Tanzania’s National Parks are famous for the year-round greenery, the abundance of water sources, and phenomenal wildlife migration. And Tarangire National Park is no exception!
Tarangire National Park located in Northern Tanzania demonstrates all these characteristics, yet it is underrated because of its neighbors. On the bright side, there will be fewer tourists compared to Serengeti National Park, which will make your experience more authentic.
Established in 1970, Tarangire National Park and Safari is the sixth largest national park in the country, covering 2850 square kilometers. The name which means “river of warthogs” originates from the Tarangire River, the primary source of water in the park.
Tarangire Ecosystem is part of the East African Rift Valley that contains Lake Manyara and several other lakes. The area was completely submerged in water in prehistoric times, so the dried-up lakebed is extremely rich in minerals. The riverbed is surrounded by the rare yellow-barked fever trees that accommodate shy and elusive animals.
While many national parks suffer from water scarcity, Tarangire Park has sufficient water sources all year-round thanks to the Tarangire River.
These two factors are more than enough to attract hundreds of mammals from the surrounding parks. Tarangire National Park is home to a large population of elephants, birds, as well as baobab trees. Tarangire National Park elephants are mostly seen during temperate dry seasons.
Activities and Things to Do at the Tarangire National Park
Tarangire national park activities are not limited to regular game drives; there is an activity for every type of traveler.
Game viewing drives take place twice daily, once early in the morning and once late in the afternoon. Each drive takes about 2-3 hours, with stops at critical wildlife viewing points around the riverbed.
The experienced rangers will tell you all about the history and geology of the area, so your safari experience will be even more meaningful. Safari in Tarangire is up there amongst the best on the continent only bested by Safari in Kenya and South Africa.
The hot-air balloon safari is a treat that you won’t get in many safari parks. Tarangire offers a scenic fly that starts just before the sunrise so that you can witness how the animals start a new day. The shades of gold and copper bring a whole new perspective to the landscape. These hot-air balloon safaris take an hour, followed by bush breakfast.
For a more adventurous tour, we recommend taking the walking safari tours. With the help of the guides, you will learn to appreciate both small and large animals from a short distance while learning about their survival mechanisms.
Besides, the private concessions around the park offer an even more special walking tour with local Maasai guides. Apart from the wildlife, the Maasai guides will enlighten you about the traditions of Maasai Warriors in the surrounding villages.
Tarangire’s campsites such as Oliver’s Camp and Swala camp offer night drives, where you can view nocturnal animals like leopard, aardwolf, and porcupine. These camps are all located in Tarangire national park.
Tarangire National Park Sample Itinerary
Because there are so many activities to choose from, we summarized them according to the time of the day they take place.
- Early morning: Hot-air Balloon Safari, Morning Drive
- Bush Breakfast
- Noon: Walking safaris, traditional Maasai nature walks
- Afternoon: Afternoon Game Drive
- Bush Barbecue
- Evening drives (for the campsites inside the park)
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When To Go to Tarangire National Park
Tarangire has two main seasons. The wet season is between November and May. While the rains during the month of February are typically short, they get longer and cause thunderstorms in March-May.
With temperature ranging from 16°C – 28°C. This is not an ideal time to visit because many animals tend to migrate out of the park. The dry season is between June and October. The temperature range is similar to the wet season, except the rainfall is much less, and the days are mostly clear.
The dry season is the best time for viewing wildlife since animals tend to congregate around the water sources and riverbeds.
Except for endangered rhinoceros, we can’t think of a species that is absent from Tarangire National Park. However, it is essential to remember that the diversity of animals depends on the time of your visit.
The park teems with large herds of elephants and buffalo all year round and is considered one of the best places in East Africa to view them. The riverside also attracts big herds of wildebeest, giraffe, hartebeest, impala, gazelle, and zebra.
As a result, many predators commonly lurk around for hunting. You can spot lions, hyena, and wild dogs easily, while leopard and cheetah sights are rare. The Tarangire national park is home to the greatest concentration of elephants in Africa estimated at over 3,000 elephants during peak seasons.
Among the rare and endemic species, there are fringe-eared oryx and long-necked gerenuk in the swampy areas. Although the wet season is not ideal for viewing mammals, the park becomes a bird oasis during these months.
There are currently about 500 species of birds recorded, most of which are dry-country bird species like northern pied babbler and vulturine guineafowl. Migratory birds are also quite common in the area.
Safari Accommodations in Tarangire Park
The park has a few options for accommodation, catering to different budgets.
Kikoti Tented Camp
This is a private land just outside the national park, which comes with the bonus of rhinos introduced from other national parks.
The Kikoti Safari camp in Tarangire National Park is one of Tarangire National Park wildlife camps.
Tarangire Safari Lodge
The lodge is quite popular amongst visitors for its stunning views over the baobab trees and the Tarangire River. You can see hundreds of animals in a day without moving a muscle.
Safari lodges at Tarangire National park in Tanzania are one of the best tourist destinations in Africa.
The lodge is ideal for those wanting to get a closer look at the baobab trees. With a capacity of 160 guests in 75 suites. The Sopa lodge in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania is known to be one of the biggest lodges in the park.
The treehouse provides a real jungle experience merged with the comfort of a five-star hotel room.
Swala and Oliver’s Camp
Swala and Oliver Camp are the lesser-known areas nestled in the quieter sections of the park. These are the ones that organize night safaris, as well as adventurous flying safaris.
Yes, you can. However, that leaves you vulnerable to insect bites and sunburns, so we strongly advise against it.
Southern Africa countries like Botswana and South Africa which are located in the Southern Hemisphere close to the poles do experience relatively cold weather. It surely does get cold at night and early in the morning, especially during the dry season. The temperatures can drop below 50ºF (10ºC) in the Kalahari area.
You need a passport, but Botswana doesn’t require a visa for citizens from certain countries. Check the official website to see what the current requirement for your country is.
Maun is generally a safe place, and violent crime is rare. However, you still need to be vigilant and protect yourself from petty theft and avoid walking alone in the dark.
Conclusion: Tarangire Park
Tarangire National Park might be smaller than Serengeti, but it is nothing short of Serengeti’s magical nature. If you want a more specialized experience while crossing every animal sight off your bucket list, Tarangire might just be the ideal safari destination for you.