Tarangire National Park – Elephant Hangout
The Tarangire River is a vital life source for the huge amount of game in Tarangire National Park. In particular, wildebeest, zebra and buffalo migrate here during the dry season from June to October. A little known fact is that, at the tail end of the dry season (September to November), the elephant concentration in Tarangire is the greatest in Africa.
As you drive into the Tarangire National park, the vast number of ancient baobab trees immediately grabs your attention. Often referred to as ‘the land of the giants’, these huge trees dominate the Tarangire. Indeed many are rubbed raw from the large herds of elephant. You’ll also see plenty of lovely acacia tortillis trees with their characteristic flat-topped silhouette.
Although famous for its elephant herds and baobab trees, Tarangire offers much more. You’ll see zebra and wildebeest as well as giraffe, eland and buffalo. Thompson’s gazelle, Cooke’s hartebeest, greater and lesser kudu. Cheetahs gravitate to the open swamp areas of the southern Tarangire. But other predators, lion and the elusive leopard, are also attracted by the sheer quantity of plains game.
All this is complimented by arguably the best bird diversity in East Africa. Over 490 bird species have been recorded in the Tarangire National Park. This includes some Tanzania endemics such as the yellow-collared lovebirds.
Best time for a Tarangire Safari?
It’s important to look at the animal migration patterns throughout Tanzania. Generally June to early November are the best times for a Tarangire safari. But even out of the peak season, it is still a rewarding park to visit with plenty of resident game to keep your interest.
At the end of the dry season (from late Nov/early Dec) some of the game leaves the park to spread out across the whole Tarangire biosphere. By then there’s a choice of nutritious grasses elsewhere. Zebra and wildebeest head to the Rift Valley floor around Lake Manyara and the southern Serengeti. However, as the dry season begins again in June, much of the game returns to Tarangire National Park, especially the elephants. Then the wide Tarangire river and the southern swamps act as a vital source of water for wildlife. At this time game-viewing is extremely rewarding.
Tarangire Safari Lodges & Camps
The Tarangire safari lodges are located both inside the national park and just outside its borders. Both locations have their merits. Located immediately outside the park are long-term favourites such as Tarangire Treetops. Lodges just outside can offer interaction with the local community and night-time game drives. Inside the park are Oliver’s Camp and its sister property, Little Oliver’s, as well as Sanctuary Swala and Nomad Kuro. Maramboi, Lake Burunge Tented Camp offer more affordable lodging.
Note: Tsetse flies can be an issue in the wooded areas of the park so keep your legs and feet covered. See our post about Tsetse flies – helper of conservaton efforts for tips on how to counter them…