This national park is found in the northern part of Tanzania with an area of 2600 sq km and is considered as the main wildlife area in the country. The park was named after Tarangire River that is its source in the Kondoa Mountains which is in the centre of the country, and crosses the whole park from the north to the south. This park also lies along the Dodoma road which is 20 km from Arusha town and it can also be reached by a car.
The Tarangire river also crosses the park on lengthwise which gives support to the large wildlife population during the dry season, that’s between June and October, the park is also characterised with nine different types of vegetation including; the baobab trees,flat topped acacia trees that provide good grazing for the animals including the wildebeests, zebras, elephants, impalas, giraffes, waterbuck, Eland, and the hartebeest and others that migrate from Maasai steppe to Tarangire River.
This park is home to about 500 bird species and some can be seen on the drier ground, rocks as well as the forest. The best time to visit the park is from July to November. The park has a size of 2,600 sq km and its located in 118 km southwest of Arusha town, you an easily get to this park by driving from Arusha or Lake Manyara as you follow a surfaced road to within 7 km of the main entrance gate, you will then continue to Ngorongoro crater and the also the Serengeti . There are also charter flights from Arusha and the Serengeti.
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There are many things that can be done in this park including the guided walking safaris, the day trips to the Maasai and the Barabaig villages as well as the ancient rock paintings in the area of Kolo on the Dodoma Road.
This park can be visited all year round but mostly in the dry season of June to September for variety of animals. The accommodation includes one lodge, a luxury tented campsite, a tented lodge, these are found within the park, the other half dozen exclusive lodges and the tented camps are outside the park. The park is also known for its elephants, you will see these as they travel in families and as they take care of their young ones. These creatures also tend to move in packs and in the same paths as they have done this in the past years. There is also the tarangire River that winds through the middle of the park as it provides the nourishment for the animals and good viewing for the guests. There are always large herds of animals and birds that gather around the river. The park has baobab trees, the impressive trees that can even live for as many as thousand years. The animals can also be found in the rainy season however the animals tend to be more concentrated during the dry season.
The park is almost located directly between Arusha and Ngorongoro Crater and it can explored for at least 2 nights. The park has got almost all the animals that are found in any national park. It has also got over 550 species. It has got an area of 2,850km. Tarangire River which is also supplies the park with its unique livelihood and this becomes the dry season magnet for the many wildlife that come down to drink. The park is central to Tanzania Northern Circuit which makes it a perfect place to begin or end the safari.
The animals in the park includes; the gerenuks, oryx, baobab, elephants, lions, wild dog, lesser kudu, the yellow collared lovebird, ground hornbill, rufus tailored weaver, the Mongoose, ashy starling , the red and yellow barbet, as well as the 550 bird varieties. Tarangire national park is a hidden wonder of Tanzania which deserves very special consideration in the safari itinerary of any safari tour. This happen during the dry season when large streams of animals come to the park for its water supply. The green season is also rewarding since there are usually smaller crowds and many of the resident animals can be spotted and the lush landscape is usually washed in the vivid emerald of foliage which makes it spectacular for photos.
This national park also measures 1,600 square miles and is Tanzania’s fifth largest park. It was named after Tarangire River which provides the only permanent water source for the wildlife in the area. It’s also a place for the wildlife during the dry season when there are huge concentration of buffalos, elephants, wildebeests, zebras that come together along its banks.
The most important and spectacular feature of Tarangire is that it serves as a place of refuge for the large elephants in the northern Tanzania. Tarangire River runs up to the centre of the park through the diverse habitats and the varied topography. The park has the giant Baobab trees, open acacia woodlands and the seasonal swamps, these are spectacular to look at. The main visited regions of Tarangire include; Matete, Burungi, Lemiyon , Tarangire river and Kitiibong.each of the areas, has got its secret of wonders to reveal. The unique feature are the baobab trees that can be viewed in large numbers along with the giants of nature, massive trees, which protect the animals. The animals found in the national park include; buffalos, elephants, dik dik, mongoose, giraffes, bushbuck, hartebeest, rock hyrax, impalas, warthogs, waterbuck, and the reed buck. The primates here include; olive baboons, vervet monkeys, and the bush babies. Both the Rhinos and the Hippos have been poached to extinction, with luck, you might encounter the rare antelopes like the lesser Kudu, eland as well as the fringe eared oryx. The African wild dog has also been spotted in this park.
The carnivores that are found in this national park include; the lions, leopards, cheetah, jackal, and the hyenas. The lions are so common in this park and there is a possibility to watching large prides of lions regularly during the dry season. This national park is also good for bird watching, the park is good for the raptors and the non-birding enthusiast will be blessed with variety of raptors including the tawny eagle, the long crested eagle, martial eagle, the bateleur eagle, the fish eagle, and the spotted eagle owl.
