Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National park is one of the premium national parks in Tanzania, listed as among the top-visited parks in Tanzania. The park covers an area of 2,850 square kilometers and it’s the 5th largest Tanzania national parks after Serengeti, Mikumi, Katavi and Ruaha national parks. The park was named after the Tarangire river that transects the park into two parts. The river is also a source of water for the diversified wildlife that is hosted at the park. 

Tarangire National Park

The park is famous by the large herds of African Elephants that are present at the park alongside the huge Boabab trees. The park is covered by the short open grass plains dotted with Boabab trees, savannahs, swampy vegetation and the Marshes. Tarangire National park is one of the most visited National parks in Tanzania. The park is crossed by the Tarangire River which originates from Lake Burungi on the Northern part, it’s a permanent river that supplies water not only used by wildlife but also the Maasai locals around the area. The river flows upwards to the Northwest from the Lake Burungi hence contributing to a wide range of swamps across the park following the river.

Well-known for its large herds of Elephants, Tarangire National park has more wildlife, birds, and plants that make your safari experience at the park much unique. Some of the popular animals at the park are Kudu, Eland, bushbucks, gazelles, buffalo, leopards, lions, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, impalas and many more.

Location of Tarangire National park

Tarangire National park is located in the famous Northern Tourists circuit which includes lake Manyara, Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti National Park. Located in the great Rift Valley region, the park ecosystem consists of Mto Wa Mbu game controlled area, Mkungunero game controlled area, and Kwakuchinja open area. Its 118 kilometers away from the tourist town Arusha along the scenic lake Manyara road. 

The park can be accessed on a good tarmac road through Maasai locals villages full of local craft shops and evergreen coffee plantation. The road takes you 1 and a half hours drive from Arusha town. The road is worth a drive with many opportunities to have brief stops along the way as we view the great features of the volcanic activity.

By AirIf one is not comfortable with African road terrains, you can use the flight from Kilimanjaro international airport of Arusha airport to the Lake Manyara airport then connect to Tarangire national park or directly to Kuro airstrip which is serviced by domestic airlines. You can book any of the airlines below: Coastal Aviation, Air Excel and others.

Attractions in Tarangire National park

Animals: Tarangire National park is the most famous national parks interns of large numbers with a record of more than 3000 Elephants. Its on Tarangire National park that the oldest Elephant gave birth to twins.  Located along the Maasai Steppe and other mountains on the South that give a good fresh grass for the rare Antelopes like fringed-eared Oryx, long-necked gerenuk and other species of Antelope. Other animals in Tarangire National park include Zebras, giraffes, gazelles, cheetah, leopards, lions, Elephants, honey Badger, African wild Dogs, Mongoose, baboons, monkey, dik-dik, wildebeest, and others.

Birds: With over 500 bird species in Tarangire National park, the tourists enjoy wide long list of birds in a single destination. The different ecosystems found at the park has given it the advantage to inhabit a long list of bird species. Ranging from the swamp bird species to the open savannah grassland species. The permanent river and the evergreen swamps have made well the breeding place for these birds. The park receives migratory birds annually that flock the park during the breeding season. Other birds come from the nearby Lake Manyara national park while some migrate from the European countries.  The Ash starlings lead the birding lists, hornbills, woodpeckers, Yellow necked Spurfowl, Northern white crown shrike, Black necked weaver, white-faced whistling duck, red-billed hornbill, pygmy falcon, African Marsh harrier, Black-headed heron, African Hoopoe, kori bustard, Lilac-breasted roller among others. 

The birding list is long and you only need little patience with a good knowledgeable birding guide who can make you achieve the long list in the short safari to Tarangire National park.

Maasai people: The park is surrounded by the Maasai local people who have the most unique cultural and traditions in Africa. Its only Maasai people whose modernization has failed to change their culture. Other tribes that surround the park are the Barbaiq also called Mangati, Wambugwe and wa Iraqw. All these tribes have their own cultures which boost the tourism industry in Tanzania. 

Activities in Tarangire

There are quite a good number of activities that can be done in the open dotted savannah areas of Tarangire National park. The park vegetation is filled by flooded grassland, aquatic trees, Acacia woodland, baobab trees, and others give it worth to be visited any time of the year. All activities are never affected by weather patterns instead make them more enjoyable. The park animals are ever permanent residents and these contribute to the high volume of tourists annually. Some of the activities done in Tarangire National park include:

Birding: Tarangire National park is a home of over 500 bird species that are inhabited in different park ecosystems. This has credited the park as a birding paradise where one with all the birding tools can view other 100 bird species a day. One needs to only give it enough days like 3 days birding safari in Tarangire and you view over half of Tanzania bird species. Getting the rightful birding guide is the first step for one to achieve their birding dream. With a good camera, binoculars you catch live flying videos. The most welcoming bird species include: Ashy starlings, Secretary birds, lovebird, hornbills, woodpeckers, Yellow necked Spurfowl, Northern white crown shrike, Black-necked Weaver, white-faced whistling duck, red-billed hornbill, pygmy falcon, African Marsh harrier, Black-headed heron, African Hoopoe, kori bustard, Lilac-breasted roller among others

Balloon safaris: Tarangire National park is one of the few national parks not only in Tanzania but entire Africa where balloon safaris are done. The eagle eye at the park is beyond the wildlife experience as you float on top of the Boabab trees in the park. This is a unique experience where more actions in the wilderness are got as you get close to the wildlife with no off tracking. The hot air balloon safaris in Tarangire National park are done early in the morning along the Tarangire River.

Elephants in Tarangire National Park
Elephants in Tarangire National Park

Game drives: When one thinks of African safari the first thing to think about is how to see the African big 5. The game drives are the best way to encounter the African wilderness using the 4×4 wheel drive safari cars that take you close to the animals. The park has permanent residents like lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, Zebra, Giraffes, kudu, oryx mention but a few. Game drives in Tarangire are done throughout the year though the best months are the dry months when the land is dry.

Best time to visit Tarangire National park

Tarangire National park can be visited throughout the year though it becomes muddier during the rainy season and only requiring 4×4 wheel drive safari cars. The guests can also enjoy walking safaris across the park with the guided walks available on request. Looking for a short distance drive but much experiential then Tarangire National park would be the best destination. It’s not good for the African big 5 as the park misses rhinos but has all the 4 members of the African big 5.

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