Tarangire National Park is a prominent and loved tourist destination in Tanzania located in the Manyara region northern section. Tarangire national park is situated slightly off the main safari route lieing between the meadows of Masai Steppe in the south east and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley in the north and west. Tarangire national park occupies an area of 2,600 square kilometers lies in the northern safari circuit which is a 2 hours’ drive from the town of Arusha. The park is a great ecosystem balanced by a localized migration pattern which is followed by the migration of game that resides in and around the park.
Tarangire national park derives its maiden name from Tarangire River which crosses the park in the northern region. The Tarangire River is a permanent river in the park which cuts ditches while flowing upwards up the corner of the park northwest as it flows to Lake Burungi. River Tarangire is surrounded by numerous swamps which are usually dry in dry seasons and flood during the wet season.
Tarangire national park is one of the lovely national parks in Tanzania which extends into two controlled where wildlife species are allowed to freely move throughout, during the months of June to September Tarangire national park experiences migration of wildlife. In the migration process, thousands of animals such as elephants, wildebeests, and zebras from neighboring protective areas such as Amboseli national park of Kenya move to Tarangire national park most especially around Tarangire River. The migration process takes place in the fry seasons before the rains.
Tarangire national park offers the quietest game viewing experience especially in the south region of the park when compared to other parks in the region most especially in the months of July to October, the park is filled with various types of vegetation which is composed of elephant grass, acacia woodlands, ancient trucks of baobab trees, combretum woodland, flooded grassland, and aquatic trees. Vegetation in the park is relatively short during dry seasons which gives a tourist a better view of the wildlife through the beautifully dramatic landscape of the park which is made up of a series of swamps, granitic ridges, and river valley.
Tarangire national park is a fascinating tourist destination and a popular stop for people traveling through the northern safari circuit to Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Park where you get to enjoy breathtaking views of the Maasai Steppe and the mountains in the south make a stopover at Tarangire a memorable experience, the park is the only place in Tanzania where dry-country antelopes such as the stately fringe-eared Oryx and peculiar long-necked gerenuk can be encountered on a regular basis. The park is a home to a variety of wildlife such as zebras, wildebeest, Cape buffalo, waterbuck, giraffe, dik-dik, impala, eland, Grant’s gazelle, Vervet monkey, banded mongoose, olive baboon, large elephants, lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, Thompson’s gazelle, greater and lesser kudu and African wild dog.
Tarangire national park is famous for harboring the highest population of elephants in Tanzania with approximately over 3000 elephant individuals and the oldest recorded elephant to give birth to twins is found in Tarangire which makes the park a unique destination, there is also a recent birth of twins who are healthy and still thriving. Tarangire is also famed for termite mounds scattered around the park which a used as the home for dwarf mongoose and pairs of red-and-yellow barbet, which draw attention to themselves by their loud, clockwork-like duetting, also a white giraffe was spotted in the park in 2015.
Tarangire national park is one of the prominent and finest birding sites in Tanzania harboring approximately over 550 bird species which are beautifully colored with fascinating features, these bird species are mostly found in the swamps and drier grounds. Among the bird species, there are prominent most loved birds like the beautiful dazzlingly yellow colorful love bird, ashy starling, drabber Rufous-tailed weaver which are endemic to the dry savannah of northern Tanzania. There is also the famous world’s largest bird the ostrich, heaviest flying bird Kori bustard, hornbills, African grey flycatcher, bare-faced go-away bird, Donaldson-Smith’s nightjar, great white pelican, mouse-colored penduline tit, northern pied babbler, northern white-crowned shrike, pink-breasted lark, slate-colored boubou, Von der Decken’s hornbill, vulturine Guinea fowl and Yellow-collared lovebird
Tarangire national park also shelters tree climbing pythons and since 2005 the park is considered to be a lion conservation unit.
Activities in Tarangire National Park
Tarangire national park is a fascinating tourist destination offering fun filled and memorable safari activities such as
Bird viewing: Tarangire national park is a great fascinating bird watching site in Tanzania sheltering endemic and notable colorful bird species in the swamps, around river Tarangire and the rift valley floor. The park has notable bird species such as colorful yellow-colored love bird, ostrich, ashy starling, northern pied babbler, and vulturine Guinea fowl. Other bird species include African grey flycatcher, bare-faced go-away bird, Donaldson-Smith’s nightjar, Great white pelican and many more. Though birding takes place throughout the year, the best time to go for bird viewing in this park is the months of November to April when European and North African migratory birds are present in the park.
Game viewing: Tarangire national park is endowed with numerous wildlife and relatively flat landscape which is made up of savannah grasslands, acacia trees facilitating easy viewing, in the wilderness of Tarangire most especially around river Tarangire and the swamps animals such as zebras, wildebeest, Cape buffalo, waterbuck, giraffe, dik-dik, impala, eland, Grant’s gazelle, Vervet monkey, banded mongoose, olive baboon, large elephants, lion, leopard, cheetah, caracal, honey badger, Thompson’s gazelle, greater and lesser kudu and African wild dog can be viewed. Game viewing in Tarangire national park is best done and very exceptional in the months of July to October when the animals have migrated into the park
Guided nature walks: Guided nature walks in Tarangire national park mostly take place around Tarangire river and the rift valley floor, on the walks lead by a knowledgeable guide you get to encounter many animal species as us elephants, zebras, dik-dik and many more, also birds such as ostriches, African grey flycatcher while enjoying the beautiful landscape and quite environment in the park
Culture encounters: Culture encounters in Tarangire national park take place outside the park in the neighboring communities of Maasai and Barabaig villages where you get to enjoy many activities such as cultural dances and songs, you as well go to heritage sites like ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.
Chances of encountering big herds of wildlife in Tarangire national park depends on the season, the best time to view the animals in the park is in the dry season months of late June to October as a large population of elephants, zebras, wildebeests, and others migrate in to park and concentrate more around river Tarangire. In the wet season months of March and April, there are fewer chances of encountering a large population of wildlife as they move to the neighboring parks.
The best time to visit Tarangire National Park is during the dry season in the months of June to October when the savannah vegetation in the park is short offering the best game viewing. For a tourist, it is better to avoid the park in the months of December to March because in these months the park is infested by a large population of tsetse flies.
Tarangire national park is a 2 hours’ drive south of Arusha and 70 kilometers drive from Lake Manyara national park, the park can be reached by both road and air. By road the park is visited from Arusha or from Lake Manyara national park along Serengeti national park and Ngorongoro. By air, the park can be accessed by flying into Kilimanjaro international airport which is 29 miles from Arusha and Julius Nyerere international airport situated near Dar es Salaam and the Arusha Airport. As a tourist, you can also consider flying into Nairobi Kenya then get a bus to Arusha
While at Tarangire national park accommodation can be got from swala, Oliver’s cap, Kuro which are located inside the park. Tarangire treetop, kichuguru, maramboi and Tarangire Sopa.