Tarangire national park has got small portions of the total area of the ecosystem, and it’s 13 times the size of the park. The park borders are defined by the migratory herbivores and the migratory animals use the park during the dry season as they migrate to the nearby ecosystem during the green season. The many great herbivores include the buffalos, zebras, as well as the wildebeests. The animals of tarangire are different from those of Serengeti since they come into the dry season of July to November when the elephants and other animal species come near the Tarangire River and other permanent water source to drink water. Within August, September and October, these park areas are completely parched and it’s the best time to visit the park since there are massive herds of Buffalos, zebras, wildebeests, elephants that surround the River.
The sporadic rains are always expected in Tarangire in late November and these make the animals to move to the nearby ecosystems, and by January to May , many of the migratory animals will have moved to the greater ecosystem and the park will support only the resident animals which includes, the elephants, this park is so good for wildlife viewing.
The Tarangire River
There is the afternoon sky that burns with vivid blue but without a cloud in its sight. Here you will encounter the great Tarangire River. It is usually in this time of the year (In July to October) when the park is preparing for the wildlife since these are drawn by its water supply. There are many animals that flock here from far places due to enticing waters of Tarangire River as well as the seasonal swamps. There are always long lines of zebras, wildebeests, zebras, the impalas, gazelles, giraffes, buffalos, hartebeests that come to the river to cool off. Due to this, many of the predators including the lions and the leopards, are drawn to this great prey. The birds also flock to this wonderful water as well as many varied species.
It’s also said the wildlife in Tarangire migrate in the cyclic pattern over the year. This is because the soils with in the park is so deficient with phosphorus that forces the animals to leave and cross the park boundaries in order to search for the mineral rich forage. Most park land belongs to the Maasai communities who have lived with the migratory animals for many years as they carry out cattle keeping. During the dry season, this national park is famous for the dense elephant population and these can be resting in the shades or digging in the soil for the underground streams.
The most dominant tree that grows around the river is the yellow barked fever tree which grows along the clay shores of the river where many other trees have failed to grow. This type of tree is the most dominant type along the riverbanks. There is also the bahor reedbuck that is seen in the tall elephant grass as well as the reeds which are near the river. Their males have got short, forward curving horns. These antelopes are also seen confused with the antelopes but can be differentiated by its uniform sandy red coat and the bushy tail with the white flag
This is the first region of the park that comes after turning off the great North Road at the Kwakuchinja village as it passes through the park’s main entry gate. The area is found in the northernmost end of the park. It’s bordered by the Burunge circuit in the west, Lake Burunge and the Tarangire River in the east of the road with in the matete region. The nearby landscape is composed of the broken grassland as well as the varied woodlands. These also include; the different types of the acacia trees. The earth found here is made up of the dark black volcanic matter which is so fine in texture and it’s called the black cotton soil. The common trees found here are called the flat topped or the Umbrella acacias that move their canopies over the grasses below the great shade as they form the impressive silhouettes against the horizon. The other types of trees found here include; the Mahogany trees and the toothbrush bushes peek.
The known form of vegetation is the area is the impressive baobab trees that move along the road with their silvered trunks as well as the mass of gnarled branches. These branches are also said to host ghosts as well as spirits. These appear surreal in nature and also seem to dwarf the animals that come to graze from underneath them. These trees are also hollow and serve the rest of nature as the reservoirs for water, nesting trees for the hornbill and the wild bee hives.
There are many birds that flock the bushed grassland seeds including; the red billed quelea birds. The park offers good raptor viewing and the non-birding individuals will be joyed with the abundance and diversity of the powerful air bone predators. The raptors seen here include; the tawny eagle, the martial eagle, long crested eagle as well as the fish eagle. The prey birds that are seen in this area are the bateleur eagle. This raptor has also got large and beautiful rich brown upper body feathers as well as a nice orange beak. Both the zebras and wildebeests can be seen grazing over the rolling countryside.
The matete woodlands are located in the northwest region of Tarangire and the Engelhard bridge which is also known as the Matete Bridge that crosses the Tarangire river, this matete is a unique land of tall elephant grass and open the acacia woodlands .you can as well encounter the baobab trees as they tower over the flora and fauna of the land scape. The matete woodland got its name from the high elephant grass and the spiky reeds that grow on the river banks in the western side of the region. More so, the Engelhard Bridge was named after the patron whose family helped so much with the preservation of the park.
