Close your eyes and picture what a safari should be like. Chances have you pictured a safari park in Tanzania like the Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti, or Tarangire. These images were forged while watching movies like the Lion King and The Ghost and the Darkness.
What you most likely envisioned were plains of gold for as far as the eye can see. These plains consist of tall grass and the iconic Acacia trees scorched under the unforgiving Tanzania sun. Hidden under these thin, umbrella-shaped trees, trying to find relief from the sun, are all kinds of safari creatures. Do you want to see this vision in real life? Then make sure to book a safari while in Tanzania. You’ll find that exact scene by visiting Tarangire National Park.
In Tarangire—just like in the movies—there is one place the wildlife can find a reprieve from the heat. A place where there is plenty of shade trees and more importantly, water. This place is the Tarangire River.
Tarangire River is a perennial river that starts in the Irangi Hills. It runs through the center of the Tarangire National Park and feeds into Lake Burange.
Living in Tarangire are more than 500 species of birds. They make their home along the banks and in the trees and swamps lining the Tarangire river. Joining them are the nomadic wildebeest, buffalo, and waterbuck. Tarangire is also home to baboons, giraffes, and zebra.
Of the birds found in Tarangire, there are a few more prominent species. The ostrich is the largest bird in the world and has hilarious mating practices. The Kori bustard is the heaviest flying bird in the world, growing up to 5 feet tall. True bird-watchers will be on the hunt for more exotic finds, such as the red-and-yellow barbet, pygmy falcon, and African pygmy kingfisher. The stunning yellow-colored lovebird is also available for those who look.
The Park however, is really known for its large herds of elephants. These magnificient beasts roam freely throughout the park. We can pretty much guarantee you’ll be up close and personal with them.
Where there are food animals there are sure to be predatory animals close by. Tarangire is home to over 700 tree-climbing lions. They are frequently seen by visitors. There are also rarely seen cheetahs and leopards lurking among the trees and grass. Tarangire’s trees also hide pythons. They can be quite a bit more challenging to spot.
Scavenging animals from the common spotted hyena to the more elusive wild dog also call Tarangire home.
Even though the park draws thousands of visitors to animal watch, there is much more to the park than the animals. The mixed landscape and unique vegetation make Tarangire different from the rest of Africa’s northern safari regions.
There is the famous Baobab tree scattered along the hilltops. Tall grasses and large termite mounds surround them. These mounds occasionally house dwarf mongooses after the termites have moved on.
This combined with the vast swamps and grassy savannahs gives you a landscape as varied and spectacular as any in Tanzania.
Visitors who venture to the park during the wet season won’t be displeased. It is March through May and November. There are elephants present year-round. While the level of wildlife is lower, it’s more than made up for by the lush green scenery that accompanies the flowing river. Not to mention the fact that the tourists are far more dispersed across the park’s massive 1,096 square miles. It isn’t as crowded as the Ngorongoro Crater or Serengeti.
Tarangire National Park is just a few hours from Arusha. It’s along the way to the Serengeti National Park, Lake Manyara National Park, and Ngorongoro Crater. Although Tarangire is one of four national parks on Tanzania’s ‘northern safari circuit,’ its proximity to Serengeti means that it is often overlooked or rushed through.
Yet, Tarangire is second only to Serengeti in its concentration of wildlife among Tanzania’s parks. Combine this with its low visitor attraction can make your trip that much more special. You will get more alone time with the many wonders Tarangire has to offer.
When planning your trip to Africa don’t forget to include a safari. Chances are you may not get back to Africa. While you are there make sure to add Tarangire National Park to your list of must-see places. We are quite certain you’ll not be disappointed.