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Tarangire has the winning combination of being one of the biggest national parks in Tanzania with a surprisingly high concentration of game animals. Though it’s often overshadowed by the more well-known safari hotspots on the northern circuit, it boasts just as many natural wonders. You could find yourself watching a family of elephants grazing on the lush river banks, a herd of gazelles dancing elegantly across the open plains or a stealthy lion stalking a group of unaware wildebeests. And because Tarangire National Park manages to slip under the tourist radar, you won’t be competing with other safari vehicles for the best viewing spots either. Exceptional animal sightings in an undisturbed environment - what’s not to love?
The park’s lifeblood and namesake is the Tarangire River, which meanders through the grasslands and forests attracting a wealth of thirsty animals during the dry season. The star attraction are the elephants, with more than 3,000 in the park during the high season. Other highlights include tree-climbing lions and huge herds of migrating zebras, wildebeest and buffalo. There’s a slight caveat though. While safaris may be fantastic in the dry season, much of the wildlife migrates outside the park the rest of the year. So to avoid any disappointment, make sure you visit from July to October.
Tarangire is located close to two of Tanzania’s most famous safari parks - the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This means it’s usually just a brief stop-off on northern circuit itineraries, but once you’ve experienced it’s beautiful scenery and wonderful wildlife, you’ll soon see why it deserves much more attention.
Unsurprisingly, the main attraction of Tarangire National Park are the wildlife watching opportunities. The park has the second highest concentration of animals in Tanzania after the Serengeti, especially during the high season. Thanks to the large number of elephants, sightings of these majestic mammals are pretty much guaranteed. There’s also a significantly high number of lions, zebras, buffalos, wildebeests and giraffes, which tend to gather around the central river and lagoons. Less seen, though nonetheless still present within the park, are cheetahs and leopards. Tarangire is also one of the best bird-watching sites in Tanzania, with more than 450 species to spot, and you can also witness migrating mammals across the Maasai Steppe in line with Africa’s ancient weather patterns.
As well as vehicle safaris, Tarangire offers night drives and guided walking tours where you’ll get to see the park’s flora and fauna from a different perspective. Trips to nearby Maasai villages are also available if you’re keen to learn more about these fascinating tribal communities.
Another stand-out attraction at Tarangire are the majestic Baobabs trees, which have become an iconic symbol of Africa. They can reach 30-metres high, 11-metres in thickness and can live for up to 1000 years. The elephants are particularly fond of the these trees, but they also serve several practical purposes. The seeds can be eaten or made into a drink, the pods can be used to make bowls and cups or for fuel, and the leaves can be crushed and turned into a sauce or used for medicinal purposes. The chance to see Baobabs is a key part of a Tarangire safari.
One of Tanzania’s most underrated national parks, Tarangire offers spectacular scenery and a surprising abundance of wildlife. If you want to find out more about Tarangire and othe northern circuit parks, why not have a read of some of our blogs?
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