This woodland is differentiated by its open acacia woodlands that are scattered with the baobab trees, and these are so prominent in the river flowing along the western side of Matete which entices the animals to drink from its banks during the dry season. There are many different types of animals that are partial to the habitant provided by the matete open acacia woodland and the grasslands. These flat topped canopies of the acacia tortillas trees are ideal for nesting sight for the many types of birds and predators. The woodland also harbour the antelope called the Oryx which inhabits the matete area. There are also herds of 5 to 40 animals that are often with the large male guarding from the rear and females near the front. The lions are the main predators here and they feed on the small animals.
In the southern direction of Engelhard Bridge, there is also a rocky stone outcrop which serves as an ideal habitat for the Klipspringer nimble little antelope that can effortlessly leap from the rock to the rock. The other animal found here is the rocky hyrax, this is a tiny creature that looks like a brown rabbit with short ears, and these are also the closest living relatives to the elephants. More so, the vervet monkeys and the baboons are also common in this area.
This swamp is located in the south of Tarangire National Park, the character of the park changes significantly as you join the southern side instead of the woodland that covers much of the north-western regions of Tarangire. The landscape here is covered with the vast sea of grasses and the moisture. There are also the crowned cranes prance are found along the shoreline, and the great egrets that pose in the shallows. The views over the swamp to the Sambu Mountains rise up in the far distant horizon are so breathtaking.
Silale swamp acts as a giant sponge during the green season and then releases water during the dry season attracting lots of animals. The resident animals found here include; elephants, rock hyrax, giraffes, impalas, ostrich, dik dik, the water buck, and the reed buck, the antelope species found here include; the lesser Kudu and the oryx , the primates found here also include; baboons, vervet monkeys, and the bush babies. The carnivores animals found here also include; lions, leopards, jackals, and the banded Mongoose. You will also encounter many bird species in great numbers both to the waters of this bird friendly habitat.
The great rock python can also be spotted alongside the swamp as they curl up high in the branches of the trees. There are also large herds of elephants, these are sophisticated creatures that live in tightly knit family units. The areas that are along the riverbanks where the water has receded are also excellent places for observing the elephants digging for a drink in the sandy bed where the water lies.
This circuit is made of the dense woodland candelabra trees, and the doum palms, these loop through the western region of the park. A game drive in this area will help you see the fascinating candelabra with its dark green branches and many wonderful types of flora and fauna. You will also find the lesser kudu, which is a beautiful and unusual looking little antelopes that often hide in the thick bush that covers the area of Tarangire.
The valley river on the Burunge circuit are also lined with the magnificent borassus palm trees. It’s also known that the wood from this tree is a termite resistant. There are also small birds that are called palm swifts nest in the branches that attach a small bunch of the features, combined together with the saliva. You will also encounter the eland which is Africa’s largest antelope, these are massive animals with a male weighing up to 900 kgs.
There is also the Lake Buruge which glitters in the distance and has got spectacular views. This lake is a shallow soda lake with a depth of more than 2 m. this lake was also formed by natural depression in the land, during the drought years, the lake will evaporate and then leave behind white soda deposits that look like snow in the sun shine.as you enter into bush valley, you might pay attention since you might encounter the bush buck. These are pretty antelopes of medium grey and brown coat with light spots on their haunches. They are so interesting.
Kitibong is a region of the park that surrounds the Kitibong Hill. The landscape here is varied and consist of acacia parkland in the eastern territory and the Dalbergia woodland in the western area. The mamire swamps are also located in the southern end of Kitibong and the Gursi swamp along the south eastern side. There are many pools of water that are created in natural depressions made by wallowing buffalos and the elephants that are found in this area during the dry season. There is also a lovely view of the Sangaiwe hills that are seen outside the park
The area has also got the magnificent herds of buffalos, tossing their heavily bossed horns, through the acacia parkland which is along the eastern side of the region. The common bird that is found here is the Ground hornbill and these spend most of their time on the ground and sometimes seen flying slowly to put their weighty bodies in the tree. The African hunting dogs are also seen in the park, though their sighting are rare and special. These are so interesting and have got a mottled arrangement of different colored fur that cover their bodies like a tie dye T shirt. You will also get chance to view the impala which is East Africa’s antelope, this one has got a reddish tan coat that seems to sun in the sunlight. The other animal species found here include, the warthogs which are commonly seen in the bush in tarangire, these look like a pig and mostly feed on their knees and run away with a tail sticking straight up in the air. Next time you want to go to Tanzania for your Tanzania safari, please request for the inclusion of this incredible park, The Tarangire National Park in Tanzania.