Serengeti migration safaris

Tarangire National Park – The Land of 1000s of Elephants

Tarangire National Park – The Land of 1000s of Elephants

Tarangire National Park is a stunning Tanzania wildlife safari destination known for boasting huge herds of elephants, open plains and stunning and iconic Baobab Trees, the park is a lesser known national park compared to fellow Tanzania safari destinations such as Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park also found in Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit.

Tarangire national park is the sixth biggest park in Tanzania at a size of 2,850 square kilometers, the landscape of the park is crossed by Tarangire River attacking elephants and other animals.

Location of Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is located in northern Tanzania in the Manyara region south of Lake Manyara, from Arusha City (The regional capital city) it is about 118 kilometers and is in a short distance to fellow Tanzania destinations in the Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit. Tarangire national park is a 70 kilometers drive to Lake Manyara national park and is in a close proximity to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater.

Tarangire National Park lies between the meadows of Masai Steppe on the south east and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the west and North.

History of Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park was first established as a game reserve in 1957 and later in 1970 it was upgraded to a national park.

Tarangire National Park’s name originates from Tarangire River which cross through the park and is the primary source of fresh water for the park’s wildlife and ecosystem most especially during the dry season.

Tourist attractions in Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is a stunning and very rewarding Tanzania safari destination famously known for hosting some of the highest elephant populations in the Tanzania and other wildlife species, other attractions found in the park include the iconic Baobab trees, birds and stunning landscape among others.

Wildlife Migration or elephant migration

Tarangire National Park experience the amazing wildlife migration which see hundreds of different animal species migrating the plains of the park in search for water, this migration is similar to the Great Wildebeest migration in Serengeti national park though it is not as massive.

At the height of the migration, Tarangire national park is filled with leopards, lions, warthogs, impalas, cudus greater and lesser, ostriches and elephants.

The elephants standing out among the migrating animals, you can see over 3000 elephants moving into the park in search for water and green pastures and you will see them meandering across the plains and under the iconic baobab trees.

Large herds of elephants

Tarangire National Park is famous for being home to the largest population of elephants in Tanzania with over 300 elephants, elephants are the prime tourist attractions in the park, during the dry season thousands of elephant enter the park in search for water and they are easily see congregating along the banks of Tarangire River.

Wildlife in Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is home to a variety of wildlife species, the park is home to over 58 large mammals including elephants, warthogs, lions, leopards, cape buffalo, rare coke’s hartebeests, dry country antelopes such as the stately fringe – eared oryx and peculiar long – necked gerenuk, waterbucks, giraffes, dik-dik, impalas, elands, Grant;s gazelles, vervet monkeys, Africa wild dogs, banded mongoose, olive baboons, honey bangers, greater kudus among others.

Birds in Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is listed among the best destinations for Tanzania bird safaris, the park comprises of vast savannah grasslands and swamps which are great sites to see birds. Some of the birds found in Tarangire national park include Common Red-and-yellow barbet, the Locally Common and endemic Ashy starling, Common White-headed buffalo-weaver, Common Tawny eagle, Common African orange-bellied parrot, Common Speckle-fronted weaver, African grey flycatcher, Ashy starling, Bare-faced go-away bird, Donaldson-Smith’s nightjar, Great white pelican, Mouse-colored penduline tit, Northern pied babbler, Northern white-crowned shrike, Ostrich, Pink-breasted lark, Rufous-tailed weaver, Slate-coloured boubou, Von der Decken’s hornbill, Vulturine guineafowl and Yellow-collared lovebird among others

Stunning landscape

Tarangire National Park has a stunning landscape with vast grasslands and Baobab trees creating a rugged “Out of Africa” experience which is quite distinct amongst national park in Tanzania, the landscape encompasses of grassy savannah plains, vast swamps and is dotted with sun-blistered terminate molds. The landscape is also dotted by the iconic baobab trees.

The Iconic Baobab Trees

The stunning landscape of Tarangire National Park is dotted with baobab trees locally known as Mbuyu in Swahili local language, these trees are also known as rat tree or monkey – bread or bottle tree. These trees are one of the largest trees on the planet, they have thick, sturdy trunk and stunted root-like branches which are a recognizable symbol of Africa.

Because of the unusual for these trees, local traditional belief states these trees displeased a deity who promptly plucked them in anger and thrust them back into the ground upside down.

The baobab trees can grow to reach up to meters high and their diameter to 11 meters, some of the trees have reached around 1000 years and the oldest recorded baobab tree reached 6000 years found in South Africa.

Tarangire River

Tarangire River is a remarkable attraction and feature in Tarangire national park, the river is a crown to the Tarangire Eco System as it is the main and only permanent source of water, during the dry season running between July to November many animals visit the river to quench their thirsty and also cool off in the waters.

Tarangire River is a perfect spot to see elephants which are seen digging the sand to extract the underground water, other animals you will spot along the river banks include lions, leopards, wildebeests, zebras, cape buffaloes, gazelles among others.

Tourist activities in Tarangire National Park

Game drives in Tarangire National Park

The most poplar Tanzania safari activity to enjoy in Tarangire National Park is game drives, the park has 5 main game viewing routes leading to most areas of the park such as the Lemiyon route, Gursi and Lamarku routes, western lake Barungi route and Kitibong Hill route.

Game drives in Tarangire National Park are offered as morning, afternoon and night game drives. From the rooftop of your safari vehicle, you will spot a variety of wildlife including herds of elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, gazelles, giraffes among others.

Bird watching in Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is one of the greatest birding destinations in Tanzania with more than 550 species of birds including raptors and migratory bird species which normally arrive in the park from Europe and North Africa from November to April.

The best places to see birds in Tarangire National Park are the woodlands and swamps near the Tarangire River, some of the common birds you will see in Tarangire national park on Tanzania bird watching safari include

Nature Walks in Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park has the most spectacular landscape in Tanzania which is best explored on guided nature walks which take about 1 to 3 hours with an experienced and armed guide. During the walks, you get to explore areas of the park that cannot be reached by a vehicle, climb to the top of the nearby mountain and get a close up encounter with many animals such as giraffes, buffaloes, zebras among others.

Cultural Tours in Tarangire National Park

Cultural safaris in Tarangire National Park offers visitors a deeper insight into the cultures of the local Maasai people or visit the Barabaig Village with numerous ancient paintings, during the visit you will be entertained by local dances and drama, buy crafts made by the Maasai such as mats, beads, baskets among other.

Where to stay in Tarangire National Park

There are several accommodation options in Tarangire National Park ranging from budget, midrange to luxury. These accommodations include

Nimali Tarangire Tented Camp

Acacia Tarangire Luxury Camp

Sanctuary Swala Camp

Lemala Mpingo Ridge Lodge

Ecoscience Science Center and Luxury Lodge

Tarangire Safari Lodge

Tarangire Sopa Lodge

Ang’ata Tarangire Camp

Kikoti Tented Camp among others

How to get to Tarangire National Park

Tarangire National Park is located in the Northern Safari Circuit of Tanzania and most safaris to this beautiful park start from Arusha, usually visitors have to fly in to Kilimanjaro International Airport located approximately 46 kilometers from Arusha. To get to Tarangire National Park, road and air means of transport are used.

By road – from Arusha to Tarangire National Park, it is a drive of approximately 140 kilometers taking about 3 hours’ drive.

By air – there are daily and chartered flights from Arusha Airport to Tarangire, these flights take only 2 hours and are offered by several domestic airline such as Coastal Aviation, Air Tanzania, Safari Air Link, Precision Air, ZanAir and Regional Air.