Tarangire National Park

Tanzania Destinations - Tarangire National Park

Most visitors to northern Tanzania are en route to the world-famous Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater; however, few realize that the area also contains one of Tanzania’s most rewarding reserves, Tarangire National Park.

Despite its ease of entry, Tarangire is the least visited destination on the Northern Safari Circuit. Don’t let this deter you: at the right time of year, a Tarangire safari will provide some of Tanzania’s best game viewing.

Tarangire is best known for its elephant herds and tree-climbing lions, but it also has a few rare savannah animals that you won’t find in the Serengeti, such as the long-necked gerenuk. It’s home to all of the major predators, and with 550 bird species on the tick list, it’s a fantastic bird-watching destination.

The dry season in Tarangire, however, will have you looking for superlatives. The Tarangire River (which runs north-south through the park) attracts a large number of elephants, buffalo, giraffe, and a variety of antelope species between June and October. At this time of year, go on a Tarangire safari to see animal concentrations that are only rivaled by those seen in the Ngorongoro Crater, but in a largely crowd-free setting.

The arrival of the short rains in November and December causes animals, especially grazers like wildebeest and zebra, to disperse away from the river. The park is usually dry in January and February, but rain returns in March, and visitors can escape the heavy rains of April and May, when most of the park is closed and most camps close.

Tarangire is more heavily vegetated than the Serengeti’s open grasslands, with thick forest set along the river, providing excellent shelter for leopards. It’s also the best location in northern Tanzania to see Africa’s strangest tree, the baobab, or ‘upside down tree.’

Travelers planning a safari to Tarangire will be pleased to learn that the park offers a wide range of excellent lodging options, from family-friendly camps to romantic hideaways, and that the park easily connects with the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, and Lake Manyara to form the Northern Safari Circuit’s quartet of safari destinations.

Tarangire National Park
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