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Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park lies to the south of the large, open grass plains of southern Maasailand. The park derives its name from the Tarangire River, which provides the only permanent water for wildlife in the area.

Fast Facts

Major Attractions
  • World famous for its high concentration of wildlife
  • Greatest concentration of elephants per square km in the world
  • 1000’s of animals congregate around the Tarangire River during the dry season
  • 550 species of birds
  • Tree climbing pythons
  • Majestic baobab trees
Activities
  • Walking safaris
  • Cultural tours - Day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, visit ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo.
  • Game drives
  • Balloon Safari
  • Aerial safari
  • Bush dinners
Size
  • 2,850 sq km(1,005 sq miles)
Location
  • 118km(75) miles southwest of Arusha. Tarangire National Park forms part of the northern circuit of Tanzania.

ABOUT

Tarangire National Park lies to the south of the large, open grass plains of southern Maasailand.  The park derives its name from the Tarangire River, which provides the only permanent water for wildlife in the area. It is the vast number of baobabs that first capture the eye as you enter the park. The gently rolling countryside is dotted with these majestic trees, which seem to dwarf the animals that feed beneath them. The landscape of Tarangire is further characterized by its river valley, wetlands, gently rolling hills, rocky outcrops and acacia woodland.

Tarangire is spectacular in the dry season when many of the parks migratory wildlife species seek out the permanent waters of the Tarangire River. Droves of elephant, gazelle, wildebeest, zebra, eland, oryx and giraffe migrate to the scrub plains where the last grazing land still remains. Here, the elephants play around the ancient trunks of baobab trees and strip acacia bark from the thorn trees for their afternoon meal.

At the onset of the rains the migratory animals leave the area near the Tarangire River at the beginning of the short rainy season in October/November. The first to move are the thousands of wildebeest and zebra, soon followed by Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, buffalo, eland, elephant, oryx and hartebeest. Only the resident species which include waterbuck, impalas, warthogs, giraffe, rhino and lesser kudus stay behind.

The second, longer rainy season begins in March. During this time of plenty, Tarangire’s animals disperse far outside the park over an area of more than 20,500 sq km (7,900 miles) of Maasai country. At the beginning of June, the rains end. The Maasai Steppe dries up rapidly and the migratory species return to the Tarangire River.

November to February is the time of plenty with succulent green shoots appearing just in time for the newborn wildebeest and zebra. By March everything is lush and wild flowers and butterflies are out in force. Tarangire’s birds are also at their busiest during this month.

The saline Lake Ndutu is located in the south and attracts throngs of flamingoes.  To the west the Grumeti River contains some of the largest Nile crocodiles you will ever see.

For excellent year round game viewing the Seronera valley in the centre of the park has abundant grazing and considerable numbers of animals including giraffes, warthogs, reedbucks and many other species that sustain resident leopards and large prides of lions.

WILDLIFE 

At its best, the game in Tarangire can be excellent; a particularly large number of elephant herds congregate here, as do many wildebeest and zebra. There are also substantial populations of impala, giraffe and buffalo. Thomson’s gazelle, Coke’s hartebeest, bohor reedbuck and both greater and lesser kudu are found here. The localized and unusual gerenuk and fringe-eared oryx also occur, though in our experience they are rarely seen. Lion are common throughout Tarangire, as are leopard, whilst cheetah seem to favour the more open areas of the south. Spotted hyena are always around, but whilst wild dog do sometimes pass through, sightings of them are rare.

The Tarangire River, though it may swell and contract with the seasons always provides some water for the animals who gather in great numbers along its banks. Predators never go hungry here. Although uncommonly seen, pythons have taken to climbing trees in Tarangire, as do the Tarangire’s lions and leopards who chose to lounge in the branches where the fruit of the sausage tree disguises the twitch of a feline tail.

Tarangire’s birdlife is also varied with over 550 species being recorded including ashy starling and large flocks of beautiful yellow-collared lovebirds, both of which are endemic to Tanzania. You can also expect to see rufous-tailed weaver, helmeted guinea fowl, kori, brown parrot, kestrels, harriers, buzzards and eagles. On dryer ground you find the Kori bustard(the world’s heaviest flying bird), the stocking-thighed ostrich(the world’s largest bird) and small parties of ground hornbills blustering like turkeys.

