Tarangire National Park

Tarangire national park

The scorching heat dries out the countryside, turning the dirt a dusty red and making the wilted grass as brittle as straw. The Tarangire River has shrunk to a ghost of its former self during the rainy season. However, it is overrun with fauna. Hundreds of thirsty nomads have traversed hundreds of arid kilometers, knowing that there is always water here.

While migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest, and eland swarm the dwindling lagoons, herds of up to 300 elephants scratch the parched river bed for subsurface streams. It’s the only site in Tanzania where dry-country antelope like the stately fringe-eared oryx and odd long-necked gerenuk are regularly sighted, and it’s the largest concentration of species outside the Serengeti habitat — a buffet for predators.

During the rainy season, the seasonal visitors disperse throughout a 20,000-square-kilometer (12,500-square-mile) area until the lush plains are exhausted and the river beckons once more. However, whether it’s wet or dry, Tarangire’s elephant herds are easy to find.

The marshes, tinged green year round, are the focus for 550 bird kinds, the most breeding species in one environment anywhere in the world.

The Kori bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird, the stocking-thighed ostrich, the world’s largest bird, and small groups of ground hornbills blustering like turkeys can all be found on dry terrain.

Screeching flocks of the dazzlingly colorful yellow-collared lovebird, the somewhat drabber rufous-tailed weaver, and the ashy starling – all peculiar to the arid savannah of north-central Tanzania – may be seen by more devoted bird-lovers.

Dwarf mongoose colonies and pairs of red-and-yellow barbets frequent abandoned termite mounds, which draw attention to themselves with their loud, clockwork-like duetting.

Tarangire’s pythons, like its lions and leopards, climb trees, reclining in the branches where the sausage tree’s fruit hides the twitch of a tail.

Tarangire National Park is 2850 square kilometers in size (1,096 sq miles).
118 kilometers (75 miles) southwest of Arusha.
How to Get There

Easy drive from Arusha or Lake Manyara along a paved road to the main entrance gate, which is 7 kilometers (four miles) away; can continue on to the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti.
Arusha and the Serengeti have charter flights available.
Activities

Walking safaris with a guide.
Day visits to Maasai and Barabaig settlements, as well as the hundreds of old rock art along the Dodoma Road near Kolo.
When should you visit?

Year-round, but the dry season (June–September) is the best time to see a large number of animals.

Accommodation

Within the park, there are two lodges, one tented lodge, and two luxury tented camps, as well as a half-dozen elite lodges and tented camps just outside its limits.
There are several camping options in and around the area.