250,000 animals enter the park.
Located: Slightly off the popular northern Tanzania Safari Circuit, 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. Within the northern part of Tarangire is the permanent River Tarangire also known as the life-line of the park particularly in the dry season when most of the region is totally dry. This flows northwards until it exits the park in the northwestern corner to pour into Lake Burungi. There are a number of wide swamps which dry into green plains during the dry season in the south.
Tarangire Vegetation: The permanent Tarangire River is the most dominant feature and it’s after this river that the park was named. there are a number of large swamps that feed off some of its tributaries however, these are usually dry for most of the year but get very impassable during the rains .The Tarangire park is usually very dry, in fact drier than the Serengeti, however its vegetation is much more green especially with lots of elephant grass, vast areas with mixed acacia woodlands and some of the wonderful ribbons of the aquatic forest not to forget the giant baobab tree that can live up to 600 years storing between 300 and 900 liters of water
Tarangire Wildlife Migration: Every year during the dry season from June to November Tarangire hosts a wildlife migration which is not as dramatic as the Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti, but receives a somewhat large number of animals. As most of this part of the country is dry, the Tarangire River remains the only source of water and consequently attracts large numbers of wildebeests, elephants, gazelles, zebras and hartebeest, buffaloes plus various predators like lions that come to drink and graze around the river banks. During the rain months of November to May, The zebras as well as large herds of wildebeests move into the north-western direction towards the Rift Valley floor amongst the large numbers of animals that spread across the large open areas of the Masai Steppe and dispersing all the way to Lake Manyara.
Wildlife in Tarangire National Park: Because Tarangire is manly a seasonal national park, its wildlife differ depending on the season and also considering that It is part of a bigger ecosystem. As earlier mentioned, the dry season is the best time to visit Tarangire and you will be able to encounter various animals. This park is home to one of the largest elephant populations in Africa with several herds of up to 300 members per herd. In addition, there are large numbers of impalas, elands, buffaloes, giraffes, Bohor reedbuck, Coke’s hartebeest, Thompson’s gazelle, the greater and lesser kudu and on rare occasions, the unusual gerenuk and fringe eared Oryx are also seen. A few black rhinos are also thought to be still present in this park. You will obviously see big numbers of elephants gather here as well as the wildebeests and zebras. Among the other common animals in the Tarangire are the leopards, lions, hyenas, and cheetah that seem to be popular within the southern open areas. The wild dogs are only seen once in a while
The birds within the Tarangire are also quite many, there are over 545 species that have been identified here. The stunning yellow collared lovebirds and the shy starlings are in plenty here in addition to other species.
Activities in Tarangire National Park
Game Drives and walking tours: The primary safari activity in this park is game driving however if you live outside the park boundaries you might be able to enjoy walking tours, and night safaris. Currently Oliver’s Camp organizes walking tours as well as fly camping safaris.
Night Game Drives: one would wonder, are night game drives allowed in Tarangire? Well Night Game Drives are allowed in the park however, not all accommodations offer these tours. Only those that have properly established all the requirements and regulations offered by TANAPA such as Swala and Oliver’s camp are allowed to conduct these walks.
Tarangire Balloon Safaris: Join a hot air balloon ride over the Tarangire as you soar over the treetops of the Tarangire to enjoy an exceptional perspective of wildlife like lions and ungulates right below you
Bird watching: this is another common activity within the Tarangire during which devotees will be able to spot various bird species.
One of the lesser-known game reserves in Tanzania, Tarangire rivals the Serengeti in its great number and diversity of wildlife. It is a good choice for travelers who wish to encounter more animals and less tourists while on safari. The Tarangire National Park is known as a wonderful birding destination and also features large numbers of game, particularly during the dry season, when the Tarangire River is the only source of water in the area. The landscape is of particular interest too, due to the high number of scenic baobab trees.
- Embark on a walking safari and marvel at ancient baobabs.
- Discover hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo.
- Tarangire is famous for having herds of up to 300 elephants.
An often-overlooked gem, Tarangire is characteristic skyline, framed by the stubby branches of fat baobab trees, is the backdrop for superb game viewing, particularly in the winter months of the peak season. Its marshes, which dry out into verdant grassy fields during the dry season, draw great herds of elephant, buffalo, antelope and other plains game.
Lion and other predators are frequently spotted. The park boasts over 500 species of birds, including some species endemic to Tanzania. Away from the busier north, the southern end of the park is home to camps that specialize in walking safaris, allowing their guests to immerse their senses in the experience of exploring the African bush on foot.