Perhaps one of Tanzania’s lesser-known national parks, Tarangire is an incredible East African wilderness that bristles with animal and bird life that resides within diverse habitats.
Covering an area of 2,600 square kilometres, which is about 10 times the size of the Manyara National Park, the Tarangire has an interesting range of topographies. Rocky hillscapes and the Tarangire River lead into acacia woodlands and a massive marsh teeming with animal and birdlife. It is also one of the few places to see seemingly unending lines of ancient baobab trees on the rocky escarpments.
Elephants and their annual migration are the park’s headlining attraction. During the dry season, large herds of elephant – up to 30 000 during peak months – move into the park in search of water and grasses, making the Tarangire River a regular rendezvous spot. The park is filled with one of the antelope ‘specials’, the eastern bearded or Coke’s hartebeest – their relative is the western found in the Serengeti – along with other plains animals such as eland, zebra, giraffe, buffalo, greater kudu, and Thompson’s gazelle.
It is the hunting ground of all of Africa’s big cats, with particularly healthy populations of lion and cheetah, as well as regular sightings of leopard and African painted wolves. The Marsh area is the wildlife jewel in the crown of the Tarangire ecosystem. Even in the dry season, there are usually some water sources that attract game in large numbers, and which are followed by big and small predators.
This part of the park is also a birder’s delight. Crested eagles perch in trees along the water channels, while below them the water is dotted with flocks of great white pelicans, white-faced whistling duck, and red-billed teal. Superb starlings and white-headed babblers can be spotted foraging in the picnic area.
Tarangire’s position, close to Arusha, means that it is an ideal first stop on a longer safari to the Ngorongoro Conservation area and the Serengeti ecosystem. Contact us when you are ready to travel to Africa again!