Overview – Tarangire NP
Tarangire is one of the more seasonal parks in northern Tanzania, with a lot of migratory movement within the greater Tarangire ecosystem. In the Dry season, between June and October, large herds of animals are attracted to the Tarangire River. At this time, the elephant numbers are spectacular and the park should be part of any safari in northern Tanzania.
Pros and Cons
- Top general wildlife viewing in the Dry season
- Incredible concentration of elephants in the Dry season
- Excellent birding with many dry-country specials
- Stunning scenery with many baobab trees
- Excellent mid-range and luxury lodges
- It gets crowded during peak season (June to October)
- Animals are scattered in the Wet season
Herds of up to 300 elephant can be found, looking for underground streams in the dry riverbeds, while migratory wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, impala, gazelle, hartebeest and eland crowd the shrinking lagoons. Dry-country antelope such as fringe-eared oryx and the long-necked gerenuk are also present but rare to see. Abandoned termite mounds often house mongoose colonies. All the main predators are present, but because of thick vegetation, not spotted as often as in some of the other parks in northern Tanzania.
The park's dominant feature is the Tarangire River. Although it gets very dry, the park is relatively thickly vegetated with acacia shrubs and mixed woodland. Most memorable are the huge baobab trees dotted around in big numbers. The south and east of the park has a big seasonal swamp network, which is an important water catchment area.
Weather & Climate
Tarangire has a fractured Wet season (November to May). Light showers, or the ‘short rains’, tend to close out the year, while the ‘long rains’ see heavier falls from March through May. In between is a brief dry period that gives a taste of what’s to come in the Dry season proper (June to October).
Best Time to Visit
In the wetter months (November to May) tourists are fewer and the local wildlife more dispersed, with water easily found around the park. The animals are much easier to find during the Dry season (June to October), as they head to the area’s remaining water sources. Pack plenty of warm clothes for early-morning game drives at this time of year, as it’s cold when the sun is low in the sky.
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Brian is an award winning travel writer, author of safari books and regular contributor to magazines such as BBC Wildlife and Travel Africa.
Tanzania’s most underrated wilderness
Although it’s only a couple of hours up the road from Arusha, most tourists hurry on towards Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro with barely a second glance at the Tarangire turn-off; and in doing so they are missing the wildest park on...
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