Tarangire National Park covers an area of 1,360 sq km (525 sq miles), roughly running north–south along the line of the Tarangire River. The park is made up chiefly of lowlying, rolling hills on the Rift floor, and the dominant cover is savannah, acacia woodland and the famous giant baobabs. These are interspersed with huge areas of swamp that form a magnet for wildlife. The swamps of black cotton mud produce rich grasslands, while the watercourses are lined by huge trees, including sycamore fig, tamarind and sausage trees.
Although Tarangire in Tanzania is relatively small, the park has huge benefits, including its easy access to the seasonal concentrations of game that peak in the second half of the year. In theory, Tarangire also supports several rather localised dry-country antelope species, including the lesser kudu, oryx and gerenuk, but these are all quite thinly distributed and unlikely to be seen on a short visit. Black rhino, once a speciality of the area, have vanished, shot out by poachers in the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s
Tarangire National Park is one the best places in Africa to see Elephant herds in huge numbers popularly seen in family herds containing cute elephant babies. Tarangire’s elephants also suffered badly from poaching prior to the late 1990s. They have recovered with a vengeance, following the CITES ban on ivory trading, and hundreds now roam the hills. There are few tuskers akin to those that roam the Ngorongoro Crater floor
The main lodges are all near the gate, overlooking the Tarangire River and baobab-clad hills, although there are a couple of smaller luxury camps in the centre of the park. There is little accommodation in the south, and few visitors ever get there. Do try and make it at least as far as the Silale Swamp, the most northerly of several large swamps in the park. Fuelled by natural springs, they are year-round oases of lush green grass. Many of the animals you see nearby are coated in black cotton mud, having waded in waist-deep to reach the best shoots.
Birds of Tarangire National Park
Birds of Tarangire Tanzania include; tawny, steppe and fish eagles, marabou storks, goliath herons, white pelicans, spur-winged geese and sacred ibis. Tarangire is known for its prolific birdlife. Some 550 species have been recorded, including a number of Palaearctic migrants that fly here to escape the northern hemisphere’s winter. Typical residents of acacia woodland include the orange-bellied parrot, bare-faced go-away bird, red-and-yellow barbet, and silverbird. This is also the easiest place to observe two species endemic to central Tanzania: the lovely yellow-collared lovebird, which is often seen in the vicinity of the baobabs where it nests, and the drabber ashy starling.
Best Time to Visit Tarangire National Park
The weather in Tarangire National Park comprises of brief rains during November and December and heavier ones from March to May. The dry season is the best time to visit Tarangire, this is a time between the months June to October. Game is easily seen concentrated along the river, including the largest elephant herds you will ever see. Tarangire National Park lies at the southern end of a vast migration area that stretches north towards the Kenyan border. As the land dries and the smaller rivers cease to flow, the eherds head south towards the permanent water in the Tarangire River and its surrounding swamps. June to October is the best time to visit, but the herds remain in the area until March, when thousands of calves are born. January to March , after the short rains are also beautiful months to visit, game numbers are dispersed but reasonably good with low visitors. If you are flexible on when to visit, avoid the months of March to May. In this period of rain, the animals are very dispersed.
Tarangire National Park can be easily accessed as per of any Tanzania Safari tour to the Northern Circuit arranged by various Tanzania Tour Operators. Upon leaving Tarangire, most safaris head back north to Makuyuni, from where a surfaced 90km (54-mile) road heads west to the main gate of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area via Lake Manyara and Karatu. But for those seeking a more off-the-beaten-track adventure, it is possible to continue south along the Pan-African ‘highway’ to Babati, Hanang or the Kondoa Rock Art World Heritage Site near Kolo-called ‘late white’ period. Another good and relatively accessible site is Fenga Hill, overlooking the Bubu River 10km (6 miles) west of Kolo.
The closest Airstrip to the Park is Arusha which is less that 2 hours from the international Kilimanjaro Airport (KIA). Flights into Tarangire National Park land at Kuro Airstrip inside Tarangire from where you can transfer to your booked accommodation in the park.
The main base for visiting Tarangire National Park is Arusha. Tarangire to Arusha is a 3 hour drive west of the city traveling about 1 hour along the Great North. Road that runs from Arusha to Dodoma. Looking for the first turn-off on the main park entrance at Kwakuchinja Village. From here it is about about 30 minutes on a drive through a dirt road to the park entry gate.
Other Parks in The Tanzania Northern Safari Circuit
Serengeti National Park
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Lake Manyara National Park
Tarangire National Park
The Tanzania Southern Safari Circuit Parks
Selous Game Reserve
Ruaha National Park
Mikumi National Park