GEOGRAPHY

Covering an undulating 2,600km², Tarangire National Park stands between the plains of the Maasai Steppe to the southeast and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the north and west. The north side of Tarangire is dominated by the perennial Tarangire River, which flows through increasingly incised ravines until it leaves the northwestern corner of the park to flow into Lake

Tarangire’s vegetation is comprised of mostly dry, open woodlands, which include spiky acacia thickets and lots of its signature baobab trees. There are also some beautiful stands of Acacia tortillis trees (the flat-topped acacias which are so reminiscent of the film Out of Africa) and the occasional palm tree. In the south of the park, amidst these rolling woodlands, is a network of huge, flat swamps. These are impassable during the rains, but dry to a uniform green during the rest of the year.

CLIMATE

Tarangire National Park is located in a semi arid area characterized by a prolonged dry season lasting up to 7 months. The park fits into northern Tanzania’s typical bi-modal rainfall zone with annual patterns consisting of short rains that can be erratic in November and December. This is followed by a lull in the rains in January or February before the long and heavier rains from mid March until late May.

The maximum temperature is reached is 27 degrees celsius between December to February, while the minimum of 16 degrees celsius occurs in June and July.

WHEN TO VISIT

This is a year-round park with distinct seasons offering different experiences, from dusty, dry and baking with animals clustered around the rapidly reducing river, to the green season full of new-born animals and chattering birds. The only months to avoid are during the heavy rainfalls of April and May.  The park is at its most spectacular in the dry season. Game viewing is at its peak as thousand of animals converge on the Tarangire River. The dry season in experienced in the months of June through to September. It is during these months that Tarangire holds the largest concentration of game in Tanzania.

The park is at its most spectacular in the dry season. Game viewing is at its peak as thousand of animals converge on the Tarangire River. The dry season in experienced in the months of June through to September. It is during these months that Tarangire holds the largest concentration of game in Tanzania.

Accommodation at Tarangire National Park

Ang'ata Camp Serengeti-King size bed Tent

Ang'Ata Tarangire Camp

Ang’ata Tarangire Camp is a tented camp consisting of 12 tents and located in the very heart of Tarangire National Park.

Chem Chem1

Chem Chem

Furnished in a contemporary vintage style, the décor is classically chic featuring dark wood, earthy colours and natural fibres.

Kigongoni Campsite, Tarangire National Park, SafariHQ, Tanzania Safari

Kigongoni Campsite

This campsite is located a short 10 minute driving distance from Tarangire National Park.

Kikoti Camp, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Kikoti Camp

Kikoti’s rooms are raised luxury bandas, with spectacular views of the hills, looking down into the national park.

Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge

Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge is perfectly positioned in a grove of acacia tortilis trees and is ideal to explore the best of Tarangire’s amazing game viewing.

Burunge Tented Camp, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Lake Burunge Tented Camp

Lake Burunge Tented Camp is set in 25,000 hectares of concession area dedicated to conservation of the local Maasai community.

Maramboi Tented Camp, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Maramboi Tented Camp

Maramboi Tented Camp offers permanent camp facilities and endless vistas of rolling golden grasslands and palm-lined desert between Tarangire and Manyara Lake.

Mawe Ninga Camp, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Mawe Ninga Camp

Maasai from surrounding villages are employed at Mawe Ninga providing a unique atmosphere and interesting conversations around the fire pit each evening.

Olivers Camp 2

Oliver's Camp

Guests to Oliver’s Camp enjoy a privacy and exclusivity that makes a stay in this camp a unique experience. It is ideal for those who really want to experience nature in its purest form.

Sanctuary Swala 1

Sanctuary Swala

Located in an exceptionally private section of Tarangire National Park this camp offers visitors a luxurious and exclusive safari experience. Elephants love to come to the camp to drink at the water hole and the big cats are often seen among the baobab trees.

Tarangire River Camp, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Tarangire River Camp

If you are looking for an authentic safari experience under traditional canvas Tarangire River Camp is the perfect choice.

Tarangire Safari Lodge, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania Safari, SafariHQ

Tarangire Safari Lodge

Built on top of a high bluff with a breathtaking panorama, Tarangire Safari Lodge is superbly located within Tarangire National Park.

Tarangire Sopa4

Tarangire Sopa Lodge

Hidden amongst the kopjes and surrounded by ancient baobab trees lies Tarangire Sopa Lodge.

Tarangire Treetops3

Tarangire Treetops

Tarangire Treetops presents an experience that is both truly elite in its setting and lavish in its style with the ambience of wildness that characterizes Africa’s luxury safari lodge experience.

Optional Activities in Tarangire National Park